The Power of a Literate Life – VT Literacy Conference Course

Vermont Literacy Conference

Attend the Vermont Literacy Conference on July 31, August 1, August 2 and then participate in this online course. This will enhance your conference learning experience!

Saint Michael’s College Credits: 3 graduate credits
Dates: July 31, August 1- 2, 2023 and virtually until September 6
Contact Hours: 45+ online hours
Cost: $1570.00 for the course and VLC conference registration
Intended audience: teachers of grades K-12
Instructor:  Ellen A. Thompson, Ed. D., Instructor of Record

Register through the Vermont Literacy Conference Registration Process.

Course Description:
This course provides participants with research-based approaches and practices to strengthen literacy and improve student performance in pre-K-12 and meet students’ diverse learning needs. This 3-credit hybrid graduate course is offered through the PLL Vermont Literacy Conference for those participants attending all three days (18+ hours) of the conference and completing the course requirements.  Each strand requires a text.  Students will be asked to respond in writing digitally over the days of the conference.

The online portion of this course will allow participants to understand more completely the vital importance of a literate life for ourselves and especially for our students. Using the lessons learned from our educational past, we will work to better understand how literacy development impacts our lives.  It becomes the tool of change or it can be a tool for power – both good and evil.

All participants will use a cloud-hosted Learning Management System to gain new content information, contribute to large group and strand discussions, hand in and share assignments, and discuss readings, etc.

Participants will have the choice of two required texts:
Option #1: Using the text, Forged by Reading: The Power of a Literate Life, written by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst, we will reconnect with what is most important to develop with our readers for living a more literate life. Reading and writing are tools of literacy; being literate is so much more.  We will explore the ideas of privilege and power for all of our students.  This course will consider how to make changes to increase power and, ultimately, hope for our country.  We will explore our personal biases, the language we use, and the types of texts and activities we offer our students.  This course strives to place the importance on the student as reader and writer to change not only themselves but the world.
Required Text:  Forged by Reading: The Power of a Literate Life, Kylene Beers & Robert Probst, Scholastic, 2020, plus VLC content strand text

Option #2: The book, The Literacy Studio, written by Ellin Oliver Keene in 2022, will help us consider our practice of separating reading from writing.  Just as heterogeneous groupings can be powerful for our teaching, so can the combination of reading and writing within the same workshop setting. Doing so creates a synergy to create an outcome bigger than the sum of its parts! Participants will discuss the types of teaching and planning necessary to create their own Literacy Studio to maximize time and impact. These discussions will lead us to the artistry in our teaching for all children, no matter the level.
Required Text: The Literacy Studio, written by Ellin Oliver Keene, Heinemann, 2022, plus VLC content strand text

Register through the Vermont Literacy Conference Registration Process

Course Goals:
As a result of active participation in this course, students will:

  1. Consider and discuss the merits of creating more literate adults
  2. Explore and learn more about the power and privilege literacy provides us
  3. Reflect and discuss the role of what we read, what we say, and what we do has on our students
  4. Reexamine what is most important to create an independent reader and independent writer
  5. Learn how to use difficult conversations, relevancy, deep learning and hope in your instructional stance
  6. Consider the implications this work has on classroom practice to map out a strategic plan for classroom-based or school applications
  7. Develop goals and plan for others that incorporate: Change, Power, and Hope.
  8. Develop an understanding of the use of the learning management platform  to support learning  and to support the learning of other class participants
  9. Collaborate and reflect  with colleagues to develop a community of learners to support  current reading/writing policies and practices

Instructor Bio:

Ellen A. Thompson, Ed.D., Literacy Consultant

Ellen A. Thompson, Ed.D.

Ellen Thompson has been an educator for over 45 years.  She taught as a classroom teacher in Vermont for over twenty years, teaching children aged 6-9 years in a multiage setting. Ellen was named the Vermont State Teacher of the Year in 1993 and achieved her National Board Certification as an Early Childhood Generalist in 1999. Ellen began consulting nationally in 1993 and has continued this work throughout her years as an educator.  Upon leaving the classroom, Ellen joined the Elementary Education literacy faculty at the University of Vermont in 2000.  At the University, she taught undergraduate literacy courses, supervised student teachers, and worked as a literacy consultant in two large-scale literacy research projects spanned grades K-6. Ellen worked twelve years with the Essex Town School District as the Director of Instruction and Information Services.    After merging the Essex Town School District and the Chittenden Central Supervisory Union, Ellen continued working with educators in the newly created Essex Westford School District as the Director of Learning Design.  During this time, Ellen completed her doctoral studies in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Vermont in the fall of 2007. Ellen is currently a literacy consultant for Partnerships in Literacy and Learning.