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Engaging Adolescent Readers and Writers: Alberta Literacy Institute 2023

This week I had the pleasure of sharing the work of my students and the inspirations that I get to learn from to better help my students engage in the work of reading and writing. I thought it would be fun to share a bit of my presentation and reflect on the evolution of this little online conference that continues to pack a punch every year.


The Alberta Literacy Institute started as a little pipe dream on Twitter. I had spent a few years learning and growing by following leaders in the literacy world and developing friendships that have endured and grown over a pandemic that has impacted us all.

After attending my first NCTE convention, I came home and realized that the teachers I interact with locally did not know much about the leaders in our field, they might have read some of their work or listened to a podcast, but they had never had the opportunity to learn from them in a professional setting. Recognizing the needs of my community, I put out a general inquiry to some friends and mentors online. Then in partnership with SAPDC (local professional development consortium) and ARPDC (Provincial level), we started to make the conference a reality. Our first year, I swung for the fences, and we brought in amazing Keynotes (thank you to the #DisruptTexts team) and other incredible local and international speakers who agreed to share their time with us. The additional bonus the institute has functioned as is a practice stage for Alberta teachers wanting to try presenting. My first presentation was at the inaugural ABLIT, which helped me overcome some big nerves. Since that first year in the middle of a pandemic, we have had an incredible line-up year after year, with some presenters returning to lead us in further conversations. This institute has become an online learning experience that does not have many equals. Since my first presentation, I have been lucky enough to present at NCTE, ILA, and ELAC, as well as local presentations. The additional perk of online PD is ease of connection. Folks from all join the institute each summer. Presenters can share their knowledge from the comfort of their homes. I am excited to see where the institute goes next and how it will continue to evolve.


A few days out of this year's Institute I have had a great time reflecting. I love sharing my students' work; I love amplifying the voices of the educators that inform my practice. That is the most significant gift we can give each other as teachers, knowledge and support. This year I had the opportunity to discuss increasing engagement with adolescent readers and writers. We had a good time talking and sharing. The idea that success is just so easily within reach when we trust our students with choice and freedom to explore. I have added stills of the whole presentation below, so feel free to check it out. It was fun. Grateful to all who came, to all who I can learn from because of all these online learning spaces, but most importantly, grateful for my students, who I get to learn with every day.

Check this out

If you are a teacher and have experience and thoughts on online PD, a fellow teacher reached out with a brief survey they hope folks can do to help with their Doctoral studies. If you can help out Knikole Taylor check out the link here, it takes about 2 minutes and can help with their research.

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