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Your Guide to Institute Day at ILA 2018

By Alina O'Donnell
 | Apr 05, 2018

Institute Day 2018ILA institutes take an in-depth look at pressing issues facing literacy instruction with leaders in the field. These full-day courses unpack the latest research findings and explore best practices in leadership, curriculum, instruction, and more.

At ILA 2018, attendees can choose from 10 institutes designed to accommodate a variety of audiences. Here’s your guide to choosing the one that best fits your goals, interests, and learning style.

Set a high-level goal

To make the most out of Institute Day, it is critical to set a goal. Whether it’s something general, such as to build your professional network, or something specific, such as to learn new read-aloud techniques, setting a goal will help you filter through the offerings and find the course that will benefit you most—even after the conference is over.

Ask yourself, what do you want to take away from the experience? If you want to build specialized knowledge and expertise, look for a course that aligns with ILA’s conference tracks, such as Institute 01: ILA 2018 Research Institute: Best Practices in the Teaching of Reading, Institute 02: Principals’ Leadership for Literacy Instruction: It Matters, or Institute 03: Coaching for Comprehensive Literacy Improvement: A District-Wide Approach.

Some courses, such as Institute 08: More Mirrors in the Classroom: Increasing the Effectiveness of Literacy Instruction with Culturally Relevant Texts will introduce new information, trends, and best practices while others, such as Institute 10: Rethinking Reading Instruction with Technology: Strategies for K-8 ELA Teachers, will yield more actionable tactics. Whatever the goal, make sure you’ll be able to apply what you learn to your daily practice.

Seek out the people you want to connect with

With a more intimate setting and focused content, institutes serve as a unique opportunity to engage with like-minded professionals, ask questions, bounce off ideas, and receive feedback in real-time. Institute presenters and copresenters include prominent scholars such as Maureen McLaughlin, John Guthrie, Douglas Fisher, and Ernest Morrell as well as inspiring educators and authors, such as Kylene Beers, Colby Sharp, Cornelius Minor, and Donalyn Miller.

What goal is your institution, district, or classroom currently working toward? What practices or programs could you learn from or adopt? Identify presenters who have overcome similar challenges and can impart valuable insights and advice.

Choose your learning format

As an educator, you’re accustomed to offering students differentiated learning opportunities. Institute Day incorporates a variety of learning formats, from interactive workshops to all keynote formats.

For those who learn by doing, Institute 05: Creating Engaged and Attentive Readers and Writers: Texts and Tools that Change How Kids Read and Write will integrate breakout sessions, group presentations, and other hands-on activities. At Institute 04: Changing Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction: Implementing Word Study in Classrooms, Schools, and Districts, presenters and group leaders, including Donald Bear, Latisha Hayes, and Kevin Flanigan, will work side-by-side with attendees to help them develop tailored word study implementation plans.

For the experiential learner, several institutes offer strong case study content, relevant examples, and practical applications. During Institute 07: Let’s Talk About That! How Purposeful Conversation Improves Middle and High School Literacy and Learning Across Content Areas presenters will share classroom-tested “protocols, tips, and ideas” to promote productive student discussions.

At Institute 09: Reframing the Gradual Release of Responsibility: Connecting Read Aloud, Shared, Guided, and Independent Reading for Deeper Comprehension, literacy consultants will present effective reading strategies and demonstrate "next generation" instruction.

If you prefer to learn through words, Institute 06: Intentionally Planned Best Practices That Motivate Early Literacy Development presenters will drive a conversation around evidence-best practices for developing literacy for early learners.

To learn more and register for Institute Day, visit

Alina O’Donnell is the communications strategist at ILA and the editor of
Literacy Daily.

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