Madge McDaniel's Speech

 March, 1968
Charleston, WV

In our present organization, the IRA, there is a tradition that the president elect present, at the final session, give a short talk on “The Year Ahead.” In following this tradition, let me assure you that the talk will be brief.

This will be a path-finding year—we must experiment and explore until we find the proper role a state Reading Council can play in promoting better reading instruction in our state.  You will have to help lend direction to our explorations.  Your state officers cannot do it alone.  Many of you will be asked to serve on committees.  I hope you will accept appointments cheerfully and work diligently to carry out your assignments.  If you do not happen to have a specified committee assignment remember that we are all members of the membership and public relations committees.

I have some dreams for this first year—I hope they are within the realm of practicality.  First, we have only 8 local reading councils in the state.  Let’s double the number next year.

Second, I hope that we can sponsor some regional conferences, perhaps with the help of our colleges, the State Dept. of Education, and other organizations such as NCTE.

Third, we should begin thinking of the establishment of a means of communication among ourselves—even though it be only a mimeographed newsletter.

And finally, I would suggest that we seek a project for concentration or study which might lead to a publication of real value in the field of reading. And might be a topic around which to build our annual conferences.

In just one month, the IRA is holding its 13th annual conference in Boston.  The phenomenal growth of this organization, testifies to the fact that on the national and international scene, it has fulfilled a felt need.

In launching the WV Reading Council, may we dedicate ourselves to the purposes of the IRA and in so doing, provide the best possible reading instruction for every child in our state.—