American Reading Forum

Minutes for Board Meeting

December 6, 2006 - Sundial, Sanibel Island


Michael French called the meeting to order at 5:00 P.M.


1.     Introductions: Michael welcomed all board members in attendance. New board members were introduced.


2.     Approval of Minutes: Board members were asked to review the minutes from the May 2006, meeting at the International Reading Association Annual Conference. It was moved and seconded to approve the minutes as presented. During the discussion, it was reported that the dates of the Board Meeting and Business Meeting were not correct. The minutes need to reflect the correct dates as Board Meeting May 7 and the Business Meeting May 9. Motion to accept the minutes as amended was offered and seconded. Motion passed.


3.     Treasurer's Report: The balance as of 12/4/06 is $27,857.70. The cost of last year's conference was $9,446.58. It was reported that our treasury is healthy and "in good shape." The Treasurer's report was moved, seconded and unanimously approved.


4.     Committee Reports

  1. Archives - no report
  2. Budget - Discussion focused on the following:

(1)  scholarship donations (+ $385.00),

(2)  the amount generated as a result of "Donna for a Day" consulting efforts (+ $4000.00)

(3)  Conference expenses - differences in conference costs: 2005 expenses were higher due to moving to Marco Island.

(4)  Website costs

(5)  Supplies, postage (mailing), photocopying - reduced

  1. Bylaws/Parliamentarian - no report
  2. Call to Forum - no report
  3. Conference Program -It was reported that the program and folders are ready.

A concern was raised about the amount of money spent on food. It was recommended we be more precise with the number of individuals attending the luncheon so we can be more cost effective. Although we provided "our best guess" on the number of individuals attending, we may need to take an actual count to help guide our decisions in the future. Clarification on who should place the food order was raised. It was recommended that the Conference Coordinator, in consultation with the Chair, should decide the specific functions that will need food ordered, but the Chair should ultimately be the person who places the order. In addition, the Treasurer should not pay the food bill until a thorough review of all receipts is made. A second concern raised was the amount of money spent on equipment. It was recommended that the Chair conduct a "walk through" of each room to take a visual "audit" of the type of equipment needed and/or used. We will need to make sure to include equipment costs in future contracts. A third concern was the amount we should offer as an honorarium to our speakers. Clarification surrounding the procedure we should follow for in-house and external speakers was discussed. Two motions were offered. The first motion pertained to our external speakers. The motion was to raise the honorarium for our Keynote Speaker (not to exceed 2 individuals) from $400.00 to $1,000.00. It was seconded and passed with 2 board members abstaining. A second motion, allows our in-house speakers (not to exceed 2 individuals), a yearlong membership and conference fees be waived. It was seconded and unanimously passed.


Next year's conference theme is "Meaningfulness and Comprehension: Understanding Readers' Understanding." March 30, 2007 is the deadline for program proposals.

  1. Co-sponsored Sessions - no report
  2. Graduate Student Mentor - 5 students were nominated for the scholarships this year. A small donation ($435.00) was recorded for scholarships. Jerry Johns has will offer his services as a consultant this next year. All monies collected will be donated to the scholarship fund. A suggestion to establish a Foundation was offered. Donations are down from last year. It was recommended that an announcement regarding scholarships be made during the opening session.
  3. International Project- the Chair recognized Cynthia Bertelsen for her generous donation of her entire children's literature library when she took a leave of absence from BGSU, December 2004.
  4. Membership- As of December 1, 2006, membership and conference registration for 2006-2007 was:


Membership and conference total 55 (40 individual, 10 joint, 5 student)

Membership only total 2 (individual)

Total Membership 57 (43 individual, 10 joint, 5 student)


Not many students are registered, and overall, the total number of students attending the conference appears to be less each year. Suggestions on how to promote the conference were discussed. One suggestion is to form an Ad hoc committee to explore this issue. The Ad hoc committee could explore why individuals are not returning. It was recommended that Brenda would be an ideal person to Chair this committee. Questions to pose to this committee are: "How do we retain individuals once we get them here?" "Where are we as an organization?" "What makes individuals return?" "What might we do to encourage them to return?" Michael suggested we show the "first timers" they are welcome. If they are warmly received, they may want to return. It was also suggested that we have been very successful with the social functions, but we need to continue to make more personal contacts. It was suggested we send a personal letter and include the program and proposal for upcoming conference. Another suggestion to attract and retain members is to possibly work closely with CRA and IRA in planning co-sponsored sessions.

  1. Nominations/Elections- Brenda was recognized for her assistance with the nomination and elections committee. Cynthia Bertelsen, Lynne Miller and Debra M. Pane agreed to have their names placed on the ballot. 32% of the ballots were returned and Cynthia Bertelsen and Lynne Miller were elected to the Board of Directors for the 2006-2009 term. Beth Frye was nominated and elected as Chair and Cynthia Bertelsen was nominated and elected as Vice Chair for the 2006-2007 year.
  2. Public Relations- no report
  3. Publications- the yearbook should be ready/out by January. Editorship is on a rotating basis.
  4. Research Exchange- no report
  5. Service Award - no report
  6. Site Selection - Michael reported that he is working with Sundial for the 2008-2010 contracts.
  7. Website - There is a request for additional monies, not to exceed $1750.00, to support a graduate assistant. This amount is $750.00 more than what is budgeted. The motion was offered, seconded and approved. It was also recommended that the Board of Directors recognize Gary Moorman for his work with the website. We should also recognize the graduate assistants who work diligently to update the website. Letters of appreciation will be written.


5.     Old Business - none


6. New Business

a.     Proposal for Editorial Yearbook - This proposal requests changes to the Yearbook of the American Reading Forum. The Yearbook will continue to publish scholarly, research papers, but will include two additional sections: "Research Abstracts" which will be short (700-1200) word descriptions of research projects and "Keynote Speaker Interviews."


7.     Announcements - Michael recognized the member's  time and commitment


8. Adjournment at 7:00 P.M.