History of Service

In summer of 2005, Le Ganschow, a former professor of education at Miami University, Nona Soroosh, former director and owner of a school for boys with reading disabilities in Eagle River, and other interested community members gathered to brainstorm solutions to the literacy needs of children and adults in northern Wisconsin. In a interview, Ganschow said, “I had one phone call too many from parents in need of help for their children.”

When current Past President, Donna Hejtmanek, retired and moved to northern Wisconsin she joined them in their mission, facilitating many summer training with Le. After attending a summer training, current Director Connie Hicks was inspired to join the team also. She was instrumental in incorporating the organization and attaining 501(c)(3) status for The Literacy Task Force of Northern Wisconsin, Inc. in 2008.

Original Officers:

  • President - Le Ganschow (Minoqua, WI)

  • Vice President - Nona Soroosh (Eagle River, WI)

  • Treasurer - Connie Hicks (Fifield, WI)

  • Secretary - Bonnie Margitan (Minocqua, WI)

Original Directors:

  • Linda Jacobson (Tomahawk, WI)

  • Jackie Bohne (Harshaw, WI)

  • Donna Hejtmanek (Harshaw, WI)

  • Laurie Lenten (Rhinelander, WI)

  • Kathleen Marshal (Lake Tomahawk, WI)

  • Michele Peters (Mosinee, WI)

  • George Paboda (Tomahawk, WI)

  • Rose Prunty (Rhinelander, WI)

  • Susan Stachowicz (Lake Tomahawk, WI)

  • Peggy Steber (Harshaw, WI)

  • Ellen Hammersley (Tomahawk, WI)

Past Presidents:

  • Le Ganshaw (2005-2009)

  • Donna Hejtmanek & Bob Steber (2010-2012)

  • Peggy Steber (2013 - 2019)

  • Donna Hejtmanek (2020-2022)

The initial focus of the organization was to "promote the knowledge of literary acquisition, dyslexia, and related difficulties as enhanced by ongoing theory, research, and application." Membership dues, donations, and regional fundraising supported an annual two-week course and practicum facilitated at Nicolet College each summer to prepare tutors to support struggling readers in northern Wisconsin. Nearly 250 tutors were trained resulting in hundreds of students receiving either classroom-based or one-on-one tutoring.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Donna started the Facebook Group called the Science of Reading - What I Should Have Learned in College which created an opportunity for the Literacy Task Force of Northern Wisconsin Inc. to expand their vision and impact by joining Donna in her efforts to leverage technology and social media to promote learning about the Science of Reading.

Since, the organization has re-branded to WI Reads | Literacy Task Force of Wisconsin, including a new website and email. Leadership has evolved to include Directors from across the state of Wisconsin committed to a mission of "increasing awareness and implementation of evidence-based practices and The Science of Reading." WI Reads has supported virtual learning about evidence-based literacy practices and the Science of Reading across Wisconsin, the United States, and around the world.

Promotional video created for regional presentations in 2010.