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Word Nerds
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Brenda J. Overturf began her career as a classroom teacher, working for eighteen years at the elementary and middle school levels, before she coordinated K-12 reading for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky. She also served as chair of the M.Ed. in Reading program at the University of Louisville and is a former member of the International Reading Association Board of Directors. While at IRA, she chaired a Common Core State Standards Task Force and continues as chair of the IRA Common Core Standards Committee. Brenda holds an Ed.D. degree with specialty in literacy education from the University of Louisville, and is currently a literacy consultant providing professional development and assistance to schools and districts nationwide. Leslie Montgomery is an intermediate-grades teacher at Gavin H. Cochran Elementary in Louisville, Kentucky. After beginning her undergraduate degree in California and working for the Homes for the Homeless Residential Camping Program in New York City, Leslie returned to Louisville and earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in teaching from the University of Louisville. Leslie is a National Board Certified Teacher in literacy and an alumna of the Kentucky Reading Project and the Louisville Writing Project. She was a recipient of the 2010-2011 Gheens Innovation Award for strategic vocabulary instruction. Leslie has presented with her colleagues on vocabulary instruction at the International Reading Association conference, the Kentucky Reading Association conference, the Kentucky Reading Project, the Louisville Writing Project, and other professional development venues throughout the district. Margot Holmes Smith is a reading and math intervention teacher for fourth and fifth grades at Atkinson Academy for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to becoming an intervention teacher, she taught third and fourth grades at Atkinson. Margot earned a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's degree in teaching from the University of Louisville. Throughout her teaching career, Margot has had the opportunity to participate in the Kentucky Reading Project and the Louisville Writing Project. She has presented with her colleagues at the International Reading Association conference, the Kentucky Reading Association conference, the Kentucky Reading Project, the Louisville Writing Project, and several other schools in the district. She was a recipient of the 2010-2011 Gheens Innovation Award for strategic vocabulary instruction. Margot is currently completing her M.Ed. in reading at the University of Louisville.

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"Word Nerds raises the level of vocabulary instruction by setting the bar high for teachers, challenging us to provide students with the desire to study vocabulary and apply their knowledge not only to standardized tests but to daily writing and conversation." - MiddleWeb

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