SJU Hosts Reading Conference Featuring Richard Allington

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

by Amanda Sapio '13

Saint Joseph’s University’s Alpha Zeta Chapter of Alpha Upsilon Alpha, the International Reading Association’s (IRA) Honor Society, will host its annual reading conference on campus Sat., May 3, 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m., in the Wolfington Teletorium in Mandeville Hall. The conference will be led by Richard Allington, Ph.D., an award-winning author and educator, who will share his extensive teaching knowledge and industry expertise. Attendees will learn strategic teaching methods and connect with fellow educators through informative breakout sessions lead by graduates of SJU’s reading program. Click here to register.

“Dr. Allington is a leader in reading education and highly regarded by educators and pre-service teachers throughout the country,” says Melanie Solano, president, Alpha Zeta SJU Chapter. “This conference strives to provide educators with methods of incorporating new lesson plans into the classroom to help students think critically and make connections between the text and their own lives. We hope that attendees will learn how to promote higher-level thinking and metacognition in their students.”

Allington has been a researcher and professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville since 2005. He previously served as professor of education at the University of Florida and chair of the reading department at the University at Albany-SUNY. Allington has authored over 100 research articles and several books. His research interests include effective instruction in classroom settings as well as reading and learning disabilities. He has served as president of the IRA and the National Reading Conference and is the recipient of more than 10 honors and awards, including the William S. Gray Citation of Merit from the IRA, the A. B. Herr Award and the Manning Literacy Award. Allington was also inducted into the IRA Reading Hall of Fame in 1995.

Conference Schedule:

8:00-8:30 a.m.: Check-in and Continental Breakfast

8:30-9:30 a.m.: Keynote Speaker – Richard Allington, Ph.D.

9:40-10:20 a.m.: Session 1 (Attendees may choose sessions from topics below)

10:25-11:05 a.m.: Session 2

11:10-11:50 a.m.: Session 3

12:00-12:15 p.m.: Evaluations, Act 48 Credits, and Closure

Attendees will have the opportunity to choose from three of the following breakout sessions:

  • Differentiation within a Literacy Inclusion Model: This session will cover how teachers can meet the needs of individual students while balancing the rigorous demands of the Common Core – a set of math and English state standards by which teachers must abide.
  • Fostering Motivation and Independent Reading: Educators will learn helpful strategies to foster motivation and establish an engaging independent reading program in today's Common Core classroom.
  • Increasing Thoughtful Responses with Literature in Middle School Classrooms: In this interactive session, teachers learn how to promote discourse in class, view question stems for higher-level thinking and consider practical ways to develop thoughtful response lessons that implement Common Core standards.
  • Thinking about Thinking: Metacognition, the concept of thinking about your thinking, is a skill that many students, specifically those with learning disabilities, struggle with. Attendees will learn how metacognition can inform students of their learning style, their strengths and needs, and the study skills necessary to succeed. There will also be a discussion of strategies to help students become independent metacognitive learners.
  • Interventions to Support Higher-Level Thinking: This session will focus on an effective Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTII) framework that supports higher-level thinking for all intervention tiers.
  • Shared Reading, Guided Reading and Interactive Read-Alouds Promote Deep Comprehension: An opportunity to use shared, guided and interactive reading techniques will be offered to help first grade students talk, think and write with deeper comprehension, ensuring that the work they do is cognitively complex. Goal-setting and design instructions to help students reach expectations of the Common Core State Standard will also be covered. 
  • Technology in the Classroom: The iPad is one of many useful forms of technology in schools. This session will discuss how teachers can support literacy growth and encourage excitement about reading with an iPad in the classroom. 
  • Real World Strategies and Activities Promote Critical Thinking and Responses to Reading: Attendees will consider various programs that have been effective when teaching students how to read, including metacognitive strategies that help foster critical thinking about the text. 

This year’s conference is sponsored in conjunction with the Alpha Zeta Chapter of the International Reading Association’s Alpha Upsilon Alpha Honor Society, the Chester County Intermediate Unit and the Philadelphia Reading Council. Act 48 credits are available through the Chester County Intermediate Unit for an additional $15 per person with a valid PPID number and cash or check. All are welcome and encouraged to register in advance for a discounted rate but are welcome to register at the door, as well.  

For more information on the vent, contact Melanie Solano, president of the Alpha Zeta SJU Chapter, at or 610-505-4304.

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