Author Bio

Dr. Beth Spinner (bs) is an Assistant Professor of Education at Alma College. She teaches literacy education courses for elementary and secondary preservice teachers. Prior to obtaining her PhD at Western Michigan University, she taught middle and high school English. She serves as a college section co-chair for the Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE). Beth enjoys getting book recommendations from her two daughters and reading by the campfire when they go camping all summer.

Rachel Cwiek (rc) is a Teacher-Librarian for Dearborn Public Schools, serving students from Kindergarten through eighth grade. She is in her 17th year as an educator. She obtained her BA in Early Childhood Education from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, her MAT in Literacy Education from Madonna University, and her Media Specialist endorsement from Wayne State University. A self- proclaimed “book nerd,” books were her passion from an early age. A proud member of MRA, MASL, and other committees, she strives to extend her teaching and learning beyond the classroom. Her Book Joy comes in pairing a student with a book they come to love just as much as she does! In her valuable spare time, she enjoys gardening, quilting, and annoying her cat, Katniss.

Dr. Leah van Belle (lvb) serves as the Executive Director of 313Reads. A proud Detroiter and first-generation high school and college graduate, she serves as the Immediate Past President of MRA and on the state’s Early Literacy Task Force. Across all her work in education– as a classroom teacher, literacy coach, director of clinical practice in urban teacher education, and graduate director of literacy programs– sharing books with little humans and their teachers remains one of her greatest joys. Most importantly, she is the mama of a neurodiverse little human who is teaching her to build with LEGO. Family read aloud is the best part of their day.



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