Reading, Literacy, & Learning
Virginia State Reading Conference
On March 16th and 17th 2017 I attended the 50th annual VSRA conference. This event took place in the downtown historic Roanoake Hotel. The day began with breakfast and our first session with Dr. Steven Layne. His session was called “In Defence of Reading-Aloud” What an amazing way to start the day! He spoke about the importance of reading exciting and influential texts out loud to students. I have always been in favor of reading aloud but his session defined the importance and bought me back to what being read a dramatic reading really felt like. I told my fellow classmates that his session alone would have been worth the trip. The rest of the day was just as great and flew by with multiple professional developments. I attended 4 more 60 minute sessions, where I learned about some of the best ways to work with student who test low in comprehension, new ideas for daily 5, growing great writers and more about concept of word. Two of the 4 sessions were presented by my Reading and Literacy professors. Watching them present publically at the VSRA conference was such a treat. I am very greatful to Longwood University for providing me with the funds and insight to attend such a fantastic event. I am also very thankful to attend a school that is so focused on furthering our education through authentic experiences such as state reading conferences. Thank you.
My First VSRA Conference
This past weekend, on March 17, 2017, I attended my first VSRA conference thanks to the travel grant that was given to me by Longwood’s College of Graduate and Professional Studies.Our first session was with Steven Layne, who spoke to all attending about how important solid read alouds are for students of all ages. His powerful and moving example on how to truly engage students in a text was a model for all professionals in that room. I was then able to attend three concurrent sessions: the first having to do with station activities and ideas for primary grades, the second having to do with how to bring technology into the classroom, and finally, how to connect dance and other art forms to writing. I enjoyed my final concurrent session the most; I enjoyed hearing about the event that she and a local dance teacher held for their community and talking with other professionals about how something similar could be brought to the classroom. I believe every student has a passion and strength, and sometimes those do not include oral presentations. Giving students the option to show their mastery of the content through art forms will engage and build a positive self-efficacy into students who are not really understood in the typical classroom setting. I could not be more excited to use all of the skills and practices I learned during VSRA in my future classroom, and I plan on attending the conference every year from now on!
I attended the Virginia State Reading Association’s 50th Annual Reading Conference in Roanoke, Virginia. I truly enjoyed every moment of the experience. Being surrounded by that many people who all have an amazing impact on children every day was incredible. The first session that I attended at the conference was entitle In Defense of Read-Aloud by Dr. Steven Layne. This presentation inspired me from the first moment. I hope to teach middle school in the future, so it was important to hear that read-aloud has just as much benefit for these older students as it does for elementary learners. One of the biggest take-aways I had from this presentation was the importance of establishing a hook when reading a book aloud. It is essential to read a higher amount in those first few days until students are begging for you to read; when they reach that point, they are hooked! One of the concurrent sessions I attended was on the topic of grammar with Dr. Keith Polette. This session was a great refresher on a wide variety of grammatical topics such as abstract vs. concrete nouns, the parts of speech, and instructional strategies to utilize when providing this information to students. I have since ordered Dr. Polette’s book, Teaching Grammar Through Writing, and plan to incorporate many of these ideas into my classroom. I also attended a session on incorporating technology into the classroom, specifically literature circles. In this session, I learned about the SAMR model of incorporating technology in the classroom. The last session I attended was centered on the Virginia Reader’s Choice texts selected for middle and high school readers this year. This was an incredible session to attend because it gave me a great list of texts to start with when recommending books to my students int the future! I truly enjoyed every aspect of this conference and plan to attend next year’s as well! I am so thankful for this opportunity that the Graduate Travel Grant has given me.
What an incredible way to spend a weekend! Not only did I learn about the most widely used resources in literacy, but I also rediscovered my first love, students. Many times we can grow weary in our well-doing, and this conference rekindled my passion, not just for reading, but for the kids I serve. On Thursday, I met Marcia Invernizzi of Words Their Way fame, and heard her present to a packed hall, while grinning from ear to ear. Later, Our Longwood family met on Thursday night and set the tone of circumspect celebration for this weekend. As our cohort nears May graduation, I was pleased to be part of this time of refreshing and rebuilding the inspiration that began our journey. The most remarkable opportunity I had in Roanoke was to meet the Literacy Coach for a juvenile detention center in Northern Virginia. I started a similar position on Monday March 20, and the insight I received during her presentation (and after) have proven to be invaluable as I begin this new journey. VRSA was a rare opportunity to consider my work as an educator as a personal investment in the future. Perhaps kick-off presenter, Mr. Turban, put it best when he said, “Teaching is a life well lived.” Thank you, Longwood RLL and College of Graduate Studies, for the chance to remember and revisit my first love.
Hello! I had the pleasure of attending the 50th Annual Virginia State Reading Association conference at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center on March 17th, 2017. This conference was a first for me, and I can say with sincerity that it was an amazing experience to be surrounded by such knowledgeable and passionate educators in the field of literacy. The keynote speaker, Dr. Steven Layne, enthralled us all with an amazing read-aloud from Sold by Patricia McCormick as well as a great discussion about his discoveries during the process of writing his book In Defense of Read-Aloud. This text is now on my must-buy list because Layne brought together an “army” – as he calls it – of professionals and researchers to prove once-and-for-all, to reluctant administrators and teachers who are not believers, that read-alouds are necessary and advantageous for all students K through 12.
The break-out sessions throughout the afternoon were just as engaging and informative! My favorite session was with Keith Polette, a professor from the University of Texas, who provided teachers with concrete examples to implement direct instruction with grammar in meaningful and authentic contexts. Instead of drilling our students with worksheets, they simply need to learn the 17 basic elements of grammar and be given opportunities to apply them in their own writings. His humorous approach to this concept helped many of us to clarify our own misconceptions and walk away with a fresh outlook on teaching grammar.
Attending this conference has helped me to gain insight and resources to help prepare me for my upcoming first year of teaching!
On 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!
I 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
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
Emily 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
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.