I just got back from New Orleans yesterday, having attended the National Association for Gifted Children Conference in New Orleans. I was privileged to have a poster presentation as well as a paper presentation this year which made the 24 hour plane ride worthwhile (it also helped that I was meeting lovely friends while I was there).
What struck me though as I was going over the programme was the number of sessions devoted to talented readers and instilling that passion for the written word. Reminded me quite a bit of the AFCC (Asian Festival of Children’s Content) here in Singapore last May, only this time, with the gifted and talented twist – exactly my kind of thing.
Introducing the Stonewall Award Books: Meeting a Global Need by Dr. Bob Seney
I did not know that there was an award giving body which honored books “with exceptional merit relating to the GLBT experience” called The Stonewall Award – how apt that I discovered it in NAGC. This was inaugurated in 2010 by the American Library Association. Professor Bob Seney in his handout shared how studies indicate that gifted GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) individuals are more at risk compared to straight gifted individuals: “academically, emotionally and even physically.”
I was also delighted that Professor Seney provided bibliotherapy resources to help direct gifted learners’ energy into greater positive action. My greatest takeaway from this session is getting myself familiarized with more award-winning books such as the following:
The Stonewall Honor Books for 2011 are the following:
Using Books to Cultivate Talented Readers and Thinkers Across the Curriculum by A/P Susannah Richards from New York
I was entranced by Susannah Richards who introduced herself as someone who lives in a house of books – a kindred! She was brimming with uncontainable energy and her passion for reading is simply contagious. Too bad I was not able to get a decent photo of her since she was constantly moving around from one place to the next – difficult to pin down such ‘ornery’ radiance and spirit.
I was like a kid on Christmas day with all the fabulous list of books that she just shared. Some of which I am already familiar with and have reviewed here in GatheringBooks such as:
Books Owned but not reviewed yet: The Wall by Peter Sis and Squids will be Squids by Lane Smith and Jon Scieszka
There are sooo many books she shared that had me salivating during her session. Here are a few of the titles that caught my eye (actually everything caught my eye, but since we have limited space, let me highlight only five):
I was just so taken by this session that I attended Susannah’s second presentation the next day entitled: Escalating Language Arts/ Reading for Talented Middle Grades Readers and Writers. How could I possibly resist such a session? As per usual, I was enriched by so many book titles that I’m just grateful she has uploaded all her presentations in her wikispace as could be found here. It’s so comprehensive that it also includes a list of professional resources for talented readers and writers, a list of recently published titles that could ignite and delight middle grade readers and writers, and list of picture books. Better check it out!
Beyond the Page: Teaching Talented Readers 2.0 by Elizabeth Fogarty
This session actually reminded me of the presentation I did with Corinne from PaperTigers and Tarie from Asia in the Heart for the AFCC Conference this May (click here to be taken to my reflections/summary of that panel discussion on Building a Nation of Readers via Web 2.0). Here, Elizabeth discussed Shelfari and GoodReads and how it can be used as tools inside the classroom to promote reading that goes beyond literacy. She has also mentioned a book that I am itching to borrow from our library entitled Readicide by Kelly Gallagher. Has anyone read this book yet? Susannah has likewise made mention of this book in her own presentation.
Elizabeth has also uploaded her set of slides in her googlesites here just in case you may wish to know more about her interesting session.
Challenging Talented Readers with 21st Century Skills by Professor Sally Reis
Sally Reis is one of the rockstars in gifted and talented education and it is such a thrill to listen to her presentation. I’ve read a number of her journal articles and lordknows I have inundated my graduate students (taking their masters in gifted and talented education) with quite a number of her papers which we discuss with a measure of excitement.
During her session, she talked about the digital age literacy and how it impacts on the inventive thinking and intellectual capital of talented learners who need to demonstrate curiosity, creativity, risk taking, and higher order reasoning. She also pointed out that talented readers essentially enjoy the process of reading:
and that talented readers demonstrate advanced language skills:
Professor Reis went on to discuss SEM-R (Schoolwide Enrichment Model-Reading) which they have developed and spearheaded in the University of Connecticut. Click here to know more about this initiative, its efficacy, its goals and objectives – as well as be taken to downloadable pdf links for teachers/educators.
Who would have thought that my passion for reading would be even more magnified (if that is at all possible) by my attending a gifted and talented conference! I’ve always sensed that there is a symbiotic congruence which magically weaves together everything that I do and feel passionately about – this website (our baby, GatheringBooks) that I have created with Fats and Iphigene, my specialization in gifted and talented education, and this throbbing ache to read read read – and listen to what books have to say.
I’ve also taken a few photos of books that I have found in New Orleans as I was traveling around the city. Will post some of my recent book purchases in our In My Mailbox soon.
I was pleasantly surprised by how vibrant the children’s literature scene appears to be in New Orleans – lots of picture books in the touristy shops!
My mind is now positively bursting with so many ideas for NAGC in 2013 (I might not have the resources to travel November of next year since my family and I would be spending the summer in the US, I can’t possibly do two trips in a year). Truly lovely to have my two passions collide.