April 2014
Membership #:           
Expiration Date:  
Local Councils:                         
In This Issue
Save the Last Word
Literacy Links
IRCJ Editor Search
Bound to Stay Bound
Website Links
Dates to Remember

2014 IRC Conference
October 2-4, 2014
Springfield, Illinois

 Registration and Housing Opens 
May 1, 2014

Future Dates of the Annual IRC Conference
October 1-3, 2015
Sept. 29-Oct 1, 2016
October 5-7, 2017
Peoria, Illinois

Welcome to iCommunicate, IRC's monthly e-newsletter!  Here you will learn, share, and enjoy information on timely topics and cutting edge projects. We'd love to hear your thoughts.  Please contact us with your comments, suggestions, and ideas at icommunicate@illinoisreadingcouncil.org.   
Save the Last Word for Me         
By Patricia Tylka, IRC Vice President Elect 

When Roberta Berglund, one of the "Harvesting the Fruits of Literacy" October 2014 Conference featured speakers, first introduced me to Save the Last Word for Me, also known as Final Word, it immediately became one of my favorite classroom discussion activities. Completing the activity requires students to think critically about what they read and encourages them to engage in meaningful conversation. Here are the steps:


The teacher assigns a section of text and asks to students to choose three quotations they find especially interesting as they read. (For younger students, one quotation will suffice.) Using one index card per quotation, students copy the quotation on one side of the card and write their comments, feelings, and/or reasons for selecting the quotation on the other side. Next, students meet in small groups of 3-to-5 students in order to share their quotations.


The first student reads his/her quotation and indicates where it is located in the text but makes no comment about why it was chosen. Taking turns, each of the other teammates has one minute to respond to the quotation. After each teammate has spoken, the student who chose the quotation has the "final word"; he/she gets three minutes to clarify the ideas written on the opposite side of the card and to respond to the teammates' comments. (For advanced students, a brief open discussion about the quotation might occur here.) Then another student shares his/her quotation, and the procedure continues until each student has shared a quotation. For students who have selected more than one quotation, the discussion continues with a second round.


After the small group discussions, one teammate from each group might summarize the team's main points for the entire class. Students can use the discussion as the basis of a writing assignment that makes a claim about the author's craft or point of view. As a variation, students write a significant question raised by the text on each card and a possible answer on the back. This activity works well with film clips, graphic literature, poetry, fiction and non-fiction. Save the Last Word for Me compels student reflection. It allows readers the opportunity to defend their own understanding and compare it to the thinking of their peers. Students become active, reflective readers through participation in an enjoyable, social activity.


For more information and ideas, see: 

  • Buehl, D. (2009). Classroom strategies for interactive learning. International Reading Association.
  • McDonald, J., Mohr, N., Dichter, A., and McDonald, E. (2003).  The power of protocols. Teachers College Press. ("Final Word" was originally developed by Daniel Baron and Patricia Averette of the National School Reform Faculty).

Literacy Links        
By the IRC Technology Committee


Take a moment to review some of the Literacy Links provided by the IRC Technology Committee to help Illinois educators in today's classrooms.  These links and future links will be available on the IRC Website under "Literacy Links" on the homepage.




Mastery Connect

Choose assessments based on standards from a pool of teacher created formative and summative assessments.



Socrative is a web-based student response system that will formatively assess students and provide immediate feedback.   


Comprehensive Resources 


Achieve the Core

Many resources including lessons, writing samples, assessment questions, curricular tools, and professional development.


Better Lessons

Over 3,000 complete lessons aligned to the Common Core State Standards. 

Interactive Resources


Google Lit Trips  

This great resource is a collection of novels from all grade levels combined with Google Earth for interesting interactive novel studies.


Reading Passages 



This tool has differentiated informational reading passages about current events with multiple Lexile levels as well as comprehension assessments.



This website has a multitude of resources available for teachers to use to build comprehension.


Web 2.0 Tools 



This tool is similar to a wall of Post-It notes that can be added anywhere on the wall.  A great resource for collaborative activities with limitless possibilities.



Edmodo is an educational website that takes the ideas of a social network and refines them and makes it appropriate for a classroom. Using Edmodo, students and teachers can reach out to one another and connect by sharing ideas, problems, and helpful tips.




The Teaching Channel

The Teaching Channel provides many resources for Common Core, such as teacher videos, strategies and lesson plans.


Learn Zillion

See visual, conceptual explanations of the Common Core State Standards with 4000+ videos tailored for grades 2-12.



Bound to Stay Bound Announces New Services to Schools and Libraries in Illinois
By Berry Bell, Bound to Stay Bound


Bound to Stay Bound Books is proud to announce two brand new services to schools and libraries in Illinois. For more than 93 years, BTSB has been pre-binding books for school and public libraries. Now we're applying that same quality and experience to CLASSROOM CUSTOM SETS and TEXTBOOK REBINDING.


Simply provide us the author, title, ISBN, and quantity for ANY classroom set title (including titles NOT in the BTSB catalog) and we'll provide a quote. We'll even add your school or district logo at no additional charge!   Bound to Stay Bound is becoming the premier provider for titles supporting the Common Core State Standards Initiative because of our superior quality. Visit www.btsb.com/customcovers to get a FREE quote today.


Another new service we're proud to launch is our Rebinding Service for Textbooks. Simply send us your tired, worn, broken textbooks and Bound to Stay Bound will give them a new life. BTSB will remove the worn covers and replace them with new colorful designs that replicate the original, including the back cover. Plus, the new covers can be customized with your school or district logo at no additional charge. Free return shipping too!

When you think of books, Bound to Stay Bound Books is the answer. If you'd like to see an example of our quality, contact Berry Bell at bbell@btsb.com for a free sample.