More Than 200 Teachers to Attend Baylor Summer Literacy Institute

  • Dr. Barbara Purdum-Cassidy
    Dr. Barbara Purdum-Cassidy
  • Margaret Thomson
    Margaret Thomson
July 22, 2016

Media Contact: Tonya B. Lewis, 254-710-4656

Follow Baylor Media Communications on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

WACO, Texas (July 22, 2016) – Baylor University’s School of Education will host a three-day Summer Literacy Institute at the Foster Campus for Business and Innovation on July 25-27. The professional development conference will feature internationally known literacy experts Kylene Beers, currently an advisor at Columbia University and previously senior reading researcher at the Comer School Development Program at Yale University, along with Penny Kittle and Linda Rief — both teachers, authors and instructors at the University of New Hampshire Summer Literacy Institute.

More than 200 teachers will attend from across Texas and as far away as New York, Pennsylvania and Georgia, and the conference was sold out by early summer. In the central Texas region, teachers are attending from Waco, Midway, Robinson, Killeen and Belton. The program will begin at 8 a.m. each day.

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 will be an annual event and continue to focus on practical help for teachers. This year’s conference addresses struggling readers and writers in grades 4 through 12, covering strategies for engagement, comprehension, vocabulary, “quickwrites,” 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 speakers will pay special attention to non-fiction reading, which can help students in required assessments for other subjects, Purdum-Cassidy said. Non-fiction reading comprehension is essential for subjects such as history, science and math, she noted.

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.

For more information:

Follow the conversation on Twitter at #literacyBU.

by Meg Cullar, Director of Communications, School of Education, (254) 710-6435


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


Founded in 1919, the Baylor School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The School prepares leaders beginning in undergraduate programs, continuing through master’s-level work and culminating in both Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs; impacts the world as students participate in faculty-guided fieldwork, service learning and community-focused research in local and global contexts; and shapes the future by mentoring the whole person, developing an understanding of theory and practice and encouraging responsiveness to one’s calling.

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