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Author and Reading Experts to Speak at Emporia State

November 1, 2017

An author of more than 45 children’s books who “found a way to make a pretty good living doing stuff that used to get him in trouble in school” will be among the featured speakers at an upcoming conference at Emporia State University.

Mike Artell will present “Hooked on Humor” as a keynote address Monday, November 13 at the 20th Annual Kansas Regional Reading Recovery® and Early Literacy Conference. As an author, illustrator, and musician, he will discuss the vital role humor plays in everyone’s personal and professional success.

Also speaking at the conference is Dr. Clifford I. Johnson, a trainer of teacher leaders who has more than 25 years’ experience in Reading Recovery® at the regional and national level. He will present “Exploring Alternatives” as a way for teacher, parents and others involved in helping children read to try fresh approaches.

Dr. Garreth Zalud will be a featured speaker, taking methods learned by Reading Recovery® teachers and incorporating new procedures into existing practices.

“The philosophy behind Reading Recovery is to catch the children who are falling behind in the classroom, quickly intervene and concentrate on the reading skills, and have them at the level of their peers within a short amount of time,” said Dr. Annie Opat, Director of Emporia State’s Reading Recovery program. 

“The difference between this and other reading interventions are the teachers who can deliver individual instruction based on each student’s individual needs and make immediate decisions to help each child accelerate and internalize their learning,” Opat said. “Those trained in Reading Recovery are continually involved in professional learning. Teachers are involved in practice and theory of early literacy and reflect daily on best practice. This conference is one of the excellent examples of exemplar learning for Reading Recovery and early literacy teachers.”

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

  • Dr. Heather Caswell, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education, ESU
  • Dr. Roger Caswell, Executive Director, Jones Institute for Educational Excellence
  • Nichole Kuhn, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader / K-8 Reading Intervention Consulting Teacher, USD 501 Topeka
  • Christy Mercer, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, ESU
  • Dr. Annie Opat, Reading Recovery Trainer and Director, ESU
  • Dr. Melissa Reed, ESU 

For more information about registration for the conference, directions to the conference, or about the Reading Recovery program at ESU, visit or contact the Jones Institute at 620-341-5372, toll free 877-378-5433, or e-mail Dawn Moews at                                                                                 



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