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Award-Winning Children’s Author and National Literacy Experts to Speak at Emporia State

The author of the 2018 Bill Martin Jr. Picture Book Award, Hannah E. Harrison, will be speaking at an upcoming literacy conference at Emporia State. The event will also feature literacy experts from across the nation and the state.

The 21st Annual Kansas Regional Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Conference to be held Nov. 5 at Emporia State.

Harrison, author of the award-winning “My Friend Maggie,” which one the most recent BMJ award, has won awards for her children’s books “Extraordinary Jane” and “Bernice Gets Carried Away.” She will be recognized and give a talk at the conference’s luncheon.

The conference will begin with a national expert in understanding of reading and learning disabilities, Dr. Richard Allington.

“It’s not much of a secret — I don’t think — about teaching kids to read,” said Allington. “But the worst way to think about it is (as a) scripted program where I have a manual that tells me exactly what to say, and where everybody is reading the same book, on the same day, and answering the same questions. If you wanted a system that wouldn’t work very well because children differ that ‘one size fits all’ instruction that is so common in American classrooms is the reason why so many kids don’t learn to read.”

The author of more than 100 research articles and several books, Allingtonis professor of literacy studies at the University of Tennessee and is a past president of the International Reading Association and the Literacy Research Association. He received the Outstanding Dissertation Award and the William S. Gray Citation of Merit from International Reading Association for his contributions to the profession.

Dr. Barbara Schubert, who currently is researching literacy processing systems and neuroscience, will be another featured speaker that day. Dr. Schubert has served as a trainer and director of the Comprehensive Literacy and Language Model at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California, as well as a Reading Recovery Trainer and Comprehensive Literacy Coach Trainer at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Dr. Garreth Zalud and Amanda Zalud will be featured speakers, focusing on how students are introduced to new text and the functions of how eyes and the brain work together in order to accomplish reading.

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
  • 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, or e-mail Kristan Dean at