Rutgers University Hosts 50th Annual Reading and Writing Conference

Contact: Afsheen A. Shamsi
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Rutgers University Anticipates Over 1,200 Attendees at 50th Annual Conference on Reading & Writing

Actor and Author Henry Winkler, Happy Day’s “Fonzi”, to Give Keynote Speech

New Brunswick, NJ (10/23/17) − The Rutgers Graduate School of Education’s Center for Literacy Development will hold its 50th Annual Conference on Reading and Writing on October 27, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, NJ from 7:15am – 4:15pm. The conference empowers educators to improve literacy education and offers attendees over 40 workshop selections, 12 “Lunch and Learn” sessions, and 2 keynote presentations. It will also host 40 technology and education vendors, and nearly a dozen research poster displays. The State University’s president, Robert Barchi, M.D., Ph.D. and the Graduate School of Education’s Dean, Wanda J. Blanchett, Ph.D. will open the conference with welcoming remarks.

According to the American Education Research Association, children who can’t read fluently by 3rd grade are 4 times less likely to graduate from high school; Children at the same reading level from low socioeconomic backgrounds are 13 times less likely. The Conference on Reading and Writing addresses this issue head-on by providing attendees with literacy-rich professional development, and the skills and understanding needed to motivate students, engage struggling readers, deepen student linguistic proficiency,  and implement effective teaching practices. The conference also delves into current issues in literacy education today, including accommodating students learning English as a second language and the use of technology in the classroom.

Henry Winkler and Nell Duke, Ed.D. are the keynote speakers at this year’s conference. Winkler, best known for his role as Fonzi in ABC’s Happy Days, has written a series of children’s books profiling a fictional character with dyslexia. He hopes to raise awareness amongst educators for children facing learning challenges, and empower struggling readers to dream big when setting their sights on future achievements. Winkler will be signing copies of his book at the event. The other keynote speaker for this event is Dr. Nell Duke, professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Education.  She is a renowned literacy researcher whose work focuses on early literacy development, particularly among children living in poverty.

Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE) Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Kedra Gamble, Ph.D. is also presenting at the conference and will be leading a workshop about using research to guide small group instruction in reading. Gamble serves as a liaison for the GSE’s Community School Partnership Network (GSE-CSPN) as well. Currently, GSE-CSPN consists of 7 urban school districts across New Jersey that the GSE collaborates with to support the education of P-12 students and advance the practice of high quality teaching and learning for pre-service teachers. As liaison, Gamble works year round to honor the GSE’s commitment to advancing excellence and equity in education within classrooms across the state, and ensures that both existing and pre-service NJ teachers are implementing research-based best practices in education.

Additionally, The Center for Literacy and Development provides literacy-focused professional development to various other school districts. Each year, the children from one of these districts are invited to attend the Conference on Reading and Writing and participate in a reading session with a children’s author. Each child goes home with a signed copy of their book.  This year, the conference will host students from Old Bridge Township.

“For the last 50 years, the GSE’s Center for Literacy Development has been leading the way in addressing issues pertaining to reading and writing in New Jersey schools and beyond,” said Dr. Lesley Mandel Morrow, GSE Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Literacy Development. “Our Annual Conference on Reading and Writing is just one successful avenue that we have employed to empower educators to improve literacy in their schools.”

The GSE is committed to advancing excellence and equity in education, and for the last 95 years has been a national leader in preparing educators and researchers who create effective and equitable learning opportunities for diverse learners.