Park University’s Watson Literacy Center to Host “Powerful Texts” Conference

Park University’s Dorothy Harper Watson Literacy Center, in conjunction with the Park’s School for Education, will host a literacy conference in honor of the 10th anniversary of its Powerful Texts Series on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Park Distance Learning Conference Center on the University’s Parkville Campus. Topics to be discussed at the conference include the art of reading aloud to children, writing for a child audience, impact of philanthropic reading events, utilizing technology to teach literacy, engaging students with dyslexia, and the importance of reading and writing powerful texts.

The keynote speaker for the event is Lester L. Laminack, Ed.D., professor emeritus of birth-kindergarten, elementary and middle grades education at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. Now a full-time writer and consultant working with schools throughout the Unites States, Laminack will address the importance of reading aloud to children. He will demonstrate the art of reading aloud detailing tone, intensity, pace and mood to help caregivers and teachers learn ways to make the most of read-alouds.

Kathy Lofflin, Ph.D., director of Park University’s DHWLC and associate professor of education, said reading aloud with a caring adult can be one of the most powerful learning experiences in a child’s life and instills the love of reading.

“Dr. Laminack is especially good at conveying the joy and fun that make a good read-aloud powerful,” said Lofflin. “I guarantee that those who hear him speak and read aloud at this event will be captivated by his approach and his infectious enthusiasm.”

Other conference presenters include Christine Taylor-Butler, award-winning author and past president of the Missouri Writers Guild; Shannon Cuff, Ph.D. associate professor of education at Park; Judy Lofflin, Ph.D., teacher at Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kan.; Linda Seybert, Ph.D., assistant professor of education and director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Park; Debra McArthur, director of academic support services at Park; Carole Nelson, teacher in the Platte County (Mo.) School District; Judi Estes, Ph.D., assistant professor of education and chair of elementary and secondary teacher preparation at Park; and Gail Hennessy, assistant professor of education and director of Park’s CETL.

In addition to the conference, Laminack will make a special presentation on Friday, Oct. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on the Parkville Campus. The presentation is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required, but recommended. Contact Lofflin at kathy.lofflin@park.edu or (816) 584-6419 to reserve your seat prior to the event.

The cost for general registration for the Saturday conference is $40 and for Park University students the registration fee is $25. Registration includes a continental breakfast, lunch, session handouts and other materials. Contact Lofflin to register.

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