Sunday, September 29, 2013

Save the Date for the Next WARC Event!


     The next exciting Williamsburg Area Reading Council event will be the annual book talk "You've Got To Read This! Books for Kids, Books for Us!"  

    This year, we will once again have three speakers which will represent elementary, middle, and high school levels. Local experts on children and young adult literature will be speaking at Bruton Parish Center in Merchant's Square on December 2nd at 6:30 pm. The Bruton Parish Center is located next door to William and Mary's Bookstore. Parking is available behind the center and other nearby lots near Colonial Williamsburg. Light refreshments will be served. Barnes and Noble will also be on hand selling a selection of books that are a part of the book talks. 

    The event is free to current members of the Williamsburg Area Reading Council. For those who are not members of WARC, you may join for the school year for $30 at the door. Joining WARC also makes you a member of the Virginia State Reading Association. If you are not a current member of WARC and you would like to attend this event only, you will need to pay $5 at the door.  

    There is a great incentive for current members of WARC to get to the event early! The first 20 WARC members who come to the event will be given a $5 Barnes and Noble gift card! That would be great to apply to a Barnes and Noble purchase that evening. A representative from Barnes and Noble will be at the event selling a selection of some of the titles that will be shared by the speakers. A book list of all the books that the presenters will discuss will also be made available to attendees. 

    WARC service project this year involves accepting donations of new and gently used books which will be donated to local charities such as FISH and Avalon. If you would like to bring some books to donate, we would love to accept your donations on the evening of the presentation. If you have any questions about the service project or you would like to donate to the cause at a different time, please contact Mrs. Lisa Smith, reading specialist at Norge Elementary, at We thank-you for any contributions that you can make throughout the school year so we may support literacy in our community. 

     To find out more information about the book talk event, please contact WARC Board Member Sarah Lichtel at We look forward to seeing everyone at this event!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

An Evening with Lester Laminack

     The Williamsburg Area Reading Council enjoyed a fantastic event with author extraordinaire Lester Laminack on the evening of September 24th! Lester had a busy day while he was in Williamsburg, Virginia for his visit. The students of Bethel Manor Elementary in York County enjoyed a visit from Lester in the morning.  In the afternoon, Lester visited York County's Waller Mill Elementary School. This particular school was the school that won the author visit from WARC for having the most memberships this year! 

      In the evening, Lester Laminack spoke to a large crowd of local educators at the School of Education's Professional Development Center at the College of William and Mary. He inspired the crowd with words of empowerment and motivation. Lester reminded the attendees that they should constantly have the mindset of an "internal professional development model." If you are open to always learning and improving, "you have nothing to lose but your inhibitions."

      Lester shared about his current writing project, which is a picture book that has beekeeping as a component of the story. He shared a variety of bee nonfiction and fiction books that he has been reading in order to research honeybees and collect topic specific vocabulary. Lester recommended reading 12-15 nonfiction books in order to gather enough content to create a realistic fiction story. He also discussed the many ways learning can be cross-curricular. Lester gave examples using this topic of bees and how it could be tied in science, math, history, writing, and reading. 

     Lester shared several techniques on how to empower students to become authorities on what they write. Lester wrapped up the evening by generously signing the books that the attendees owned or purchased that evening. His most recent book, The Writing Teacher's Troubleshooting Guide, was available as well. You can learn more about this clever guide via Heinemann's website.

      Here is a neat side story! A teacher's young daughter attended the evening teacher event with her mom. The girl knew of Lester Laminack's work thanks to her second and third grade teachers using his books as mentor texts in their classrooms. She asked Lester if he would give her some writer's advice as part of a special homework assignment. Lester was so kind to sit down with her and write a thoughtful reply! Her current teacher hung up this special advice in a place of honor near the featured mentor text bookshelf in her classroom! :) Isn't that so special?

     Be sure to follow the Williamsburg Area Reading Council on Facebook! Invite your colleagues and teacher friends to keep up to date on WARC on Facebook and this blog as well. We hope that you were able to attend this wonderful evening and left full of inspiration!