Baylor University's School of Education to Host Summer Literacy Institute

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    (left to right): Internationally known literacy experts Linda Rief, Penny Kittle, Bob Probst, and Kylene Beers address 250 teachers in attendance at the three-day Summer Literacy Institute.
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    Co-directors of the Summer Literacy Institute Barbara Purdum-Cassidy, Ph.D., and Margaret Thomson.
July 17, 2017

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Media contact: Tonya B. Hudson, (254) 710-4656

WACO, Texas (July 17, 2017) – Baylor University’s School of Education is hosting 250 teachers for a three-day Summer Literacy Institute at the Foster Campus for Business and Innovation on July 17-19.

The professional development conference features internationally known literacy experts:

Kylene Beers — advisor at Columbia University and previously senior reading researcher at the Comer School Development Program at Yale University, author of “When Kids Can’t Read”

Penny Kittle — teacher and instructor at the University of New Hampshire Summer Literacy Institute, author of “Book Love”

Lester Laminack — professor emeritus, Western Carolina University and author of “Writers ARE Readers”

Linda Rief — teacher and instructor at the University of New Hampshire Summer Literacy Institute, author of “Read Write Teach” and other influential books

Bob Probst — professor emeritus, Georgia State University, author of “Reading Nonfiction” and “Response and Analysis”

Teachers are attending from across Texas and as far away as Ohio, Missouri and Georgia; the conference was sold out by early summer.

Co-directors Barbara Purdum-Cassidy, Ph.D., and Margaret Thomson said the conference grew out of a desire to reach more teachers with meaningful support.

Purdum-Cassidy is clinical assistant professor of elementary education, and Thomson is senior lecturer in the School of Education.

“Three full days with this quality of trainers is a very unusual format,” Thomson said. “Many teachers are coming in teams, so they will be able to brainstorm and collaborate for the fall.”

“These speakers are not just authors, but they are experienced teachers themselves, who have research behind their practices. They also present very practical strategies that can be implemented in the classroom tomorrow,” Purdum-Cassidy said.

The Summer Literacy Institute is an annual event launched in 2016 and will continue to focus on practical help for teachers. This year’s conference addresses readers and writers in grades 4 through 12, covering strategies for engagement, comprehension, vocabulary and revision.

“Students should understand the basics of reading and writing by the end of the third grade,” Thomson said. “But many students do not go beyond basics skills and develop the ability to comprehend complex text and write at the level required in today’s workplace.” The Summer Literacy Institute focuses on the needs of struggling 4-12th-grade students.

The professors said they also hope the conference highlights Waco and Baylor University with teachers nationwide and encourages them to send their own students to Baylor. “Teachers can be very influential with their students, and we hope they will get students to look at Baylor,” Purdum-Cassidy said.

By Meg Cullar, Director of Communications, Baylor School of Education

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