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WSCC to host literacy conference

Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 11:58 am

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Walters State Community College will host the fourth annual East Tennessee Literacy Conference on the school’s Morristown campus on March 14.

The focus of this year’s conference is “Meeting the Challenges of the Common Core,” in reference to new state standards for reading.

The conference sponsors — the Mid-East Tennessee Regional P-16 Council, the Mossy Creek Literacy Council and the Jefferson County School System — invite area teachers and other educators to attend from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Literacy speaker Dr. Tim Shanahan is the conference’s featured keynote specialist, and children’s author Mike Artell is the lunch speaker.

“Dr. Shanahan is one of the nation’s leading experts in teaching reading,” Dr. Amy Ross said. “Teachers will leave the conference with new ideas that can be used in the classroom and impact the common core standards for English language arts. More than that, he is a passionate and dynamic speaker,”

Ross is the dean of distance education at Walters State and co-coordinator of the Mid-East Tennessee Regional P-16 Council.

“Those attending will … attend terrific sessions about teaching with the common core curriculum and have the chance to network with other professionals,” Ross added.

Shanahan, who co-authored “Elements of Reading Fluency,” “Early Childhood Literacy” and “Teaching with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts,” is the distinguished professor of urban education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and previously served as director of reading for Chicago Public Schools.

His research emphasizes reading-writing relationships, reading assessment and improving reading achievement.

“Lunch with the Authors,” during which Artell will speak, is a new event at the conference. Artell’s works include “Three Little Cajun Pigs” and “Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood.”

Musicians Ron and Jason Coffey will also entertain attendees during lunch.

Teachers and administrators will have an opportunity to browse new reading classroom materials with vendors including Learning Tree and National School Products.

Registration will begin at 7:45 a.m. Shanahan will deliver the keynote address at 8:40 a.m. and will speak again at 12:40 p.m.

Two breakout sessions are planned and the convention will conclude at 3:45 with an iPad and door prize giveaway.

The conference costs $120 to attend, which includes all sessions, a one-year membership to the Mossy Creek Literacy Council and to the Tennessee Reading Association, TRA’s professional journal, a certificate of attendance and lunch.
The conference will be held in the Judge William H. Inman Humanities Complex, the Student Services Building and the R. Jack Fishman Library on Walters State’s Morristown campus.

Questions can be directed to Tammy Wells at 423-585-6899 or