SYRACUSE, N.Y., Oct. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 3,000 members of The Reading League's community of educators and advocates assembled yesterday for its first all-virtual conference, the latest milestone in the ongoing effort to bring the Science of Reading into classrooms. The day-long event offered 20 sessions from leading voices in the field and experts in the Science of Reading – 18 on-demand sessions and two keynotes, from Drs. Tracy Weeden and Pamela Snow, bookending the agenda.
"Millions of kids were struggling to read even before COVID-19 and, while the conditions facing educators this school year are not ideal, The Reading League remains committed to supporting educators as they work to improve reading outcomes," said The Reading League Founder and CEO Maria Murray. "That's why we purposefully focused this year's sessions on informative, actionable content that meets educators where they are and offers solutions to keep growing – whether teaching virtually or in a classroom."
The nonprofit's fourth annual conference, "The Science of Reading: Now More Than Ever," balanced a tone of progress against a preview of the road ahead. Throughout the day, several key themes rose to the top as important takeaways:
- In her learning session, "Improving Written Compositions - One Sentence at a Time," Dr. Anita Archer outlined six different approaches to sentence development: sentence dictation, sentence patterns, sentence activities, sentence expansion, sentence combining, and sentence frames.
- "Addressing Word-Level Reading Difficulties: Assessment, Instruction, and Intervention," a learning session from Dr. David Kilpatrick, walks through the response process for struggling readers from start to finish – exploring various methods for evaluating readers and the many ways to resolve reading challenges through effective instruction.
- Dr. Pamela Snow's afternoon keynote, "From little things, big things grow," closed the conference by taking a wide-lens look at all the ways written and oral language can shape our lives – from public health and the cycle of poverty to employment and housing stability.
Access Dr. Weeden's Video on Literacy as a Civil Right
But perhaps the most impactful session of the day was Dr. Tracy Weeden's morning keynote, "Literacy - The Civil Right of the 21st Century." In it, Dr. Weeden, resident & CEO at Neuhaus Education Center and a passionate literacy advocate, underscores the importance of literacy in our "knowledge economy" and positions access to effective reading education as a pressing civil rights issue.
"The currency of literacy is something that every child deserves. If literacy does not lead the way, children do not have the access they need in a knowledge economy," said Dr. Weeden. "The most important work we will do for children is ensuring they are fully literate. Literacy is the next and most important civil right we need to focus on collectively. We know the Science of Reading is part of the cure – do we have the will for the work?"
To help Dr. Weeden impart upon all educators the gravity of their work and its influence on a child's entire life trajectory, The Reading League has made available publicly for the first time Weeden's keynote session, free of cost, which can be viewed here.
Introducing Teaching, Reading & Learning: The Podcast
In that same spirit, The Reading League (TRL) yesterday released the first two episodes of its new podcast: Teaching, Reading & Learning: The Podcast directly following Dr. Snow's closing keynote.
Hosted by The Reading League National Director Laura Stewart, the first two podcast episodes feature Drs. Louisa Moats and David Kilpatrick, both distinguished experts in science-aligned reading instruction. New episodes will be released weekly on Tuesdays, with each episode including a leading voice in the Science of Reading field. Listeners may tune in via The Reading League website or on streaming platforms Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcast.
"We're very excited to explore this medium as a new pathway to reach educators and share essential knowledge about the Science of Reading," said The Reading League VP of Marketing and Development Toni Ann Walsh. "Ultimately, we want to draw the attention of a wider audience – of both educators and administrators – to the challenges and solutions facing reading instructors, and introducing these ideas on a new channel will help us get there."
About The Reading League
The Reading League (TRL) is a national education nonprofit led by educators and reading experts dedicated to promoting knowledge to reimagine the future of literacy education and accelerate the global movement toward reading instruction rooted in science. Our purpose is to increase knowledge of science-based approaches to teach reading as well as research that demystifies how people learn to benefit the lives of millions of students. We train and support educators and school leaders. By extension, we also serve parents, specialists, and researchers. We believe all children can learn to read and all teachers can learn to teach them. thereadingleague.org
SOURCE The Reading League