Two conferences in May will celebrate literacy across the lifespan

The University of Maine College of Education and Human Development will host a pair of conferences this month that highlight the many ways its Literacy, Language and Culture programs support schools and communities throughout the state.

On May 12, the annual Literacy Connections Conference will return following a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is also the first year that UMaine will be hosting the conference, which was previously organized by the Maine Department of Education and the Barbara Bush Foundation. This year’s event will be held at the Collins Center for the Arts and Memorial Union. The theme is “No Bad Days: Returning to the Joy in Teaching,” and the conference will feature workshops and talks on literacy initiatives for early childhood, elementary, middle and high school-aged students, as well as adult and family literacy, community literacy planning and other general literacy topics.

“The Literacy Connections Conference is for anyone with an interest in any aspect of literacy from birth to adulthood,” says conference organizer Susan Bennett-Armistead, UMaine associate professor of literacy. “We’re thrilled to be bringing it back and to welcome everyone to Orono to celebrate literacy in all its forms.”

Jeff Wilhelm, founding director of the Maine Writing Project and currently distinguished professor of English education at Boise State University, will deliver the Literacy Connections keynote speech, “Planning Powerful Instruction: 7 Must-Make Moves of Transformative Teaching and Learning.” Several UMaine faculty members and graduate students are also scheduled to deliver workshops on topics including visual literacy, outdoor learning and journal writing. More information about the conference is online.

The College of Education and Human Development will also host the 7th Annual Suzanne W. Cole Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Institute, May 18 at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast.

The institute will feature a keynote speech by Betsy Kaye, associate professor in the Department of Reading at Texas Woman’s University, where she also serves as a Reading Recovery trainer. The event will also include a celebration of the Cole Family Foundation, which for more than 25 years provided grants to school districts in Maine to allow educators to receive training and professional development from UMaine experts in Reading Recovery and other literacy intervention programs aimed at K–12 students. The institute brings Reading Recovery teachers from across the state together. Melanie Ellsworth, an original Reading Recovery teacher leader in Maine, will be the guest speaker at lunch and will speak to 30 Years of Reading Recovery in the state.

More information about the institute is online.