Kansas Children’s Literature Expert and Reading Expert to speak in Emporia

February 28, 2012

Two experts in children’s literature and reading will speak at a conference in Emporia in early March.

Beverley Olson Buller is an author and chair of the William Allen White Children’s Book Awards selection committee and a commissioner for Kansas Reading Circle.  Beth Swenson is an elementary school literacy expert using methods aimed at improving children’s literacy skills while saving school districts money.

Both will be among the featured presenters at the 14th annual Kansas Reading Recovery® and Early Literacy Conference on Monday, March 5. The conference theme is “The Art of Literacy Intervention.”

Due to renovations to ESU’s Memorial Union, the conference will be held at the Emporia Arts Council in downtown Emporia. The Reading Recovery conference is sponsored by the Jones Institute for Educational Excellence at Emporia State University.

Swenson will give the keynote address, “No Child Left Behind is a Journey, Not a Destination” at 8:30 a.m.

Swenson is an elementary Response to Intervention (RtI) district trainer in Minnesota. She is leading 18 elementary schools towards a balanced literacy approach to RtI. She is completing her doctoral dissertation on a Return on Investment study of the RtI model, showing the district saved over $2 million applying the model. Swenson has spent 13 years training literacy coordinators to coach and train in schools, and has presented at districts and conferences nationally and internationally.

Olson Buller will speak at the lunch, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the Granada Theatre.

Born and raised in Winfield, Olson Buller is a recently retired public teacher and librarian who worked with children in Newton public schools for 34 years. In her roles as chairman of the William Allen White Children’s Book Awards selection committee and a commissioner for Kansas Reading Circle, she reads at least 200 children’s books a year. From Emporia: The Story of William Allen White was her first book. Her second book, A Prairie Peter Pan: The Story of Mary White, was released in September 2010. Both were published by Kansas City STAR Books, named Kansas Notable Books, and chosen for the Kansas Reading Circle catalog and the William Allen White Award master lists.

The conference will offer educators the opportunity to network and attend sessions led by reading instruction experts from across the country, including:

  • Marsha Andres Schmidt, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Newton USD #373
  • Janet Behrend, Reading Recovery Trainer, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • Laurie Curtis, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Garnett USD #365
  • Suzanne DeWeese, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader and Literacy Resource Specialist, Jones Institute for Educational Excellence, ESU
  • Annie Opat, Director of Reading Recovery, ESU

The conference will be from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. For more information about registration for the conference, directions to the conference, or about the Reading Recovery program at ESU, visit www.emporia.edu/readingrecovery or contact the Jones Institute at 620-341-5372, toll free 877-378-5433, or e-mail Toni Bowling at mbowling@emporia.edu.

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