Last Friday and Saturday, I went to the conference, “Include, Improve, Inspire” and thoroughly enjoyed the presentations I attended and the quality of the speakers. I came away feeling energised and recommitted to my work. I could praise all of these people but the following four stood out because of their obvious passion for their chosen field. It shone out of them in their words and commitment to what they believed and that made their message all the more persuasive and inspiring both to me and others in the audience.
Of particular note, was Claire Oldham who spoke about the importance of general knowledge as the “mother-ship” that underpins all else in understanding text. Claire’s message that kindling children’s sense of curiosity & wonder about our world and helping establish those “beginning webs of knowledge” in the brain, often comes second to Google these days, was clear and powerful.
Barry Sullivan’s presentation of “Your best you” while funny and comic was very moving and carried important messages about “establishing your own brand”, speaking and acting from “the top drawer” and living an authentic life.
Robyn Monaghan and Kate Andrew presented the READ 3 Program. This is an on-line program for those Tier 3 children whose severe reading difficulties require a different and innovative approach in learning to read. Robyn’s and Kate’s commitment to what they’ve produced is heartfelt and deep, and while I know these two ladies personally, I was moved anew by their passion for what they are doing.
Thank you to LDA, SPELD and LSTAQ for organising the conference. Thank you especially, to all those educators who purchased Reading Mates for their students from our stand or who took leaflets to share with others back home. I hope your students enjoy them and want to keep reading.
If I can help children feel success in learning to read and encourage them to continue, by producing high quality material that is interesting for them to read and easy for their teachers to use, I’ll feel satisfied that my part in their journey to become readers has been worthwhile.
I’ve been inspired to continue my task with renewed vigour and have spent this weekend, trying to balance my time between family and writing new books for the series, not to forget appreciating the flowers, baby birds and the blue, blue sky at this beautiful time of year.