It is an honor to be affiliated with the International Literacy Association (previously International Reading Association). They always plan a wonderful conference and this year was no exception!! The city of St. Louis, Missouri was host to this year's annual conference. The Cardinals were in town all weekend and the city was clothed in a sea of red. It was a lot of fun to be in the midst of the masses - those out and about seeing the downtown sites and those inside the convention center learning about best literacy practices!
The ILA conference began with two highly inspiring and motivations speakers: Shaquille O'Neal and Shiza Shahid. Both of these individuals have a passion for education and literacy in particular!
"There's nothing small about basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal's commitment to literacy. His passion for learning led him to earn a doctoral degree in education, and he knows the power that literacy has to transform lives, firsthand." He exuded such passion for educators and for growing young readers and writers... Did you know he writes books for children?
Social activist Shiza Shahid cofounded the Malala Fund, where the global ambassador leads the organization in its work to empower girls through education. This inspirational champion works tirelessly to support the Fund's goal of creating a world in which every girl reaches her true potential." Her commitment to doing what it takes to ensure girls receive an education was heartwarming! As she said..."One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world." I believe that too!
Thanks to ILA for selecting our instructional unit for publication in the Bridges line (a second Bridges unit and international conference presentation for us!) - we are grateful to have our work touted as "quality literacy instruction" by some of our literacy heroes...Dr. P. David Pearson (Literacy Research Panel, chair), Dr. John Guthrie (Literacy Research Panel member), and Dr. Diane Lapp (Literacy Research Panel member)
My coauthor, Leni Fragakis, and I have decided we will have another go at instructional unit development for the ILA Bridges line. Our first unit targeted K-2 and the most recent unit addressed the ELA CCSS standards for grades 3-5. It only makes sense we center on the 6th-8th grade band next time! Stay tuned....
Kaplan Early Learning Company offers many wonderful educational products and I am honored to have played a role in developing authentic texts sets for classroom leveled libraries! It was refreshing to see that exhibitor station receiving a lot of traffic...hooray for authentic literature for children!! Kaplan was gracious enough to sponsor my presentation and even gave me with the opportunity to share my recently published titles with conference participants - THANK YOU, KAPLAN!
I am a reader, a writer, and a dreamer. It is my joy to write quality literature for the most discerning of all readers...educators, children, and the child in all of us.
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