Monthly Archives: January 2021

St. Louis Area Literacy Leader Promotes Cooperation and Collaboration Among the Region’s Literacy Organizations. By Dr. Sam Bommarito

St. Louis Area Literacy Leader Promotes Cooperation and Collaboration Among the Region’s Literacy Organizations.  By Dr. Sam Bommarito

This week, I talked to Lisa Greening, head of the newly formed organization- Turn the Page- St. Louis. I first met Lisa when she was the head of Ready Readers, another St. Louis literacy organization. She invited several area literacy leaders to get together and talk about what was going on in the region. In those days, these were face to face meetings. Magical things began to happen because this group did more than just talk. They began bouncing ideas off each other and thinking of ways to help each other. It was an eclectic group that included professors, ILA organizations, the YMCA, book distribution organizations, regional libraries, area school districts and Julius Anthony’s St. Louis Black Authors (remember him from last week?). In this interview, Lisa talks about how seeing what was happening in this group inspired her to create Turn the Page- St. Louis, which she modeled after Turn the Page- Kansas City. In the interview, she talks about the path she has followed and the things the new group she spearheads has already done. One of these things is getting Playtime Pads to thousands of area preschoolers with no or limited access to the internet (see timestamp 13:50).   Please listen to the interview to find out about what has happened already and what is coming. I hope it inspires readers to organize similar efforts in their own regions or become aware of and support such efforts.

Here is a link to the interview:

The timestamps below will allow you to skip to particular topics that interest you the most: 

0.00  Lisa explains her background in education, which includes becoming certified as a teacher and becoming an administrator in various non-profit groups that support literacy causes. As indicated earlier, she is currently the head of Turn the Page-St. Louis.

4:20 Lisa talks about creating Turn the Page- St. Louis and how she modeled it after Turn the Page- Kansas City.  It was designed to overcome the fragmentation and lack of communication that characterized the local literacy scene before Turn the Page was created.

9:46 Lisa talks about the organizations and individuals involved in Turn the Page- St. Louis and creating a 5-point literacy initiative. Readers should expect an update of this interview in late summer or fall to report on the results of the implementation of her 5-point literacy initiative.

13:50- Lisa talks about how this group’s efforts resulted in well over 2000 St. Louis area preschoolers getting PBS Playtime Pads. The Playtime Pads have over 80 educational apps that can be used with or without the internet, meaning these children could access literacy apps even when wi-fi was not available. Dr. Shea Kerkhoff of the University of Missouri-St. Louis was instrumental in getting the funding for the project and the local PBS station allowed us to purchase the pads at cost.

17:17- Lisa talks about another thing Dr. Shea Kerkhoff from UMSL has done, which is to get an 18 million dollar grant for the state of Missouri. The grant awards were just announced, and several area schools will be getting extensive P.D. for teachers.

20:37- Lisa talks about another P.D. initiative created through Julius B. Anthony’s work. It is called “Racially Relevant Literacy in Pre-K through the Third-Grade classroom.  

23:05 Final Remarks

I am in awe of the work Lisa and her group has already done and look forward to reporting on how that work progresses over the summer. I am proud that my Missouri Literacy Association and St. Louis Regional Literacy members have been an important part of this work. I am grateful that all the literacy organizations/non-profits in the St. Louis region seek to cooperate and collaborate. BTW- I would love to hear about things that might be happening in your region.

Next week I’m excited to announce that I will be sharing an interview with a Master Teacher from Australia. That interview has already been completed. I also plan to interview the head of the Thrass Institute in Australia. So, please stay tuned. Exciting things are coming up over the next few weeks.

Happy Reading & Writing.

Dr. Sam Bommarito (Ready to Read-St. Louis groupie!)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the author’s view and do not necessarily reflect any other person or organization’s views.

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ALSO, FIND TURN THE PAGE-STL ON FACEBOOK (@turnthpagestl)

https://turnthepagestl.org/

A St. Louis Area Literacy Leader Talks About His Amazing Work in Promoting Literacy. By Dr. Sam Bommarito

Julius Anthony Interview: A St. Louis Area Literacy Leader Talks About His Amazing Work in Promoting Literacy.  By Dr. Sam Bommarito

Last week, on the day before the sad events at our nation’s Capital unfolded, I had the privilege of talking to Julius Anthony. Julius is doing amazing things in the St. Louis Region (and beyond!).  I think it is important that when we have so many things that cause us concern, we take the time to look at what’s right. Julius’ literacy endeavors are indeed an example of what’s right and an inspiration for the future. As you listen to the interview, here is what you will find (use the timestamps to skip to particular topics):

0.00  Julius explains his background in education, which includes extensive work as both a teacher and administer in urban areas. He is president of both the St. Louis Black Authors and the St. Louis Regional Literacy Association, an ILA Affiliate.

1.36 Julius talks about his Believe project. The project has established many sites throughout the St. Louis Region, where students can read rich and varied collections of books by black authors. Many of these books are by local authors who visit these sites from time to time. The sites are designed to be comfortable and even include murals by local artists. One of them is located in the Ferguson Community Center.

5.58 Julius talks about his PBS episodes, a series of local shows that caused one local celebrity to call him the “Hip Hop Fred Rogers.” A link to these shows is provided below.

10.06 Julius talks about his literacy efforts in the St. Louis Region and his work to facilitate cooperation and support among the many groups in St. Louis trying to improve literacy within the regions. Included is a brief mention of his newest partnership with the St. Louis City Public Schools.

15.40  Conclusion. Julius wraps things up and summarizes his views about his literacy work and why he does what he does.

Here is a link to the interview:

Here are links to some sites mention in the interview:

St. Louis Black Authors Webpage:

www.stlblackauthors.com

Julius’ local PBS Children’s Show:

https://news.stlpublicradio.org/show/st-louis-on-the-air/2020-07-25/believe-project-literary-show-highlights-black-authors-childrens-books-in-st-louis

In the coming weeks, I’ll be interviewing other literacy leaders, including folks from   St. Louis Turn The Page and two educators from Australia who will be talking about what literacy instruction looks like down under. Until next week- Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka a believer in Julius’ project

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the author’s view and do not necessarily reflect any other person or organization’s views.

The Believe project and its works are copyrighted by Julius Anthony

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Teachers and Educators, Well Done in 2020: You are Superheroes! By Dr. Sam Bommarto

Once again- Happy New Year! We’re getting off to a good start this year. The newest issue of The Missouri Reader is out and it is dedicated to teachers and educators. It includes a special section on teaching literacy virtually. There are a lot of nuts-and-bolts tips on how to implement an on-line literacy program.  As some of you may already know, I am the Co-Editor of this journal along with Glenda Nugent. The Missouri Reader has been around for almost 50 years. It started out as a “paper journal”.  Now we publish digitally. We have two to three issues each year. We are peer-reviewed, and our editorial board has many highly qualified people (see the sidebar on the Table of Contents). We publish many articles by well-known experts in the reading field. However, we also encourage teachers to publish, especially action research, book reviews, and app reviews. The last page of each issue explains how to submit an article for review. We are an official publication of the Missouri Literacy Association. Missouri Literacy Association is an ILA affiliate. Anyone with the following link can read the current issue for free:

https://joom.ag/0oVC

I want to share with you my Chairman’s message, which can also be found in the current journal.

To Teachers and Educators

Well Done in 2020: You are Superheroes!

I found this posting on Twitter in December:

Notice that this tweet got over 65 thousand likes and over 10 thousand shares. People know what teachers like you are doing. In spite of what some nay-sayers have said, people know that what you are doing is helping a lot of kids.  As Diane Ravitch’s blog just reminded us, we are working through a pandemic. We are helping kids. We continue to do what it takes to scaffold the kids into becoming lifetime readers and writers. We continue to understand just how important that goal is.

The Missouri Literacy Association (MLA) is doing its best to support you as a teacher. We have a Facebook page where you can find daily information and inspiration. The Missouri Reader, which has been published by MLA for almost 50 years, provides you with informative articles. Some of them come from well-known folks in the literacy field, but many of them come from practicing teachers like yourselves. They are not well known (yet), but they are exactly the kind of superheroes Dan Rather was talking about. 

MLA has been growing this year. We already have several hundred new members. We now have three active regional councils in three locations:  St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City. Joining MLA automatically makes you a member of the council of your choice at no extra cost, or you can choose an “at large” membership if you wish.  We’re offering book clubs, webinars and are a part of many wonderful literacy projects in our state, such as the Believe project of the St. Louis Black Authors. We have a webinar series by Tim Rasinski that is free to all. Tim’s next webinar is on Jan. 26th, 2021. Do have a look at our webpage- we’d love for you to become the newest member of MLA and to join in the many activities currently going on in our state.

In closing I want to wish all of you the best in the New Year. Like all of you I’m glad to put 2020 behind us and I am hopeful for what the new year will bring. We did make it through 2020. Actually, we did more than that. We got through 2020 in a way that has folks like Dan Rather saying we are “superhero’s who have even another year of awesomeness”. Well Done Indeed- Teachers and Educators. All the best in the coming New Year.

Dr. Sam Bommarito

Chairman of Missouri Literacy Association

Co-Editor of The Missouri Reader

Part of our way of distributing The Missouri Reader is the use of what we call “word of cyberspace.” We ask our readers to share the link to the magazine with other readers. As a result, we are now read all around the world. So, if you like what you see please share the link. It’s free. THANKS!

You can help to support The Missouri Reader by joining the Missouri Literacy Association- membership is open to all. Here is a link where you can join:

https://mla31.wildapricot.org/

Here is a screen capture of the front cover of the journal:

Until next week-

Happy Reading and Writing

Dr. Sam Bommarito (Co-Editor of an authentic teacher’s journal)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.