Sacred Heart University’s 4th Annual Literacy Conference:
Motivating through Literacy: Practice, Perspective, Promise
On April 23, 2016, Sacred Heart University’s Farrington College of Education hosted the 4th Annual Literacy Conference, attended by more than 100 teachers, teacher candidates, administrators, and faculty from Sacred Heart University.
Sitting: (left to right) Diana Bernardo, Jami Brown, Alison Pregman, Meg Ouellette, Ann Stiltner, Lauren Janssen,
Jim Carl, Dean of the Farrington College of Education, and Karen Waters, Director of the Literacy Program, welcomed participants as they enjoyed a continental breakfast before attending a morning of interactive and innovative workshops conducted by this year’s reading certification candidates graduating from the CLSP. Katie Egan Cunningham, author of the book, Story, Still the Heart of Literacy Learning, gave an inspiring and informative keynote address, whereupon participants had an opportunity to purchase signed copies of the book, and speak with the author. Story reminds us that stories move, inform and call readers to action—an invaluable resource for teachers and learners.
The conference is a capstone experience for reading candidates pursuing advanced certification as reading consultants. Their presentations were the culmination of several years of coursework. During the past two semesters Dr. Eleanor Osborne provided mentoring, guidance, and critique, as candidates developed their presentations and collaborated with one another over two courses leading to advanced certification.
The conference format afforded candidates to have visibility in presenting to an audience with a scope larger than the one that a traditional classroom presentation might provide. As reading consultants, they will be called upon regularly to conduct staff development within their schools and districts.
Workshop sessions encompassed many current topics in literacy instruction, including phonological awareness, increasing the quality and quantity of student writing, the importance of oral processing in comprehension, content area instruction, brain-based learning in reading pedagogy, family literacy, classroom discourse, coaching through conversation, and others. Additionally, SHU adjunct professor Mary Dolan Colette conducted a workshop entitled Purpose is Everything, an interactive focus on helping teachers establish purposes for reading; adjunct professor Jason Bluestein’s workshop offered practical, everyday advice and strategies for building a classroom culture of engaged, passionate writers.
Event invitations were extended to the Bridgeport and Fairfield Public Schools, the University of Bridgeport, Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport and SHU’s MAT candidates.