Workshops | Virginia Hamilton Conference | Kent State University

Workshop Schedule (PDF)    Workshop Descriptions (PDF)

Session 1, 9:30 - 10:20 a.m.

Where Am I? Helping Young People Find Themselves in Literature
John Jarvey, Cleveland Teacher’s Academy (Retired); Lisa Krok, Branch Manager, Cleveland Public Library; Maria Trivisonno, Children’s Librarian, Cuyahoga County Public Library

All youth have the right to see themselves in the books they read. Learn about new titles that feature a wide variety of diverse, relatable characters. Both middle grade and high school picks will be featured.
[Middle School, Young Adult]

Holding Up the Mirror: What Does #WhitenessinKidLit Look Like?
Sam Bloom & Elisa Gall

In this interactive session led by members of the Reading While White blog, participants will work to examine White racism and its impacts. Using scenarios and behavioral patterns from the worlds of education, librarianship, and children’s literature, members of discussion groups will use a critical, growth-minded lens to develop strategies to listen to and learn from feedback, and to better understand, name, and alter oppressive behaviors. Resources to continue learning about anti-racism behaviors and to move from learning to action will be shared.
[K-12]

Reading Life Between the Lines: Using Children’s & Young Adult Literature for Tough Conversations About Diversity
Dr. Michelle H. Martin, Beverly Cleary Professor for Children & Youth Services

In this workshop, Dr. Michelle H. Martin will provide teachers, librarians, administrators, and youth leaders with strategies for using Children’s & Young Adult literature to engage readers of all ages with questions of identity and difference. Dr. Martin will help participants increase their cultural competence for work with young people, in both educational and recreational settings.
[K-12]

Teaching Young Children to Fight Racial Injustice Through Literature
Marietta Collins, PhD, and Marianne Celano, PhD, ABPP

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice, an illustrated book for children ages 4 to 8, follows the story of a police shooting from the perspective of a White family and an African American family. The children question their parents about an incident in their community in which a police officer shot an unarmed African American man. These questions lead to conversations with the parents and older siblings about racial bias, and what the children can do to confront acts of racial injustice. This story models productive conversations about racial-ethnic socialization and racial injustice, and provides an excellent platform for discussing social justice and race relations with children in both home and educational settings.
[Early Childhood]

From Phonics to Fluency to Proficient Reading: Helping All Students Achieve Competence in Two Key Areas of the Reading Curriculum
Timothy Rasinski, Ph.D.
Phonics and fluency in reading have been found to be key elements of any successful reading program (National Reading Panel). Despite their importance, many students fail to achieve sufficiently in these areas and many teachers do not feel completely competent in their knowledge and teaching of these reading components. In this workshop, Dr. Tim Rasinski will provide theoretical and research background and definition to phonics and fluency. He will share effective and engaging strategies for teaching these all-important reading components that will move students toward better comprehension and greater proficiency in reading.
[Early Childhood]

How to “Read” Immigrant and Refugee Picture Books with All Students in Your Classroom
Gumiko Monobe

Ohio teachers are likely to have linguistically and culturally diverse students in their classrooms. In this workshop, the presenter will introduce well-selected picture/YA books of immigrant/refugee students and adults, including bilingual books. The presenter will explain the benefit of using such books to help teachers create/use culturally sustaining curriculum/pedagogy, which “seeks to perpetuate and foster - to sustain - linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism as part of the democratic project of schooling.” (Paris, 2012, p. 73).
[K-12]

Fighting Violence, Police Brutality & Trauma through YA Literature: Bringing “The Hate U Give” to School
Dr. Molly Buckley-Marudas, Assistant Professor Adolescent & Young Adult English Education, Cleveland State University; Mr. Charles Ellenbogen, Language & Literature Teacher, Campus International High School, CMSD; Ms. Brady Lorek, Cleveland Teaching Fellow, Cleveland State University

The purpose of this presentation is to offer YA literature as one way to bear witness to trauma and injustice. Given our concern about the racism, police brutality, and fear that young people face, we will share an instructional unit designed around Angie Thomas's popular 2017 novel, The Hate U Give as a promising way to engage the Black Lives Matter movement with adolescents in a hopeful way. We believe that teaching this text and/or similar texts creates opportunities to support youth to make sense of violent events and fears tied to our country's long history of police brutality and racism.
[Young Adult]

Tell Me a Story
Lindsay Bonilla

In this hands-on workshop, storyteller and author Lindsay Bonilla will provide a crash course in storytelling - sharing proven techniques for learning a story, as well as the tools a storyteller uses when telling. Participants will make a simple storyboard, do a paired telling activity, and walk away with a new confidence about their own ability to learn and tell stories. Whether you’d like to share stories at your school, library, or family gathering or teach students to do the same, this workshop is for you! (Optional: Bring a short folktale you’d like to learn!)
[K-12]

Creating Culturally Responsive Readers Using Interactive Read-Alouds
Meghan Metz and Raquel White, Model Lead Teacher Data Specialists, Cleveland Metropolitan School District

It’s clear that multicultural read alouds are valuable! We plan the rest of our teaching, why shouldn’t we think more about read alouds? Interactive read alouds (IRAs) are purposeful read aloud time. It is a time to demonstrate to students how to actively engage with texts and become culturally responsive readers by showing them how to search for meaning, introduce reading strategies and create meaningful discussion. In this session, participants will learn the benefits of an IRA and be given ideas, strategies, and resources for making IRAs culturally relevant.
[Early Childhood, Middle School]

Mirror Books and Read Alouds: Text Connections Made Simple
Michelle Person, Principal

Imagine being able to bolster student confidence, promote sensitivity to diverse cultures and backgrounds, and increase student engagement and self reflection simply by tweaking an already established classroom activity. It’s quick, it’s free, and it requires virtually no additional work on your part. Would you do it? Of course you would. Mirror Books and Read Alouds: Text Connections Made Simple explains how to take the knowledge you have, materials you can easily access, to establish the literature connections you desire with your students.
[Early Childhood, Middle School]

Writing in the Margins: Teaching Counter-Narratives
Kristine Pytash and Elizabeth Testa

The purpose of this presentation is to share an instructional unit focused on counter-narratives, a narrative told from one who has been historically marginalized. In this session, we will share how we engaged students in the reading of counter-narratives, followed by how the readings served as models for students to write their own counter-narratives.
[Middle School, Young Adult]


Session 2, 10:40 - 11:30 a.m.

Representation Matters: African American Men and Boys in Picture Books
William Colston, Information Service Assistant: Youth Emphasis, Dayton Metro Library: Main Location; LaSasha Dixon, Information Service Assistant, Youth Emphasis, Teen Rep: Dayton Metro Library: Trotwood Branch; Mariah Johnson, Dayton Metro Library Information Service Assistant, Youth Emphasis: Northwest Branch; and Winnie Johnson, Dayton Metro Library, Branch Manager of Madden Hills and Westwood Branches

School achievement data for African-American males reveals the stunning racial inequities that exist in our country. One strategy educators and parents can use to “close the achievement gap” is to buy, use and promote children’s literature that counters negative stereotypes of black males and explicitly addresses racism. This session will provide participants with an opportunity to explore some of the racial issues that need to be considered when creating a healthy learning environment for black male students, learn about specific books that might be used with PreK-3rd grade children, and begin to think about how to talk about race with children.
[Early Childhood]

Bookmaking 101: Basic Bookmaking for the Classroom Library
Jaime Declet, Cleveland Public Library

In this era of technological advances, we need to develop and foster in our children the relevancy and love for books. Every child should have the opportunity of making their own book. In this program, the participants will receive the skills needed for creating a book. The presentations will walk the participants step by step through the process. Participants will leave the workshop with three sample books from simple to moderate difficulty, and handouts that can be used in the classroom or the library.
[K-12]

Reading Anxiety: What is it? How to detect it? What to do about it?
John Zbornik & Moira Erwine

Many students we instruct come to the classroom with emotional conflicts. It is necessary to develop a positive relationship, what we call the Educational Alliance, to overcome emotional conflict to motivate students to read. Reading Anxiety results when a student’s intellectual curiosity, assertiveness and/or independence become inhibited by emotional conflict. This presentation will teach educators to understand, detect and remediate Reading Anxiety through the Educational Alliance built with the student.
[K-12]

Arguing to Learn: New Directions in Teaching and Learning Argumentative Writing
David Bloome

Traditionally, argumentative writing has been taught as supporting a claim with evidence and warrants. In our work with over 66 secondary language arts teachers over the past ten years, we have been approaching argumentative writing as arguing to learn. The emphasis is on dialogue, maintaining an open mind, and appreciating a diversity of perspectives. Argumentative writing shifts from advocacy for a claim to exploration of the complexities, contradictions, and tensions involved in the issues being considered. In this breakout session, we will look at video recordings, transcripts, and student writing, to understand how teachers have taken up arguing to learn.
[Middle School, Young Adult]

Add African-American Dads to Your Literacy Program and Watch Magic Happen
Rachel Slaughter, Learning Specialist, Friends Central School, PA

A boy’s father is his first hero, mentor, and guide. Sons imitate their fathers far more often than fathers wish to admit. In schools where African-American boys may show little to no interest in reading, imitation can be a positive force in their reading success. Research shows that a boy who has a father as a reading role model during his early literacy years is more likely to develop the behaviors of a literate person. Literacy leaders can reap the benefits of black male reading role models by adding African-American dads to their literacy programs at school.
[Early Childhood]

The Human Side of Science: Picture Books as a Way to Empower Students
Dr. Bridget K. Mulvey, Abigail Recker, Shabnam Moini Chaghervand, and Tanzimul Ferdous

Join us in exploring picture books to better understand the human side of science. Valuing diversity of people and perspectives is a powerful way to empower students of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Find out how to frame learning experiences rooted in picture books to help students consider how they are like scientists, opening the door to future science careers.
[Early Childhood, Middle School]

Reading Resources and Instructional Strategies to Address Bullying
William P. Bintz, Professor, Literacy Education, Kent State University; Barbara Tschantz, Lindsey Hagenaur, and Christy Solis, Graduate Students, KSU

This session is motivated by increased awareness of the harmful effects and long-term implications of bullying, both in and out of school. Specifically, it is also based on major findings from a collaborative content analysis of 126 picture books dealing with the topic of bullying. Here, we share a variety of text sets from this collection of picture books, as well as demonstrate a variety of comprehension-based instructional strategies that teachers can use with these picture books. The goal is to help teachers see bullying as a curricular topic and literacy as a tool for addressing the topic and practice of bullying.
[Early Childhood, Middle School]

Trafficked Child Soldiers in International Literature
Linda T. Parsons, Associate Professor, The Ohio State University, Marion; Lisa Pinkerton, Literacy Collaborative and Reading Recovery Trainer, The Ohio State University, Columbus

Join us in an exploration of international children’s literature that encourages readers to enter the lives of trafficked child soldiers - from their swift and merciless abduction, to the demoralizing and dehumanizing tactics employed to ensure their compliance, to the atrocities they commit. Their experiences also involve compassion, courage, and a belief that literacy will change their lives. In this session, you will hear about titles featuring trafficked child soldiers and our critical analysis of these books. You will also have the opportunity to engage personally with one of the characters as you create found poetry.
[Middle School, Young Adult]

Virginia Hamilton’s Life Journey
Julie K. Rubini, Author

There is more to Virginia Hamilton than her incredible body of work, and the conference named in her honor. Come learn about all the many labels Virginia wore, from author, wife, mother, speaker, and frog-lover! Attendees will leave with resources and tools to inspire and educate young readers using Virginia’s works and the biography Virginia Hamilton: America’s Storyteller.
[K-12]

Who Tells Their Stories? Books to Guide You Through the Sliding Glass Door
Rebecca Baldwin, Teen Services Librarian; Sarah Carpenter, Branch Services Assistant II; Jean Cottrill, Adult Services Librarian

The characterization of diverse characters has become prominent in youth literature. However, not all representations move beyond tokenism. Join us as we discuss contemporary youth books that realistically and honestly portray the experiences of underserved populations, with a special emphasis on diverse books written by diverse authors.
[K-12]

Text Sets: Multimodal Learning for Multicultural Students
Mariana Romero-Gonzalez

In this session, participants will learn how to build their multicultural library with text sets that include diverse themes. Text sets are collections of resources from various genres, media, and levels of reading difficulty that focus on a common theme, issue, or topic. They can serve as an entry point into culturally responsive teaching as they can be tailored to individual needs of students from varied backgrounds and experiences. This session will include examples of ready-made text sets and links to resources about text sets. Participants will design their own text sets around age-appropriate and pertinent themes for their classroom.
[Middle School, Young Adult]


Session 3, 1 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

Supporting Gender Non-Conforming Students Through Literature and Advocacy
Janice Kroeger, Associate Professor, TLC, ECED

In this session you’ll become familiar with current terminologies and definitions in gender and sexuality and receive key recommendations for supporting gender nonconforming students. We’ll review Title IX as it relates to school climate and also provide an annotated bibliography of resources in literacy for students and teachers.
[K-12]

Bats Eat Bugs and Other Natural Wonders: Camp Read-a-Rama for Big Kids
Dr. Michelle H. Martin, Beverly Cleary Professor for Children & Youth Services

In this interactive session, University of Washington’s Beverly Cleary Professor for Children and Youth Services, Dr. Michelle H. Martin, will teach participants ways to combine music, sign language, simulation games, interactive play and children’s literature to give children hands-on learning experiences with science and nature. Participants will take away great ideas and wonderful resources for bringing learning alive in and out of the classroom.
[Early Childhood]

Building Bridges: Creative Ways to Engage Readers with Multicultural Stories
Leah Henderson, Author

All too often multicultural books are seen as “the other”, on an island all by themselves. This session will explore fun activities that can help bridge the divide between what some might think of as the unfamiliar. We will brainstorm creative ways to incorporate multicultural stories in lessons and discussions, as well as look at examples of enriching activities to pair with various multicultural picture books, middle grade and young adult novels that can help bring added clarity to young readers.
[K-12]

Childhood Adversity in Children's Picture Books
Dr. Terry Benton and Dr. Sherri Harper Woods

Participants will discuss types of adverse situations experienced by young children in preK-grade 3, and ways picture books can be used with young children who have to deal with adversity. A bibliography of picture books will be provided.
[Early Childhood]

Writing Ourselves: Ideas for Bridging the Gap between High School and College Writing
William Kist, Professor, Kent State University; Brittany LaCroix, Teacher and Literacy Coach, Barberton High School; Erin Spear, Teacher, Manchester High School

Participants in this session will gain access to many resources for working with writers who might be having difficulty making the transition to college writing and be invited to join the growing community of English teachers across Ohio who have collaborated on this project (www.writingourselves.org).
[Middle School, Young Adult]

Metaphor and Meaning: Using the Works of Bryan Collier in Middle School and High School Classrooms
Barbara Tschantz, Instructor and Doctoral Student, Kent State University

The recipient of numerous Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards and Caldecott Honors, Bryan Collier has illustrated more than 25 picture books that explore the lives of artists, musicians, and historical heroes; describe significant historical events; celebrate culture; and address contemporary issues. With their rich metaphors and layers of meaning, Collier’s collages provide a treasure trove of opportunities for middle and high school students to analyze how the illustrations contribute to the meaning of the text. Participants will explore how Collier’s works can be incorporated into social studies and language arts curricula, and analyze the illustrations in one of Collier’s works.
[Middle School, Young Adult]

Text Sets and Instructional Strategies to Teach All Students about Immigration and Emigration
William P. Bintz, Professor, Kent State University; KSU Graduate Students: Jessica Hrubik, Mohsine Bensaid, Jennifer Clark, Jennifer Austin, Rhonda Hylton, Shabnam Moini Chaghervand, Susan Smallwood

This session is based on important distinctions between the terms, immigration and emigration. It is also based on current trends in the immigration and emigration of people from all over the world to the United States and the implications for changing student populations in US schools. Based on these trends and populations, this session shares a collection of award-winning and high-quality picture books, organized in text sets, that can be used as reading resources to teach important concepts about immigration and emigration. In addition, this session shares and demonstrates a variety of comprehension-based instructional strategies that can be used with these text sets in ways that address Common Core State Standards, as well as Ohio State Standards.
[Early Childhood, Middle School]

Integrating the Contributions and Experiences of Immigrant Americans into the Curriculum
Dr. Nalini Krishnankutty

In children’s books, immigrants are often portrayed as “other”, handling arrival and acclimatization. Currently a quarter of children under 18 have immigrant parents and are affected by attitudes towards immigrants. This workshop will introduce books, online resources, and project ideas that provide windows and mirrors to first-generation immigrants, and celebrate their role in building and shaping the USA.
[K-12]

Unlocking the Portal to Early Literacy Success in African-American Children
Brittany J. Thurman, Writer and Children’s Specialist

Family situations, community circumstances, and the education system are all factors that leave African-American children left behind in early literacy. In this workshop, we will explore barriers to success in African-American early childhood literacy, and look at initiatives in place to bridge the literacy divide. We will hone in on books that offer representation and brainstorn how these books can be a tool for early literacy success. We will look at our own privileges, and conjure ways in which we as individuals can continue to make sure no child is left behind in early literacy.
[Early Childhood]

Marvelous, Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family: A look at fostering beginning conversations of cultural identity through literature
Dr. Carrie Lara, Clinical Psychologist

As a clinical psychologist, I have the unique opportunity to work with children every day. Children are little social scientists! They learn from their observations of their surroundings and as they grow and develop, their environments expand outside the “me”, to the “we”, to the larger, more global communities. The observation of similarity and difference occurs fairly early. This includes not only similarities and differences between objects, but people as well. In this program I aim to discuss the journey in writing my children’s book, through inspiration and technical processes, with the end goal of a supportive tool to help children and families with cultural identity. This is a significant part of early childhood development, and the book’s focus is to enhance awareness of cultural identity and how we can support our children in learning about themselves and others in healthy and culturally aware contexts.
[K-12]