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Early Literacy Educators to Hear Specialist on Diverse Learning

Contact: Kay Hyatt, (207) 581-2761

ORONO, Maine — International literacy consultant Blair Koefoed of New Zealand will be the featured speaker and group leader at the annual Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Institute sponsored by the Center for Literacy at the University of Maine. The Saturday, Jan. 7 conference takes place at the Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.

More than 125 Reading Recovery and early literacy educators from around the state are expected to attend the daylong professional development event. The theme is “Dealing in Diversity: The teacher, the child and their lesson,” which focuses on understanding differences in learning and optimizing learning for each child.

Reading Recovery is a research-based, early intervention that can bring the lowest-achieving first graders up to the average reading and writing level of their classmates, avoiding years of more expensive remedial services and a lifetime of academic failure. The progression takes place within 12-20 weeks through one-on-one instruction by highly trained Reading Recovery teachers during daily 30-minute tutorials.

Koefoed studied and trained at the University of Auckland with Reading Recovery developer Marie Clay during the early 1980s. The success of the program in detecting children’s early reading and writing difficulties and accelerating their literacy growth soon led to the nationwide adoption of Reading Recovery in New Zealand. It was introduced to the United States in 1984 at The Ohio State University, and the University of Maine has been a Reading Recovery Training Center since 1992. The UMaine site serves approximately 200 schools statewide.

A specialist in literacy practices in modern education systems, Koefoed has been actively involved in the implementation of Reading Recovery in New Zealand, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Bermuda. At the Jan. 7 conference, he will help
Maine educators better understand what individual children bring to the classroom in terms of literacy knowledge and skills and how to more effectively match text to those needs and competencies.

Koefoed’s presentation to Maine teachers is particularly timely as new Reading Recovery materials focusing on individual learners will be published in the spring of 2006, according to Mary Rosser, University of Maine Reading Recovery Training Center director.

The institute runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in KVCC’s Carter Hall. Media are welcome to attend. Contacts at the institute include Mary Rosser, University trainer; and the Reading Recovery regional site Teacher Leaders; Whendy Smith, Benton; Nancy Todd, Caribou; Anne Jordan, Dexter; Janelle Burgoyne, Enfield; Debra LaRochelle, Machias; Sharon Greaney, Old Town; Cindy Kirchherr, Oxford; Marge Ryder, South Portland; Sue Lander, Westbrook; and Mona Schlein, Wiscasset.

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