February 2021 Newsletter

Hello Richmond Area Members,

Be sure to check out the February 2021 Newsletter for all of the latest happenings in the VSLA Richmond Area Chapter.

You can access it on the website under Newsletters at https://richmondreads.com/about/newsletters/ or download it using the link below.

Please note the calendar of events on the right side and save the date for our virtual spring event on Tuesday, April 20th. More details to come!


Call for Nominations for the Richmond Area Reading Teacher of the Year


VSLA-Richmond Area Chapter Guidelines and Application Form

The VSLA-Richmond Area Chapter is pleased to announce that we are collecting nominations for our local chapter’s Reading Teacher of the Year.  In addition to the honor of representing the Richmond Chapter in the state’s Reading Teacher of the Year process, the recipient will also receive $500 to use in the classroom to promote literacy.  The VSLA-Richmond Area Chapter Reading Teacher of the Year Committee will review all information received, and the selected Reading Teacher of the Year will be submitted to be considered for the VSLA 2020-2021 Ofie T. Rubin Reading Teacher of the Year.

The Ofie T. Rubin Reading Teacher of the Year is selected by the VRLA and honors exemplary literacy instruction in the classroom.   Each year, every local chapter nominates one outstanding teacher of reading to compete for the VSLA Ofie T. Rubin Reading Teacher of the Year.   The candidate selected as the VSLA Ofie T. Rubin Reading Teacher of the Year will receive a $1000 Professional Development Award at the VSLA conference banquet in 2021.

To nominate an outstanding colleague:  Please complete the form located at VSLA_Richmond Area Chapter RTOY

Once the nomination is received, we will ask your colleague to submit additional required materials.  


  • The candidate must have been a member of RAC in the 2019-2020 school year.  If selected as the RAC RTOY, the candidate must be a member in the 2020-2021 school year to be eligible for the VSLA Ofie T. Rubin Reading Teacher of the Year.
  • The candidate must teach reading a minimum of one-third of each school day to students in grades K­12.

Once nominated, all applicants will be asked to complete the following:

  1. The candidate’s vita (2 pages) 30 points
  2. The candidate’s philosophy of reading education (1 page) 20 points
  3. Proposal for using the $500 RAC award to further literacy instruction (1 page) 30 points
  4. Two letters of recommendation (principal, supervisor, or colleague) 10 points each (20 points total)
  5. A digital photo (jpg file) of the candidate


  • All RALC nominations must be received by February 12, 2021
  • The applicant must submit all supporting materials listed above by April 2, 2021
  • All nominees will be recognized at the RAC RTOY celebration on May 6, 2021 (virtual)

Supporting documents should be sent to:

   Lisa Signorelli, Reading Teacher of the Year Chairperson


54th Annual VSLA Conference

The 54th Annual Conference of the Virginia State Literacy Association will be a hybrid meeting March 18-20, 2021.

Conference registration is currently open to in-person attendees for up to 500 participants.
A select few sessions will be live streamed for attendees to view virtually.
For rates and registration please visit: https://www.vsra.org/rates-2021

Meet the Speakers:

Carmen Agra Deedy
Derrick Barnes
Allison Behne
Gail Boushey
Trevor Bryan
Ralph Fletcher

Kelly Gallagher
Jarrett Lerner
Molly Ness
Jewell Parker Rhodes
Donna Scanlon
Jennifer Serravallo
Kathy Flynn-Somerville

Join RARC Today!

We are pleased to announce that membership is open for 2020-2021 year!
Your membership in RARC gives you free admission to all RARC and other chapter events and a discounted registration fee for the annual VSLA (formerly VSRA) conference!

Our RARC board has already been hard at work planning for this year and we have some exciting ideas for the year.  We look forward to collaborating with YOU as we engage students, parents, teachers, and the community to promote a life-long love for literacy!

To become a member of RARC/VSLA:

  1. Go to www.vsra.org
  2. Click on Sign up to be a Member if you are joining for the first time or click on Member Log In if you are renewing your membership.
  3. Complete the membership form.
  4. Don’t forget to click on the SUBMIT button (scroll down to bottom of page).

Things to know: 

  • Select Richmond Area as your chapter – your membership is for both VSLA and RARC!
  • Membership is rolling, which means your membership will expire a year from when you join.
  • Members can pay via PayPal or by check.  Online payment is encouraged.  If using a check, follow the directions on the screen.  Membership is not complete until payment (online or check) is received.
  • Members are asked to use personal emails, to prevent VSLA emails from being blocked or going to spam.

Don’t delay – cross RARC Membership off your “to-do” list before going back to school!

We look forward to this year together and wish you all the best!

Teachers as Readers Grant Now Due Jan. 24, 2020

Teachers as Readers Grant

Is there a professional book that you want to read, but don’t want to have to buy? RARC has the solution for you – apply for our Teachers as Readers grant! 
The Richmond Area Reading Council is pleased to offer two grants for groups of teachers to purchase, read, and discuss children’s literature or professional books that further literacy instruction. One $250 grant will be awarded to a group from an elementary school, and one $250 grant will be awarded to a middle or high school group. A total of $500 we be awarded each year. Applications must be submitted digitally.


  • Applicant must be a member of RARC.
  • Groups must consist of 5 or more participants.
  • Discussion group must meet at least 4 times from February through June 2020.
  • Copies of receipts for books purchased must be submitted to the Grant Chairperson by July 1, 2020.
  • Group leader must submit dates met, a list of participants, and a summary of the discussions to the Grant Chairperson by July 1, 2020.
  • Grants will be announced by February 7, 2020.
For all questions, please contact Caroline Head at carolinehead@verizon.net.
Deadline to apply: January 24, 2020

RARC Leadership Opportunities for the 2020-2021 school year

Do you love literacy instruction? Want to help spread a love of learning and literacy? Join the RARC leadership team?

We have several leadership positions open for the 2020-2021 school year.   Let us know if you are interested (or know someone who might be interested) in any of these positions. Brief descriptions are included below:

  • Vice-President (helps to organize the fall conference and assists the President-Elect and President as needed). This a three year commitment and this person will transition to President-Elect and then President.
  • Secretary (attends meetings and takes minutes approximately 4-5 meetings a year). This is a two year commitment.
  • Treasurer (records our membership revenue and works with the VSRA treasurer to pay expenses). This is a two year commitment.
  • Member at Large (attends meetings and shares responsibilities of the leadership team).
  • Young Writers Chair (organizers the Young Writers contest and celebration).


Apply for a grant/award today!

The RARC Teachers as Readers Grant is now open for submissions! See more about the grant under the Committees tab found under the About section at the top of the page. You can also click on this link to find out more: https://richmondreads.com/about/committees/teachers-as-readers-grant/ 

VSRA also has several grants and awards for teachers and full-time students. Many are due December 15th or January 15th. Apply today! https://www.vsra.org/awards