International Literacy Conference

It was my first time to attend this conference. Held in St. Louis made it close enough for me to drive. I downloaded the app and began scheduling my time. The keynote speakers the first morning were amazing.

800 million people are illiterate! How important it is for us to get involved. #800mil2Nil

A young woman from Palestine, Shiza Shahid encouraged all that one person can make a difference simply by taking action. So often we think someone has already taken up the cause, but she found that is not reality. We can follow up by reaching out to those in need. She wanted to help others and volunteered in a women’s prison. Then she helped girls get an education by meeting during a summer and teaching them. She met Malala, when she later heard about Malala getting shot, she reached out to Malala and established the Go Fund Malala campaign.

Shaquille O’Neal didn’t disappoint anyone. You can see what a huge teddy bear he is when he asked 3 teachers to share the stage. When I was teaching 3rd grade, I remember purchasing a St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper because it had a diagram of his foot. His shoe size, 24, filled both pages of the newspaper. That visual gave my students and me an idea of just how big he is. In addition to being a well known sports figure, Shaq is also an author of “Little Shaq”


The exhibitors were generous, offering free books, samples and brief sessions related to literacy. Here is  representative from Houghton Mifflin discussing how to build vocabulary skills.


Check out Elmer’s Teachers Club on FaceBook, this lady writes the posts.


I personally met authors who discussed their most recent books with me. They signed copies of their books and were gracious enough to take snapshots with everyone. Link to Kate Messner:


One author, Christine Taylor-Butler was taking a selfie with her recently published book, The Lost Tribes. I thought she was another conference attendee so I told her the authors were signing books around the corner. She graciously told me she was taking a photo of her book. She was accustomed to being low key, she told me she had worked as an author for Scholastic for many years as a non-fiction writer. She is an engineer graduate from MIT who includes authentic facts when she writes fiction. When she wanted to publish a fiction story, she had to go to a different publishing company. It seemed while everyone knew her work, they were not familiar with her name. The link to her page:

Next year, the international conference will be in Boston MA. Boston is amazing! I was there in 2014, attending and presenting at a National Science Teachers Association conference.