West Virginia Reading Association Annual Conference set for Nov. 21-22

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
June 20, 2013
West Virginia Reading Association Annual Conference set for Nov. 21-22

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. – Approximately 600 reading education professionals from across the state are expected to  “Rediscover West Virginia Through Reading,” at the 58th annual West Virginia Reading Association (WVRA) Conference Nov. 21-22 at the Greenbrier Resort.

“The theme for this year coincides with the West Virginia Sesquicentennial,” said Dr. Robert L. Harrison, Jr., Dean of the College of Professional Studies at West Virginia State University (WVSU) and this year’s conference coordinator. “The WVRA is promoting the state’s rich literary heritage in schools and communities across the state this year, culminating with this conference in November.”

In addition to more than 35 workshops that will explore the state’s rich literary heritage over the course of the two-day event, the conference will feature two nationally known speakers with ties to West Virginia.

Bil Lepp, noted West Virginia tall-tale teller and children’s author, will speak on Thursday, Nov. 21, during the conference’s first general session.

Lepp is a five-time winner of the Liars Contest Award given during the Vandalia Gathering, held each Memorial Day Weekend, and has appeared on several National Public Radio programs, including “Michael Feldman’s Whad’ya Know” and “Inside Appalachia.” 

He has published 12 audio recording, three collections of short stories, a novel, a non-fiction book on parenting, and his children’s book, “The King of Little Things,” is scheduled for a Fall 2013 release by Peachtree Publishers.

Dr. Gary Phillips will be the keynote speaker at the conference’s general session on Friday, Nov. 22. Phillips is a graduate of WVSU and the W.Va. College of Graduate Studies.  Currently, he is a Vice President and Institute Fellow at the American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences in Washington, D.C.

He has published or presented over 200 papers, taught dozens of advanced graduate level statistics courses, and presented hundreds of workshops on advanced statistical topics.

Phillips is also the author of the report, “Internationally Benchmarking State Performance Standards,” published in May 2010. The report contained an analysis of the international competitiveness of state reading standards, and showed how state reading performance standards, including West Virginia, compared to international reading performance standards.

In addition to the keynote speakers at the conference’s general sessions, there are two author luncheons. The Thursday author luncheon will feature Sammie Garnett, a retired educator who is committed to inspiring and promoting the value of military service as early as elementary school through her series of “Alphabet” books.

The Friday Luncheon speaker will be Anna Smucker whose first Children’s book was entitled, “No Star Nights” which is a sentimental tribute the steel industry along the Ohio River.

While the focus of the two-day event is on reading, Friday’s general session will also feature a medley of West Virginia songs played and sung by the WVSU band and choir.

The conference is open to all educators, civic organizations, parent groups and community leaders.

For more information visit www.wvreading.com, or contact Robert Harrison at (304) 766-3313 or harrisonr@wvstateu.edu.
West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
- WVSU -
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