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International literacy experts to attend Bermuda conference

The 27th annual conference of The Bermuda Reading Association being held February 25 and 26 at the Fairmont Southampton Hotel, intends to be one of the best ever. The Literacy Partnerships conference will see incredible speakers address the importance of connecting literacy instruction with intervention and parenting. Speakers are well-published researchers and experts in the field of literacy. They will address a collective audience highlighting the critical importance of incorporating these three facets of literacy that rely on each other for the literacy success of students. This two-day event intends to be interactive while at the same time leaving no stone unturned about the issues affecting student literacy performance.Keynote speaker Dr Richard Allington, a professor of education at the University of Tennessee, is widely known for his direct talk about how the quality of reading instruction is related to the quality of the teacher. He spares no jargon in making excuses for student failure. His latest book 'What Matters in Response to Intervention' identifies the most documented successful intervention programmes while pointing out very candidly the need to use expert reading specialists to teach struggling readers. Dr Allington is also well known for the book ‘Schools That Work, Where They All Read and Write'. Again, he outlines quite explicitly the adult leadership qualities needed in schools to ensure all children are successful. Dr Allington will also address the summer lag in reading for children from less privileged families and he will share the results of studies that actually reversed this lag in reading.Second keynote speaker is Dr Linda Dorn, professor of Reading Education and Director of the Center of Literacy at the University of Arkansas. Dr Dorn is also widely published and is currently leading over nine universities in her work, which focuses extensively on teacher training and development. She is the creator of Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy Model and Comprehensive Intervention Model programmes that involve teachers, literacy coaches, principals and interventionists all working together to ensure assessment and instruction are aligned but more importantly that teachers have similar training and pedagogy about literacy practices. Dr Dorn sees the key to student literacy success being closely related to the delivery of similar classroom and intervention practices with a heightened emphasis on in-school professional development around student work. Her most popular book ‘Teaching for Deep Comprehension', deals fully with the notion that children and teachers must engage in extensive conversations around books in order to reach deeper meaning from reading.Parents and grandparents will equally be involved in this year's conference with speaker Dr Floretta Thornton-Reid, who has recently completed the book ‘My Grandbaby is a Genius: Simple Steps to Growing a Child Prodigy'. Dr Thornton-Reid is an Assistant Professor and Executive Director for several teacher-training programmes including Reading Recovery, Literacy Lessons, First Chance, Comprehensive Intervention Model and Partnerships in Comprehensive Literacy at Georgia State University. This astute professor, teacher trainer, mother and grandparent believes parenting and grand parenting is a pivotal link to literacy success. She will elaborate on the quality of the conversations we have with our very young children in building brain networks for life-long learning.In addition to the high calibre of speakers secured by The Bermuda Reading Association, the Literacy Partnerships conference will host an open forum where teachers, parents and the wider community can question the speaker panel on literacy issues that are of concern. This year a special literacy award will be given to a person in the Bermuda community who has promoted incredible influence over literacy awareness.Teachers will also have the opportunity to purchase professional texts while parents can purchase quality literature for their children. The $100 conference cost not only includes three international literacy experts over two days but also a commemorative Bermuda Reading Association conference bag, key ring, and light refreshments, creating the feel of a professional conference held overseas but at a lesser cost. Participants can accumulate up to six hours of professional development certification hours as well.*Tickets are available at info@bermudareading.org or Pulp and Circumstance, Queen Street Hamilton.