Mini-grant application due date is extended! March 15

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There is still time to get $500.00!

The Vermont Council on Reading is looking for mini grant proposals.

Purpose. These grants are to support initiatives by teachers or specialists in schools to enhance literacy instruction within the school.

Amount. The Vermont Council on Reading will award $500 annually. We will accept applications for grants up to $500.00.

Eligibility. Current members of the Vermont Council on Reading are eligible to apply for these grants.

Proposal Form. To apply submit an electronic proposal to Emily Goldman. When sending your application by email, please indicate “VCR Mini Grant Application” in the subject line.

Proposal Organization. The complete proposal should be no longer than 4 pages, and should address each of the following:

  • Cover Page with:
    • Title of project
    • Names(s) of proposal author(s)
    • Email, phone, and school address of proposal author who is to serve as contact person if more than one person is involved in the project.
  • Description of Project to include:
    • Purpose and objectives of the project. These should embody overall excellence in both the quality and the innovation of the idea.
    • Goals are realistic and attainable. They reflect improved academic performance or experiences.
    • Description of what will happen, when, with whom
    • Description of how grant funds will be used (salaries or stipends not allowable)
    • Timeline for completing the project
    • Statement of value to the Vermont Council on Reading membership
  • Budget (up to $500.00)
  • Resume (for each proposal author)
  • Letter of support from Building Principal

Proposals are due March 15, 2020. Mini grants will be awarded at the VCR Spring Conference for use during spring ’20 – spring ’21 school year.

Sharing. Recipients are asked to complete and evaluation and to consider sharing at a future VCR conference.


VCR Spring Conference, April 12, 2019

Join us for a day of lively professional learning with authors and literacy experts Donnalyn Miller & Kate Messner!

Donnalynn Miller
Donnalyn Miller has taught upper elementary and middle school students in northeast Texas and received TCTELA’s 2018 Edmund J. Farrell Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to literacy education. She is the author of several books about engaging children with reading, including The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild. Donalyn is the co-founder of the popular blog, The Nerdy Book Club, and co-hosts the monthly Twitter chat #titletalk.
Kate Messner
Kate Messner is passionately curious and writes books that encourage kids to wonder, too. Her titles include award-winning picture books like Over and Under the Pond, Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Over and Under the Pond, The Brilliant Deep, and How to Read a Story; novels that tackle real-world issues like Breakout, All the Answers, and The Seventh Wish; mysteries and thrillers like Capture the Flag, Eye of the Storm, and Wake Up Missing; the Fergus and Zeke easy reader series; and the popular Ranger in Time chapter book series about a time-traveling search and rescue dog.

Vermont Council on Reading

2019 Spring Conference

Donalyn Miller & Kate Messner

Friday, April 12, 2019

Stoweflake Resort and Conference Center

Register now button


Lester Laminack: VCR Spring 2018 Conference!!

Lester reading

When Books Become Best Friends: One Book/Many Visits

Explore the potential of revisiting a small collection of carefully selected books through focused read aloud experiences across time. Imagine slowing down to explore a small set of books in layers, one layer at a time with a clear focus for each read aloud experience. Lester will take you through the potential of a few picture books to demonstrate what can be done with numerous well-loved Best Friend Books because he understands that to be a good writer you must first be able to read deeply and understand author’s intent. Lester Laminack will show you that the key to successful writing is harnessing the power of close reading. You will learn how your students can transfer what they know about reading structures and strategies into practices that will
hone their writing skills and help them become more focused writers

Join us:

Vermont Council on Reading Spring Conference
Stoweflake Inn and Conference Center, Stowe, VT with Lester Laminack
May 11, 2018

LESTER L. LAMINACK is a specialist in children’s literacy and professor emeritus at Western Carolina University. Laminack has written numerous books and articles for educators and is a familiar speaker at professional meetings and reading associations nationwide. He lives in North Carolina.


Chris Lehman in VT! April 7, 2017!

Save the Date!  

Vermont Council on Reading Spring Conference

Chris Lehman is coming to Vermont on Friday, April 7, 2017

Sheraton Burlington Hotel and Conference Center


Christopher Lehman is the Founding Director of The Educator Collaborative. He is an international speaker, education consultant, and New York Times best-selling author. His books include: Falling In Love With Close Reading with Kate Roberts; Energize Research Reading and Writing; Pathways to the Common Core with Lucy Calkins and Mary Ehrenworth; and A Quick Guide to Reviving Disengaged Writers. His articles and interviews have appeared in many publications and popular blogs including Voices in the Middle, SmartBrief, EdWeek, Choice Literacy and Talks with Teachers.

Chris has been a middle-school teacher; a high-school teacher; a literacy coach; and a Senior Staff Developer with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. Now, as Founding Director of the The Educator Collaborative, he is working to innovate the ways educators learn in-person and online, providing opportunities for teachers, coaches, and administrators to share their expertise so students can hold their brightest futures.


BOOK REVIEW: Writers ARE Readers

Writers ARE Readers-

Flipping Reading Instruction into Writing Opportunities

By Lester L. Laminack and Reba M. Wadsworth Portsmouth, NH/Heinemann 2015

Laminack and Wadsworth help us to understand that “When reading and writing instruction are planned separately, each without regard for the other, the resulting instruction fails to weave clear connections between these related language processes.” Rather, the authors argue, “We pursue the notion of helping students to recognize reading and writing as mutually supportive processes to make their developing literacy more meaningful and efficient.”

Laminack and Wadsworth offer us a workable, accessible book with sections addressing such topics as: Problem and Solution, Inferring, Noticing Important Details, as a few examples. Each section includes: Lesson Focus, Flip-It From Reading to Writing and Writing Samples. This book offers practical advice from authors who lead by example with beautiful and concise writing.


Professional Books and Resources from Jennifer Serravallo

Note—these reviews are excerpted from Jennifer Serravallo’s rich website of book descriptions –Please see links for more details about her publications, great articles,books reviews, and podcasts, and her contact information.

The Reading Strategies Book

Here it is—a book JUST about reading strategies themselves. The strategies outlined in this book will complement any reading program and are presented in usable steps for hands-on teaching in the classroom. Serravallo cross-links each strategy to different genres, skills, Fountas and Pinnell reading levels and assessments.  This user friendly guide helps teachers to develop goals for each reader and models step-by-step instructions and prompts aligned to specific literacy strategies and craft demonstrations.

The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook (Grades K-2 or Grades 3-6)

This text guides teachers in the process of how to collect literacy data that is useful and how to analyze and synthesize multiple assessments to develop instructional plans and learning goals. The book includes actual samples of student work and models the process of how it was analyzed to make specific instructional decisions.

Independent Reading Assessment

Independent Reading Assessment is a complete comprehension assessment guide that includes hundreds of lessons to turn formative assessment results into instruction. The guides are available in both fiction and nonfiction versions for grades three, four, and five and are packaged with 32-26 trade books with specific questions on sticky notes to guide student -driven assessment.  Online support for teachers includes instructional videos and a place to organize anecdotal notes, store and organize results, and sort students for specific strategy instruction.

Conferring with Readers

Conferring with Readers is a comprehensive guide that provides frameworks for conferences that focus on six purposes for reading and provides suggestions for targeting instruction to meet individual student needs.


Other resources:

Jennifer’s online PD resources are located at

Videos of Jennifer are located at


Kathy Leo-Nyquist


Lida Winfield: Growing Up Dyslexic

by Stacy Raphael (@raphaelstacy)


I remember so clearly the first time I met Lida Winfield in November 2011. This was before I directed school programs at the Flynn, and I had been invited to be a guest at their Engaging Active Learners Conference—a day long immersion into arts integration with Vermont educators and Flynn teaching artists. Lida was one of those artists, but that morning, she was also the keynote. And this was no ordinary keynote speech; Lida was presenting her one-woman solo dance and theater performance, “In Search of Air” based on her experiences growing up in Vermont with a learning disability.


In one brief hour, the audience and I experienced the entire range of emotions—poignant heartache, laughter, concern, rage, compassion, and redemptive joy. We experienced it first as fellow humans, together in this journey but second as educators—as people committed to helping children learn and grow and develop. Lida’s painful experiences as a learner with dyslexia and the cast of characters who alternately helped and hindered her growth were all too personal for us. This was our field, our love. Her pain was our own students’ pain.


I practically sprinted to Lida after her performance. This show. It has the power to be a call to action for educators, a reminder of why we got into this field to begin with. I told Lida that I had a number of audiences that I’d like to put her in front of. And that’s exactly what I proceeded to do.


After presenting Lida to the education cohort in my graduate program and then again in the Vermont State House for legislators and other statewide organizations and subsequently when I came to work at the Flynn, I strove to share her performance with as many audiences as I was able. And although I have seen it more times that I can count, it gets me every time.


You see, one of the most potent elements of the arts is their power to convert data and information into a palpable human story. By engaging the heart and the mind, we are transported to seeing our universal oneness, our belongingness beyond the categories that separate us. As stated on her website, “Lida’s presence on stage expresses her life so clearly that it brings us closer to our own.”


It also paints such a vivid picture justifying the arts and their place in the academic curriculum through arts integration. During the Q&A session following each performance, people often ask Lida what would have made a difference in her education. In the show, Lida says, “this is the story of the transformative power of art,” and she re-asserts this in her response: if teachers had utilized curricular approaches to teaching reading, writing, and more such as those used in the Flynn Center’s Words Come Alive program, she could have had an avenue to access literacy. If teaching had been differentiated to include kinesthetic and embodied approaches to reading, she might have learned this skill before she was in her 20s.


Lida’s work has inspired me. It has challenged me to push further and design at the margins. When we plant ourselves resolutely at the edges and teach to each child’s strengths, the floodgates of opportunity open for all students. Celebrating difference, creating multiple pathways for students to experience success in schools, unlocking potential—it’s a monumental effort, but worth the stretch, the risk, the growth for those in the teaching profession.


When people experience “In Search of Air,” they are changed. I am changed. And I am grateful.


Learn more about Lida’s performance and how you can bring it to your school or district for a teacher in-service or student performance and workshops by visiting

Videos of Lida: