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Check out the Schedule of Mini-Keynote Speakers

Mini-Keynote - Schedule of Speakers - Wednesday, July 26






Kelly Gallagher


Audience:   All Grade Levels

Building Engaged Writers

Kelly will share how he invites young writers to discover the freedom and possibility of exploring the meaning of their lives through the art of essay writing. Specifically, he will discuss beliefs and practices that move students away from distant, unemotional, and faceless “school writing” and into a self-generating, determined practice of finding, collecting, and playing with ideas.

Elizabeth Sens

Collaborative Classroom

Audience:  Grades 1-3

More than Literacy: Strategies to Support SEL in Literacy Instruction

Literacy is both a social and an emotional transaction. SEL is most powerful when woven into the fabric of how students learn to read, write, and respond to literature and others.  Participants will learn how to integrate SEL into daily literacy instruction.

Lisa Bailey

Virtual Arkansas

Merlina McCullough

Lead Evaluator/PD Consultant, Cognia

Audience:  Grades 4-9

Constructing Word Knowledge Through Engaging Vocabulary Strategies

Vocabulary is one of five core components of reading instruction that are essential to successfully teach children how to read. It aligns with higher student achievement by increasing reading fluency and understanding. In this session, we will share strategies which will grow receptive and expressive vocabulary and improve comprehension.

David Ward

Cedar Ridge Elementary

ALA Teacher of Year

Arkansas Teacher
of the Year Finalist

Audience:  All Grade Levels

Using Literature and Read-Alouds to Address Social/Emotional Needs

This presentation will focus on building a love for reading while using read-alouds to build relationships and address social/emotional needs. Participants will be looking at a variety of youth novels that have proven effective time after time with struggling readers, as well as students who are trying to find their way emotionally. By building a love for reading and an emotional connection through read-alouds, teachers can mold even the most difficult students into lifelong readers. During this session, participants will take a tour of titles that are field-tested to captivate students and possibly give a new perspective on being a classroom teacher.

Brandy Walthall

University of Central Arkansas, Instructor

Audience:  Grades P-K

The Building Blocks of Phonological Awareness

Participants will take apart phonological awareness, giving teachers a beginning point within the four levels within phonological awareness so they can screen their students and view where to start intervention. Visuals will be utilized on the levels and sublevels for understanding. In building phonological awareness, you are using the building blocks for a student to learn to decode and then become a life-long reader


Session Descriptor

Liza Larue

Region 7 Reading Academies Cohort Chair Elect - Texas Association for Literacy Education

Audience:  Grades 1-9

Reading in a Digital World: The Impact on the Brain and How We Can Support Students Reading Online

Digital text needs to be approached differently than printed text. This session will share research on how screen-based media is impacting the brain and what we can do as educators to improve reading comprehension in a digital world. 

Darcy Pattison


Audience:  Grades K-6

Scientists' Biographies, Dinosaurs, and the Weirdest Octopus in the World

Author Darcy Pattison presents fifteen award-winning elementary science picture books with a discussion for using the books in the elementary class.

Kia Brown-Dudley

International LIteracy Association


Audience: Grades K-6

Building Lifelong Writers: Harnessing the Power of Oral Language

In this mini-keynote, Kia Brown-Dudley will share effective oral language strategies that can be leveraged during writing instruction, offering practical ideas for integrating language and writing skills. With a focus on planning and understanding research and practice, attendees will gain insights into creating a structured learning experience. The presentation will reference quality resources from the International Literacy Association.

Katie Kirkland

Professional Development Cood./Curricula Concepts

Audience:  Grades P-K

Promoting Early Literacy Through Family Cafes

This session will introduce Cafes, a family engagement tool, that can be used to help families better understand the importance of early literacy from birth to five. Join to see how you can support the families and children you serve.




Julie Ross

School Speciality

Audience:  All Grade Levels

Making the Invisible, Visible: Successful Intervention Strategies for Multi-tiered Instruction Models

Students need to be proficient readers. In this session, participants will explore how to bridge the gap with structured literacy principles that apply the Science of Reading. Discover strategies to help you develop a successful collaborative RTI approach for working with students who need more intensive Tier 2 and 3 Interventions.

Kristin Gigliotti

Hand2Mind, Inc

Audience: Grades 1-3

The Science Behind Multisensory Learning - Why It's So Important When Teaching Foundational Skills

Learn how to shift from heavy reliance on written text to multisensory learning techniques in the K-2 classroom, leading to deeper connections, improved retention, and increased engagement in emergent readers.

Kristen Bowman

Tammy Gillmore

Shelby Tedford
ALA Board - Book Committee Representatives

Audience:  All

Yes!  Let’s Talk Books!

Arkansas Book Awards committee members will share book talks on this year’s nominees for the Arkansas Diamond, Charlie Mae Simon, and the Arkansas Teen Book nominees.  Resources will be shared.  Leave prepared to motivate your students to read and to vote their choices for these three Arkansas book awards.  These awards are sponsored by the Arkansas Literacy Association, Arkansas Library, DESE, and Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Pam Caffery

TURN Project

Audience:  Grades 4-6

Integrating Literacy and Science for Content Development

Scientific Literacy includes doing, talking, reading, and writing about science.  Participants will experience a science lesson that includes literacy activities to support conceptual understanding and remain engaged in science as participants work through activities that help students build their science vocabulary.

Mini-Keynote - Schedule of Speakers - Thursday, July 27






Roland Smith


Audience:  All Grade Levels

Writing Wild, Wild Writer 

Join NYTs bestselling author Roland Smith as he takes you around the world doing research for his award winning adventure novels with step-by-step instructions on how you too can write a book. Roland is the author of the Peak Marcello series, Cryptid Hunters series, The Switch, The Wildes series, They Are Here!, Zach’s Lie, Elephant Run, The Captain’s Dog, and dozens of other award winning books.

Karen Robinson

K-12 Literacy Specialist

S AR Educ Cooperative

Audience:  Grades 6-12

NEW Literacy Standards: Grades 6-12 

This session will address the upcoming changes in the standards for each grade band. 

Dea Paoletta Auray

Penny Ezell

Empowering Writers

Audience:  Grades P-9

Writing’s Role in the Science of Reading

In this presentation, discuss Literacy Launch: Understanding the foundations of genre and text structures, genre, author’s purpose, organizational frameworks, summarizing frameworks, and annotation and analysis.  Also, learn more about methodology:  a step-by-step instructional approach.  This approach builds on consistency and assured experiences and focuses on language comprehension through explicit instruction.  The presentation will include a closer look at the reading strands that are taught through the writing instruction.

Suzanne Rogers

Lisa Academy

Audience:  Grades 6-12

How Lexile Levels relate to College Readiness for Secondary students 

This session will focus on the importance of sharing the value of Lexiles in the wild. Teachers can help with motivating secondary students to read to increase their preparation for the world.

Rebecca Allen

K-12 Literacy Specialist


Audience:  Grades 4-12

Opening Boundaries: 

Accommodations for Students with Dyslexia 

We will explore the many different facets of accommodations, from environmental to response, for students with COD or Dyslexia.



Eli Cranor


Audience:  Grades 3-8

Shop Talk

In this session, Arkansas-based author Eli Cranor will give attendees an inside look at his nationally-bestselling, award-winning career. Eli will start by deconstructing his writing process, which involves penning rough drafts longhand, copious amounts of black coffee, and regular swim breaks. He'll then move onto hooking readers, especially males and end by offering the three best bits of writing advice you have never heard.

Shelby Tedford

Quitman Elementary 

Tonia Shue

PaperPie Learning 

Audience:  K-12

A Slice of Paper Pie

The presenters will share how PaperPie Learning and More (formerly Usborne Books) can be used in the K-12 library and classroom.  Participants will walk away with ideas and resources.

Coffy Davis


Audience:  All Grade Levels

Literacy and Justice For All: Reading for Diversity and Social Justice

Literacy and Justice for all is a trauma-informed approach for engaging young readers. This session will invite educators, advocates, librarians, organizers and adult community leaders to consider what it means to "read at risk" and weigh the impact that trauma and social inequities can have on young readers. It will also offer solutions for bridging the gap, engaging more marginalized readers and providing safe environments where all readers feel seen and heard.

Jimmy Hodges


Southside Charter High School

Audience:  All Grade Levels

Embracing Student Learning with AI:  

A Powerful Educational Tool 

Join participants in an overview of AI and its potential uses in the classroom for students and educators. 

Ryan Kelly

Arkansas State University

Audience:  All Grade Levels

Addressing the Need for Resiliency in Pre-Service and In-service Reading Teachers

Increasing the resiliency of pre-service and in-service reading teachers is presently of urgent concern.  This presentation will overview how improving resiliency requires a curricular plan, continuing professional support, and fidelity of implementation to ensure long term success.

Susan Perry

Amy Thompson

University of Central Arkansas


Audience:  All Grade Levels

Dyslexia and Common Coexisting Conditions

Over 60% of children with dyslexia meet the criteria for at least one additional diagnosis.   This presentation will focus on the importance of understanding the variety of comorbidities and the specific treatments and interventions that need to co-occur with reading therapy so that the schools and parents can serve the whole child.



Shavon Jackson


Audience:  All Grade Levels

Diverse Faces for Inclusive Spaces: 

Am I Culturally Responsive? 

In this session, participants will learn what it means to be culturally responsive as they discuss specific strategies to engage learners from diverse cultural backgrounds in order to create inclusive learning experiences and classroom environments through literature. 

Karen Robinson

K-12 Literacy Specialist

S AR Edu Cooperative

Audience:  Grades K-5

NEW Literacy Standards: Grades K-5 

This session will address the upcoming changes in the standards for each grade band. 

Tammy Gillmore

Southside Charter High School

Audience:  All Grade Levels

Everyone Has a Story! 

Join in a discussion of how to incorporate narrative writing within your classroom, as participants take a look at Arkansas’ new narrative standards and the presenter’s shared resources.  Bring your ideas for Share Time. Leave ready to give your students strategies to share their stories…and to better plan their future stories.

Rebecca Allen

K-12 Literacy Specialist


Audience:  Grades P-3

"If I Could Turn Back Time . . .": Early Identification and Intervention in K-2

Early identification of and intervention for a student with reading difficulties yields substantial results versus a "wait and see" response. In this session, we will look at the importance of early identification and intervention.

Address: 904 Osage Drive, Redfield, AR  72132
Phone: (501) 416-3992

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