As chair of the 2014 Conference Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) and Past President of the Louisiana Reading Association, I can attest that Louisiana teachers are thrilled to welcome thousands of fellow literacy educators to New Orleans in May. While networking with colleagues is one of the top benefits of conference attendance, we also look forward to the high quality sessions that help us transfer the latest research to teaching methods in our classrooms.
Louisiana is in its first year of full implementation of both the Common Core State Standards and a new and more rigorous teacher evaluation plan. While teachers and administrators have embraced the challenges, they are appreciative of information about effective instructional practices in the age of the Common Core. Many IRA conference sessions profess to assist in implementation, but how do you choose from among the hundreds of scheduled sessions?
Here are a few sessions (in random order) that stood out to me, ones that will be especially helpful to teachers from Louisiana and other states in the midst of CCSS implementation. They seem to give explicit instruction on explicit instruction, which is what Louisiana teachers are looking for: how to make clear, how to scaffold, and the kind of reading and writing tasks called for in the CCSS.
While these offerings are only a few of the many sessions with practical, research-based takeaways for teachers, we hope that the list helps you build your itinerary for the conference. For more assistance, visit the conference website at www.iraconference.org or search for keywords on the online iPlanner at www.iraconference.org/iplanner.
Digging Deep: Using Close Reading and Book Discussion to Teach Struggling Readers How to Think in Complex Ways about Texts
With Irene Fountas from Lesley University and Gay Su Pinnell from Ohio State University
When the Text is Tough: How to Help Struggling Readers Struggle Successfully
With Kylene Beers from Teachers College and Robert Probst, Jr., from Georgia State University
Scaffolding Complex Text: Supporting Struggling Readers
With Anne Juola from the University of South Florida and Dorlinda Carlson from Manatee School District
Using Evidence-Based Reading Activities to Motivate Students within the Framework of Response-to-Intervention
With Mei Shen from Michigan State University and Nai-Cheng Kuo from Georgia Regents University
Empowering Struggling Readers with the Power of Independent Word-Solving
With Peggy Schwartz and Janet Wiedman from Orange County Public Schools
Techniques for Reading and Responding to Complex Informational Text
With Thomas Gunning from Central Connecticut State University
Intervention Meets the Common Core: Harnessing the Common Features of Close and Shared Reading to Address the Needs of Learners in All Tiers
With Karen Waters and Eleanor Osborne from Sacred Heart University and Michael Bennett from Naugatuck Public Schools
Popcorn Reading, Spelling Lists, Word Walls and More: What Research Says about Common Instructional Routines
With Katherine Hilden and Jennifer Jones from Radford University
Growing Literacy Work Stations: From State Standards to Partner Practice Teaching Edge Session
With Debbie Diller
The IRA 59th Annual Conference in New Orleans runs from May 10-12, 2014 with an Institute Day on May 9. Click here to register.
Debbie Rickards is chair of the 2014 Annual Conference Local Arrangements Committee (LAC), a Past President of the Louisiana Reading Association, and an instructional coordinator at Shreve Island Elementary in Shreveport, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was originally published in the February/March 2014 Annual Conference Issue of Reading Today, IRA's bimonthly member magazine. Click here to read that issue, and click here to learn about joining IRA.