July 23, 2018

Scholastic Reading Summit

Literacy is a passion of mine. As an educator, I am always looking at how can I improve myself as a teacher. My students deserve the best, that is why I continue to return to school and attend Professional Development Conferences out of my own pocket. When I am paying out of pocket I select ones that feed my teaching soul and lift me up.
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Scholastic Reading Summit was a conference I first attended last year. Since then I was hooked! When you attend Reading Summit you are surrounded by like minded individuals, which is nice for me since I typically attend them solo.  It can be intimidating to put yourself in a situation like that, but remember, the best things happen outside of your comfort zone. 

Author Meet and Greets

This is probably my favorite part about this conference. You get to mingle with some amazing authors. Again, this is where the huge advantage of traveling solo comes into play. Last year in Washington D.C. I sat at the same table as Andrea Davis Pinkney. This year I sat next to both Carmen Agra Deedy and Pernille Ripp (founder of Global Read Aloud). 

When I attended last year I had no idea what to expect. The authors that attend the conference are not there simply to sign some books. They are the keynotes, and oh my word, they take your breath away. I wish I could find the words to share with you about how I felt in those moments. I laughed. I cried. I felt completely inspired. It is hands down the reason I went back again. And those are only the speakers, you still have two sessions to attend!
Jewell Parker Rhodes

Jewell Parker Rhodes is one of my favorite YA authors. Her stories put life right into you. She has written books that help students deal with tough issues. We need authors like that. Ones that write so brilliantly that it makes my job as a educator easier when selecting books for my students. Not only is she an incredible writer, she captivates you with her speaking and personality as well.  **Ghost Boys is a MUST read if you have not yet done so. Read it. Share it. Learn from it.

Carmen Agra Deedy

Carmen Agra Deedy has written one of my favorite picture books, "14 Cows for America". I have been reading this book to my classes for years. I have read it in both K, 2, and 5. It is based on the true story of the Maasai tribe and their gift of 14 cows to America to help heal with the pain of September 11th.

Andrea Davis Pinkney is another gift to our students. She (as well as her husband) have written some beautiful stories that I share with my students while teaching them about social justice. Their book "Martin Rising" was included in our swag for the conference. If ever there was a person you can approach with confidence, it is her. She is so welcoming!

Each time these authors speak, they are sharing the same message - the importance of teachers and the importance of literacy. Teachers, you are making a HUGE impact in so many lives. Yes, theses authors are writing beautiful stories, but it is nothing if you are not sharing them with your students. Even if you teach elementary and have YA books you want to share. Our schools are K-5 and it always gets around how much I love to reach. Students seek me out, they share what they are reading and I make suggestions to them. You can be an advocate for literacy and a beacon to students even if they are not in your classroom,

The Workshops

When you register for Reading Summit you will select two sessions to attend. One that I very much enjoy learning about is Booktalking and how to get your students to do it.

Booktalking is one aspect of hooking students that I have enjoyed learning more about. In my 5th grade classroom I would conduct a book raffle with each Book Order I placed. I would show book trailers for the ones I was raffling. I can say this book talking is one aspect that I need to become better at in my Kindergarten classrooms.

Next year in Kindergarten my goal is to send out a monthly LITERACY newsletter to our families. It was suggested to select two students each month to book talk one of their favorite books. What a fantastic idea!
After this book talk he GAVE us a copy of Refugee. Please, read it.
Did you know that Scholastic has Booktalks ready for you to use? Yeah, I didn't either. They coordinate with book fairs. Simple print and read!  Check them out here. They also have tips for you and for students. Find more booktalks here.

The Books

BOOKS! There is nothing like walking through carefully selected and recommended books by people like John Schu. Each summer I take a break from purchasing books, except for at the Summit. All the books are 25% off so I get more bang for my buck.  This year I was much more selective with my purchases as I have been on a mission to add diverse authors to my classroom library in a push for #ownvoices.

The SWAG

This is always a fun part. Why? Because awesome freebies! Last year I made a mistake and did not check my bag first and ended buying a book that was included in there. Oh well, lesson learned, but can you ever have too many copies of Blob Fish?
2018 SWAG
The theme this year was celebrating Harry Potter, so we all got a copy of the first book.  Two picture books (I have been wanting Martin Rising so that was SUPER exciting), a Professional Development book and a data and research book - for sharing with your principals.

 2019 Locations/Dates

My first year attending I simply picked the nearest location. This year I made my selection based on the authors (I NEEDED to thank Carmen Agra Deedy for her book). I can confidently say that I was not disappointed with either location. Keep an eye out for when registration opens! If you are able I also recommend the breakfast with John Schu! 



As for next year, Denver was the most appealing because it is an area that I would LOVE to see. The timing works out perfect because my Mr. actually has shut down the week of the 4th so we will be making a vacation out of it! Now, who do you think will be the authors?
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