Read-A-Palooza Draws Nearly 1,000 Educators from around the Globe

Nearly 1000 registrants from 48 states and 15 countries participated in Walsh University’s Read-A -Palooza event on Wednesday, July 15. Organized by the Division of Education and Dr. David Brobeck, this professional learning experience was designed to motivate and inspire education stakeholders to implement the science of reading in their buildings and districts. Sessions were delivered in a quick, Ted Talk style format, with multiple speakers sharing insights. All sessions are aligned with Ohio's Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement

“We understood when we started our transition to the Science of Reading that there is an interest, a need, and desire to learn,” said Associate Professor of Graduate Education David Brobeck, Ph.D. “We expected a strong turnout and are very proud to be leading the way in this very important transition in literacy education.”

Walsh University was awarded one of only seven P20 Literacy Grants from the Ohio Department of Education earlier this year. Walsh University is dedicated to ensuring all pre-service teacher candidates and graduate students learn about evidence-based methods for teaching reading. This body of knowledge, often referred to as the science of reading, comes from multiple fields, including psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, and special education. University faculty have been trained in the science of reading and are including this research in all Walsh coursework.

The design of the conference was for each presentation to be concise, relevant, and thought-provoking. The virtual event boasted several national science of reading experts, led by Louisa Moats Ed.D., Author of LETRS Higher Education: Where Science Can Meet the Art of Teaching. Moats is widely credited as the leading reading scientist in the United States. 

The event included a closing by nationally recognized cognitive psychologist Dr. David Kilpatrick from SUNY-Cortland and author of How We Remember Words, and Why Some Children Don't! Additional presentations included the author of The Impact of Reading Difficulties on Children and Youth cognitive psychologist Dr. Steve Dykstra and educator Dr. Mary Dahlgren author of Tools 4 Reading Sound Walls and Vowel Phonemes.

In support of the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) ongoing literacy initiative, Walsh University is restructuring its existing reading course curricula to expand reading science for education students and faculty.  Regional partners include school districts and State Support Teams representing Stark, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Holmes, Wayne, Mahoning and Trumbull counties. Walsh was the first university in Northeast Ohio to implement the science of reading as its foundation.

“We made a commitment to transition our reading program, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, to the science of reading because the research is clear-- it serves all students,” said Dr. Brobeck. “Whether the student is an outstanding reader or a reader with challenges, through the science of reading process we can reach them all. And that is ultimately our goal.”

Districts in Ohio that need follow up assistance and support can contact the Regional Early Literacy Specialists at their local State Support Team. Learn more about your State Support Team and how to contact them by here.