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.
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