On Saturday, I attended the Dublin Literacy Conference (#dublit12 on Twitter if you want to read the feeds). It was AMAZING! I went once, five years ago, when I was a first year teacher. I didn't really know what it was all about and I have to say I was not impressed then. I had heard all these great things about it, but nothing really stuck with me that year. Maybe it was just an off-year. When I heard that Donalyn Miller (for those teachers in a hole-I'm talking about The Book Whisperer here!) was the keynote speaker this year, I knew I HAD to go. I got my registration in early and made sure to sign up for the last session of the day that she was holding called Bring on the Books. I was super excited! And it was everything-I mean EVERYTHING it was cracked up to be! Check out my GoodReads shelf for suggestions I got from Donalyn herself. When I got home Friday night, I realized I had left my copy of The Book Whisperer at school, so I dragged my behind back in there at 8 pm just so I could have it autographed! One of the first thing Donalyn said in her keynote was regarding her students reading without the use of AR. I loved this, and made sure to tell her that I was thrilled my school got rid of AR this year and my students are still reading-actually moreso than they have in the past. She signed my book: "Celebrate Reading Freedom!" How awesome is that?!
The afternoon keynote was Sharon Draper. She was just as amazing! Sorry, I just don't have any other words! I was not really familiar with Sharon Draper. I knew she wrote a lot of books with multi-cultural protagonists. I also knew she wrote a lot for high school kids. She was actually a very funny and interesting speaker. She is also a former teacher. She wrote her first trilogy while she was still teaching!
The morning opened with a reading and song from Eric Litwin and James Dean, the author and creator of Pete the Cat. Since I don't teach primary, I was not familiar with them either, but they are two groovy dudes! I heard their breakout sessions were fantastic. I bought my son Pete the Cat: I Love my White Shoes and we've probably read it and sang the song at least 20 times since yesterday afternoon. In November, they are releasing a Pete the Cat Christmas book. I already know one item on my son's list!
If you live in Ohio, you definitely need to add the Dublin Literacy Conference to your to-do list for next year!