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CLC Session Descriptions

Session 1: (8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.)

Presented By: John Rocco

Session Title: For the Love of Books

Session Content: Featured speaker John Rocco will share his personal journey as a book maker, and what he learned along the way.  He will discuss his process for creating picture books – both the writing and illustrating – and discuss how his life has informed the books that he creates.

Audience: All Attendees


Session 2: (10:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m.)

Presented By: Marcy Canterna

Session Title: “Using Children’s Literature to Encourage and Enrich Student Writing”

Session Content: It has become increasingly difficult to encourage students to write interesting and creative projects.  Children’s literature can be used to lead students through a myriad of subjects in order to help them choose writing topics.  Picture books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, poetry - fiction or nonfiction - fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, realistic fiction, sci-fi, or any other genre: all can be used to help guide students when they are preparing to write.  We all know how difficult it is to begin writing when faced with a blank page.  We can encourage students to use children’s literature to help them get past the blank page in order to begin!

Audience: Educators, Librarians, and Writers


Presented By: Dr. Don K. Philpot

Session Title: “The Emotional Development of Fictional Children: The Case of Gilly Hopkins”

Session Content: Dr. Don K. Philpot, Assistant Professor of Reading and Literacy at Shippensburg University, will focus on the emotional development of Gilly Hopkins in Katherine Paterson’s crictically-acclaimed children’s novel The Great Gilly Hopkins (1979).  The session addresses two interrelated questions: How does Gilly develop emotionally during her short-lived fifth foster home placement, and how is her emotional development relevant for middle grade students?  The session presents a methodology for exploring the emotional development of fictional children and the specific emotional development of eleven-year-old Gilly Hopkins.  Participants will explore the evolving set of emotions Gilly experiences while in the care of her new foster mother and the prominent emoting patterns presented in the novel.

Audience: Educators, Librarians, Writers and Students


Presented By: Dr. Audrey M. Quinlan

Session Title: “Finding the Hidden Math in Picture Books”

Session Content:  “Buy one and get one free.” These words – abbreviated as BOGOs – in local supermarket ads tempt the shopper and encourage math skills as readers calculate the best bargains.  There are also similar bargains to be discovered in children’s literature.  Many picture books that are not aimed specifically at a math concept can be used quite successfully in connections to math standards at any level.  This presentation by Dr. Audrey M. Quinlan, Professor of Education and Chair of the Division of Education at Seton Hill University, will identify and explore five such BOGOs in beloved picture books.

Audience: Librarians and Educators, especially Grades K-6


Presented By: Dr. Sandra Reidmiller and Susan Wilson

Session Title: Teen Reading Lounge

Session Content: Learn about the Teen Reading Lounge program (grades 6-12), which was accomplished through a grant from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, and how to replicate it in your school or library.  The purpose for this best practice is to facilitate and stimulate literature exploration and discussion as well as to promote and advance the humanities.

Audience: Educators and Librarians (especially Grades 6-12) and Writers


Presented By: Mark Weakland

Session Title: The Terrific Ten: Highly Effective Reading Strategies for Classrooms and Libraries

Session Content: Thinking about one’s thinking and solving reading road blocks are skills that good readers employ regardless of what type of text they read.  In this session, Mark will broadly reference his 2014 IRA book on reading programs, provide a brief overview of the components of reading, and discuss two broad categories of comprehension strategies.  He will then define a focused scope and sequence of 10 problem-solving and metacognition strategies.  Finally, using trade paperbacks as well as his published books, Mark will demonstrate comprehension activities, such as “Thinking Cap” and “Talking to the Text,” that teach readers how to gain more understanding of the texts they read.

Audience: Librarians and Educators


Session 3: (12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m.)

Presented By: Roland Barksdale-Hall

Session Title: The ABC’s of Inspiring Children: Skills from a Teaching Artist

Session Content: Librarian and teaching artist Roland Barksdale-Hall creates books that promote empowerment and positive youth character development.  He is author of: Lion Pride, Under African Skies, African Americans in Mercer County, Farrell, and The African-American Family’s Guide to Tracing our Roots: Healing, Understanding & Restoring our Families.  The discovery of his voice during a stint on the high school newspaper staff changed the course of his life.  He is Managing Editor of QBR: The Black Book Review and presents at the Harlem Book Fair.  Learn from the creator of the Brother Barksdale Series how to write and tell a children’s story – from characters that grab to plots that keep youth reading, as well as develop programming to celebrate our multiethnic heritage.

Audience: Educators and Librarians


Presented By: Jeff Kuntz

Session Title: Engaging Vocabulary Instruction

Session Content: This session will give participants a general overview of the research behind engaging vocabulary instruction.  In addition, many activities will be presented to help your students develop a deep meaning of presented vocabulary.  This session will actively involve the participants in these activities.

Audience: Educators and Librarians, Grades K-12


Presented By: Lisa Socrates and Tanya Steeber

Session Title: Novel Projects

Session Content: Lisa Socrates and Tanya Steeber, teachers from West Hempfield Middle School, present this session about teaching core standards through novels and hands-on activities.  They have been expressing Literary Elements through a variety of unique projects, focusing on the Language Arts Core Standards.  Participants will see a variety of examples and middle school novels, and leave this session with directions to create these projects with their own students.

Audience: Librarians and Educators, especially those working with Middle School students


Presented By: Dr. Mary Beth Spore

Session Title: Sheinkin’s Bomb: The Thrilling Narrative of Historical Nonfiction

Session Content: Children’s and YA literature have seen a wealth of exciting and provocative nonfiction choices in the last 15 years.  Steve Sheinkin’s Bomb is one example of the innovation evident in the genre.  This discussion-based session will explore the literary artfulness of this work, the aesthetic treatment of historical facts, and the significance of this new genre – shall we call it literary nonfiction? – on readers of all ages and curriculums within our schools.

Audience: Librarians and Educators


Presented By: WPA SCBWI (Pat Easton and Marcy Canterna)

Session Title: Introducing the SCBWI Class of 2013-2014

Session Content: Most children think that authors only live in New York or California.  Pennsylvania has a wealth of talented authors and illustrators, and we want to share their newest books with you.  We will discuss each recently published book, and we will talk about the story, the author, and the illustrator.  Then, we will share some suggestions of ways to include the stories in your classroom, at a variety of grade levels and in many curricular areas.  Presented by the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Society for Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (WPA SCBWI).

Audience: Educators, Librarians, Writers


Session 4: (2:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.)

Presented By: Steve Sheinkin

Session Title: Confessions of a Textbook Writer

Session Content:  Featured speaker Steve Sheinkin admits to having written many textbooks, sharing some of the surprisingly useful lessons to be learned from producing books that succeed only in convincing kids that history is boring.  He describes his new, much better career as a writer of narrative nonfiction, talks about his approach to picking and researching stories, and offers an inside look at some recent and upcoming books.

Audience: All Attendees