shanty creek

Michigan Reading Association
Empowering all Michigan Students and Educators through Literacy


Keynote Speakers

July 13 - Tim Rasinski

Rasinski Tim

Timothy Rasinski is a professor of literacy education at Kent State University. He has written over 150 articles and has authored, co-authored or edited over 15 books or curriculum programs on reading education. He is co-author of the award winning fluency program called Fluency First, published by the Wright Group. His scholarly interests include reading fluency and word study, reading in the elementary and middle grades, and readers who struggle. His research on reading has been cited by the National Reading Panel and has been published in journals such as Reading Research Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, Reading Psychology, and the Journal of Educational Research. As well as publishing numerous best selling books with Teacher Created Materials and Shell Education.

Tim recently served a three year term on the Board of Directors of the International Reading Association and from 1992 to 1999 he was co-editor of The Reading Teacher, the world's most widely read journal of literacy education. He currently serves as co-editor of the Journal of Literacy Research. He is also a past-president of the College Reading Association and he has won the A. B. Herr Award from the College Reading Association for his scholarly contributions to literacy education.

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July 14 - Steven Layne

Steven LayneWhen you hear the words Passionate About Reading spoken in a room filled with teachers and librarians, the name Steve Layne is likely to roll quickly off of someone's tongue. Whether he's keynoting a library conference in New Hampshire, training pre-service teachers at Judson University in Illinois, presenting a seminar in Alaska, talking with school children on Guam, or just going one-on-one with a new acquaintance at the local Starbucks - his contagious love for books spills out and over into everything he does. He is, in the words of a recent seminar participant, "the most powerful instrument of change to cross my path in 30+ years working in the schools."

Steve's mission statement is simple and hasn’t changed since he began speaking as an educator and author several years ago."Building lifetime readers is what it’s all about for reading teachers and librarians. If we aren’t doing that - what are we doing? We have to be about this business with every fiber of our being. Infectious - that’s what they should call us! Professionally speaking, from my perspective at least, there isn’t time for much else."

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Featured Speakers

airgood ellenEllen Airgood

I grew up on a small farm, the youngest of four children. My father was a blacksmith and a schoolteacher. For the last nineteen years I’ve been a waitress in Grand Marais, Michigan. I was twenty-five when I came to this tiny, Lake Superior town, on a camping trip with my sister, and fell in love with the man who made my cheese sandwich and chocolate malt at the local diner. We met, exchanged assessing, almost challenging gazes, and six months later we got married. I told my sister we would, on the way back to our campsite that first day. “You’re crazy,” she said worriedly. But pretty soon she grinned, shook her head, started getting into the spirit of it. “Well,” she said. “This is going to be interesting.” And it has been.

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bindschatel kimberliKimberli Bindschatel

Born and raised in Michigan, I spent summers at the lake, swimming, catching frogs, and chasing fireflies, winters building things out of cardboard and construction paper, writing stories, and dreaming of faraway places. Since I didn’t make honors English in High School, I thought I couldn’t write. So I started hanging out in the art room. The day I borrowed a camera, my love affair with photography began. After college, I freelanced in commercial photography studios. During the long days of rigging strobes, one story haunted me. As happens in life though, before I could put it to words, I was possessed by another dream—to be a wildlife photographer. I trekked through the woods to find loons, grizzly bears, whales, and moose. Then, for six years, I put my heart and soul into publishing a nature magazine, Whisper in the Woods. But it was not meant to be my magnum opus. This time, my attention was drawn skyward. I’d always been fascinated by the aurora borealis, shimmering in the night sky, but now my focus went beyond, to the cosmos, to wonder about our place in the universe. In the spring of 2010, I sat down at the computer, started typing words, andbreathed life into a curious boy named Kiran in my first novel, The Path to the Sun. Together, in our quest for truth, Kiran and I have explored the mind and spirit. Our journey has taken us to places of new perspective. Alas, the answers always seem just beyond our grasp, as elusive as a firefly on a warm autumn night.

Most recently, my focus has shifted to more pressing issues—imperiled wildlife. With the Poppy McVie series, I hope to bring some light into the shadowy underworld of black market wildlife trade, where millions of wild animals are captured or slaughtered annually to fund organized crime. IT. MUST. STOP.

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buehrlen mgMG Buehrlen

MG Buehrlen is the author of THE 57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE and the upcoming THE UNTIMELY DEATHS OF ALEX WAYFARE (available April 2016). For 12 years, MG was a web-developer and social media director, and during that time she co-developed, the largest social network for YA book lovers. Now she spends her days writing books instead of PHP code and wrangling her 2-year-old son instead of marketing campaigns.  Say hello on TwitterFacebook, and Tumblr.


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cole parker jParker J Cole

Parker J. Cole is a writer and radio show host who spends most of her time reading, knitting, writing, cooking, and concocting new ideas for stories. Her first novel, Dark Cherub, won Best of Spring Reading 2013 from eMediaCampaigns. She lives in Michigan with her husband and their beloved dog, Sarah.


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brennan nelson deniseDenise Brennan-Nelson

Denise wrote her first children’s book, Buzzy the Bumblebee, after discovering that aeronautically, bumblebees should not be able to fly.  She felt it was a wonderful way to inspire people to “bee-lieve” in themselves and their dreams.As a frequent lecturer and speaker she encourages adults and children to tap into their imaginations to create richer, fuller lives.  She also shares her enthusiasm for reading and writing in unique school presentations across the country. Denise lives in Howell, Michigan with her husband Bob, their daughters, Rebecca and Rachel, and Bella, no ordinary dog.

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DeCamp AlisonAlison DeCamp - Michigan Notable Author

Alison grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where people say “Yah, eh?” and “Youse guys” and dress in many layers for seven months of the year. Unlike Stan, the hero in her book, Alison had indoor plumbing and more than two pairs of pants. However, she might have worn the same sweater every day in fifth grade. The daughter of a hardware store owner (and reluctant, occasional employee) Alison spent too many school breaks attending ACE Hardware conventions and not enough at Disney World. After graduating from Michigan State University, Alison began teaching middle and high school English. Alison admires teachers greatly. After eight years, Alison quit teaching to stay at home with two babies who are now two teenagers. Babies and teenagers require almost the same amount of work. During this time she taught herself to make glass beads and jewelry which she sold at local galleries. She now can occasionally be found “working” at Between the Covers bookstore in Harbor Springs or grocery shopping. Her people like to eat.

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Edwards PatPat Edwards

Patricia A. Edwards, a member of the Reading Hall Fame is a Professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Teacher Education, and a Senior University Outreach Fellow at Michigan State University. A nationally and internationally recognized expert in parent involvement, home, school, community partnerships, multicultural literacy, early literacy, and family/intergenerational literacy, especially among poor and minority children. She served as a member of the IRA Board of Directors from 1998–2001, and in 2006-2007 as the first African American President of the Literacy Research Association (formerly the National Reading Conference), and as President of the International Reading Association (2010-2011).

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Fleming CandaceCandace Fleming

Candace Fleming is the prolific author of many critically acclaimed, bestselling books for children, including the picture books "Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! "(an ALA Notable Book and four starred reviews), and "Boxes for Katie "(a Junior Library Guild Selection and a "Publishers Weekly "Best Book of 2003); the nonfiction titles "Our Eleanor "(an ALA Notable Book, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and three starred reviews) and "Ben Franklin's Almanac "(an ALA Notable Book, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, James Madison Honor Book, and three starred reviews). She lives in Mt. Prospect, Illinois.

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Hartman BenaBena Hartman

Dr. Hartman was a former classroom teacher in Prince George's County Maryland and professor of literacy and learning at the University of South Florida and University of Pittsburgh. She has written several articles on the importance and use of African American children's literature and has published two children's books:  Jasmine Can: Creating Self Confidence and September's Big Assignment.

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montante kendraKendra Montante

Kendra Gayle Montante was born in the coastal town of Grand Haven, on Lake Michigan. Most of her youth was spent in Okemos, Michigan. After high school, Kendra lived in various places including northern Michigan, Daytona Beach, San Diego, and Honolulu. Kendra earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from San Diego State University. Several years later, she earned her Elementary Teaching Certification from Madonna University. Most recently, Kendra earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Madonna University.

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Panagopoulos Janie LynnJanie Lynn Panagopoulos

Janie Lynn Panagopoulos, historian, author, lecturer has worked in the field of historical research, interpretation and writing for thirty-four years. Originally working in advertising and as a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines, Panagopoulos has had over 1,000 articles published (1974-1992). She also syndicated a history series that ran in fourteen Midwest newspapers (1985-1987).

In Ms. Panagopoulos' historical research, she has canoed over 3,800 miles on the Great Lakes and along the Canadian waterways, studied and lived with traditional Native Americans, followed the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo, researched lumber and mining camps throughout the United States, participated in archaeological digs, dog-sled, snowshoe, and traveled by wagon train, in costume, across the state of Wisconsin as a historian, today she continues to travel the trails of history and exploration in North America and Europe in search of our American roots. Ms. Panagopoulos, generally, spends three-eight years or more on historical research per project and takes her job as a historian seriously.

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rivard lisaDr. Lisa Rivard

Lisa Rivard was raised by her parents in New Baltimore, Michigan, Along with her two sisters. Throughout her life she has enjoyed working with children in many different capacities including as a teacher, coach, and principal. She earned her degree from Michigan State University and her administration degree from Oakland University. Most recently Lisa completed a PhD in instructional technology from Wayne State University. Currently, Lisa is employed as a Language Arts Consultant and assists regional schools in developing effective literacy plans. It has been Lisa's lifelong dream to become an author of  children's books.

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Taylor LoriLori Taylor

Lori Taylor, Michigan native, grew up in Clarkston on five acres of pines and pond, a natural playground and mystical place of nature study for the artist that inspired her lifelong passion for the outdoors and to tell nature’s story in picture and word.

Since then, Lori's artistic skill has had her illustrating and interpreting Michigan landscape. Her layered mixed media works have been in many juried art shows and her commissioned murals and educational exhibits fill several Michigan nature centers. As a children's author/illustrator, she presents children's art/nature programs that promote environmental literacy and the preservation of nature's story.

Lori was twice selected as artist-in-residence for Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore National Park in 2007 and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in 2008. Lori lives in Pinckney with fellow artist members of Bear Track Studios LLC, where they are inspired by the essence of wildness and committed to the ethics of conservation and stewardship.

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