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A Look Inside I.R.A. 2010 by Stephanie Gorecki

Really Good Stuff's booth at I.R.A. 2010

A Look Inside I.R.A. 2010

by Stephanie Gorecki,

Intermediate Product Development Manager for Really Good Stuff

From April 25th through the 28th, dedicated teachers filled the rooms and halls of Chicago’s McCormick Place for I.R.A.’s 55th Annual Convention: Reading in Many Languages. A rainy start gave way to a sunny and breezy week by the sparkling waters of Lake Michigan, which was enjoyed by attendees through the massive floor-to-ceiling lobby windows. The convention offered a little something for everyone.

Reading specialists, school administrators, professors, authors, classroom teachers, and more shared in conversations over current issues in literacy learning and instruction. Conference sessions offered a wide-variety of topics to choose from, notably this year: ELL needs, technology and reading, coaching and RTI, and non-fiction comprehension in the content areas.

Debbie Diller, author of Literacy Work Stations, at the Really Good Stuff booth at IRA 2010

The conference brought many authors and their readers together. Eager lines formed as teachers gathered for signings from their favorite authors of professional books and children’s books, and for the sessions offered by some of the authors. Some included Kevin Henkes, Regie Routman, Jane Yolen, T.A. Barron, Christine Boardman Moen, David Adler, Jon Scieszka, and Henry Winkler, among many great others.

Literacy Work Stations author, Debbie Diller, greeted fans at the Really Good Stuff booth. And it was nearly standing-room-only at the 4,249 seat Arie Crown Theater for a talk by former Vice President Al Gore who touched on the internet and its connections to new literacies. While rolling carts were no longer allowed in the exhibit hall this year, teachers still found ways to manage all of the valuable give-aways from the booths. With the I.R.A. Convention offering so much this year, it was impossible to leave McCormick place, without at least one new tool, strategy, or perspective that would impact one’s work with students in the field of literacy.

What conferences do you usually attend?  Do you stick close to home and only travel to conferences in your state or within driving distance?  Is there one conference that you just can’t miss every year?  We’d love to hear what’s important to you when choosing whether or not to attend a conference.  Please comment and share your thoughts with us!

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Nancy Ricciardi
Nancy Ricciardi

I wouldn't miss the Georgia Math Conference sponsored by GCTM at Rock Eagle each year in October. I have been to this conference over and over again, but I always leave with lots of new ideas and insights into teaching math. It's one of the least expensive conferences to attend, but I am never disappointed. This year I decided to skip lunch and make my own peanut butter sandwich so I could attend an extra session each day. I was glad I did. Both sessions I attended were awesome. If you're picky about accommodations, choose a nearby motel. Rock Eagle is a 4-H camp and wouldn't earn very many stars. There are usually a few teachers present from out of state, as well. I'm sure they are not disappointed. Teachers at my school are always asking me where a certain idea I use came from. My answer is almost always Rock Eagle.