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Reading and Language Arts Virtual Conference

Accelerate, Invigorate, and Celebrate: The Reading and Writing Connection

February 11, 2022


We are so excited to invite you to join us for a day filled with robust professional development opportunities addressing an array of literacy-related topics that span all grade levels. Hope to see you there as we come together to Accelerate, Invigorate, and Celebrate the Reading and Writing Connection.

You'll hear from top leaders in the literacy field such as:
  • Nell Duke, named by EdWeek as one of the most influential education scholars in the U.S.;
  • Lester Laminack, author of many academic publications including Reading with Children, Writers ARE Readers, and Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum;
  • Phil Bildner, author of Marvelous Cornelius, the Rip and Red Series, and more.
  • Dr. Kay Wijekumar, a Houston Endowment Professor of Teaching, Learning and Culture.
  • Caroline Sweet, a bilingual literacy coach in Austin, Texas. She has been a bilingual educator for the past 17 years. 


Follow the button below to register for the Region 4 RLA Conference. You will not want to miss it.


Participants will maintain access to all breakout sessions for up to 30 days following the event.


Let's come together to Accelerate and Invigorate as we Celebrate the Reading and Writing Connection.





Conference Schedule (subject to change)


View a "Walk-Through" of the event by downloading this PDF.


Opening Keynote Presentation

8:30 a.m.—9:45 a.m.

Writers Are Readers by Lester Laminack


Breakout Session 1

10:00 a.m.—10:55 a.m.

  • Fiction as a Gateway into Nonfiction Reading and Writing
  • Engaging the Disengaged: Finding Ways to Inspire the Reluctant Reader
  • Supporting Students with Disabilities in the General Education Setting through Inclusive Practices
  • LITTLE Leaders - Advocacy in Primary Classrooms
  • Playing with Vocabulary
  • A Hands-On, Multisensory Approach to Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, and Fluency
  • Is there no one like me? Promoting Diversity Within Readings & Writing Lessons
  • Strategies to Accelerate Content, Literacy, and Language Acquisition forEmergent Bilinguals (English Learners)
  • Data Drives Instruction
  • Reading and Writing in Early Childhood. Building Strong Foundations


Breakout Session 2

11:10 a.m.—12:05 p.m.

  • Diversity builds strength and resilience in students
  • Literacy, HB3, and Beyond
  • Comics in the Classroom
  • Writing About Reading
  • A Step-by-Step Guide to Constructed Response
  • High Impact Student Talk Made Easy
  • How to Build Background Knowledge in the Early Childhood Classroom
  • Poetry of Life: Lifting the Voice of Every Learner
  • Phonemic Awareness: The Key to Reading and Writing Success
12:05 p.m.—12:55 p.m.

Breakout Session 3

12:55 p.m.—1:50 p.m.

  • Engaging Secondary Students in Literary Analysis
  • Build a Literacy Community
  • Orthographic Mapping
  • The "Write" Stuff
  • Art & Books: A Match Made in Heaven for SEL Growth
  • Authentic Literacy and Language (ALL) for Science: A focus on Text-based Inquiry Circles
  • Teaching Alphabetic Principles Through Culturally Diverse Stories that Embed Social Emotional Learning
  • Early Childhood Engagement - PLAY with PURPOSE


Closing Keynote Presentation

2:00 p.m.—3:30 p.m.



Who’s Who at the 2022 Region 4 RLA Conference?

Meet Our Keynote Speakers!



Nell Duke
Nell Duke is a professor in the School of Education at the University of Michigan whose work focuses on early literacy development, particularly among children living in economic poverty.  Duke has received many accolades for her work in the field such as, P. David Pearson Scholarly Influence Award from the Literacy Research Association, the International Literacy Association’s William S. Gray Citation of Merit, the Michigan Reading Association Advocacy Award, and has been named by EdWeek as one of the most influential education scholars in the United States.  Her works include authoring her most recent book Inside Information: Developing Powerful Readers and Writers of Informational Text through Project Based Instruction, coauthoring Beyond Bedtime Stories: A Parent’s Guide to Promoting Reading, Writing, and Other Literacy Skills From Birth to 5, Literacy and the Youngest Learner: Best Practices for Educators of Children from Birth to Five, and more.  Learn more about Duke at



Lester Laminack
Lester L. Laminack is writer and consultant working with schools throughout the United States. He is an active member of the National Council of Teachers of English and served three years as co-editor of the NCTE journal Primary Voices and as editor of the Children’s Book Review Department of the NCTE journal Language Arts (2003-2006). Some of his publications include: Reading with Children (Literacy Volunteers of America), Spelling in Use (NCTE), The Writing Workshop: Working Through the Hard Parts (NCTE), Learning Under the Influence of Language and Literature (Heinemann), Unwrapping the Read Aloud (Scholastic), and many more.  Laminack has also authored several children’s books such as The Sunsets of Miss Olivia Wiggins (Peachtree Publishers), Jake’s 100th Day of School (Peachtree Publishers), and The King of Bees (Peachtree Publishers). Learn more about Lester Laminack at


Meet Our Featured Speakers!

nellPhil Bildner
Phil Bildner is a well-known writer and international speaker.   Bildner is an entertaining and informative speaker who focuses his talks on reading, writing, creativity, and empathy.  Bildner has been a classroom teacher in New York City Public Schools who has had his class featured on the CBS Television program, Coast to Coast.  Bildner founded the NOLA Tree, a non-profit youth service organization.  His latest endeavor is creating a forum for authors to coordinate their school visits and appearances called The Author Village.  Books of Phil Bildners include The Hallelujah Flight, The Shot Heard Round the World, Martina and Chrissie, Marvelous Cornelius and more.  Learn more about Phil Bildner at


wijekumarDr. Kay Wijekumar


Dr. Kay Wijekumar, is Houston Endowment Professor of Teaching, Learning and Culture and the Director of the Center for Technology and Urban Schools Partnerships at Texas A&M University. She is a passionate advocate for children and focuses on developing effective technologies for reading, writing, English language learners, and problem solving. She was elected to the Board of School Directors at the Quaker Valley School District in Pennsylvania and served two terms prior to moving to Texas. She serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Educational Psychology and on the editorial board of Review of Educational Research and Educational Technology Research and Development. She has also conducted large scale efficacy studies of web-based software for reading comprehension, writing, and mathematics.


She has received over 70 million dollars in grants to develop and test technologies for learning. Her most recent grants include a 7.5 million dollar grant to support teacher professional development, a 3.5 million dollar grant to conduct efficacy studies with high poverty schools and a 3.0 million dollar grant to test the We Write intervention that combines teacher-led and computer activities. She focuses all her energies on improving the lives of every child she can support through powerful technologies that are now being used worldwide.



caroline-sweet-v2Caroline Sweet


Caroline Sweet is a bilingual literacy coach in Austin, Texas.  She has been a bilingual educator for the past 17 years.  She is also the author of Patterns of Power en español: Inviting Bilingual Writers into the Conventions of Spanish.  Caroline loves merging her love of grammar with her love of culturally-relevant literature in the language arts classroom.





Reading and Language Arts Virtual Conference

February 11, 2022

Time: 7:30 a.m–3:30 p.m.

Session ID: 1494297

CPE: 6

Registration Fee: $125

Location: Virtual Session.  Link will be sent before the event,

Recommended Audience: ELAR Teachers, PreK-Grade 12, Administrators, Instructional Support Staff


For more information, e-mail





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