Author Archives: briancookeducator

Tall Tales Event Successful


ESLA members socialize at Tall Tales in Salisbury.

Salisbury, MD — The Eastern Shore Literacy Association hosted a social event at Tall Tales on October 17th. The two-hour event was comprised of members from all three lower shore counties, and was a great location for networking. Multiple new members were signed up while many renewed their memberships.


“Kindness Matters, Readers Count” at Fruitland Primary

Salisbury, MD — Fruitland Primary School (FPS) continues to put literacy first in its “Kindness Matters, Readers County” literacy initiative. With the donations of many organizations, each child at FPS got a new book on the first day of school. As popularity grew in the project, Mrs. Lisa Forbush determined the project will turn into three phrases — beginning of the school year, winter break, and end of school year — where each child will get a book.

The Eastern Shore Literacy Association is proud to support FPS in its initiative sponsoring three different classes for phase two of the project.


Young Authors’ Contest Information Available

Salisbury, MD — The Eastern Shore Literacy association is proud to announce its annual Young Authors’ Contest information is available to all schools in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties. Being tagged the Grammy’s of Student Writing, the Young Authors’ Contest continues to pull together the highest quality of writing from across the many schools on the Lower Eastern Shore.

“We are very excited to continue the tradition of the Young Authors’ Contest,” Brian Cook, who is in this third year co-chairing the contest, explained. “In the past two years we have made it a mission to get as many schools involved as possible. We have reached most of the public schools, numerous private schools, and had homeschool students submit last year, which was a first.”

The contest consists of two categories original poetry and short stories in grades 1-12; the addition of first grade is new this year. Students may submit one entry into each category in their respective grade-level. Contest posters and student cover sheets were distributed to past participants and teachers this week.  School districts will receive their posters and cover sheet information this week.

All submissions must be submitted in two separate files — student entry and student cover sheet — using Microsoft Word. Each entry should be emailed to by the entry deadline of December 2, 2019.

Individuals who place in the top three in their respective category will receive a finalist postcard inviting them to the annual awards banquet at Salisbury University in March.

Individuals looking for further information regarding the Young Authors’ Contest can e-mail co-chairs Brian Cook and Lizanne Wallace at


Eastern Shore Literacy Association Names 2019-2020 Officers

The Eastern Shore Literacy Association (ESLA) has named its new officers for the 2019-2020 school year. A community organization with the focus on improving literacy in the lower three counties (Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester), ESLA disseminates best literacy practice to educators and parents, advocates for literacy issues through legislation with educational institutions, and make books available through numerous community outreach opportunities.


Serving as the incoming president is Dr. Andrea Vandiver, who is the Head of the Lower School at The Salisbury School and previously served as an elementary school teacher. Vandiver has served ESLA as vice-presidents and co-chair of the Young Authors’ Contest before elevating to the organization’s top position. She has a passion for children’s books of all levels and is passionate about students developing a lifelong love or reading.



Coming into the role of vice president is Deb Maupin, who is a third grade teacher at The Salisbury School. Maupin is an advocate for early literacy supporting many of ESLA’s outreach opportunities of placing books in the hands of children. At the school level, she supports global literacy initiatives and global competencies related to literacy.




Moving into the role of secretary is Lauren Tanis, a sixth grade language arts teacher at Somerset Intermediate School. Tanis has served as a judge in the annual Young Authors’ Contest. At SIS and her previous school Accawmacke Elementary (VA), she has been involved in many literacy initiatives including One Book, One School.



Continuing in his role of treasurer is Otto Jester, an elementary literacy professional development coach for Wicomico County Public Schools. He has previously served ESLA as the President-Elect, President, and Past President. He is an advocate for early literacy.




Transitioning into the role of membership director and corresponding secretary is Dr. Brian Cook, a sixth grade language arts teacher and department chair at Pocomoke Middle School. He is an integral part of his school’s literacy initiatives and active in supporting diverse literature through ProjectLit. He also serves ESLA as the co-chair of the Young Authors’ Contest.





ESLA continues supporting Habitat for Humanity

Salisbury, MD — The Eastern Shore Literacy Association (ESLA) continues to support Habitat for Humanity fo Wicomico County. Today, ESLA members presented a bookshelf with books for a new Habitat home. Beginning literacy at a young age is crucial in a child’s development, and ESLA hopes to support those new Habitat homes with young children.

ESLA supports initiatives in Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties.