SCHOOLS: FWISD Report: "Read Like a Writer" Conference


Fort Worth ISD hosted its first district-wide literacy conference, designed to provide high quality literacy training to improve classroom instruction. The conference theme was “Read Like a Writer; Write Like a Reader.” The theme emphasized how students must be strong, confident readers and writers to succeed in a competitive global environment. This comprehensive literacy conference is for Fort Worth ISD literacy teachers PK-12, administrators, and educational leaders.

The conference will be an annual event in support of the District’s literacy campaign, 100x25FWTX, that aims to ensure 100% of third-grade students are reading at or above grade level by the year 2025.

Conference presenters included Fort Worth ISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kent Scribner, elementary keynote speaker Christina Soontornvat, and secondary keynote speaker Alana Morris.

Ms. Soontornvat, whose background is engineering and science education, presented, “We are all Storytellers.” She shared the story of her path from mechanical engineering to children’s book author and why writers and scientists have much in common.

Ms. Morris presented, “Layered Analysis for Deeper Comprehension and Composition,” which will help teachers guide students toward higher levels of comprehension and better compositions. Morris is an administrator with Spring ISD and an author with an expertise in rigorous literacy instruction.

The conference featured breakout sessions offered throughout the day and offered a wide range of literacy topics, including early reading, middle school literacy, analysis, and measurement:

  • “Give ‘em Heck: Crafting strong plots and compelling characters” by Christina Soontornvat

  • “Close Reading: The Key to Figure 19 and Transactional Literacy” by Charles Carroll, CAO FWISD

  • “Adolescent Art: Worth more than 1,000 Words” by Sonja Edwards, Abydos Trainer, 7th grade Teacher

  • Early Literacy – “Reading Responses: Using Read-Alouds to Strengthen and Deepen Students’ Understanding of Text” by Angela Tuttle, Chair for Teaching Excellence in Elementary Reading, and Randi Higgins, Kindergarten/First Grade Teachers, FWISD

  • “Activating Authors with Mentor Texts” by Pam Ochoa, Abydos Trainer, Academic Coach in Birdville ISD

  • “Criteria Charts and Rubrics” by Angela Tuttle, Chair for Teaching Excellence in Elementary Reading, and Randi Higgins, Kindergarten/First Grade Teachers, FWISD

  • “Literacy Strategies for Struggling Readers” by Laura Guzman, FWISD Special Education Teacher

  • “Early Literacy in the Classroom” by Kristy Hill, Abydos Trainer, Library Technology Media Specialist Keller ISD

  • “Leadership Session on Early Literacy” by Kristy Hill, Abydos Trainer, Library Technology Media Specialist Keller ISD

  • “Comprehension Processes for Middle Schoolers” by Dr. Amanda Coleman, Professional Learning Specialist, FWISD

  • “Guiding with Meaning: Daring to Lead with Vulnerability” by Russ Weeks, Abydos Trainer, Coordinator of Advanced Acadmics Mesquite ISD

  • “Reading Our Way Out: Liberation Through Literacy” by Amianne Bailey, Abydos Trainer, Librarian at Mesquite High School, Mesquite ISD

  • “Fun & Focused Fluency” by Lucy Vasquez, Professional Learning & Innovation Specialist, FWISD

  • “Teaching Poetry in Three Moments: A QTEL Exemplar Lesson” by Robert Thompson, ESL Specialist, and Brooke Battles, Language Center Teacher, Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) Trainers, FWISD

  • “Awareness, Access and Action: Critical Components to Building a Strong Foundation in Early Literacy” by Christene Moss, Trustee, Fort Worth ISD, Arcelia Leon, Executive Director of Literacy, Fort Worth ISD, and Dr. Helena Mosely, Deputy Superintendent of Achievement, Lancaster ISD

The District’s 100 X 25FWTX initiative will ensure all children in Fort Worth are ready for college, career and community leadership. This focused, cradle-to-career approach places childhood literacy front and center and aligns the resources of the Fort Worth ISD with the city’s business sector, city leaders, higher education, non-profit organizations, the faith-based community as well as educators and parents.

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