11-17-2014 8-49-57 PMI had a wonderful time attending the Virginia Association of School Librarians (VaASL) conference this November in Roanoke, Virginia. I enjoyed meeting experienced librarians and attending a variety of sessions. Here were some of the highlights:

  • Listening to Thursday’s keynote speaker and leading researcher on sustained silent reading, Stephen Krashen. He highlighted a 2013 study from the UK which showed that reading books often at the age of 10 and reading books more than once a week at the age of 16 has a greater impact on student reading ability than any other factor, including socioeconomic status, being read to as a child, visiting the library, or the education of the parent. This study, along with much of Krashen’s other research, supports my current school’s focus on SSR and continued commitment to giving students time to read choice novels during the school day!
  • Learning about new types of technology, such as Voki, where students can select an avatar of their choice to read a piece of text, or record their own voice reading the information. By using the program, students are given a way to publish their work and develop a larger audience than just the teacher.
  • Attending the session titled “Repackaging Research for the Hyper-connected Millennial.” In the session, the Paige Jaeger explored ways to increase the rigor and relevance of research projects by focusing on essential questions that encourage inquiry, vocabulary of the discipline, and a knowledge product. She gave numerous examples on how to transform a research packet into a purposeful assignment that encourages students to wonder, investigate, find meaning, discover, synthesize, and draw conclusions from what they learn.

Overall, the conference was a worthwhile experience. I am excited to use my newfound knowledge however I can throughout the school year!