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Keynote Presentation

lori helmanDr. Lori Helman

Title: The Word-Learning Journey Has No Boundaries

Location: Gymnasium

Abstract: In this keynote session, Dr. Helman shares research from her numerous years of study on the language and literacy development of students learning English as an additional language (emergent bilinguals). Emergent bilinguals learn both constrained skills- such as letter sounds and word patterns- in much the same way as native speakers, but unconstrained skills such as vocabulary and comprehension require deep and focused instructional support to help students become successful. Dr. Helman highlights approaches for vocabulary instruction and ways to connect with students’ background experiences that will enhance emergent bilinguals’ acquisition of the important academic vocabulary and concepts so necessary for understanding school content. Each student brings language resources and experiences to schooling and, when educators build on their knowledge and identities, each student’s word-learning journey will know no bounds!

Presenter Bio: Lori Helman, PhD, is Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota, where she is also Director of the Minnesota Center for Reading Research. She researches and teaches classes in literacy development, reading difficulties, effective teaching practices for multilingual students, and works with literacy professionals to implement schoolwide systems of support. She is a former bilingual elementary school teacher and school district literacy coordinator. Dr. Helman is the author or coauthor of 13 books and has written chapters, journal articles, and curriculum support materials that investigate language learning and literacy development with diverse students. She is a co-author on numerous books and materials in the Words Their Way series, including the Spanish word study program, Palabras a su paso.

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