Officers of the Jefferson County Reading Council attended the Arkansas Reading Association’s Council Leadership Institute July 13-14 at the Heritage Conference Center at Harding University.

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

Approximately 50 reading council leaders from across Arkansas attended the workshop. Sessions focused on program promotion, leadership skill training, networking, and local literacy projects, according to a news release.

A Celebrate Literacy Luncheon was held Friday where ARA award and grant winners from across the state received 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,” according to the release.

ARA is an affiliate of the International Literacy Association. Fifteen 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, the International Literacy Association state coordinator.

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

The Jefferson County Reading Council will meet at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, at the White Hall Library. The program will be Painting from the Page.