Reading, Literacy, & Learning

VSRA Conference


VSRAOn March 16th-18th, I attended the 50th Annual Virginia State Reading Association conference in Roanoke, Virginia. The conference had sessions on every aspect of literacy imaginable. One of the great highlights of the conference was key note speaker, Steven Layne. He was there to discuss his newest book, In Defense of  Read-Aloud. The lecture was both motivating and informational as he shared his arguments for the case of the read-aloud as being an essential practice for students in grades in grades K-8. I also attended a hands-on session that modeled how to combine literacy with STEM by providing students with opportunities to collaboratively solve problems that were presented in picture books. In addition, I learned how to build student comprehension by teaching them to predict, question, clarify, and summarize while reading. I came home with not only new ideas, but also some great (and free!) materials to use in my classroom. Overall, the conference was an enriching experience and I look forward to attending next year!


VSRA Experience

VSRA1-300x225I attended this years VSRA event held in Norfolk, Virginia. I presented with Emily Cornett as well as Alyssa Cardwell to represent Longwood University. My group and I presented on the topic of how to integrate arts into literacy instruction in a quick and efficient way! While presenting, we had around 40 or so people attend our session, that were very engaged and interactive. Thinking about presenting at such a large conference with such prestigious literacy idols, we were all very nervous to present our research.Our group presented in the form of a Prezi presentation, personalized website as well as engaging games to demonstrate our research. Our session was a success and everyone attending seemed to enjoyed the information that they were recieving! The VSRA conference gave e experience in presenting research to stand by the literacy practices being spoken about and gave me the confidence in my ability to teach literacy. Overall, the conference was a major success and I am glad I had to opportunity to attend!

Our VSRA Experience

Sarah Wells, Lindsey McGibbon, and Alexa Russell after presenting "Loving Literacy: Keeping Kids Konnected"

Sarah Wells, Lindsey McGibbon, and Alexa Russell after presenting “Loving Literacy: Keeping Kids Konnected”

Our group traveled to the VSRA conference to present on motivating older students through the inclusion of technology in the classroom. We put our presentation together during our research class in the Fall semester. Over winter break and the beginning of the Spring semester, we edited and finalized our work. We were extremely excited to accepted to the VSRA conference.

The morning of our presentation, we woke up bright and early to set up our room. We did a quick run through of what we wanted to do and how we pictured it flowing. As we stood at the front waiting for our first audience members to sit down, we had a realization. Nobody was coming. Through a series of unfortunate events, our presentation did not have the attendance we had anticipated. However, we quickly packed up our things and made it to another session so we could make the best use of our time. I definitely feel that we learned a lot through our experience attending the conference. I would recommend this conference to students in the future and hope to be able to go again myself.

2016 VSRA Experience

IMG_5391Emily Swale, Emily Cornett, and I had the wonderful opportunity to present at the Virginia Reading State Association (VSRA) Conference in Norfolk, VA. We prepared a presentation on how to integrate the arts – theatre, music, and visual arts – into literacy practices. We were very happy to have a turn out of over 30 participants who were eager to learn from us! At first, this experience was a bit daunting… but once we got started we had a blast! We had a great balance of teachers from all grade levels, as well as classroom teachers versus reading specialists. We did a variety of activities that were engaging and FUN. At the end of our hour presentation, we had many teachers stop to give us encouraging feedback with enthusiasm. I would definitely say that our presentation was a huge success! Not to mention, we also had the opportunity to attend the conference and learn from so many brilliant teachers. :)

Virginia State Reading Association Conference 2016: Exploring the Depths of Literacy

Sarah Wells, Lindsey McGibbon, and Alexa Russell after presenting "Loving Literacy: Keeping Kids Konnected"

Sarah Wells, Lindsey McGibbon, and Alexa Russell after presenting “Loving Literacy: Keeping Kids Konnected”

The Virginia State Reading Association Conference opened my eyes to the even more vast world of teachers who seek to educate, inform, explore, and teach literacy on a deeper level in their classrooms ranging from Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade. Upon arriving in Norfolk, I was in awe how many presenters and exhibits there were at the educators’ fingertips for the weekend. I had the opportunity of presenting on Friday morning to a small crowd with two other colleagues. Our presentation was titled “Loving Literacy: Keeping Kids Konnected” and the focus was on finding ways to incorporate technology with reading and writing into the upper elementary and middle school classrooms. Our audience offered incite through verbally expressing ideas and ways that the ideas could be manipulated and utilized in their own classrooms, which I found to be the most profound and useful way to take away from the presentation. I spent the rest of the weekend attending other presentations and I tended to gravitate towards those about engagement, motivation, and getting your class involved in their learning. I listened to Dr. Nell Duke discuss the indispensability of classroom motivation and how to connect with the students. She had us interact with our fellow teachers in the crowd by asking to discuss how to execute her ideas. I also attended a general session that discuss why the power of reading choice for our students helps them foster reading independence and strength. I visited one session that surprised myself for attending which was about strategies for word study and how to successfully implement in the classroom. After spending last semester in an elementary school (when I am more comfortable with 6th-12th), I found that this was a good opportunity to learn more about other grade levels and what could be expected as a K-12 Reading Specialist. I would encourage any educator from any background to attend the VSRA because it shows how one subject can really include a variety of different skills and knowledge into one. Our students need to become stronger readers and writers and this conference shows how to create classrooms that cohesively incorporate both that content subject and developing basic skills.

VSRA Conference 2016

I recently had the VSRAopportunity to attend the Virginia State Reading Association 49th Annual Conference in Norfolk, Virginia. This was a weekend conference full of literacy speakers and concurrent sessions from around the state. My peers, Alyssa Cardwell and Emily Swale, and I were lucky enough to be the speakers at one of the sessions on Friday morning. We gave a presentation on “Integrating the Arts into Literacy” which included information about how to implement music, theater, and visual arts into the elementary and middle school literacy curriculum. We discussed multiple strategies and had many hands-on activities to go along with our information. Our audience seemed very engaged and were happy to take away some of these activities to use in their own classrooms.

After our session was over, we were able to attend several of the other sessions available at the conference including one very informative session that focused on writing in the primary grades. I left with many free resources and ideas about how to make literacy, not only fun, but effective in my own future classroom. I am glad I was able to attend this conference as well as to have had the experience to present to a group of educators. It was definitely a worthwhile experience and I look forward to attending another conference in the future!

VSRA Conference 2016

Sarah Wells, Lindsey McGibbon, and Alexa Russell after presenting "Loving Literacy: Keeping Kids Konnected"

Sarah Wells, Lindsey McGibbon, and Alexa Russell after presenting “Loving Literacy: Keeping Kids Konnected”

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 Virginia State Reading Association in Norfolk, Virginia. This year’s conference theme was “Exploring the Depths of Literacy.” My partners, Lindsey McGibbon & Sarah Wells, and I were eager to deliver a presentation called Loving Literacy: Keeping Kids Konnected. Unfortunately, due to many different circumstances; attendance at our concurrent session was limited. We were very pleased to have the support from our professors and classmates.

By attending the conference, I gained knowledge in the field of literacy, was enriched with new teaching methods and tools to enhance my professional development, and interacted with authors, local and national literacy professionals, and hopefully future colleagues. It was also a great pleasure to support and learn from my classmates who presented at the conference.

VSRA Reflection on Media Literacy

Exploring Deconstruction and Construction of Media Literacy in Education Today

Exploring Deconstruction and Construction of Media Literacy in Education Today

The VSRA conference supported my professional development in a way that no other professional development experience has.  I was able to collaborate with people in varying aspects of our field.  This allowed me to build contacts and resources that I would not have had access to otherwise.  I met Professors, Researchers, Authors, Superintendents, Reading Specialist, expert teachers, and other graduate students.  The experience was irreplaceable for me.  I have grown professionally and academically.  Presenting in class or demonstrating lessons for faculty or students is no longer a situation that makes me anxious.  Experiencing presenting in this forum gave me the necessary tools to further my academic career and my professional career.

2015 VSRA Conference Presentation

WP_20150314_10_01_10_ProThis year, I had the privilege of not only attending, but also presenting at, the 2015 Virginia State Reading Association (VSRA) conference held in downtown Richmond, Va. The VSRA is the preeminent literacy education institution within the commonwealth and this was my first time attending the conference. This year’s conference theme was “Reading is Magical,” which was truly fitting. I was immediately impressed by the diverse professionals I met, from classroom teachers to reading specialists to school administers, who were all passionate about improving reading (and all literacy) instruction in their schools. It was also a great pleasure to support and learn from many of my Reading, Literacy, and Learning program classmates and professors who also presented at the conference.

My partner, Carol Pippen, and I delivered a presentation entitled “Reading Between the Pixels: Media Literacy Instruction in the Digital Age.” Our presentation discussed the growing importance of media literacy as advancements in technology permits constant exposure to media messages. We make the case that media literacy, or the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media messages, is vital for full societal participation in the digital/information age. In addition, we also provided several examples of how media literacy can be taught in the classroom


VSRA Conference 2015

GroupPicLast weekend I had the pleasure of attending and presenting at the Virginia State Reading Association Conference held in Richmond, VA.  I presented with two classmates from the Reading, Literacy, & Learning program, Erica Shelley and Leighan Worden.  Our presentation was titled “Bring Reading to Life: How to Integrate Non-fiction” and took attendees through research supporting students’ needs to get up and move while learning as well as some activities to be used in conjunction with non-fiction texts in the classroom.  Although we were the ones presenting, I walked away with many new ideas of how to incorporate movement into my daily lessons as a soon-to-be teacher.  I found the experience of attending the conference very beneficial and learned about many new and different teaching techniques and ideas that I cannot wait to try out in my future classroom.  I will definitely be attending VSRA Conference 2016 in Norfolk next year!

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