Science of Reading Symposium planned for April 29-May 1

Registration is free for this event at the Egan Center in Anchorage

Educators concerned about the thousands of Alaska students who are below or far below proficiency in English language arts will convene in Anchorage April 29 through May 1 for a symposium on how to improve reading abilities of students.

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development is partnering with the Region 16 Comprehensive Center to offer registration of the Alaska Science of Reading Symposium for free.

The symposium itself will feature keynote addresses from internationally recognized literacy experts and breakout sessions with experts from across the country, including Alaska.

The symposium is open to educators, paraprofessionals, school board members, parents, homeschool leaders, early learning providers and any other education stakeholders.

A 2019 survey found that Alaska had more than 38,000 students below or far below proficiency in English language arts. On the last National Assessment of Educational Progress, Alaska was the lowest scoring state for fourth grade reading. Supporting all students to read at grade level by the end of third grade remains a top priority of the state Board of Education and Early Development.

Register for the free symposium at aksorsymposium.org.

In February, DEED and the R16CC published Alaska’s Reading Playbook, a practical guide for teaching reading in Alaska’s unique educational landscape. The Playbook combines decades of nationwide research with examples and resources developed in Alaska to provide clear, step-by-step examples of evidence-based instructional practices. DEED and R16CC consulted with educators who are well-versed in Alaska Native language and culture so that the Playbook could tie the rich oral traditions of Alaskan communities with what is known from research about the acquisition of literacy. This spring, the R16CC has hosted both introductory and in-depth training sessions on the Playbook. Physical copies of the Playbook will be available at the Alaska Science of Reading Symposium.

In March 100 Alaska K-5 educators enrolled in the CORE Online Elementary Reading Academy, a 10-week intensive course on the science of reading. This summer DEED and the Region 16 Comprehensive Center will offer Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling training to up to 60 educators and 30 administrators.

Also, this summer DEED and Education Northwest will host the Alaska science of Reading Leadership Academy, a free online course for school leaders interested in increasing their capacity to support teachers in use of evidence-based instructional leadership practices with a special focus on Alaska Native communities.