The state's 36 reading councils have more than 1,000 ambassadors promoting reading and selected books by Illinois authors.
Kevin Daugherty, left, Illinois Farm Bureau education director, and Tammy Potts, past president of the Illinois Reading Council, describe their organizations’ partnership that introduces more people across Illinois to agricultural literacy and Illinois authors. Daugherty and Potts taught a workshop at the recent National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. (Photo by Kay Shipman)
By Kay Shipman
Illinois readers benefit from the partnership between Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom (IAITC) and the Illinois Reading Council, educators from across the country learned at the recent National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Kevin Daugherty, Illinois Farm Bureau education director, and Tammy Potts, past president of the Illinois Reading Council, co-taught a workshop about how their organizations multiply each other’s efforts. They were among seven Illinois educators who taught workshops at the conference.
Potts noted the state’s 36 reading councils have more than 1,000 ambassadors promoting reading and selected books by Illinois authors. Daugherty highlighted IAITC’s ag literacy coordinators and volunteers statewide provide outreach and more.
“With our social media and web presence and ag-friendly activities, we’re exposing kids, who would usually not be exposed, to agricultural activities” through the Illinois Reading Council, Daugherty said.
Several of Daugherty’s counterparts in other states jotted down notes and sought clarification on potential applications in their states.
Working together, IAITC and Illinois Reading Council have brought Illinois children’s authors who wrote ag-related books to events and classrooms. IAITC coordinators and volunteers have provided hands-on ag activities at the Reading Council’s statewide literary festival that targets six age groups from infants to adults.
Daugherty explained the partnership’s importance in Illinois. “In Illinois, you (schools) don’t have to teach agriculture, but you have to teach reading. We’re going to make better reading teachers using agriculture as the vehicle. We’re exposing them to agriculture literacy,” he said.
Potts added: “Approach your reading councils and statewide reading groups about selecting an ag-related book.”
Did you know?
National Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) operates in 50 states, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and Northern Marianas. More than 450 educators from as far as American Samoa participated in the recent National AITC annual conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. Twenty-seven represented Illinois and seven Illinois educators taught workshops.
Nationwide, AITC reached more than 7.3 million students. In 2018, Illinois AITC reached 694,449 students in preschool through eighth grade and 41,369 teachers.