UMW To Host Conference on Diversity in Children’s Literature, Sept. 20

The University of Mary Washington will host a literacy conference celebrating diversity in children’s literature and featuring award-winning children’s author Janet Morgan Stoeke as keynote speaker on Saturday, Sept. 20.

The conference will include workshops on such topics as using literature to teach social justice, the writing process, using television to teach reading skills, teaching for the common good, technology in educating English language learners and teaching for historical accuracy.

The “Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature” conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the UMW College of Graduate and Professional Studies on U.S. 17 in Stafford County. The event is open to the public and of special interest to teachers, librarians and parents.

The registration deadline is Monday, Sept. 15. The fee of $50 includes lunch. Visit or contact Kavatus Newell, UMW assistant professor of education, at or (540) 286-8070.

Stoeke, author of more than a dozen children’s books, is best known for her Minerva Louise titles. Her books have won recognition and awards from the Society of Illustrators, Parents and Parenting magazines, the School Library Journal, the New Jersey State Library and other entities. Stoeke has a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and a master’s degree from George Washington University.

The conferences will feature 12 workshops and presentations, including:

• “The Writing Process” will cover the writing process for young adult books and the history, conventions and marketing of young adult literature. The presenter will be Steve Watkins, UMW associate professor of English and author of numerous works of fiction.

• “We Aren’t in Kansas Anymore, Toto! Pre K-12 Culture Shock” will explore how children process culture shock and the ways this dynamic interferes with language acquisition. The workshop will be led by Patricia Reynolds, UMW instructor of education.

• “Using Children’s Literature to Teach Social Justice in the Elementary School” will offer a framework for integrating writing and reading using multicultural children’s literature with social studies activities to meet curriculum goals. The interactive session will be presented by Jane Huffman, UMW associate professor of education.

• “Teaching for Historical Accuracy” will show participants how to use literature to teach children the true meaning of holidays and famous historical events. Jamey Long, an author of children’s books, is the speaker.

• “Technology in Education for ELLs,” presented by Julian Savko and Valeriana Colon, UMW graduate education students, will share research and methods for using technology to foster literacy among English language learners.

• “Using Television to Teach Reading Skills” will feature researcher and UMW graduate David Riley presenting his work on using popular television programs to increase literary analysis skills among fifth graders.

• “Libraries and Diversity in Children’s Literature” will explore issues facing libraries in providing access to diverse and multicultural titles in children’s and young adult literature collections. The presenters will be Jami Bryan, UMW library manager, and Stephanie Reed, UMW librarian.

• “A Comical Use of Sequential Art” will discuss the use of comic strips and graphic novels to explore characters, plot and other story elements. The speaker will be Sharon Teabo, UMW assistant professor of education.

• “Interactive Storytelling using Technology” will provide practical tools for teaching students to be creative and powerful storytellers by integrating learning, literacy and technology to help students create e-stories. The presenter will be Teresa Coffman, UMW associate professor of education.

• “Hearing Voices: Oral Reading in the Classroom” will show participants how oral reading fosters fluency and will cover activities to encourage oral reading in elementary and middle-school students. The session will be led by Angel Carter and Tiffiney Langston, UMW graduate education students.

• “Teaching for the Common Good” will focus on sharing culturally responsive strategies for creating and maintaining a psychologically safe learning environment for diverse students. The information will be presented by Kavatus Newell, UMW assistant professor of education, and Kelly Andrus, UMW instructor of education.