This past Saturday was the annual Dublin Literacy Conference here in Dublin, Ohio. There was a wealth of knowledge to choose from – so many choices, so little time!
Sharon Taberski (of On Solid Ground fame, and most recently, A Close-Up Look at Teaching Reading DVD) was the morning keynote speaker. Her topic was “It’s Got to Make Sense: Comprehension Instruction Across the Grades”. Her point of how we must look at, and think about, comprehension instruction across all grade levels in developmentally appropriate ways, hit home with me. She stressed the need for us, as teachers, to make sure we give our students ample time and opportunities to read, to write, and to talk. Taberski really encouraged designing a continuum of comprehension instruction school-wide. How wonderful would that be?!
Then it was off to Session A. I was fortunate enough to hear Jennifer Roy (Yellow Star) speak. The double bonus here for me was that two of my students got to introduce her. They had read Yellow Star before, and were so excited to meet and introduce Jennifer Roy. The talk that Roy gave was both moving and informational. Yellow Star is based on her Aunt Sylvia’s life. I already thought this book was wonderful, and with all the “back” story she provided, it strengthened my appreciation for her storytelling ability.
In Session B, Bill (my Literate Lives buddy) and I presented together. We had a blast sharing picture books and chapter books from 2007, and even a couple from 2008. What was really important here is that we were able to share the many different blogs that had inspired our reading, and then we introduced our blog to the group as well. How fun it was to be articulate about what’s new in children’s literature! It was also fun to have Katie D from Creative Literacy with us in our session -- she's always looking for the best picture books to put in her young students' hands!
** Bonus: Mary Lee from A Year of Reading, presented in the room right before us, so I got to hear the tail end of her conversation about Blogging in the Kidlitosphere. I learned at least 2 new things that I can’t wait to try! Plus, double bonus: I got to meet Megan from Read, Read, Read, who was attending Mary Lee's session!
Next was lunch – the food was yummy, and I got to chat with Brenda Power from Choice Literacy.
Pam Munoz Ryan was the afternoon keynote speaker. Her talk was “Beginnings, Belongings, and My Journey to Books”. Unfortunately I missed her talk, but I heard she was wonderful.
For the last session of the afternoon, I first had to stop by the room Jennifer Roy was presenting in. Two more of my students were introducing her this time. They did a great job! After their introduction, I went to my session with Aimee Buckner (Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer’s Notebook). I had already read her book, and have read many of the articles she’s written for Choice Literacy, but it was fun to meet her in person, and hear her talk. What she shared was very practical, just like her book. I love how she uses the writer’s notebook both as a place for fluency, as well as a tool for learning craft and technique.
To show you how great this conference was, here’s who I didn’t get to see: Jen Allen, Jennifer Holm, Terry Thompson, Melanie Watt, and a host of teachers and educators who presented their best literacy practices.
You can see why I love literacy conferences! I am so invigorated by all I saw and heard this weekend! I am already looking forward to next year!