Thursday, June 22, 2017

Scholastic Summit 2017


And I'm back.The Scholastic Reading Summit was amazing. Seriously, if you haven't attended one, make it a goal. (Register HERE) For less than $200 (around $170, if I remember correctly), you get an optional breakfast with Mr. Schu as he shares his love of books, an opening and closing keynote (Chicago had Kwame Alexander and Kate DiCamillo), a morning and afternoon session with great teachers and authors, lunch, an afternoon snack, and a bag filled with several books and some research on reading. How awesome is that? AND there is a book fair where you can buy books. Seriously. There are four left this year, though one is sold out, I do believe. 

While preparing my presentation made me nervous leading up to the Summit, once I got there it was like coming home. The Scholastic employees rock. This is my third year going. The first year I went as an attendee. The last two years I've presented. I can say that as an attendee and as a presenter, the employees are always looking out to make sure you are well cared for. What wonderful people. 

We needed to arrive Tuesday night to go over the schedule for Wednesday. After that, it was time to catch up with amazing friends I hadn't seen since NCTE this past November. I love getting to see them, hear about the wonderful stuff they are doing in their classrooms, and talk about some books. 

Wednesday dawned early. I headed to Starbucks, then the breakfast. John Schumacher (Mr. Schu) is always fabulous. He showed all of us how he lives a life passionate about books. What a blessing he is. At the breakfast, and throughout the conference, I got to meet so many folks that read this blog, follow Choice Literacy and/or Nerdy Book Club. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your kind words.


At that point, it was time for my session. I headed to the room and the butterflies began. Funnily enough, once the room filled, the Scholastic folks that were taking care of me said it was time to begin, and the butterflies left. It was probably the most comfortable I have ever felt presenting. I had left myself a giant note near my computer to tell me when I was halfway through (45 minutes) and what slide I should be on. Imagine my surprise when I saw that I was at the 45 minute mark and was going far too slow! I sped up and kept rolling, finishing my last slide at the 90 minute mark. Phew! The folks that attended were so sweet. Many came up to share something that resonated with them, made them cry, or just what they enjoyed. As a person who doesn't do this presenting gig that often, I really do appreciate that. (My presentation is HERE if you want to see it.)
After lunch I joined Donalyn Miller, Jessica Lifschitz, and Dr. Zipporah Hightower for an Independent Reading Panel. In the crowd were former colleagues that I was delighted to see and good friends that I get to catch up with at conferences. It was so much fun.

To end the day John Schu interviewed Kate DiCamillo. I had to duck out early to try and beat some of the traffic home. I hated to do that because Kate's new picture book that is coming out this October, La La La: A Story of Hope was likely part of the conversation. I just read a friend's advanced copy of this on Tuesday night and loved it. It is beautiful!

Now I'm home, surrounded by dogs, and grateful for the experience that was the Reading Summit once again. What a fabulous two days. 

PS - quick note. If you are on Twitter, check out @benandbeccalee for some fabulous pictures from the Summit. There are some that really capture the look and feel of the whole day there. Enjoy!

 
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