Skip to Main Navigation. Each navigation link will open a list of sub navigation links.

Skip to Main Content

Apply Now to the University of Wyoming apply now
Visit Campus
Download UW Viewbook
Give to UW

LRCC | Fall Literacy Conference 2017



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.


Sharpening our Focus:  Comprehension Across Disciplines and Grade Levels



September 22 & 23, 2017

University of Wyoming

Laramie, WY


Full Conference Pamphlet Can Be Found Here

Handouts For Sessions Can Be Found Here

*Registration closed


Keynote Speakers

David Pearson

David Pearson: P. David Pearson is a faculty member in the programs in Language and Literacy and Human Development at the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as Dean from 2001-2010. Current research projects include Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading--a Research and Development effort with colleagues at Lawrence Hall of Science in which reading, writing, and language as are employed as tools to foster the development of knowledge and inquiry in science--and the Strategic Education Research Partnership--a collaboration between UC Berkeley, Stanford, and the San Francisco Unified School District designed to embed research within the portfolio of school-based issues and priorities.


He also works with teachers in middle and high schools in New York City to figure out how to promote deeper learning as teachers try to navigate the new Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts. Prior to coming to Berkeley in 2001, he served on the faculties of education at Michigan State, Illinois, and Minnesota.  Awards include the 1989 Oscar Causey Award (NRC) for contributions to reading research, the 1990 William S. Gray Citation of Merit (IRA) for contributions to reading research and practice, the 2005 Albert J. Harris Award (IRA) for the year's best reading disability publication, and the 2003 Alan Purves Award (NCTE) for a publication impacting practice. In 2006 the University of Minnesota honored him with the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award, and in 2010 AERA presented him Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education Award. In 2012, the Literacy Research Association established the P. David Pearson Scholarly Influence Award to be given annually to honor research that exerts a long-term influence on literacy practices and/or policies.  He is the founding editor of the Handbook of Reading Research now in its fourth volume, he edited Reading Research Quarterly and the Review of Research in Education, and he has served on the Editorial Review Board for some 20 educational journals. Professor Pearson received his B.A. in History from the University of California, Berkeley, taught elementary school in California for several years, and went on to complete his Ph.D. in Reading Education at the University of Minnesota. He completed post-doctoral study at the University of Texas, Austin and Stanford University.



Taffy Raphael
Taffy Raphael: Taffy E. Raphael is emeritus professor of Literacy Education. Dr. Raphael’s research interests include strategy instruction in comprehension and writing, and frameworks for literacy curriculum and instruction (e.g., Book Club Plus). She directed Partnership READ (2002-2011), a school-university partnership to improve literacy instruction through professional development, which was recognized with the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education’s 2006 Best Practices Award for Effective Partnerships.  She has published many books, and more than 100 articles and chapters. She received the International Reading Association’s Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading Award in 1997, the 2007 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Distinguished Alumni Award, and the 2008 National Reading Conference Oscar Causey Award for Lifetime Contributions to Literacy Research. She has been a Fellow of the National Council of Research in Language and Literacy since 1996, and member of the Reading Hall of Fame since 2002. She served on the Board of Directors of International Reading Association (2007-2010).


Featured Children Authors


Molly Bang

Molly Bang: Molly Bang, a three-time Caldecott Honor winner, has written and illustrated more than twenty books for young readers. She is well known for her interest in the natural world and her advocacy for environmental issues, which is reflected in her work. Her most recent book, Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life, is a stunning poetic exploration of the universal energy force within us all.  Other titles that explore our world include: My Light, which celebrates the many wonders of the sun, with radiant words and images that illuminate the myriad ways in which the sun gives us energy and power from its light, and Common Ground, for which Bang won the Giverny Award for Best Science Picture Book. 

In this book, she talks about one of the most basic and important principles in ecology, known as the "tragedy of the commons." Her book When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really Angry..., was both a Caldecott Honor book and winner of the Charlotte Zolotow Award. It was also an ALA Notable Book and a Jane Addams Children's Honor Book "It was interesting to notice how angry I felt when I was making the angry pictures," says Bang, "and how much calmer I felt painting with blues and greens." Sophie calms herself down by running into the woods, where she finds solace and comfort, and she returns to her loving family.  Author and illustrator Molly Bang has always had an adventurous spirit, which is not only reflected in her writing, but also in her own life. After college Molly taught English in Japan. She returned to the U.S for graduate studies in East Asian Languages and Literatures, then worked in India, Bangladesh, and West Africa for Johns Hopkins, Unicef and Harvard. Her first books were translations of folktales from some of these countries, which she also illustrated. These folktales helped teach her elements of good stories, which she would later use when she wrote her own texts.




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 AlphabetMy 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 BoxFalling StarsInside the ClownBoogerLittle WyomingAngel’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 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 ChurnOver 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.  Website:


Tim Rush

Tim Rush: Tim Rush is a professor Emeritus at the University of Wyoming.  Dr. Rush focused on the preparation of teachers of American Indian children, culturally relevant American Indian education, indigenous culture and language preservation, and occupational literacy. Rush came to UW in 1982 as an assistant professor and the coordinator of the Extended Degree Program in Elementary Education. Before the advent of distance-teaching technologies, Rush traveled Wyoming as one of UW's "flying professors" who were flown to teach classes in communities across the state. He then adopted evolving new technologies: from audio conferencing in the 1980s to video conferencing in the 1990s, and to the most recent technology of online learning.  In 1987, Rush received the National University Continuing Education Association's Annual Award for New Degree Programs for leading the university's Extended Degree Program in Elementary Education. 

That same year, he was awarded UW's Hollon Family Award for Excellence in Off-Campus Teaching.  In 2008, Rush and UW Associate Professor Angela Jaime established the Teachers of American Indian Children graduate certificate program offered through the Outreach School.  The Wind River Tribal College bestowed him an honorary degree in 2007 and, in 2009, the International Reading Association recognized him with the Jerry Johns Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading award. These accomplishments led to his receiving the WyDEC Master Distance Educator Award in 2012.  Rush currently writes high interest books for young adults and adults who are new to the reading of English.  


Featured Speakers


Vicky Zygouris

Vassiliki (“Vicky”) Zygouris-Coe: is currently a professor of education at the University of Central Florida (UCF), where she has taught undergraduate and graduate level reading/literacy courses for a number of years.  Her interests are in reading in the content areas, disciplinary literacy, teacher education, professional development, online learning and digital literacies.  She has received over $9,000,000 in research and funded literacy projects.  Her research has been published in many literacy and teacher education journals.  She has served as co-editor of the Literacy Research and Instruction journal, associate editor of the Florida Educational Leadership, and former associate editor of the Florida Association of Teacher Educators journals. 

 In addition, Dr. Zygouris-Coe is the developer (Co-PI with Dr. Donna Baumbach, 2002-2004; PI: 2004-2010) of Florida’s first large-scale professional development in reading (Florida Online Reading Professional Development [FOR-PD]) for K-12 teachers that serviced 44,344 educators from 2003-2010 and continues to be offered through the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) to all certified Florida K-12 teachers.  Dr. Zygouris-Coe has been a leader in Florida statewide literacy initiatives and has been collaborating with the FLDOE in consulting, reviewing, and participating in core statewide literacy initiatives for K-12 and teacher education sectors.  She has helped develop intensive reading programs for grades 6-12 and has supported school districts' literacy initiatives. From 2015-present she has been providing professional development in literacy to teachers of underrepresented gifted students in elementary grades as part of the UCF EVELATE, a Jacob K. Javits USDOE collaborative grant between UCF and Seminole County Public Schools.  Dr. Zygouris-Coe is also the event organizer of the UCF Literacy Symposium.

Jim Erekson

James Erekson: is associate professor of Reading Education at University of Northern Colorado. Working with striving readers since 1999, Jim is currently working with communities and schools on how to use meaningful assessments to encourage lifelong literacy. He is working with colleagues at UNC to implement literacy tutoring in schools with challenging poverty demographics. He is active in professional literacy organizations at the local, state, and national levels, presenting at conferences and providing professional development for members. Jim is author and coauthor of national-level professional books and peer-reviewed articles on literacy. 

Presentation Link  Presentation Materials Link

3 files go with the presentation on rewritten text: 

  • rewriting text-cebs17-0435.pptx
  • rewritten text reworked example.doc
  • meeker massacre downey bliss rewritten twice.doc

The rest go with the presentation on authentic text. The main file is textstructures-variety.pdf


Saturday Morning Breakout Sessions


Early Literacy Through Rebus Writing, Rachel Bates

Morning Session, 9:40 - 10:30 am, Education Annex 207
During this session, participants will develop a Reubus Story/Report using pictures and/or drawings in place of words or in combinations with words. Come to better understand the purpose of the Reubus Story/Report writing method as an extension of word use in early and pre-literate children.

The Pyramid of Language, Amanda Harrenga & Kris Frey

Morning Session, 9:40 - 10:30 am, Education Annex 211
In this presentation, participants will gain a better understanding of the relationship between tiered words, Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS), Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP), and the use of these components for ELL students. BICS can be thought of as playground chatter while CALP represents the language used in the classroom.

Inquiries into Writing: Wyoming Writing Project Teacher Consultants Share, Amy Spiker & Tia Frahm

Morning Session, 9:40 - 10:30 am, Education Annex 215
In this presentation, Wyoming Writing Project (WWP) Teacher Consultants will share their inquiry projects and action research. Along with the WWP leadership team, they will also share their learning and growth as a writer and teacher of writing through their involvement with WWP and PD activities held in Wheatland, Evanston, and Laramie, with K-12 teachers.

Tools for Comprehension in Secondary ELA Classrooms, Jackie O’Briant & Valeri Hudson

Morning Session 9:40 - 10:30 am, Education Annex 225
Though we work in separate buildings with very different populations, we collaborate and use many of the same strategies to help our ELA students find success. Participants in this session will learn how Beers and Probst’s Signposts can be used to aid in comprehension.

A Reading State of Mind: Fostering Self-Sufficient Literacy Habits Across Disciplines, Laura Hayes & Nate Huseman

Morning Session 9:40 - 10:30 am, Education Annex 229
As literacy education has shifted from the one-size-fits-all tools of content area literacy to an approach that analyzes the unique ways of reading and writing within disciplines, many educators still feel unprepared to teach students the increasingly complex literacy tools needed to transition from high school to college. Participants in this session will learn basic principles of rhetorical reading and disciplinary literacy strategies and practice using them on unfamiliar texts.

Guided Reading (Small Group Reading Instruction), Rachel Nyberg-Hampton

Morning Session 9:40 - 10:30 am, Education Annex 308
During this session, participants will learn more about the different aspects of guided reading. Questions like: How can this fit into my schedule? and What does a typical guided reading lesson look like? will be answered. Participants will leave with a lesson plan template, a guided reading resource and an example guided reading lesson!

Get Your Groove On Using National Geographic’s Giant Wyoming Map, Germaine Wagner

Morning Session 9:40 – 10:30 am, Education Annex 314
The giant state map and activities were developed based on extensive brain research in spatial thinking skills from birth to age ten. The giant map of Wyoming provides a birds-eye view and an active experience. Participants will be exposed to the hands-on and feet-on approach to spatial awareness, topographic details, map concepts, math, and literacy skills by using the giant state map.

How to Rewrite Challenging Text Without Really Rewriting It, Jim Erekson

Morning Session 9:40 - 10:30 am, Education Annex 318
Comprehensibility of content area text challenges readers and teachers. Come and learn how to find and use high-interest passages to stage leveled rewrites that help students comprehend otherwise frustrating disciplinary text. Participants will workshop the comprehension demands of several types of text encountered in real-world situations, and outline ideas for organizing a classroom library that supports comprehension of these kinds of text.



Saturday Afternoon Breakout Sessions


Student Led Book Clubs for High Ability Readers, Christi Roberts

Afternoon Session 1:20 - 2:10 pm, Education Annex 207
All readers require instruction designed to meet their needs. With the breadth of ability represented in a classroom, this is a challenging goal for teachers. This session will present student led book groups as a way to promote interdependent reading through discussion and questioning. The focus will be on navigating readers from a guided literature circle to a student led book group.

Articles of the Week: Using Informational Text to Build Comprehension, Kaitlyn Miller

Afternoon Session, 1:20 – 2:10 pm, Education Annex 211
Kelly Gallagher has developed a method to help students become better readers of informational texts. As educators, we know that reading effectively is an essential skill that all students must have to be successful in life. In this session, teachers will learn how to teach students to annotate and close read informational texts. Teachers will learn and practice annotating, close reading, and discussing texts in a manner that can be taught to students in order to make them more effective readers.

The Impact of Language on Reading Achievement for ALL Children, Chad Ransom

Afternoon Session, 1:20 – 2:10 pm, Education Annex 215
Diagnosing student learning needs can be a very complex process—for both classroom teachers and school systems. However, we know that identifying specific needs is critical in creating the right supports for those students. This session will present a framework for examining reading and language/vocabulary scores to better target interventions and other supports.

How Can Disciplinary Literacy Support Comprehension Development in Secondary Grades? Vicky Zygouris-Coe

Afternoon Session, 1:20 – 2:10 pm, Education Annex 225
Although teaching and learning in various academic subject areas happens in specific disciplinary ways, comprehension is a common goal and outcome of all content area teachers. In this session, the presenter will (a) make an argument for the benefits of using a disciplinary literacy framework to develop students’ comprehension; (b) present research and practical evidence to support the above argument; and (c) raise questions related to the topic that will engage the audience in further discussion.

Comprehension Through Metacognition and Mindset Strategies for Strudents K-12, Lisa Johnson & Kurk Aegerter

Afternoon Session, 1:20 – 2:10 pm, Education Annex 229
How many times have you heard students say: “I’m not smart enough to do this!” or “What is the point of working hard, I will just fail again!” This session will introduce comprehension strategies through metacognition and mindset. Participants will be introduced with hand-on activities to use for total engagement of each student using a mindset dialogue that teaches them how to reflect on their learning.

Creative Comprehension Composing a Share Book, Leanna Morton

Afternoon Session, 1:20 – 2:10 pm, Education Annex 304
Students in primary classrooms are learning to read, write, understand their world, create art and become aware of text features of nonfiction books. What better way to comprehend these subjects then to create and publish a share nonfiction book? In this session, participates will learn how to hook students, using mentor texts, to comprehend cross curriculum subjects such as science, social studies and visual arts and using reading and writing in an authentic manner.

Engaging K-12 Learners in Meaningful Memorable, Comprehension-Rich Research Presentations, Joanie James

Afternoon Session 1:20 - 2:10 pm, Education Annex 308
Participants will learn highly-effective strategies for teaching K-12 students research, writing, and presentation skills. These engaging, meaningful, and memorable projects result in rich vocabulary acquisition and comprehension. Throughout the presentation, participants will brainstorm ways in which research project presentations can be accomplished in their classrooms.

Reading Mentors – How a Local Volunteer Tutoring Program Supports Students’ Comprehension and Literacy Skills, Krista Hollis & Kristin Livingstone

Afternoon Session 1:20 - 2:10 pm, Education Annex 314
School-age children ages five to fourteen spend up to 80% of their time out of school. Time reading outside the school day is crucial to student proficiency in literacy. Learn how Teton Literacy Center supports struggling students through a tutoring program that offers students reading mentors. Volunteers help boost students’ comprehension as well as word study, fluency, and writing. This workshop will discuss the structure, format, and lesson plans of TLC’s tutoring program, and then help you adapt the program so you can bring this model to your own school or community.

Death and Vegetables: Creating a Classroom Library of Authentic Informational Texts, Jim Erekson

Afternoon Session 1:20 - 2:10 pm, Education Annex 318
Do you have a classroom library that includes death certificates, vegetable seed packets? In an analysis of items from standardized tests, this new list of authentic formats and genres goes far beyond the inadequate descriptors of ‘expository’ and ‘persuasive’ text. Participants will workshop the comprehension demands of several types of text encountered in real-world situations, and outline ideas for organizing a classroom library that supports comprehension of these kinds of text.


A special thank you to our event sponsors:

UW Literacy Research Center and Clinic

Fisher Fund for the Advancement of Literacy

Samuelson Excellence Fund for Literacy Education

Douglas B. Reeves Conference Scholarship Fund

UW’s College of Education Dean’s Office

UW Office of Admissions

Wyoming School-University Partnership

Literacy Endowed Chairs

Contact Us

College of Education

Literacy Research Center and Clinic

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-3156


1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Accreditation | Virtual Tour | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Privacy Policy | Harassment & Discrimination | Accessibility Accessibility information icon