Officers of the Jefferson County Reading Council attended the Arkansas Reading Association’s Council Leadership Institute July 13-14 at the Heritage Conference Center on the campus of Harding University, according to a news release.

They were Roxanne Harper, president; Elizabeth Wall, vice-president; Shelley Peyton, secretary; Susan Bitely, treasurer; and Margie Nanak, director of membership.

Approximately 50 local reading council leaders from across Arkansas attended the workshop. Sessions focused on program promotion, leadership skill training, networking, and local literacy projects. A Celebrate Literacy Luncheon was held on Friday where ARA award and grant winners from across the state were presented with their awards. Arkansas authors Celia Anderson and Gabrielle Simone presented their latest books Friday afternoon.

The Arkansas Reading Association has approximately 1,100 members dedicated to actively supporting literacy learning throughout the state. ARA is an affiliate of the International Literacy Association. Fifteen local councils throughout the state support area educators, students, parents, and families through local programs and special projects. A professional development conference is held in November in Little Rock.

The event was organized by ARA President Kaila Murphy of Arkadelphia and Jeanne Trawick of Conway, who serves as the International Literacy Association State Coordinator.

Anyone interested in attending the state literacy conference or in joining a local council should contact ARA Director of Membership, Krista Underwood at or visit

The first meeting of the Jefferson County Reading Council will be held October 11, 2018 at 5:00 pm at the White Hall Library. The program will be Painting from the Page. Details: Contact Susan Bitely 870-489-0559 or visit