Julie Agard,
UNK Department of Elementary Education/Early Childhood Education, 308.865.8556

On Saturday, February 23, 2008, two Nebraska schools will be recognized at an Awards Celebration during the annual conference of the Nebraska State Reading Association in Kearney.  They are A. B. Newell Elementary of Grand Island, Brad Wolfe, Principal, and Gordon Elementary of Gordon, Brent Gaswick, Principal.  All Nebraska schools are invited to apply for the award by preparing an extensive description of their total reading and language arts program.  Written applications are then read, reviewed and scored.  The preliminary scoring determines which schools are visited by a team of reading educators who complete evaluations that combine with preliminary scores to select one school to represent Nebraska each year.  The winning school for 2008 will be announced by the International Reading Association in March and will be invited to accept the award at the IRA annual convention to be held in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Exemplary Reading Program Award is sponsored by the International Reading Association to recognize outstanding reading and language arts programs at all grade levels (elementary, middle, and high school).  Its purpose is to call the public’s attention to outstanding programs in schools throughout North America.  The program has five objectives:  (1) to improve literacy in our society, (2) to recognize school staffs who demonstrate excellence in reading and literacy programs, (3) to encourage the development and refinement of exemplary reading/language arts programs, (4) to report to the public noteworthy efforts to improve reading/language arts, and (5) to disseminate specific information about high-quality programs so that other professionals can use it to improve their own instructional efforts.
The annual conference of the Nebraska State Reading Association is held in Kearney each February and offers a program designed to foster professional growth and development with a variety of workshops, sessions, featured speakers, and exhibits of books, curriculum and assessment materials.  Among the featured speakers this year will be President of the International Reading Association, Dr. Linda Gambrell, plus Barry Lane, Steven Layne, Margriet Ruurs, Bruce Lansky, and N. L. Sharp.  Dozens of other presenters from all parts of the United States will also appear on the program.  Detailed information on the conference can be found on the association web site at