21st Annual Conference on Literacy: Family, Community, School: Literacy Connections

The 21st Annual Conference on Literacy: Family, Community, School: Literacy Connections took place on Saturday, April 4, 2014 at Mount Saint Mary College.

This year’s conference drew attention to the ways families, communities, and schools meet the literacy needs of all students.

Featured Speakers

Edwards KeynotePatricia A. Edwards
Dr. Patricia A. Edwards, a Distinguished Professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, is an internationally recognized expert in literacy, with particular expertise in parent involvement, home, school, community partnerships, multicultural literacy, early literacy, and family/intergenerational literacy, especially among poor and minority children. Dr. Edwards served as the first African American President of the Literacy Research Association (2006-2007) and as President of the International Reading Association (2010-2011).

Bryan Collier
Writer and illustrator Bryan Collier will join us at the conference this year to share his art and award winning children’s books, and to give a lunch talk about his latest work, including Knock, Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me, the winner of the 2014 Coretta Scott King Award. Collier’s provocative and inspiring illustrations have earned recognition and numerous book awards for Uptown, winner of the Coretta Scott King and Ezra Jack Keats Awards, and Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King; Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave; and Rosa, all Caldecott Honor Books and Coretta Scott King Award Winners.

Download the conference brochure (pdf).

Conference Schedule

8-9 am Registration in Hudson Hall
Continental Breakfast
Art and Book Sales
9-10 am Keynote Presentation by Pat Edwards
“Family, Community, School: Literacy Connections”
10-10:20 am Break / Art and Book Sales
10:20-11:35 am Workshop Session I
11:35-11:45 am Break / Art and Book Sales
11:45 am-1 pm Workshop Session II
1:15-2:15 pm Lunch with Bryan Collier ($15 additional cost)

Session I Workshops

The Power of Story to Bridge Home and School
In this session, the presenters will share the multicultural books and the tools for story creation at the center of their work with K-5 English Language Learners in an afterschool setting. Participants will learn about the steps taken to collaborate with families through ongoing dialogue and invitations to participate in the celebration of learning throughout the afterschool sessions.
Katherine Cunningham, Manhattanville College; Barbara O’Neill, Manhattanville College

Promoting Vocabulary Acquisition through the Utilization of Storybook Read Alouds
It is so important that children have an understanding of words’ meanings and how to properly utilize them to get their message across to others. Vocabulary has an impact on one’s reading comprehension, speaking presentation, and listening skills. This presentation will provide teachers, parents, and anyone working with young children (Pre K-grade 4) an understanding of how to facilitate rich vocabulary instruction through storybook read alouds of children’s literature. Specific instructional activities will be emphasized.
Jean Humphries, Concordia College

It’s All Connected: How Teachers and Students use Community Spaces and Resources in an Interdisciplinary Classroom
Based upon an ethnographically-informed research study of a humanities classroom comprised of 1 social studies teacher, 1 English language arts teacher, 2 student teachers, 50 high school juniors and seniors, and 1 researcher, this session examines how community spaces and resources can be utilized by teachers and students in ways that help students learn literacy practices and cultural skills. Session attendees will have time to discuss their own understandings of how teachers can connect students’ learning with community spaces and literacy practices.
Christina Bragg Keefer, The Ohio State University

Promoting Literacy with Technology: The Potential for Parents, Teachers, and Kids to Collaborate
Would you like to engage parents so that they are more involved in their children’s education? There are many online tools that can help us communicate and learn with students and parents. Teachers can use these platforms and more to inform, involve, and engage parents while promoting student literacy. Join this session to learn how to get parents involved with their K-12 children.
Ludmila Smirnova, Mount Saint Mary College

Diversifying the Common Core Text Exemplars: A Collaboration
This workshop describes the collaboration between MSMC’s Collaborative for Equity in Literacy Learning and Student Achievement Partners to diversify the recommended texts in the Common Core for kindergarten through grade 5. Participants will leave with ideas for books that will engage all students while preparing them for 21st century literacies.
Nancy Benfer, Mount Saint Mary College; Gabrielle Gallinaro, Mount Saint Mary College; Jane Gangi, Mount Saint Mary College; Anthony Hazzard, Mount Saint Mary College; Alex Hercules, Mount Saint Mary College; Justin Lewis, Mount Saint Mary College

Why Children’s Books Matter: The Isolation of Latino/a Children’s Literature
Latino/a children’s authors, books, and readers are constantly regis- tered as absent from bestseller lists and bookshelves. However, what if we as scholars, teachers, and community members were part of the problem in terms of this disparity? Latino/a studies scholars rarely consider the importance of children’s literature within community formation. Academics also rarely partner with community organiza- tions. This workshop will address how schools and communities can promote Latino/a children’s books with K-8 learners.
Marilisa Jimenez-Garcia, Hunter College

Integrating an Author’s Visit into a Common Core Based Guided Reading Lesson
This workshop will focus on Martha Bishop, author of Rafe’s Grand Performance. Presenters will demonstrate how this visit can become the centerpiece for a structured guided reading lesson with key be- fore, during, and after reading components.
Darla Shaw, Western Connecticut State University; Martha Bishop, author of Rafe’s Grand Performance; Tim Nott, Western Connecticut State University; Maria Grasso, Western Connecticut State University; Jennifer O’Donnell, Western Connecticut State University

Session II Workshops

Effectively Communicating with Hispanic Families
It is extremely important for all educators, teachers, and parents, to learn different strategies and methods of how to effectively communicate with people from Hispanic backgrounds in this increasingly ethnically diverse school population. By doing this, we will be advocating for all students to receive a nurturing, challenging, and positive educational environment to allow for academic success.
Alejandra Gomez, Mount Saint Mary College; Jane Gangi, Mount Saint Mary College

Teacher Judgment to Support Striving Readers
In this session, attendees will increase their understanding of the short- comings of current popular assessments, recognize ways teacher judgment can enhance analysis of assessment data, and work with data organization tools to elicit intentional reflection that will improve the accuracy of teacher judgment and effectiveness of their diagnosis and intervention for K-8 learners. In addition, attendees will learn how to use reflections on data to better inform students’ parents about their children’s literacy needs.
Jennifer Davis-Duerr, SUNY New Paltz

Promoting Understanding through International Books
The 2013-2014 Outstanding International Books, (OIB) is sponsored by the United States Board of Books for Young People (USBBY). The goal of this yearly selection of K-12 award books is to build bridges of international understanding through children’s and young adult literature. This interactive session will consider the selection criteria and implementation of these award winning books. Participants will review, analyze and generate ideas for how one might use these texts to promote international understanding.
Catherine Kurkjian, Central Connecticut State University

Don’t Forget the Pictures
As teachers, we often assume that students know how to interpret graphical features embedded in informational text. We as educators need to understand the importance of teaching students how to under- stand the information presented in these graphical features. Through this session, educators will learn how they can teach students about different graphical features and how to incorporate them into daily les- sons. They will also learn how they can teach students about different graphical features and how to incorporate them into daily lessons.
Meghan Bauer, Mount Saint Mary College; Nancy Benfer, Bishop Dunn Memorial School

Literature Backpacks: Fun for the Whole Family
This workshop will share a literature backpack project to build a connection for families between home and school. Educators will learn how students can bring home books, games, journals and activities at various levels revolving around a topic and share them with their family. Families interact with the books through discus- sion questions, games, or movies.
Alison Roper, Goshen Central School District

PREZI Cubing & Brainstorming Templates: Web- based Synchronous & Collaborative Documenting Tasks for Close Reading of Complex Content Area Texts
This interactive session will showcase instructional applications of two new web-based concept mapping tools for unpacking key ideas from rigorous nonfiction texts. The workshop will focus on connecting ELA Common Core State Standard to support K-12 students’ comprehension and vocabulary skill development. Specific attention to differentiating instruction for ELLs and using the tools as part of a comprehensive formative assessment toolkit will also be explored.
Robin James, Western Connecticut State University; Alex Fraiha, Rockwell Elementary School; Mitch Peterson, Western Connecticut State University

Connections with Families with Special Needs Children
In this session Dr. Barese and teacher candidates, who were at one time labeled special needs, will present Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies for supporting literacy learning and effective communication between educators with the parents of children with special needs.
Margaret McCarthy, Mount Saint Mary College; Gabrielle Gallinaro, Mount Saint Mary College; Evelyn Barese, Mount Saint Mary College