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Keynote Speakers

Kwame Alexander

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Kwame Alexander is the Innovator-in-Residence at the American School of London, and the New York Times Bestselling author of 33 books, including THE UNDEFEATED, HOW TO READ A BOOK, SWING, REBOUND, which was shortlisted for prestigious Carnegie Medal, and, his NEWBERY medal-winning middle grade novel, THE CROSSOVER. As the Founding Editor of VERSIFY, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt he aims to Change the World One Word at a Time.

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Carmen Agra Deedy
Carmen Agra Deedy is one of America’s foremost storytellers. Her many award-winning books include Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, which received a Pura Belpré Honor, and her New York Times bestseller 14 Cows for America. Born in Havana, Cuba, Carmen drew on her love of folklore to create The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! She lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia. Carmen's 's appearance at the Literacy for All Conference is sponsored by Scholastic, Inc.

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C. C. Bates
Dr. Bates is an Associate Professor in Literacy Education and the Director of the Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Training Center for South Carolina at Clemson University. Her research agenda focuses on the use of digital tools to enhance and deliver professional development for reading interventionists and K-2 classroom teachers, which stems from her ongoing inquiry into the teaching of children who are having difficulty learning to read and write. Bates has had 30+ scholarly publications and developed the Record of Reading app for oral reading assessment, which has been downloaded over 250,000 times. She is married and has two children.

Featured Speakers

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Jeff Anderson
Jeff is an author and staff developer who spends his days writing and sharing strategies from his latest book, "Patterns of Power: Inviting Young Writers into the Conventions of Language," as well as his other bestsellers, "Mechanically Inclined," "Everyday Editing," "10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know," and "Revision Decisions." His new joy is talking to students about his humorous middle-grade fiction series, "Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth" and "Zack Delacruz: Just My Luck." Jeff's appearance at the Literacy for All Conference is sponsored in part by Stenhouse Publishing.

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Wiley Blevins 
Wiley is a writer and educational consultant living in New York City. He has written several books for teachers including: A Fresh Look at Phonics (Corwin Literacy) , From Phonics to Reading (Sadlier School) and others. He has also conducted educational research and worked with districts to transition to the Common Core State Standards and evaluate the mismatch between their test scores, classroom materials, and teaching practices.Wiley's appearance at the Literacy for All Conference is co-sponsored by Corwin Literacy and W. H. Sadlier, Inc.

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Gail Boushey and Allison Behne
Gail Boushey and Allison Behne of The Daily Cafe have a combined 60 + years of teaching experience. Together they have taught Kindergarteners through college students, received degrees in elementary and early childhood education, special education, reading and language arts, and educational leadership. Boushey is a nationally renowned literacy expert, co-author of the best-selling books The Daily 5 and The CAFE Book, and many other professional development resources including The Daily CAFE and CCPensieve websites. Behne is an assistant professor of education at Upper Iowa University, a writer, and a major contributor to Daily Five and CAFE practice innovations. Their working partnership is grounded in a mutual love for teaching, reading, and lifelong learning. Their desire is to perpetuate effective teaching methods that are adaptable and will lead our children to a lifetime of learning. Gail and Allison’s appearances at the Literacy for All Conference is sponsored in part by Stenhouse Publishing.

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M. Colleen Cruz
Colleen Cruz is a fierce advocate for making rich literacy instruction accessible to every child. She was a Brooklyn public school teacher before joining the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, where she is Director of Innovation. In addition to her most recently published book, Writers Read Better: Nonfiction, Colleen authored several other titles for teachers including The Unstoppable Writing Teacher and Independent Writing, as well as the young adult novel, Border Crossing, a Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Finalist.
Colleen's appearance at the Literacy for All Conference is sponsored by Corwin Literacy.

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Cynthia Downend and Heather Rodman
Cynthia Downend has worked at the Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative (CRRLC) for 10 years, serving in the roles of primary level literacy trainer and currently as the assistant director for primary literacy programs. Prior to her work at Lesley University, Cynthia held positions as a literacy coach, Reading Recovery teacher, and classroom teacher for over 20 years working in a variety of school settings including urban, suburban, and international schools. Heather Rodman is a primary trainer at CRRLC. Before joining Lesley University, Heather was a Kindergarten, first, second, third, and fourth grade classroom teacher in Middletown, CT for 16 years. She was also a Primary Literacy Coordinator for five years where she provided literacy training and coaching to K-5 teachers.

Irene Fountas
Gay Su Pinnell

Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell
Irene C. Fountas is Professor at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she directs the Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative. As a former classroom teacher and literacy specialist, she works with a team to conduct field- based research and provide professional development to school leaders, literacy coaches, classroom teachers and interventionists. She is the recipient of the Greater Boston Council and the International Reading Association’s Celebrate Literacy Award and was named the first recipient of the Marie M. Clay Endowed Chair. She publishes resources for comprehensive literacy programs that quickly become staples for literacy instruction across the country. Gay Su Pinnell is a Professor Emerita at The Ohio State University. Her work focuses on children’s literacy education and ways to support teachers of reading, writing and language arts. Irene and Gay have published several books together, including Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades and The Fountas & Pinnell Literacy Continuum: A Tool for Assessment, Planning, and Teaching, PreK-8.

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Matt Glover
Matt has been an educator for over 30 years, as a teacher, a principal, author and consultant. He is the author and co-author of several books on teaching writing and reading including  Projecting Possibilities for Writers: The How, What, and Why of Designing Units of Study, K-5, Engaging Young Writers,  Already Ready, Sit Down and Teach Up, and I Am Reading: Nurturing Young Children’s Meaning Making and Joyful Engagement With Any Book Along with Ellin Keene, Matt is the editor of the a collection of essays titled The Teacher You Want to Be: Essays on Children, Learning and Teaching

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Brian Kissel
Brian is a writer, reader, and teacher. An educator for over 22 years, he is a Professor of the Practice of Literacy in the Peabody College at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. A former elementary school teacher and literacy coach, Brian teaches courses, conducts research, and provides professional development in writing instruction, digital literacy, and literacy development and instruction. He is the author of When Writers Drive the Workshop and co-author of the Literacy Coach's Companion, What's New in Literacy Teaching, and Perspectives and Provocations in Early Childhood Education. Brian’s appearance at the Literacy for All Conference is sponsored in part by Stenhouse Publishers. 

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Lester Laminack
Lester is Professor Emeritus at Western Carolina University in North Carolina. Now he works as a full-time writer and consultant working with schools throughout the US and abroad.  He is the author of over 20 books for teachers and children and is a frequent speaker at conferences across the US. Lester's appearance at the Literacy for All Conference is sponsored by Scholastic, Inc.

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Lisa J. Lucas
Lisa J. Lucas has over three decades of experience in education, as a teacher, instructional coach, administrator, consultant and is currently a professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She has researched and developed practical self-care and stress reduction strategies for educators that integrate mindfulness and social emotional learning. Dr. Lucas is the author of Practicing Presence: Simple Self-Care Strategies for Teachers published by Stenhouse Publishers. Lisa’s appearance at the Literacy for All Conference is sponsored in part by Stenhouse Publishers. 

Cornelius Minor
Cornelius Minor, Lead Staff Developer, taught middle school English Language Arts at The Brooklyn School for Global Studies in Brooklyn, NY before joining the Teacher's College Writing Project. Cornelius has special expertise in digital media and digital literacy. He is the author of We Got This. Equity, Access, and the Quest to be Who Our Students Need Us to Be (Heinemann, 2018) 

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Maria Nichols
Maria Nichols supports educators and refines her own craft in urban schools in the San Diego Unified School District, and in districts across the United States.  Her work as a teacher, literacy coach, administrator, author and consultant focuses on the development of thoughtful teaching and learning inside classrooms alive with purposeful talk.  Her most recent emphasis is on strategies for teaching about and through talk simultaneously, ensuring a focus on student-centered meaning making. Maria’s appearance at the Literacy for All Conference is sponsored by Okapi Publishing.

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Frank Serafini
Frank has been an elementary classroom teacher, a literacy specialist, an educational consultant, and a professor of literacy education and children’s literature for the past thirty years. During that time, Frank has published ten professional development books with Heinemann, Scholastic, and Teachers College Press. In addition to his academic publishing, Frank has written and illustrated seven children’s picture books, featuring the Looking Closely series with Kids Can Press. Frank’s appearance at the Literacy for All Conference is sponsored by Pearson.

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Diane Sweeney
Diane Sweeney has been a national consultant since 1999.  After teaching and coaching in the Denver Public Schools, Diane served as a program officer at the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC) in Denver. Since then she has become a respected voice in the field of coaching and professional development.

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Jerry Zutell
Dr. Jerry Zutell is a Professor Emeritus and former Director of the OSU Reading Clinic in the College of Education at Ohio State University. His specific area of interest is the study of children's acquisition of word knowledge in reading and writing. He has done research and written articles about assessing students' oral reading fluency, the stages of spelling development, the connections between word knowledge in spelling and reading, and instructional practices for making students better readers and spellers. Jerry is one of the senior authors on the spelling series, Spell It – Write!, and is the author of the vocabulary series, Word Wisdom from Zaner-Bloser. Jerry's appearance at the Literacy for All Conference is sponsored by Zaner-Bloser.

Reading Recovery Speakers

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Annette Torres Elias
Dr. Torres Elías is a Reading Recovery and Descubriendo la Lectura trainer at Texas Woman's University where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Reading and Bilingual Education. She enjoys supporting teachers and students, as well as presenting at conferences. Her research interests focus on the area of early literacy and biliteracy. 

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James R. Schnug
James is a Reading Recovery trainer with The Ohio State University, having also served as a teacher leader and site coordinator in the early years of U.S. implementation. As a tenured faculty member at the Ashland University, Schnug served as department chair and assistant dean for graduate studies. He is the author of Promoting Discovery in Reading Recovery and co-author of Uncovering What’s Under the White Tape. Both articles were published in the Journal of Reading Recovery.

Mary Rosser

Mary Rosser
Mary Rosser is the Director of the University Training Center for Reading Recovery and Comprehensive Literacy at the University of Maine. Mary’s particular areas of expertise are language education, curriculum development and literacy intervention. She has worked at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education and has extensive international experience as a literacy consultant and popular conference presenter. Mary’s current research interests focus on analysis of pedagogy with particular attention to teacher/student interactions that promote powerful learning and comprehensive literacy intervention initiatives within K-12 contexts. 

Lori Taylor

Lori Taylor
Dr. Lori Taylor works as a Reading Recovery Trainer at University of Maine.  She has worked in education for 33 years, teaching in special education, Reading Recovery, adult education, grade K-3 classrooms, as a literacy coach, and teacher leader before training for her current role.  Dr. Taylor's research interests include teacher reflection and decision-making, as well as nonverbal communication.

If you have any questions, please contact the Literacy for All Conference team