Virginia State Reading Association

About Us

VSRA is a professional organization of educators and interested individuals actively engaged in the development of literacy throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.


The mission of Virginia State Reading Association, as an authority on literacy education, is to lead in the advancement of literacy across the Commonwealth.


The Virginia State Reading Association strives to be the central organization of our state providing access to current research and best practices in the field of literacy. We want to support our local councils and members of our community with current information on literacy instruction and provide direction to meet the needs of our 21st century learners.


  1. Support and disseminate knowledge of best practices in literacy instruction
  2. Support and disseminate literacy research
  3. Foster interaction on literacy issues through collaboration, networking and partnerships
  4. Advocate for policies and legislation that advances literacy
  5. Provide quality professional development opportunities in the area of literacy education
  6. Promote lifelong literacy habits

Our History

Virginia State Reading Association was established in 1968 and has a rich history of providing professional development in the area of literacy to educators in Virginia. In 1967-68, Dr. John Fanning was the Virginia State Organizational Chairman for the International Reading Association; and, accordingly, he chaired the Steering Committee meetings for the establishment of the Virginia State Council. At least three meetings of the Steering Committee were held prior to the actual formulation of Virginia State Reading Association (VSRA), which occurred at a conference in Richmond (the first conference) on March 22 and 23, 1968. The Steering Committee proposed a slate of officers as follows:

The slate of officers was unanimously elected on March 23, 1968 and one representative from each of five local councils was appointed to be a Member-at-Large of the Board of Directors. The keynote speakers for the first conference were Dr. Alan Robinson, President of IRA, and Dr. Morton Botel. Two-hundred-ninety-nine persons registered for the meeting, with approximately 400 in attendance.

Following the initial meeting in 1968, the Executive Committee began making plans for strengthening the organization as well as initiating future activities. Among them was applying to IRA for a charter. A letter of resignation from Charles Wallace, the newly elected president, was received in June, 1968, at which time Betty Yarborough was appointed president and Mary E. Johnson of Hampton was made secretary to fill the vacancy created by Dr. Yarborough’s ascension to the presidency. Dr. Yarborough served as president of VSRA from June 1968 to March 1969.

VSRA’s first conference as a fully chartered group was held at the Golden Triangle Hotel in Norfolk in March, 1969. Since that time, VSRA has held an annual conference in different areas of the state to provide literacy-related professional development to educators in Virginia.

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