The NSRA Newsletter, The Reader
Contact Betsy Gomez,

The NSRA newsletter, The Reader, is published three times per year.
    For information on submitting news articles contact Betsy Gomez, at and view our Reader Guidelines
Current Issue: Winter 2014  
Archives:Past editions of The Reader  
  Fall 2014  
  Spring 2014

Literacy Opportunities

  Plum Creek  

Find out more: Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival  

This event gives children and adults the opportunity to connect with nationally acclaimed authors and illustrators in order to enhance literacy enjoyment and education. The adult conference includes worships presented by authors, illustrators and literacy experts. The festival is held in the fall at Concordia University, Seward, NE.
  Reading Classic, contact Sylvia Yoder
  Contact Sylvia Yoder,
  This program encourages students to become life-long readers by creating teams for grades 3-9, reading award winning books, throughout othe year. Competition is held in the spring at local, county, and state levels.
  Read Aloud Nebraska
  A  statewide public awareness campaign about reading aloud to children through school and community efforts that develop lifelong readers providing informational materials, presentations and workshops, and sponsors Nebraska’s Read Aloud to a Child Month in November.  
  Jumpstart Read for the Record  
  A campaign that brings children and adults together to read the same book, on the same day (early October), in homes, schools, and communities all over the world, sponsored by Jumpstart and Pearson Foundation. The campaign also kicks off Jumpstart’s yearlong program, preparing preschool children in low-income neighborhoods for success in school and life.  
  Golden Sower Award  
  Nebraska’s Children’s Choice Award, sponsored by the Nebraska Library Association  
  Read Across America  
  This year-round program focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources.  Sponsored by National Education Association with a celebration held on or near March 2, Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and Lorax Student Earth Day, on April 22nd  
  One Book, One Nebraska  
  A program to promote Nebraska citizens to celebrate the literacy richness of the state through reading and activies of the same book throughout Nebraska  
  One District One Book  
  Inspire entire communities to read and discuss the same book with program packets available at the Read To Them website. 

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Literacy Links

Educational Websites
  Log Cabin Librarian
    A resource for professionals interested in children’s literature. Activities Calendars, Poetry Nook, Wild about Books, and Theme Related book lists.
  Reading Rockets
    Provides activities and lesson plans for teaching kids to read and helping those that struggle.  Resources are provided for Parents, Teachers, Administrators, and Librarians
  The Daily Five
    Offers free samples, countless articles, and videos to support, enhance and inspire professional development.  The Daily Five is a classroom structure for fostering literacy independence in the elementary grades developed by the sisters, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser.
  Read Write Think
    Provides Classroom Resources (lesson plans, student interactives, calendar activities and print outs) and Professional Development Opportunities for teachers, parents, and after school programs.
  Choice Literacy
    Provides innovative, high-quality resources for K-12 literacy leaders.

Adolescent Literacy offers resources (articles, research, teaching strategies, and book recommendations) for parents and educators of struggling adolescent readers and writers.
  Guys Read
        A web-based literacy program for boys   
        Ideas and resources to support developing a new generation of literate men  
Educational Connections
Nebraska English Language Arts Council, affiliated with the National Council of Teachers of English

The Nebraska English Language Arts Council is creating a Nebraska Language Arts Educators Hall of Fame K-16 to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the State's English Teachers Association and the centennial of the National Council Teachers of English (NCTE). See nomination form. Forms are due March 15th, 2012.

Nebraska State Education Association

        A member-directed union of professional educators dedicated to providing quality education for the students in the state of Nebraska.  
  Nebraska Department of Education
    Reading/Writing Director
    Tricia Parker
    Sign up for the NDE Language Arts List Serve,

Attn: Public Input Meeting on State Standards

  International Reading Association
    800 Barksdale Road
PO Box 8139
Newark, DE 19714-8139
(302) 731-1600 
        IRA Professional Development Associate  
    Angela Rivell
  Nebraska Library Association
        NLA is the cornerstone of the Nebraska library community and is a Chapter of the American Library Association  
  Nebraska Association for the Education of Young Children
    NeAEYC is dedicated to strengthening and supporting Nebraska’s early childhood community.  A state affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children
  International Society for Technology in Education
        Technology Literacy is a crucial component of modern society. Educational technology standards are the roadmap to teaching effectively and growing professionally in an increasingly digital world.  
  Community Connections
  Nebraska Iowa Kiwanis
    Kiwanis is a global organization of member-volunteers working to change the world, one child and one community at a time.  
  Rotary Foundation
    The mission of The Rotary Foundation is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.
  Nebraska Foundation for Children's Vision
        A Nebraska Foundation that supports every child entering school in Nebraska is visually reading to Learn through expanding the SEE TO LEARN program.  
  Nebraska Optimists
    Providing hope and a positive vision, optimist bring out the best in kids
Nebraska Authors
  Nebraska has produced over 3000 authors from poets and mystery writers, social critics and romance novelists, historians and journalists with many  achieving regional, national and international recognition. 
  A directory of Nebraska published poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction
  Websites selected by librarians to research Nebraska authors

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Legislative Contact Sally Hutt,            

Websites to support NSRA as advocates for policy and practice which supports the best interests of all learners on a state and national level.

A letter template for you to draft a letter to your representatives
Sample Letter
 From: Rich Long <>
  To: Rich Long <>
  Subject: IRA Advocacy info - CCSS, U of Advocacy, teacher empowerment
 position, twitter
  Date: Tue, 16 Oct __, _______

  October __, _____

  From:           IRA Government Relations
  Subject:    Common Core, Education on Advocacy, Requests for comments and a brief Update

  Please share this update on IRA's new Guidelines for the Common Core, Plus a Q & A section on the Common Core State Standards on IRA's website, IRA's new University of Advocacy webinars; IRA's proposed statement on "Universal Principles: Essential Role of the Teacher in Classrooms, Schools, and Society; and Richard Long's legislative update.

  Common Core State Standards (CCSS)
  Wondering what are the links between the English Language Common Core State Standards and reading?  Take a look at: IRA Guidance on CCSS<>.   This will give you several ideas how to coordinate your curriculum, the needs of your students with the CCSS.  In addition, the IRA Committee on the CCSS has developed a Q & A section on the website.  Please tell your members and colleague they can ask for help in understanding, interpreting and implementing the CCSS by going to: IRA Q A on CCSS<>

  What is University of Advocacy?
  The "University of Advocacy" is a set of courses that will be offered over the next two years to provide a deeper background on advocacy.  Each "course" will stand on its own, so it isn't a two year commitment if you sign up for the first course.

  The first course is five one-hour webinars on consecutive Tuesday nights at 8 pm (Eastern time). These "PolySci 101" sessions will get you up to speed in a fun, fast way as to how the mechanisms of government work.  The evening sessions will be on:
  1.      Oct 23rd - Overview of the three branches of government, federalism, and the history of federal education involvement
  2.      Oct 30th - How the executive branch functions in relationship to education: a look at regulations, rulemaking, guidance, budgets and the bully pulpit
  3.      Nov 6th - (Yes, it is election night, but before the results come in.) The legislative branch's impact on education decisions: how committees work, the budget system, appropriations, and oversight made simple
  4.      Nov 13th - Role of the courts in federal and state education law
  5.      Nov 27th - Summary: putting it all together and where to go from here

  How do you participate? Sign up for the webinars here<>.  After airing, these webinars will be posted on the advocacy page of<>.

  Essential Role of the Teacher in Classrooms, Schools, and Society: IRA is developing a statement on teacher principles. Your comments are needed before November 1, 2012.

  IRA has had a team of teachers from all levels working on a set of statements regarding what governments are doing to impact schools and students. At present, most programs are oriented towards government setting goals, deciding on assessments to evaluate those goals, and demanding results. IRA believes that a new social contract needs to be created between teachers and the government in order to create schools where students thrive. The draft that outlines this agreement.

  What do you think? Should IRA continue down this path to speak on the professional issues impacting teaching, learning, and students? Are we missing a key element? Can it be better said? Should we change parts of it?

  We invite you to review this statement and comment by November 1st.  Read the draft statement and submit your comments here:  UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES: The Essential Role of the Teacher in Classrooms, Schools, and Society<>

  Federal Issues
  The US Department of Education is continuing to talk with states about their applications to be exempt from the requirements of No Child Left Behind by agreeing to make significant changes in eleven critical areas.  These areas include adopting college- and career-ready standards (such as the Common Core State Standards); linking teacher and principal evaluation to student performance, and other changes.  It is expected that 35 states will submit requests for waivers.

  In addition, the Congress passed a funding bill to get the government functioning until March 27th.  This spending plan actually includes a small 0.006% increase in funding for education programs.  A decision on how to allocate this funding will be made over the next few weeks.

  The sequestration of funds; a major part of the deficit reduction program passed last year will take effect on January 2nd.  Most education programs will not be cut until July 2013 - except for Impact Aid which will be cut by over 8% on January 2, 2013.  While it is possible for the upcoming lame duck session to change the sequestration, it is likely only to happen if there is some type of large scale agreement on taxes and entitlement spending, military spending, along with the domestic areas.

  On November 13th the Congress reconvenes for its lame-duck session.  This post-election meeting is to decide on many issues, the largest being the long-term deficit plan.  It is possible that the Congress and Administration will not come to any agreement on the fiscal issues and we will go into the new year with taxes automatically being raised, cuts automatically being made to the military and to social programs.  One senior senator has said that he expects the cuts to take effect and then the new Congress to act to turn them around.

  Follow Rich Long on Twitter!  @RLongliteracy
  Richard M. Long, Ed.D.
  Director, Government Relations
  International Reading Association
  Suite 640
  444 North Capitol Street, NW
  Washington, DC 20001
  (202) 624-8801
  (202) 624-8826 (fax)
Richard Long, IRA Director, Government Relations  
Nebraska Legislature  
House of Representatives
THOMAS, legislative information from the library of Congress
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Education’s No Child Left Behind
The White House

Lynn Olson,

NSRA publishes pamphlets for infants, toddlers, primary students and intermediate level students.  Pamphlets contain suggested activities and books for the appropriate level. Available in English and Spanish.
Read To Me Spanish version: Read To Me, Spanish
Read To Me Too Spanish version: Read to Me Too, Spanish
Read With Me Spanish version: Read With Me, Spanish
Keep Reading Spanish version: Keep Reading, Spanish
IRA resources are available to help parents as they take on their critical role as their children’s first and most important teachers.
Parent Teacher Organization “Helping Parent Leaders Make Schools Great”
National Parents and Teachers Association, “everychild.onevoice”
National Education Association, Parent Resources

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International Projects
Contact Shirley Snyder,

International Literacy Day, Sept. 8 – observed annually focusing on the importance of literacy in the lives of adults and children,  for community and classroom activities go to the IRA website
For worldwide education efforts, go to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, ‘Building peace in the minds of men and women”

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Intellectual Freedom
Contact Nancy Comer,

AFCON is a coalition of educational and literacy organization that promotes academic freedom in Nebraska
Please see the following link for more information and a current copy of the Sentinal, the organizations quarterly.

Newspapers in Education
Contact Barb Kudera,

Online lesson plans and other innovative materials for teachers to use newspapers and e-Edition in their classrooms.

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