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.