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Putting Books to Work at Conference: Learning From Teachers and Authors

By ILA Staff
 | May 19, 2016

Putting Books to Work sessions at ILA 2016 Conference & Exhibits give a unique opportunity to hear about authors’ inspirations for school-friendly titles. Based on the popular Literacy Daily series by the same name, these sessions focus on providing practical classroom strategies for one spotlight book per author. During these sessions, attendees will be able to interact with the authors and moderators to share ways they’ve used the books in their classroom, as well as the challenges they encountered.

The following are overviews given by the moderators as to what to expect from each of the sessions, broken down by age level. And don’t forget to note the time of the “Lit Lovers Meetups” facilitated by session moderators at the Age of Literacy Learning Lounge in the Exhibit Hall where book lovers will get the chance to chat and share favorite titles.

Deborah Wooten, Putting Books to Work: Primary
(Saturday, July 9, 11:00 AM–12:00 PM)

Seegerphoto“Teacher, Teacher, What Do You See, Two New Picture Books Looking At Me!”

Meet Laura Vaccaro Seeger and her current book I Used to Be Afraid and Michael Sampson with his latest book Listen to Our World. Each picture book has complementary interactive literacy and art activities.

I Used To Be Afraid is a reflective concept picture book that helps students face their fears and discover ways to perceive them in a positive perspective problem-solving approach. Seeger’s bold illustrations capture students’ attention along with the ingenious way she incorporates her die cuts that foreshadow the book's spirit of overcoming fears.

Sampson 2Sampson’s Listen to Our World, illustrated by Melissa Sweet and co-authored with Bill Martin Jr. before his passing in 2004, will have students journeying around the globe and singing the sounds of 11 animals from six continents. This award-winning author will showcase his new book about habitats along with the thrill of onomatopoeia that highlight the language of the animals. Students can easily develop literacy skills while nurturing their understandings and curiosities about geography, social studies, and science.

The engaging activities presented in this session will deepen and enlighten both of these wonderful books. And Laura Vaccaro Seeger and Michael Sampson will be giving away a limited number of free autographed copies to attendees.

The Primary Lit Lovers Meetup will be Saturday 2:00 PM–3:00 PM at the Age of Literacy Learning Lounge.

Sandra K. Athans, Putting Books to Work: Mid-Level
(Sunday, July 10, 8:00 AM–9:00 AM)

LinPhotoWhat does a silver sea and a super-sized squid have in common? Beyond a little alliteration, both are sure to lure you to the session where Grace Lin and Candace Fleming will share ideas about how these topics—central components in their new books—can be used in your classroom to captivate students and kick up your instruction!

Lin lovers will delight in When the Sea Turned Silver—a masterpiece companion to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky. This extraordinarily written new fantasy adventure includes some familiar faces yet also introduces cherishable new characters who entice readers along on another spectacular quest.

FlemingPhotoFleming fanatics will flock to Giant Squid, a beautifully written and illustrated up-close account of this rare and elusive creature that will captivate readers in its unveiling of this lesser-known sea creature. Fleming will also spotlight Presenting Buffalo Bill, her new biography of this legendary Wild West wonder.

Both award-winning authors will share ways in which these new books can be used in your classroom.

The Mid-Level Lit Lovers Meetup will be Sunday 1:00 PM–2:00 PM at the Age of Literacy Learning Lounge.

Mary Cotillo and Erin O’Leary (The Crazy Reading Ladies), Putting Books to Work: Young Adult
(Monday, July 11, 8:00 AM–9:00 AM)

GantosphotoThere’s a lot about growing up that we wish we could forget, and as teachers, we often have to live our mistakes again with our students. How we wish our kids would just listen to us when we see them headed down the wrong path and know that freight train of consequence is coming right for them! Jack Gantos’ autobiographical novel The Trouble in Me forces readers to reflect on the choices we make and how our “friends” have the power to change our lives. Told in the straight-forward, no-nonsense style that has made him a YA favorite (remember Joey Pigza?), Gantos tells the ugly truth of being a follower.

2012_Ruta_SepetysSalt to the Sea is the newest must-read from Between Shades of Grey author Ruta Sepetys. In her latest work, Sepetys opens our eyes once again to one of the greatest yet long-forgotten tragedies of World War II. History is beautifully, skillfully wrapped into a story so engaging and accessible that students won’t even realize how much they’ve learned until it’s too late. Told in four voices of relatable teenagers, this page-turning gem of a book provides an extraordinary opportunity for cross-curricular collaboration as well as serving as an adolescent-friendly gateway to alternate narration.

Come to the YA author panel and leave with age-appropriate, high-interest, contemporary titles that will easily support lessons aligned with skills and standards. And the kids won’t hate them. Win/win!

The Young Adult Lit Lovers Meetup will be Sunday 2:00 PM–3:00 PM at the Age of Literacy Learning Lounge.

The ILA 2016 Conference & Exhibits will be July 9–11 in Boston, MA, with more than 6,000 attendees eager to cultivate new teaching practices. With over 300 sessions, including several new additions to the schedule, and the popular Preconference Institutes on July 8, the weekend is sure to be a memorable one. Learn more about what’s coming up at this summer’s conference at



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  1. poynterjeffrey | Jul 20, 2016

    It is in point of fact a nice and useful piece of information. I'm satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Katy Mohan | May 19, 2016

    I definitely learned much from literacy books. Kudos to all of you!

    From Katy Mohan

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