The third annual Literacy Leaders Symposium, hosted by the University of Mary Washington College of Education in partnership with Stafford County Public Schools, brought together more than 200 literacy leaders from across the region on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Bill Brozo, professor of literacy at George Mason University, was the keynote speaker.
“A boy’s love of reading doesn’t begin with scholarship…it begins with discovery,” said Brozo, who first discovered his own love of reading as a child when he broke his arm playing baseball. The professor spoke about closing the literacy achievement gap for boys and described techniques that could be implemented by literacy leaders.
The author of numerous articles and books on literacy development for children and young adults, including “Bridges to Literacy for Boys,” Brozo’s research focuses on adolescent and content literacy, secondary literacy reform, struggling learners and closing the literacy achievement gap for boys.
“Help show boys that they can read about what they like to do,” said Brozo, who suggested all-boy book clubs and matching reading materials to extracurricular interests among other techniques for teachers.
“I’m not suggesting that these are great pieces of literature, but who knows where it leads a boy,” he said. “All of us start humbly down this path of literacy.”
Before teaching at the GMU Graduate School of Education, Brozo taught reading and language arts in junior and senior high schools. He regularly travels to Macedonia to provide technical support to secondary teachers. He also frequently speaks at professional meetings around the country and consults with teachers and administrators to discuss enriching the literature culture in schools.
The symposium, “Literacy Leadership: Catalyst for Change,” also featured presentations from Richard Long, director of government relations at the International Reading Association, who spoke about policy trends impacting literacy leaders, and Tracy Robertson, English coordinator for the Office of Middle and High School Instructional Services at the Virginia Department of Education, who spoke about the impacts of the 2010 English Standards of Learning.
In addition, K-12 teachers presented numerous small-group breakout sessions focused on literacy instruction. Session topics included “Running Records Made Easy” and “Ed Tech 101: Technology Tools for the Literacy Teacher.”