Literacy Symposium Attracts Participants Statewide

Nearly 150 literacy leaders came together Oct. 10 for the fourth Annual Literacy Leadership Symposium at the University of Mary Washington Stafford campus.

Michael McKenna, Thomas G. Jewell Professor of Reading at the University of Virginia, speaks to literacy leaders from across the state of Virginia.

Michael McKenna, Thomas G. Jewell Professor of Reading at the University of Virginia, speaks to literacy leaders from across the state of Virginia.

The event, hosted by the UMW College of Education in partnership with Stafford County Public Schools, focused on the theme Reaching All Learners and featured a variety of speakers, including a presentation by Michael McKenna, Thomas G. Jewell Professor of Reading at the University of Virginia.

“Building background before they read can improve their ability to comprehend,” said McKenna, who spoke about fostering lifelong readers and gave some basic tips and tricks to engage students.

The daylong conference also featured a variety of breakout sessions taught by K-12 literacy leaders from across the state discussing topics from the English Standards of Learning to blogging in the literacy classroom to building vocabulary.

“We want to provide a venue for collaboration and professional learning for literacy leaders across the state. To give time for conversation and time to learn together within a professional environment,” said Nancy Guth, supervisor of literacy and humanities for Stafford County Public Schools.

Attendees included teachers, administrators and reading specialists from Virginia Beach to Staunton, Va.

Patty Breland, reading specialist at Kate Waller Barrett Elementary Schools takes notes during a breakout session at the 4th Annual Literacy Leaders Symposium.

Patty Breland, reading specialist at Kate Waller Barrett Elementary School, takes notes during a breakout session at the 4th Annual Literacy Leaders Symposium.

“We are so pleased to be able to collaborate with Stafford County Public Schools to support the professional learning of literacy leaders,” said Tamie Pratt-Fartro, assistant professor in the UMW College of Education.

Other notable speakers included Richard Long, director of government relations for the International Reading Association, Elizabeth Sturtevant, professor of literacy at George Mason University, and Tracy Fair Robertson, English coordinator for the Virginia Department of Education.