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Brain Awareness Night Presentations are Available!

Brain Awareness Night was a huge success! We packed the auditorium, and accommodated more guests in our overflow rooms. Thanks to all who joined us to learn about reading and language development.

Scroll down for links to the videos of their presentations!

Dr. Helen Perkins, Ed.D.

Presentation: Best Practices for Enhancing Oral Language Development

Research indicates that children who enter Kindergarten with a plethora of oral language skills often have strong reading and writing skills. Oral Language development should consistently be encouraged even in the earliest stages of a child’s development. This presentation will provide researched-based best practices to promote language development in children.

J. Helen Perkins, Ed. D., is an Associate Professor of Reading and Urban Literacy in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership at the University of Memphis. She has published several articles, chapters, a book that offers content literacy strategies for teachers and a children's book. Helen is also, a Common Core Author of Journeys (K – 5 Literacy Basal series). Her research focus is on children of poverty and their literacy acquisition and enhancement while working with urban, suburban and rural communities. Helen has over 37years in education, serving as a classroom teacher, reading specialist, literacy coach and various other capacities; she is also the former Editor of The Reading Teacher. Presently she serves as the President of the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers and Board Chair for Porter-Leath. Also, she serves her community by conducting workshops for parents and professional development for educators and administrators in the U.S. and other countries.

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Dr. Daniela O'Neill, Ph.D.

Presentation: Small Talk with Big Outcomes for Children

By engaging in conversations from birth onwards with children, parents and caregivers can foster skills that are foundational to positive social interactions with others, learning to read, engaging in complex forms of thinking, and to children’s ability to thrive in today’s more interactive and creative learning and classroom environments. But what kinds of conversations, about what kinds of things, can impact such outcomes and why? Via examples from everyday activities such as shopping for groceries, sharing a book or riding the bus, Daniela O’Neill will try to “connect the dots” and show how it is that parents’ and caregivers’ “small” talk in such situations can have big outcomes for children.

Daniela O'Neill is a Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Waterloo where she founded and directs the UW Centre for Child Studies. Her major research interests include children’s communicative development and its assessment during the toddler and preschool years, children’s understanding and production of stories and its relation to more complex thinking, and parent-toddler conversation during toy play and book sharing. She is also the developer of the Language Use Inventory, a standardized parent-questionnaire designed to help speech-language professionals identify delays or impairment in children’s early social communication. Her research has been funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and a Premier’s Research Excellence Award.

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