This year’s conference theme is “Walking Through the Library of Reading” and will feature the character Leona from the popular PBS children’s television show “Between the Lions.” Christopher Cerf, the creator of the reading-focused show, will deliver the keynote address on Friday, July 26. The West Virginia Reading Cadre, who delivers professional development throughout the state, will provide the Academy’s concurrent sessions.
“The Reading Academy is such an exciting way to learn new ideas and techniques for teaching reading,” said Beverly Kingery, Reading Language Arts Coordinator for the Office of Instructional Services. “When participants return to schools, they have renewed energy for reading.”
The participants will intensively study scientifically-based reading research, the five essential reading components, and strategies necessary for student reading achievement in grades K-3.
“The purpose of the academy is to provide teachers with the necessary tools to close the gap for students who are experiencing difficulty in learning to read,” said State School Superintendent Dr. David Stewart. “West Virginia has made progress in third grade reading achievement over the past five years but there is still more to be accomplished.”
Research indicates that professional development must be sustained to be effective and produce long-term results. With this in mind, follow-up sessions are scheduled during the fall and spring.
The West Virginia Department of Education launched the Reading Academy with intent of providing intensive reading professional development to K-3 principals and teachers in low-performing schools. A team of no less than three educators who are responsible for reading instruction must represent schools that attend. During the first three years, approximately 375 educators representing 65 schools have attended.