Even for a writer, it is hard to describe the energy and enthusiasm of 20,000 reading teachers, principals, and literacy coaches who came together to learn the latest methods to teach reading and writing. The World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga. was packed this week with educators to whom "Reading Matters"- as the pin, which I acquired from a vendor selling Teaching the Story proudly, proclaimed. As Linda Gambrell, outgoing IRA president said at the Keynote on Monday morning, "We want our students to be readers, writers, and critical thinkers. Through reading, we become better at understanding ourselves and the world around us." Highlights from this conference were:
- Close to 100 people at my session…and every single educator enthusiastically involved in creating an original character. Together we looked at three mentor texts: Peter Pan in Scarlet, Blue, and Brian's Return
and how the authors showed their memorable characters FAST- through their feelings, actions, speech, and thoughts.
- Selling my book to a woman from the Philippines who started her own K-6 school. To my knowledge, that is the furthest away that Teaching the Story has travelled. (Imagine the stories that those students will write!)
- Sharing a room with Margriet Ruurs, author of over 10 picture books as well as several Maupin House books on writing poetry. Sitting on her bed, Julie Graddy (Maupin House's publisher) and I had the privilege of previewing Margriet's presentation on My Librarian is a Camel
and hearing some of the amazing stories behind the book. Winner of the Silver IRA award for Global awareness, I would recommend this book for children as a window into seeing how children in other countries value books and some very unique "book mobiles" around the world. By the way, Margriet is also the editor for Kids Write—an online magazine where students can publish their stories- a resource which I recommend in my book!
- And as pictured here, having dinner with Margriet and part of the Maupin House team: Julie Graddy, Rita Beck, and Laura Lok.
Stay tuned. More on the conference in my next blog.
International Reading Association, teaching teachers, Teaching The Story: Fiction Writing in Middle School, Linda Gambrell, Margriet Ruurs, Peter Pan in Scarlet, Blue, Brian's Returnc