Friday at the Illinois Reading Council Annual Conference started off with a bang! I presented at 8:00 a.m. with Rebecca Caudill Steering Committee members Marcia Brandt and Ruth Gheysen. We booktalked the list of 2015 nominees to a group of about 100 people. I loved how our three voices/styles complemented each other, and the audience did, too. At the end, we announced the 2014 award winner, Wonder by RJ Palacio, to cheers and hearty applause.
I decided to dedicate most of the rest of my day to listening to other people give booktalks. I attended a session on nonfiction picture books that gave me lots of new titles to add to my TBR pile and to my library’s wish list (as I don’t know when I’ll be getting more money). After lunch and a walk by the Abraham Lincoln house, I settled in to listen to Becky Anderson Wilkins of Anderson’s Bookshop share a giant-sized list of new YA titles. I sat with one of our district literacy coaches who said, so aptly, “This list of titles will sustain me for the rest of the year.” I agreed as I starred and made notes on almost every book and visualized my TBR pile growing ever higher. I’m planning to sit down with the list and Goodreads sometime this week and add, add, add 🙂
The last session I attended was very hands-on and focused on using texting to respond to literature. Nancy Steineke put us in our students’ shoes and challenged us to read the myth of Persephone and Demeter and imagine the text messages that characters would send to one another. I could see how it would be very effective to get students thinking about characterization and making inferences, and my partner and I really got into it. For example, when Persephone starts to get used to her plight and a love for Hades stirs in her heart, I suggested that she would send the following message to her BFF: “Not so bad here now. Hades is actually kinda hot.” To which my partner (Persphone’s BFF) replied, “Are you for real, girl? He kidnapped you! He broke the law!” I am going to definitely see if I can find Nancy’s book Texts and Lessons for Teaching Literature at one of our school or local libraries.
After a brief stop at the Pre-service Teachers’ Pizza Party to plug the Rebecca Caudiil Award, I drove home to meet my family at a Bloomington Thunder hockey game. On my drive home (and also on my way there Wednesday), I listened to the CD set my husband got me for Christmas, An Evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. I got through two of the three CDs and am enjoying them immensely so far. CD #1 is Gaiman reading poems and stories for adults, and CD #2 is full of songs, more stories, and repartee from Palmer and Gaiman, also for adults. I can’t wait to listen to CD #3.
The only negative thing about my trip is that I seem to have picked up a cold from someone 😦 I went all winter without being sick once, and I am around junior high kids all day! So I go to a different city and stay in a hotel and BAM!, some bug got me. Here’s to hoping this thing is short-lived….