What's Happening at LAT? Spring 2019

Literacy Association of Tennessee: Chair Julie Stepp

Mary Truka prays for Julie Stepp at Montgomery Bell Leadership Training

Hello LAT community!

I have a graduate student this semester who has wanted to be an educator for a long time. It was her love of reading and writing that drew her to English and her desire to make a difference for young people that drew her to education. As she worked on her bachelor’s, she was constantly reminded of low pay, long hours, and poor attitudes towards the teaching profession, but she persevered. Then, she saw demands of a level of perfection many students will not achieve. She saw schools filled with standardized tests that have little bearing on students' worth, knowledge, or capabilities. She saw scripted teaching that just plain took the pleasure out of learning (and teaching). She asked me, why do teachers even get up every day to work in a system that we know is failing our students?

I don’t have answers that will fix our system, but I did have an answer that she has taken to heart – become a librarian. This is not a fix for everyone, it has been for her, but the important role of librarian within a school may provide paths to future ideals of personalized learning. Many school librarians have begun activities such as makerspaces to engage small group and independent creations for class assignments and to entice student organizations’ enterprises. Libraries may provide resources for students to make artifacts for class that they could not do at home. All the while, literacy priorities are realized through hosting book clubs, encouraging students to read and vote for the Volunteer State Book Award, and sharing new and diverse books.

Everyone doesn’t need to go out and become a librarian, but I hope you find one who can help you enhance your students’ learning and your own teaching and learning. I hope you find a librarian who will bring (or continue to bring) a wealth of reading to your school community. Mostly, I hope you have a librarian who collaborates to support your school in a time that, while frustrating now, will change and grow.

Remember, change is inevitable, growth is optional. Let’s all choose to grow!


Sevier County Literacy News!

Nominated Dr. Stacia Lewis for the 2019 Corwin Literacy Leader Award for Administrators presented by ILA in October at the conference. Dr. Lewis won our LAT Administrator of the Year Award in December at the state conference.

East Cheatham Elementary School and the Retired Teacher Response Team for that school has been nominated to the Exemplary Reading Award 2019 presented by ILA. As part of the nomination process LAT is required to provide documentation of one additional year for the program to maintain it's consistency. We are giving the group an additional $1500, and if the school wins a $500 check to the school from the Exemplary Reading line item of the budget. A banner will be presented to the Cheatham County Council and school by Randall Kincaid at a date to be set.

On Saturday, February 16th, Randall Kincaid held a mini workshop on Close Reading for grades 3-5. Another workshop is planned in March for grades K-3, and 6-8 for Close Reading and Writing Workshop with the new TN Standards in ELA.

Don't you love the throw back picture found on the web!

Randy Kincaid's Final Word

LAT Field Leadership Workshop Montgomery bell state Park JULY 12-13, 2019


Family Literacy Grant Winners – (2018 – 2019)

Shout out to Family Literacy Committee Claudette Fizer, Chairperson and her crew!

Congratulations to Sevier County Chapter: Literacy Walks: Applicants were Ruth Copeland and Carolyn Balance from Trula Lawson Early Childhood Center

Congratulations to Red Clay Literacy Chapter: Rhea County Book Fair Family Lit Night (Not your Scholastic Book Fair)- Awesome Job to Rebekah James and Teresa Sessions from Rhea County H.S.

Congratulations to North Central Lit Chapter: Super Readers Soar Into Summer written by Karen Carpenter, Madeline Brumley and Stephanie Williams from Station Camp Elememtary School

Congratulations to Smoky Mountain Literacy Council: For the Love of Reading – Genre Rooms written by  Sandy Fuchs from Prospect Elementary School

Mossy Creek Literacy Council: Renee Foraker was awarded a scholarship to attend the East Tennessee Literacy Conference. Two members are awarded books each month; February's awards are Sheila Smelcer and Elaine Browning.

Upper Cumberland Chapter

Research supports the fact that the number of books in the home tends to correlate with the cultural and literacy capital of the children who live there. While books impact all children, it seems that getting books into the houses and hands of children who live in poverty provides them with the necessary tools to gain literacy skills. Thus, the first step in the literacy equation must be to get the books into the homes of children, but providing books is not enough alone. To create long-lasting and truly impactful success, communities need to form partnerships that involve all areas of influence in students’ lives. Schools, parents, and community organizations must have working partnerships to achieve success. Thus, UCLA is partnering with families, Putnam County Schools, and Tennessee Tech University to collect books for a bookmobile, create new literacy practices, and make literacy fun with a character fun run. Our community literacy project unites the efforts of multiple multi-level educational groups to impact the county’s Words on Wheels initiative while providing a fun family literacy event to increase literacy awareness and provide easy and engaging strategies for families to use at home. Join us on August 31, 2019, to have fun and support literacy!

Check Out Summer Conference

UCLA Summer Literacy Conference: June 6, 2019 8am-3pm Questions: Contact Amber Spears, PhD 931-372-6265

Register: http://tinyurl.com/UCLAconference

Support Mike Shoulders

Please support in getting The Legend of the Christmas Pickle published. He has officially launched the book on Kickstarter and I only has till April 2nd to accomplish his goal. Here is the tiny url link: http://tinyurl.com/yyy24o7q

Cheatham County Chapter: Mallory Lemley has worked hard with her retired teacher rally. They are making plans to help students become successful in the classroom. In March, Claudette Fitzer and Tammy Rechless discussed ways to "Grant Wishes" by teaching all how to find and write a successful grant.

Retired Teacher Breakfast Rally

Benton Chapter: Students share cookies and milk with Santa. The will conclude the year with Celebrate Literacy Reception.

Campbell Chapter: Michael Shoulders presented in February.

Gilbreth Chapter:

Notes from our friend Angela Shelton from the Gilbreth Reading Council has had an exciting year! We kicked off our membership drive with a "Superhero Start to a New School Year" in June 2018, including launching our Twitter account @GilbreathETSU, awarding a scholarship to a student leader, and welcoming over 50 members. Throughout the year, our council strengthened collaborative efforts between East Tennessee State University's Elementary Education (K-5) and Early Childhood Education (PreK-3) programs as well as grew our student membership and leadership efforts. The new student leadership team develops and maintains a quarterly newsletter, updating members with resources and topics of interest. In addition, Gilbreath members presented at the annual LAT conference, sharing classroom resources and picture books highlighting social justice concepts. We are looking forward to a another great year ahead as we launch our next membership drive and "Embrace the Magic of Literacy" in 2019-2020.

Superhero's from Gilbreath Council

Middle Tennessee Chapter

North Central Chapter

Summer Conference: June 5, 2019 8:30-3:30 @ Volunteer State Community College

Smoky Mountain Chapter

South Central Chapter

The South Central Literacy Chapter is continuing to try to grow membership. Two members from our council won awards at LAT’s conference last December: Sarah Gammon at Liberty School won the Librarian of the Year Award and Dr. Janolyn King at Cascade Middle School won the Administrator of the Year Award.

Two of our newest members are Dr. Joanne Coggins of Intensive Integrated Reading Systems and Dr. Vanessa Harriman special education teacher at Coffee County Central High School.

Our next council meeting is May 20, 2019. We’re hoping to partner with the Bedford County Imagination Library within the county to promote literacy.

University of Memphis Student Chapter

West TN Chapter

Save The Date: 2020 LAT Conference

Embassy Suites Conference Center in Murfreesboro, TN: December 8-10, 2019 Be sure to follow us on social media! We're about to announce this year's keynote speakers, and you don't want to miss it!

Here's how to find us:

  • Facebook @Literacy Association of Tennessee
  • Instagram @tnreads #tnreads19
  • Twitter @tnreads #tnreads19
Literacy Association of Tennessee Board Chair Crew

Thank You for taking time to read and see what's happening with LAT. Created by Stephanie Gottschalk. Thank You for sending in information to create the newsletter and Shout Out to Julie for sharing this site with me. ~Stephanie~

Created By
Stephanie Gottschalk


Created with images by WokinghamLibraries - "picture books subject" • Elīna Dālberga - "untitled image" • DESIGNECOLOGIST - "LEGENDARY IDOLS" • PublicDomainPictures - "morning after blue ridge mountains parkway" • ExplorerBob - "cruising world earth" • FreeImagesGuide - "befall the earth quote rock wall earth"

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