Friday, August 30, 2013

Lester Laminack

    Are you interested in learning more about Lester Laminack? Here's a post on Lester's accomplishments as an author and literacy expert. 

    Lester is an author of well-respected professional texts, articles, and children’s books. Lester served as the co-editor of Primary Voices for three years, as well as the editor of the children’s book reviews for the publication Language Arts from 2003-2006.

    Crafting children's books is one of Lester’s many talents. They are favorites with teachers for reading and writing mini-lessons. They are published by Peachtree Publishers and include titles such as :

      Not only is Mr. Laminack an accomplished author of children’s books, but he is a skilled writer of professional texts as well. One of the professional titles Mr. Laminack has written and collaborated on is The Writing Workshop: Working Through the Hard Parts (And They're All Hard Parts) This was written in collaboration with Katie Wood Ray and published by NCTE in 2001.

       Titles which were published by Heinemann include Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum and Learning Under the Influence of Language and Literature. These texts are both written in collaboration with Reba Wadsworth.  Mr. Laminack collaborated with Georgia Heard on a study of the crafting of poetry writing in Climb Inside a Poem: Reading and Writing Poetry Across the Year.

       One of Lester’s professional titles published by Scholastic include Cracking Open the Author's Craft: Teaching the Art of Writing. It is not only a teacher guide for how to examine his mentor text Saturdays and Teacakes but it also explains how to apply various studies of audible and visual author’s craft with other mentor texts.  The follow-up title is entitled Unwrapping the Read Aloud: Making Every Read Aloud Intentional and Instructional. In this text, Lester highlights the intensity, tone, pace, and mood of quality read alouds.

Mr. Laminack's most recent professional text is a collaboration with Reba Wadsworth and is also published by Heinemann. It is entitled Bullying Hurts: Teaching Kindness Through Read Alouds and Guided Conversations.

·       Lester also co-wrote with Reba Wadsworth The Classroom Library Book for the Classroom Library Company.  You can view a sample of the text through the Classroom Library’s app for the iPad and iPhone.


     He is steadfast in his beliefs that reading aloud to children is powerful and life changing, and that it is critical to the growth and development of children into skillful students. Lester highly promotes the use of great picture books for instruction as this fosters the idea of providing real mentors for children.  He talks with students as if they are fellow authors standing side by side in the journey of composing writing.   Lester is a master of reaching the reader and pulling them right into his books.

As a presenter and author, he mentors fellow educators and children alike. Whether you have had the great fortune of hearing Lester speak before or if this is your first time, you will undoubtedly find what he has to say to be compelling. Lester is genuine in his compassion for others and respects every adult and child for what makes them unique as a person.

   If you have ever had the great fortune of hearing Lester speak in person, you are well aware of how captivating he is. He can touch your heart as you connect to his loving memories of his grandmother as he discusses his inspiration for Saturdays and Teacakes. Lester can invigorate your sense of advocacy as he shares stories that served as motivation for Bullying Hurts. His sense of humor and comedic timing engages you and gives you laughter that warms your soul.
    What to learn more about Lester's works?  You can enjoy listening to Lester read aloud from Saturdays and Teacakes from this link from Scholastic. Also, be sure to click on the titles of the picture books and professional titles to learn more about the books and to read samples of the texts.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Williamsburg Area Reading Council: A Year in Review and Looking Forward

    The Williamsburg Area Reading Council is getting ready for another exciting year! Here's a recap of what our organization accomplished last year and what the new school year holds in store for WARC.

Dr. Denise Johnson, Sarah Lichtel, and Robin Ford greet new members at the October 2012 meeting.

A Year in Review - 2012-13 Events:

   Last school year was the first year that the Williamsburg Area Reading Council was revitalized after a hiatus. It was quite a kickoff year! During 2012-2013, classroom teachers, instructional specialists, librarians, teacher assistants, administrators, retired professionals, and professors met on several occasions to explore relevant topics in literacy. Here are a few snapshots of the special events that professionals took part in last year.

WJCC Reading Recovery Specialist Beth Hagy shares about young readers with WARC members.
  In October, author Kim Norman gave a great presentation to WARC members at Waller Mill Elementary. Book talks on new and must-have books took place on November 29 at the Bruton Parish Center for different levels: Wendy Lucy from Matthew Whaley presented for K-3, Kathie Eichfeld from the Williamsburg Regional Library presented for the grades 4-7 crowds, and Lafayette’s Lee DeGroft presented books for grades 8-12. A joint Winter Writing mini-conference was held with the Newport News Reading Council in January 2013. A variety of break-out sessions were available to choose from and the featured speaker for the mini-conference was author Sue Corbett  

    On March 26, the last meeting of the year occurred. The keynote speaker for the March meeting was the co-director of the Eastern Virginia Writing Project, Nicole Throckmorton.The talk was followed by a gallery walk of presentations from local literacy experts in the library Warhill High School.  Guests visited stations on important literacy topics such as Writer's Notebooks, classroom blogging, National Novel Writing Month, Skyping with authors, and early writing skills. 

 Want to Stay in the Loop?

    Please check this blog regularly for updates and interesting news relevant to reading. If you are an avid blog reader, it's a great idea to add this site to your roster of blogs that you follow. You can also "like" the Williamsburg Area Reading Council Facebook page to keep up with new information that will be posted during the school year.  

Author and retired Reading Specialist Barb Orehovec discussed Writer's Notebooks with attendees.
How to Join:    
   This year, the fee for joining WARC for an entire year is only $30. You can download the form here through Google Docs or contact your building representative for a form.

   If you have questions about membership, you can contact Dr. Denise Johnson, President of WARC, via email at or voicemail at (757) 221-1528. You can also contact the membership chair, Matthew Whaley Principal Robin Ford, by school email at or phone at (757) 221-1931.  If you are employed at one of the WJCC Public Schools, you can simply send your completed membership form and check to Mrs. Ford through the Pony inter-office mail. (Please mark: "Robyn Ford/Matthew Whaley/Re: WARC" on the Pony envelope.)

Key note speakers Kaitlin Robinson and Nicole Throckmorton presented at the March event. 
This Year:  

    We are looking forward to another amazing year with WARC and its brilliant community of K-12 classroom teachers, specialists, librarians, administrators, professors, and other community members. Members of WARC will experience:

  • learning about fresh new books through book talks
  • great teaching techniques to incorporate into reading instruction
  • earning certification points for attending meetings
  • hearing presentations given by local authors and regional experts in various aspects of literacy
  • participating in networking with other talented people who share a love of children's literacy in the Williamsburg area   
  • giving back to the community of Williamsburg with service projects to promote family literacy
   The kick-off meeting of the school year is on September 24th, 2013. We will be meeting at The College of William and Mary's School of Education and the start time is 6:30 pm. WARC is thrilled to host author and literacy instruction expert Lester Laminack for an evening presentation! He is truly a talented and humorous presenter, so you don't want to miss this special event!

    There is a special incentive for WJCC school educators to join WARC.  

   The elementary school in the WJCC Public School Division who has the most people join WARC for the 2013-14 school year by September 9th will win an author's visit from Lester Laminack with students on the afternoon of September 24th! 

     This is an excellent opportunity!  Please spread the word and encourage teachers at your school to also join in order to earn the chance to host Lester Laminack at  your school for free! 

    The event is free for members of WARC and $15 for nonmembers. Nonmembers can pay at the door and we will be set up to sell memberships that night as well. You can find out more about this event on the Facebook event page for "An Evening with Lester Laminack." We look forward to seeing you there!