ABC's of NELRC Success

The Northeast Louisiana Reading Council succeeds in its yearly goals by following the ABC's of a Successful Reading Council.

A=  Attend Leadership Training.
The NELRC officers, membership directors, and chairpersons attend Leadership Training held by the Louisiana Reading Association. An NELRC Planning Meeting is held each year at the end of July to provide an in-service for those interested in becoming more invovled in the council.

B=  Be enthusiastic about the council.
Members share their ideas and excitement with other educators by attending meetings and utilizing the NELRC's website. Each officer, membership director, and chairperson has access to their own webpage to disseminate information. Each officer and chairperson brings door prizes and snacks to meetings to share with others and encourage others to attend.

C=  Celebrate when a goal is reached. Example:
The NELRC hosts a Leadership Luncheon to thank officers, directors, and chairpersons celebrate their many accomplishments. Each district is represented and presented a certificate of appreciation. Several years ago the luncheon was held at the Bayou DeSiard Country Club with its beautiful view of the bayou and delicious entrees selected by ULM's Beth Ricks. Harcourt-Brace (courtesy of Jeb Bull and Linda Rhodes) sponsored the event and Linda provided a presentation on Supplemental Material as related to the Model Curriculum. Special guests included Concordia Superintendent Kerry Laster, NewsStar's Lisa Patterson, Author Cindy Foust, and Storyteller Aurthurnese Nimmer. The NELRC staff works dilentgently to build membership and has created a wonderful organization for all education professionals and those interested in promoting literacy.

D=Do not try to do it alone.
This volunteer council was established by numerous educators that desired to see reading promoted throughout northeast Louisiana, and they continue to work collaboratively in an effort to promote literacy.  All members are encouraged to become as involved in the council as they would like to be. Many committees have been formed to provide opportunities for everyone to get involved. NELRC provides mentors to help those who seek more knowledge about the council.

E= Encourage new teachers to join.
The University of Louisiana at Monroe staff and educators throughout the region promote membership of all new teachers throughout northeast Louisiana by encouraging students to apply for available scholarships and grants with Dr. Beth Ricks and Ms. Linnie Skipper. Students must be a NELRC member for 2 years to apply for scholarships and grants. Parish Membership Directors provide membership forms to each school in their parish/district and encourage their new teachers to join during their new teacher in-services. 

F= Focus on library involvement.
Librarians throughout northeast Louisiana serve as chairpersons or officers for the NELRC.  Many librarians are membership coordinators for their individual schools. In Ouachita parish, Dr. Peggy Wheelis, is to be commended for her librarians' participation.In the past Dr. Wheelis has been the facilitator for the NELRC's Literacy Study Group and Librarian Melba Collum has been the coordinator for the Literacy Study Group that met on the last Saturday of January and July at 10 AM to discuss literature for professional development at Books-a-Million/Joe Muggs Cafe. These ladies have served the NELRC for many years with other librarians across the region.

G= Give door prizes at meetings.
The NELRC officers, committee chairpersons, and directors provide door prizes for new and present members at each meeting. Several years ago, the NewsStar's Newspaper in Education office provided umbrellas for all participants that attended the NELRC's Fall Meeting held at the University of Louisiana Monroe and continues to support the goals of NELRC. Ellette Meaux of Meaux Books has provided juice, muffins, and water for the NELRC's Fall meeting. The Corner Market in Oak Grove/West Carroll parish has helped provide beautiful Boston Ferns for the parishes participating in the Reading Promotion Projects. Membership Coordinator Janet' Fisher has presented Ouachita parish's fern to Ms. Carolyn Harden as the winning NELRC's Reading Promotion Project at the Spring 2004 Meeting. Ms. Harden received the Celebrate Literacy Award.

H=    Have a school representative in each school.
Each of the 11 parishes, Monroe City Schools, and University of Louisiana at Monroe have a membership director that selects Literacy Coordinators/representatives for each of his/her schools. Literacy Coordinators that attend  the Fall Meeting help increase membership in their parish, and is a member of NELRC may receive a $25 gift card from Wal-Mart to promote literacy in their school by submitting membership forms with his/her name as the recruiter. Ouachita parish's Janet' Fisher submitted over 16 Literacy Coordinators for Ouachita parish once. Other districts include, Morehouse parish membership director, Peggy Horton and Richland parish membership director Lisa Cheek who also do a wonderful job and have a larget increase in membership due to their participation.

I=    Involve key people.
The NELRC officers, membership directors, and chairpersons include an eclectic group of rural, urban, and suburban teachers from regular, special education, and title I personnel as well as university staff, principals, administrators/supervisors, librarians, paraprofessionals, businesses, and parents. One of our returning members is Dr. Frank Hoffmann. Dr. Hoffmann was president of NELRC several years ago and currently serves as as state representative. Dr. Carrice Cummins, professor at LA Tech, is a NELRC member and also served as IRA president for 2012-2013.

J=    Jump into community involvement.
The NELRC supports several community activities such as Parents as Partners in Reading hosted by Madison parish director, Patricia Candler. One year, the NELRC sent fundsto the Orange County Reading Council in Florida to help with the hurricane relief project. Other activities include StoryTime, Family Nights, and Parent Involvement activities like Prelude to Pathways and Authors Visits. Leaders like Community Service Chairperson Sharon Gilmore also share a desire to see communities thrive with literate learners to encourage success for all children with activities like AlphaFest with Cindy Foust. 

K=    Keep reading opportunities a priority.
The NELRC provides reading opportunities for educators and their students by participating in local, state, and national reading or book weeks. Catahoula parish supervisor, Sharon Gilmore, provided information for the northeast region and hosted an array of excellent literacy activities in Catahoula on International Literacy Day with an international speaker. The events were well received in the community and schools with much publicity to promote literacy. Morehouse parish teacher, Donna Brumley of Bonita Elementary, held a Literacy Luncheon at her school as her children enjoyed reading on quilts during lunch.  The NewsStar Newspaper provides free newspapers online to educators across northeast Louisiana for Newspaper in Education activities. The NIE provides a contest for all grade levels, a NIE Exemplary Teacher Award, and hosts NIE Week during the first full week of March. See www.lareading.org under newspaper in education to download packet.

L=    Listen to other members' ideas.
NELRC hosts a planning meeting in July after the Louisiana Reading Association Leadership Meeting to collect ideas for the NELRC's meetings. According to surveys presented at NELRC meeting and sent in from the fall newsletter, members request Saturday meetings with a varied choice of topics and children's authors as well as entertainment. Children's author Mike Artell was selected after members heard his presentation at the 2003 LRA Conference. Excellent speakers from the 2004 LRA Conference included Lori Oczkus, Jill Slack, Jim Grant, Dick Allington, and many others. These speakers will be considered for upcoming meetings. Lori's book Reciprocal Teaching at Work was used as the NELRC's Book Study in January. Dr. Dona Holloway, long-time members and supporter of NELRC, has been requested as a speaker on the Reading Process for the Spring 2005 Meeting. Dona moved to Mississippi and has married. We miss her excellent ideas and enthusiasm so much. Another excellent idea came from Jennifer Kelly to create a NELRC brochure. She and her committee are doing a tremendous job on the brochure. 

M=    Motivate members to enter the Educators as Authors Contest.
Several NELRC members have written books. Dee Scallan recently published several books that were available at the 2005 Spring Meeting. Dee's illustrator, an 8-year-old, is one of her former preschool students. One of our newest members and a local author, Cindy Foust, recently published her alphabet books and hosted AlphaFest at the West Monroe Convention Center. The Convention Center was filled to capacity with parents, children, and educators. NELRC set up a membership table and provided a “Fishing for a Good Book” activity for children to win free books.

N=    Never forget your mission.
The NELRC's mission is to seek to promote high levels of literacy for all by improving the quality of reading instruction through studying the reading process and teaching techniques (NELRC Meetings and Literacy Study Groups); as a clearinghouse for the dissemination of reading research through conferences (NELRC disseminates reading research literature through journals and other publications from the IRA at the Fall and Spring Meetings and through local educators with the Reading Promotion Projects. All documents are housed at the local university, ULM); and actively encouraging the lifetime reading habit (NELRC encourages the lifetime habit of reading by supporting educational activities throughout the community with activities like AlphaFest with Cindy Foust and Sharon Gilmore's International Literacy Day.) 

O=    Offer a variety of learning activities at meetings.
This spring, Dr. Dona Holloway will present the Reading Process, Author Cindy Foust will provide motivation, and Authurnese Nimmer will provide her storytelling entertainment. Author Dee Scallan will have her new books available. Other wonderful activities include Learning Wheels with Julie and Foldables with Cheryl Hackney for 2012.

P=    Provide in-services to members.
Members are invited to attend the LRA's Leadership Retreat held in July. Meals, rooms and mileage are provided to all that register with the president. All NELRC members are invited to a Planning/ Installation/In-service after the LRA Leadership too. Chairpersons provide officer reports and disseminate literature about their committee at all meeting to encourage others to become more involved. Each chairperson is provided their own webpage to disseminate information as well.

Q=    Qualify your council for Honor Council.
Honor Council Chairperson, Leah Biley, submits intent for Honor Council on behalf of the NELRC by Oct 1. NELRC was recognized for Honor Council and Membership by the International Reading Association. Way to go NELRC members as well as Leah and her committee members. NELRC has also been selected for the LRA Honor Council Award. All activities should be submitted to Chairpersons so it can be posted on the website for documentation.

R=    Reward members for recruitment efforts.
Members have been given a challenge to recruit others to NELRC. The member with his/her name on the most new membership forms will receive a $25 gift certificate from Wal-Mart. A $200 check is provided to the first school to have 100% membership. Morehouse Parish’s Bonita Elementary received two nights lodging and one free registration to LRA State Conference, for obtaining 100% of their teachers as members in NELRC. "Kudos" to Donna Brumley for her extra efforts to get all her faculty to become members of NELRC.  Donna is to be commended for her promotion of a variety of reading opportunities throughout Bonita Elementary. Also each parish that participates in the Reading Promotion Project receives a beautiful Boston Fern. Five parishes received authors in their schools due to either increase in membership or grant funding. Richland and Morehouse parishes had the greatest increases. Schools may receive a $25 gift card from Wal-Mart for promoting literacy in their schools by following the specified criteria. Parishes that increase their membership the most or receive grant funding are provided authors in their schools beginning October.
S=    Schedule meetings at opportune times.
According to NELRC surveys, members desire to attend meetings on Saturday mornings. Most meetings are held at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. A planning meeting is held at the end of July or first of August each year to schedule meetings for the upcoming year.  A survey is available at all meetings and is in the newsletter at least once a year.

T=    Try to award mini-grants and scholarships.
NELRC provides various grants and scholarships to members of at least two years. Dr. Carrice Cummins, presented 2003-2004 awards for the following: Celebrate Literacy Award (Kathy O'Neal), Reading Teacher of the Year (Leah Biley), Librarian of the Year (Melba Collum), Principal of the Year (Nancy Smith), and Educator of the Year (Lynn Morris) for their dedication to literacy. Other grants, scholarships, and awards applications are available at all meetings and online. A nomination form for awards and election ballot is sent in the fall newsletter and is due by January 31. President Kathy O'Neal applied and received the LRA's Teacher Travel Grant for the 2004 Conference in Lafayette.

U=    Use your computer to e-mail reminders to members.
Each member supplying their e-mail address is sent reminders for upcoming events by officers, directors, or chairpersons.  The NELRC unveiled their excellent website courtesy of Dave Knighten. Mr. Knighten is a technology engineer who provided in-kind services for the NELRC. All NELRC news is posted on the website by officers, directors, or chairpersons.

V=    Vary your meetings' topics.
During the past 3 years NELRC meetings have included hands-on technology, diversity sessions, phonemic awareness, No Child Left Behind, well-known authors, Pathways to Literacy, math in literacy, storytelling, and creative ideas for promoting literacy through the Reading Promotion Projects. Other learning activities include Math & Literacy, Technology with Newspaper in Education, and children's author, Ms. Cindy Foust and Young Readers' Choice Award Winner Mike Artell.

W=    While recruiting new members discuss professional development opportunities
Certificates with an agenda and biography of speakers to document Continued Learning Units required for highly qualified teachers for all meetings. Attendance at the events allows educators to become members of NELRC and hear well-known authors and other speakers. Membership provides membership forms at various promotional eventsand submits electronic confirmations for paid membership. It also documents membership and submits LRA and IRA dues. In July 2002, the NELRC had 17 members. On March 1, 2005, it had over 250 members. Membership dues begin July 1 and end June 30 of each year. Membership e-cards are available at NELRC meetings. Other events sponsored or hosted by NELRC such as AlphaFest, Literacy Study Group, or parish in-services also provide membership recruitment opportunities.

X=    Xerox newsletters for everyone to read.
Chairperson Kaye Sharbono publishes a spring and fall newsletter to remind members of upcoming events and council news. Kaye's expertise in publications for NELRC is greatly appreciated. The NELRC Chairpersons submit their information via the website.

Y=    You should ask for volunteers to help with meetings.
Too many to count. Volunteer=Educator!!! Time, Energy, Talent. Northeast Louisiana Reading Council has the BEST!!! Members are asked to contact any officer or chairperson if they would like to serve on a committee or become a chairperson.

Z=    Zero in on benefits offered by local, state, and international associations.
See www.nelareading.org (local council), www.lareading.org (state organization)  www.reading.org. (international organization)

Last Updated 4/16/13 9:48 pm by Site Administrator

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