The Missouri Reader WINTER ISSUE Vol. 44, Issue 1 - Page 6

The Missouri Reader

• Is YOUR teacher magazine

• Is a peer reviewed professional journal

• Has been publishing for over 40 years

• Has articles on the latest literacy issues

Want to submit an article? See the last page for details about submissions. We especially welcome joint articles by teachers & professors collaborating on literacy projects. We try publish articles that will help teachers with their everyday teaching. We want to help you become that teacher we all wish we had had when we were in school.

The Missouri Literacy Association (MLA) has always had the goal of supporting teachers. With the pandemic came the challenge of how to do that in new ways. MLA has answered that challenge with book clubs and webinars through Zoom. In the 2020-21 school year, MLA is offering four book clubs and one webinar series. All will give participants direct access to nationally-recognized authors/experts in their field. All registration information can be found on the MLA website at

The first MLA Book Club kicked off in July 2020 with Read the World: Rethinking Literacy for Empathy and Action in a Digital Age by Kristin Ziemke and Katie Muhtaris. It featured the perfect book for supporting teachers as they prepared to return to the classroom virtually and was received with great enthusiasm. The format for this and all book clubs include breakout rooms where real discussions occur in small groups … just like in the real face-to-face book clubs. Also, the author of the book attends the last session for a Q & A with the author. After reading a book, who doesn’t have questions that you would love to ask the author? Kristin Ziemke, who is an amazing author and presenter, not only answered our questions but also brought additional information to share with our book club participants. Our first book club was a huge success!

The overwhelmingly positive response from that first book club propelled us into planning many more book clubs for the year. The MLA Fall Book Club, which began on November 4, featured Maria Nichols’ Building Bigger Ideas in which Nichols “guides us beyond teaching students to talk politely about books to teaching them to have meaningful conversations—purposeful talk that serves as a tool for constructing understanding with others.” Who isn’t finding it difficult to have meaningful discussions in these days of Covid 19 whether in the classroom or over Zoom? This book addresses those issues and gives the support needed to move into meaningful conversations.

The MLA Winter Book Club (February) will discuss The Power of Joyful Reading: Helping Your Young Readers Soar to Success by Eric Litwin and Dr. Gina Pepin. The year 2020 has been challenging in so many ways. For many teachers, it has taken the joy out of teaching. It is our hope that this uplifting book will empower teachers to enjoy teaching again and create a classroom where reading instruction is a joyful experience. The authors support teachers to -- “… transform your classroom into a “reading playground –a space in which children read along to, sing to, dance to, and celebrate words and texts. A space in which they experience the power of joyful reading.”

We will wrap up the school year with the MLA Spring Book Club (April) which will discuss a book by Tim Rasinski that is chosen by the participants of the MLA Webinar Series with Tim Rasinski. This book club will be a members-only book club as a special step beyond the webinars. The MLA Webinar Series features four webinars over four months with the following four different topics:

Session 1 - Overview or What Really Matters in Reading Instruction -- October 7

Session 2 - Word Study (Phonics, Spelling, Vocabulary) -- November 18

Session 3 - Reading Fluency -- January 26

Session 4 - Reading Comprehension --February 23

We are very excited about the programs we have planned for the 2020-21 school year! We hope they will inform, inspire,and support teachers to meet the unique challenges of teaching in these days of Covid 19. You can register for one or all of these book clubs and webinars (see below)

Mary Jo Barker is the Social Media Coordinator for the Missouri Literacy Association.


MLA Meets the Challenge to Support Teachers



Mary Jo Barker



By David L. Harrison

All registration information can be found on the MLA website at

click on this box to go there