Last weekend I was one of thousands attending the Colorado Chapter of the International Reading Association (CCIRA http://ccira.org/w/) Conference in Denver and one of many presenters. It's an inspiring time for people passionate about reading to convene for professional development. Many big name educators, authors, and vendors, as well as practitioners in the fields of literacy, reading, language arts, and library media gather to learn from each other. Gay Su Pinnell http://books.heinemann.com/products/E01239.aspx?gclid=CPf2-aeoxZECFQHhPAodbzaVDA, Janet Stevens http://www.janetstevens.com/and Susan Stevens Crummel http://www.susanstevenscrummel.com/, Marc Brown http://www.marcbrownstudios.com/, and Ralph Fletcher http://www.ralphfletcher.com/were just a few of the featured speakers this year.
We hear a lot about how schools are failing. It's a given, right? Not necessarily. Schools employ professionals who are experts at what they do and who care deeply about the students they teach. These people do not shun research but are informed and affirmed by it to develop creative, effective lessons. These professionals prepare their students for standardized tests, but they also do what they can to prepare them for life. These professionals know that being able to read is the key to unlocking a successful future and opening the door to possibilities in the present. You may have seen the bumper sticker "If you can read this, thank a teacher."
To learn more about reading instruction, see the CCIRA web site and the IRA website: http://reading.org/
If your work has anything to do with reading, consider attending next year's CCIRA. I heard that two of next year's keynoters are Jane Yolen http://www.janeyolen.com/ and Patricia Polacco http://www.patriciapolacco.com/.
And thank a teacher.