Highlights from the 52nd CRA Conference (2019): Reading in Wonderland
Photos by CRA Board and Text by Dr. Nancy Rogers-Zegarra, Editor
The CRA 2019 Conference attendees were treated to two powerful days of literacy learning at Reading in Wonderland: Rekindling the Wonder of Books held at the McClellan Conference Center in Sacramento on October 18-19, 2019. Early Friday morning, CRA Chapter Officers attended a Leadership Retreat, “Fishing for Leadership," where they rekindled their desire to be literacy advocates, planned engaging literacy activities for their members, and networked.
The” Wonder of Reading” was further highlighted on Friday by a tour of Barrett Ranch School, which featured a school culture focused on literacy, including reading lounges where students can curl up, read books and let their imaginations take them on magical journeys. The whimsical decorations at the Conference Center set the stage for our literacy adventure. A myriad of breakout sessions had participants wondering," Which road do I take?” but as the Cheshire Cat reminds us, “Every adventure requires a first step," and attendees were excited about the variety of sessions. Featured speaker Dr. Adria Klein inspired teachers with her talk on "Powerful Small Group Practices: Scaffolding All Students to Read Complex Texts by Teaching for Transfer."
The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, on Friday afternoon, gathered a stellar group of ten outstanding authors who dazzled and delighted participants as they shared the wonder of their fiction and non-fiction books and activities taking us for an adventure in fantasy and reality.
On Saturday morning, we were entertained by singer/songwriter John Farrell followed by keynote speaker Lester Laminack who captivated the crowd with an uplifting speech entitled the “ Wonder of the Read Aloud." Lester modeled how to spark the interest for all children when doing a Read-Aloud followed by thirty-two informative breakout sessions on reading, writing, listening, and speaking, including a Reading Recovery and emergent literacy strand.
An emotional moment at the conference came after lunch when CRA honored the Paradise teachers with gift books bags. Lori Oczkus talked about the fire devastation and the strength of the community to rebuild. John Farrell’s enchanting song written for the Paradise teachers brought everyone to tears, as we passed a firefighter’s boot for more donations and sang our support for the Paradise fire victims.
Exhibits, books, and more books sponsored by the Publishers and authors enticed teachers to preview, buy, and have the authors sign their books. The CYRM/ Eureka celebration was graced with a fantastic talk by author Reyna Grande and also honored the Write On With Reading Award young authors who shared their work.
As Lewis Carroll noted," the best gift you could give (her) is a lifetime of adventure. The 2019 CRA Literacy Conference provided a literacy adventure of ideas, strategies, and books, ensuring all participants could return to school ready to share the Wonder of Literacy and the power to transform lives.