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UW, WDE Partner On Literacy Conference For Teachers

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The University of Wyoming and the state's department of education are co-hosting a virtual literacy conference this summer.

At the Embracing Literacy conference, teachers will brush up on the best tools and strategies for teaching kindergarteners through third graders how to read.

Conference sessions will touch on a broad range of topics, including trauma-informed teaching, special education, and oral language development, said Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) Chief Academic Officer Shelley Hamel.

"Some of the more common or expected things: sessions about fluency, practices that we might implement to assist our students in becoming more fluent; comprehension, strategies about comprehension. There will be a couple sessions that focus on dyslexia...and how to screen, assess and monitor an individual who might be diagnosed with that," she said.

When they were planning for the conference, concerns rose over the COVID-19 pandemic, so officials decided to make the conference virtual. Hamel said they hope the structure will have a greater impact.

"We're going to have three to four sessions every Tuesday and Thursday over four weeks. So we're hoping this format allows that time in between for some reflection and to solidify your notes and the ideas you're exposed to," she said.

Hamel said the conference is meant for a broad range of educators, from kindergarten through third grade teachers and early childhood and special education teachers.

"We're also encouraging both the leadership from the district level and the building level to participate because we recognize without the support of district leadership, teams may not be able to move in the direction they would like to," she said.

The conference will have sessions twice a week for four weeks starting on July 21.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.
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