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LRCC | Fall Literacy Conference 2016




Each Fall, the Literacy Research Center and Clinic is host to a literacy conference for teachers around the state.

The Wyoming School-University Partnership has been a co-planner for the Fall Literacy Conference.

To view past conference archives please click here.


Literacy Education Conference, Sep. 23-24, 2016 

Writers and Writings

Award Audience

Conference Objectives

  • Bring together pre-K, elementary, and middle level Wyoming teachers and librarians to explore current issues and trends in writing instruction for pre-K, elementary, and middle level classrooms.
  •  Explore current principles and practices related to writing instruction as they relate to reading comprehension and learning (Common Core State Standards).
  • Introduce Wyoming teachers to the resources available at UW’s Literacy Research Center and Clinic.


Keynote Speaker


 Ralph Fletcher:

Ralph Fletcher

Ralph Fletcher has been a mentor to teachers and young writers everywhere. He frequently works with young writers in schools and speaks at education conferences in the US and abroad, helping teachers find wiser ways of teaching writing. Ralph is the beloved author of many bestselling teacher professional books including Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide; Craft Lessons; What a Writer Needs, 2nd edition; Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices, and Breathing In, Breathing Out.

His most recent professional book is Making Nonfiction From Scratch (Stenhouse). Students know Ralph as the award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and young adults, including Fig Pudding, Flying Solo, Twilight Comes Twice, The Writer’s Notebook, Marshfield Dreams: When I Was a Kid, Also Known As Rowan Pohi, and Guy-Write: What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know.  

Twitter: @FletcherRalph                    Website:


Featured Children Authors


Eugene Gagliano:


Known by many as the teacher who dances on his desk, Eugene M. Gagliano (pronounced Galiano) is a retired elementary teacher whose author presentations are entertaining, informative and inspirational.  He has presented at 147 schools, and at the International Reading Association, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and for libraries and festivals in Wyoming, Colorado, Missouri, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Texas and Hawaii.  Gene was the recipient of the IRA’s 2004 Wyoming State Celebrate Literacy Award and the 2001 Arch Coal Teacher Achievement Award. Gene’s book Dee and the Mammoth illustrated by Zachary Pullen, won the 2010-2011 Wyoming State Historical Society Award for Best Fiction.  Dee and the Mammoth represented the state of Wyoming at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C in 2011.

His other books include C is for Cowboy, a Wyoming Alphabet; Four Wheels West, a Wyoming Number Book (a former Western Writer’s Spur Award nominee); V is for Venus Flytrap, a Plant Alphabet; My Teacher Dances on the Desk (winner of the 2010 Delaware Diamonds Book List Children’s Choice Award); Secret of the Black Widow (a former Wyoming Indian Paintbrush Award nominee); The Magic Box; Falling Stars; Inside the Clown; Booger; Little Wyoming, Angel’s Landing.  Gene is a member of Western Writers, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the International Literacy Association, Wyoming Writers, Wyoming Poets and is on the Wyoming Arts Council Artists Roster. Gene is the new Wyoming State Poet Laureate. 



Louise Jackson:

Louise Jackson

Winner of the 2008 WILLA Literary Award (Willa Cather) for the best children’s/young adult novel of the women’s west published in 2007, Louise A. Jackson is the author of five books: Exiled!  From Tragedy to Triumph on the Missouri Frontier, Gone To Texas: From Virginia to Adventure, Grandpa Had a Windmill, Grandma Had a Churn, Over on the River, and H is for Hope. During her tenure as a professor in the University of Wyoming’s College of Education, she presented numerous papers at state, regional and national reading and language arts conventions and has also written articles published in The Reading Teacher, Language Arts, and Journal of the West.

Much in demand as a speaker, Louise is known for her spirited presentations and for her ability to inspire and encourage writers of all ages. She likes to read, write, garden and walk her Norfolk terrier, Kashi.


Steve Jenkins:

Steve Jenkins

Steve was born in North Carolina in 1952. His father was a physics professor and astronomer, and he encouraged Steve’s early interest in science. Steve’s family moved often, but wherever they lived Steve collected rocks and kept lizards, turtles, spiders, and other animals as pets. He also spent a lot of time with books. Steve thought he’d be a scientist, but decided to go to art school in North Carolina. After graduation he moved to New York City and worked in advertising and design, eventually opening a design office with his wife Robin Page. They moved to Colorado in 1994.It was reading to his own three children — beginning when they were just a few months old — that started Steve thinking about writing and illustrating his own books.  Steve has published numerous books, including The Animal Book, How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom, Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World, Actual Size, and Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember. For Steve, making books represents the happy intersection of children, science, art, his design partnership with Robin, and his life-long love of reading. 

Book website:


Friday Afternoon Address


Making Sense of the World: Writing Nonfiction for Children, Steve Jenkins

Children are naturally curious about the world and how it works. In this regard, they are an ideal audience for books about the science of the natural world. To be comprehensible, however, science-based facts and explanations must be presented in a context that allows young readers to use what they already know to help them organize and process this new information. Effective nonfiction picture books use both words and images to create this context.


Saturday Morning Keynote Speech


Taking the Chill out of the Writing Workshop, Ralph Fletcher

In recent years the writing classroom has become more narrow, confined and, well, a lot less fun for students as well as teachers. Why has this happened? We’ll look at steps teachers can take to reclaim classroom, and make it a place where students can write with zest and passion.

 Book Signing

Saturday Afternoon Workshops (choose 1)


Student Writers Can Be Published and You Can Help. Louise Jackson
Nothing motivates a writer more than actually being published! Teachers will leave this session with renewed motivation to help their student writers achieve publication plus a variety of resources to make those publications happen. 


Creating the Books You Love, Eugene Gagliano

In this entertaining, informative and interactive session children’s author Eugene M. Gagliano will show you how to use the senses to get story ideas, create real characters, and learn how to show and not tell in writing.


Learning to Read: Pictures and Words, Steven Jenkins

Visual literacy — the ability to decipher images and understand their context — is an acquired (and important) skill, much like learning to read text. 


Breakout Sessions

Break out Session 1 Break Out Session 2


Inquiry into Writing - Presentations from the Wyoming Writing Project Summer Institute, Amy Spiker and Tia Frahm (Grades K-8, WWP)

The Wyoming Writing Project develops teacher leaders each summer in the area of K-12 writing, growing teachers of writing and teachers as writers. Presenters in this session will share their Wyoming Writing Project experiences and their expertise in their respective teaching and inquiry areas.


Accountability through Journaling, Kristine Frey (Grades 6-8, WWP)

During this session, participants will develop journals to practice and assess important concepts that they teach during the school year. These journals can be used to assess understanding, complete daily journal quick write opportunities, introduce and practice vocabulary, create a study guide for an assessment and create a study guide for a major assessment.


Picture This: Building Photo-Based Writing Skills, Kimberli Bontempo (Grades 6-8)

Participants in this workshop will discuss preferences of Digital Natives and explore ways (e.g., vocabulary building activities & creative writing) to use writing to interpret photographs.


You Won't Believe What Happened Next: Using the Language of Causation to Improve Narrative Writing in Social Studies/Language Art Instruction, Mark Helmsing (Grades 6-8)

Participants in this session will explore narrative, in general, and narrative writing, in particular, as an application for social studies course writing in grades 6-12; explore strategies designed to help students build conceptual knowledge for social studies curricular content; and explore strategies for teaching narrative writing in social studies education through writing temporal explanatory accounts. 


Pop Culture Remix: Memes and Literacy Response, Christine Kyser and Suzette Youngs (Grades 6-8)

Participants in this session will learn about memes as a cultural phenomenon, explore ways to use memes in their classrooms as a form of literary response; study the use of memes as avenues for expression, creativity, and digital communication; and explore ways to create a classroom unit of study on memes. 


Jackson Breakout Session Panel Discussion


The Analog and Digital Writing Fit in K12, Leanna Morton (Grades PK-3, WWP)

Young students are just starting to write using pencil and paper (analog). Now with common core standards our younger students are also expected to use digital tools to produce and publish writing. Participants in this session will explore how teachers can bridge the analog/digital world with young children. 


Writing as a Tool to Explore Student Motivation, Krista Griffin, (Grades K-5)

In this session, participants will explore background information on motivation research; explore ways to motivate students to engage in writing, learn about the presenter’s motivational research in several K-5 classrooms; and consider ways to motivate their own students to engage in meaningful classroom writing.   


Enacting a School-wide Plan to Improve Writing Instruction, Kate Weber and Michael Robert

Michael Robert is a principal at Encanto Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona.  Kate Weber (a former teacher & university professor of literacy) is a consultant for SchoolRise.  Kate and Michael will share their experiences working together at Michael’s school (and other schools) to enact a school-wide plan to improve writing instruction within and across all grades at an elementary school.  Participants interested in developing a school-wide plan to improve writing instruction at their schools will find it useful to attend both of the sessions conducted by Kate and Michael.      


Writer's Workshop in the Secondary Classroom, Tiffany L. Rehbein (Grades 7-12, WWP)

This session addresses the essential question: In what ways can teachers facilitate a learning environment that supports students to write frequently for extended periods of time on topics of their choice in the secondary classroom?  Participants in this session will experience key elements of writer’s workshop and explore ways to use writer’s workshop in their own classrooms. 


Friend or Foe: Writing and Mathematics, Cody Perry and Tia Frahm (Grades 3-5)

The Common Core State Standards seek to improve the comingling of content areas such as math and

writing. Participants in this session will engage in math writing activities that can serve as a model for the kinds of activities they can use in their own classrooms. 


Authentic Writing in the Common Core Classroom, Tina Krejci (Grades K-12)

This session will give participants the opportunity to see how instruction in writing has evolved over the last two and a half decades in the state of Wyoming. It will highlight the State Reading Council’s annual K-12 Writing Contest as one of the most authentic writing opportunities provided to our students statewide.


Writing in Discipline-Specific Ways in Grades 6-12, Vicky Zygouris-Coe (Grades 6-12)

This session will explore the role of writing in the disciplines, especially as writing relates to literacy in secondary grades and literacy in an era of new educational standards and shifts. This session will equip participants with authentic writing examples and strategies to use in their own classrooms.  


Cultivating Content: Writing within the Disciplines, Monica Mosier (Grades 4-12)

Current research and practice argues that writing should be rooted within the content areas, not across them since reading, writing, thinking, and reasoning within each discipline is unique. This session will showcase current research, strategies, and resources to support content through writing.


English Theory isn't just for College Anymore: How Shrek and Humor Can Lead to Stronger, More In-depth Literary Analysis, Ashley Rousseau and Traci Schneider (Grades 9-12)

Participants in this session will explore theories used in high schools including the following:  Gender, Marxist, Deconstruction, and Psychoanalytical.  Participants will then develop a three paragraph essay that introduces the theory, relates the theory to a text, and explains how a specific theorist would read the text.


Research-Based Writing Assignments: What do College Teachers Value? Rick Fisher and Kaijsa Calkins (Grades 6-12+)

Two UW teachers who are conducting ongoing research about college-level faculty members’ approaches to research assignments will lead this session. Participants in this session will explore points of overlap (and divergence) between the CCSS and post-secondary frameworks for research. 


Liisaan Cooper, Writing and Technology in the Secondary Classroom (Grades 9-12)

Participants in this session will explore tools and methods for using technology mindfully when teaching writing in the ELA 9-12 classroom. Participants will learn about tools and strategies they can use immediately in their own classrooms.


Closing Ceremony and Panel Disscussion

Panel Discussion

Contact Us

UW Literacy Research Center and Clinic

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-3156


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