Category Archives: Worcester County

Teaching Social Emotional Learning in Literature Event Slated

Fruitland, MD — Join the Eastern Shore Literacy Association as it sponsors a session on Teaching Social Emotional Learning in Literature on Monday, March 23 at Adam’s Taphouse Grille. While there are many opportunities to integrate SEL into the school day, literature and stories provide for one of the most natural and impactful means of conveying the specific concepts behind it and more importantly of making them matter!

Booksource will present on access and use of free online tools for choosing classroom titles and evaluating the diversity in your current classroom library materials…and each attendee will receive free copies of books highlighted in the presentation.

Registration begins at 4:30 with dinner and presentations following beginning at 5:00.

The event is FREE for members and non-members can simply join by paying the $25 registration fee.

RSVP by Friday, March 20 at


Annual Barbara S. Davis Scholarship Information Available

Barbara S. Davis Scholarship FlyerThe annual Barbara S. Davis Scholarship is now available to high school seniors. Each year the Eastern Shore Literacy Association honors past president and membership chair Barbara S. Davis with an annual scholarship. Davis, a retired teacher in Wicomico County Public Schools, is remembered for her passion towards sparking the love of reading to all of her students and those in the local communities in which she served. Davis’ scholarship is awarded annually to an individual who intends on majoring in education in the amount of $1,000.

For more information or to review the scholarship criteria regarding the annual scholarship, visit our scholarship page.


Celebrate World Read Aloud Day 2020

Newark, Md. — Worcester County Public Schools (WCPS) is proud to announce it will take part in the annual World Read Aloud Day on Wednesday, February 5, 2020.

Student and staff can participate in the global project using the following steps via Flipgrid:

  • Go to
  • Log in using Office 365  or Google credentials (teachers can log in for younger students)
  • Hit the Green circle with the white plus sign
  • Introduce yourself by stating your name, state, and country
  • Read an excerpt from your favorite book/poem
  • Share why that excerpt is important

The global project is in conjunction with LitWorld, a nonprofit that encourages self-empowerment and community change through literacy. World Read AloudDay now reaches millions of people in more than 100 countries.


Finalist Named in Young Authors’ Contest

Salisbury, Md. – After receiving hundreds of submissions from talented writers, the Eastern Shore Literacy Association (ESLA) is proud to announce its finalist in the 2020 Young Authors’ Contest. Finalists are individuals who have finished in the top three in their respective category, poetry or short story, and grade level. Each finalist in grades 1-12 submitted an original writing artifact that was judged using a blind scoring method.

“We continue to get high quality of entries year in and year out,” ESLA Young Authors’ Contest Chair Brian Cook explained as entries came in from 24 different schools, public, private, and homeschools. “We are fortunate to have many of our Eastern Shore schools putting an emphasis on student writing. Both the students and teachers’ efforts are making it more and more difficult each year to determine finalist because the quality of writing continually gets better.”

Finalists and their families, teachers, school administrators, and central officer personnel are now invited to take part in the Young Authors’ Awards Reception at Salisbury University in the Holloway Hall Auditorium, located on the first floor, on March 4, 2020 at 6:30 pm.

“We hope to continue the tradition we started two years ago of building anticipation in each of our finalist and get everyone here to Salisbury University to celebrate student writing. We feel last year’s turnout in Holloway Hall was topnotch, and we want to continue making this evening the ‘Grammy’s of Writing’ for our students,” Young Authors’ Contest co-chair Lizanne Wallace explained. “This is the night where we place student authors on a pedestal for their exemplary writing ability.”

The winning work of each student will be featured in the contest’s anthology and one will be given to each finalist. Electronic versions of the anthology will be available as well.

Individuals earning finalist status are listed alphabetically by last name in each grade and category. The order shown below does not reflect the placement where student authors finished in the contest.

*Grade 1, Poetry –  Serena Jaoude, Worcester Preparatory.

*Grade 1, Short Story – Ava Gibbs, The Salisbury School; Luke Holder, The Salisbury School.

Grade 2, Poetry – Madeleine Cook, Pocomoke Elementary; La’nya Randall, Glen Avenue Elementary; Isabella Rice, Worcester Preparatory.

Grade 2, Short Story – Montane Kilgoe, Glen Avenue Elementary; Lily Grace Kirby, Ocean City Elementary; Anna McCormack, Ocean City Elementary.

Grade 3, Poetry – Callan Bergquist, North Salisbury Elementary; London Noelle Morton, North Salisbury Elementary; Jackson Reddish, North Salisbury Elementary.

Grade 3, Short Story – Yamose Alazy, Delmar Elementary; Elias Baldridge, Ocean City Elementary; Ellie Wells, Buckingham Elementary.

**Grade 4, Poetry – Kinzie Bunting, Worcester Preparatory; Ellie Phillips, Worcester Preparatory; Trezdon Santos, North Salisbury Elementary; Cooper Senter, North Salisbury Elementary; Avery Wiltbank, North Salisbury Elementary.

Grade 4, Short Story – Reed Luppens, North Salisbury Elementary; Ben Rafinski, Worcester Preparatory; Ryan Shipp, Worcester Preparatory.

Grade 5, Poetry – Peyton Davis, North Salisbury Elementary; Lucy Gibson, Deal Island Elementary; Karsyn Pete, North Salisbury Elementary.

**Grade 5, Short Story – Peter Jin, North Salisbury Elementary; Gavin Parks, Deal Island Elementary; Charlotte Malone, North Salisbury Elementary; Madison Wheeler, Pittsville Elementary.

Grade 6, Poetry – Alex Catlin, Salisbury Middle; Adelaide Hope Dawkins, Berlin Intermediate; Hannah Taylor, Salisbury Middle.

Grade 6, Short Story – Tyler Netting, Worcester Preparatory; Sydney Todorov, Worcester Preparatory; Charles Williams, Salisbury Middle.

Grade 7, Poetry – Johanna Hallman, Stephen Decatur Middle; Josephine Palmer, Stephen Decatur Middle; Diva Shrestha, Salisbury Middle.

Grade 7, Short Story – Ava Baer, Mardela Middle and High School; Sierra Merritt, Pocomoke Middle School; Landon Schul, Worcester Preparatory.

**Grade 8, Poetry – Josh Blume, Stephen Decatur Middle; Kaiden Bonbright, The Salisbury School; Tanner Ellis, Stephen Decatur Middle; Mia Lucinda Lovitt, Stephen Decatur Middle.

Grade 8, Short Story – Pim Noparat, Stephen Decatur Middle; Ella Vilmar, Bennett Middle; Abbi Weeks, Stephen Decatur Middle.

Grade 9, Poetry – Emily Garlock, James M. Bennett High; Riley Moyer, Worcester Preparatory; Emily O’Brien, The Salisbury School.

Grade 9, Short Story – Jessica Beck, Stephen Decatur High; Emily Leon, The Salisbury School; Rory Pugh, Worcester Preparatory.

Grade 10, Poetry – Brooke Phillips, Worcester Preparatory; Maya Matava, James M. Bennett High; Alexis Robertson, The Salisbury School.

**Grade 10, Short Story – Shannon Cottingham, Mardela Middle and High School; Rosy Gao, James M. Bennett High; Jake Gillespie, Stephen Decatur High; Madeline Umsted, Mardela Middle & High.

Grade 11, Poetry – Ki-Jhae Bull, Pocomoke High; Waverly Choy, Worcester Preparatory; Hannah Perdue, Worcester Preparatory.

Grade 11, Short Story – Jenny Chen, James M. Bennett High; Sophia Smith, James M. Bennett High; Lydia Woodley, Stephen Decatur High.

Grade 12, Poetry – Marvin Mason, Pocomoke High; Devin Wallace, Worcester Preparatory; Chloe Westbrook, Pocomoke High.

*Grade 12, Short Story – Mulan Bell, James M. Bennett High.

*Indicates category did not have three finalists.

**Indicates category had a tie resulting in more than three finalists.


About Eastern Shore Literacy Association

Eastern Shore Literacy Association is a nonprofit organization with the mission to improve the level of literacy in the lower three counties (Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester) on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  It promotes quality literacy instruction by: supporting the mission of the State of Maryland Literacy Association and International Literacy Association, disseminating best literacy practices to educators and parents, advocating for literacy issues through legislation and collaborating with educational institutions, professional organizations and businesses.

The group is active in the Lower Eastern Shore communities supporting literacy initiatives and individuals who have sparked a passion for reading. The group is made up primarily of K-12 educators (both current and retired) from public and private schools across Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore as well as individuals active in the higher education community

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.