- Associated Press - Friday, May 9, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - In a curious scheduling coincidence, a convention of more than 7,000 reading teachers in New Orleans will be followed immediately by one of 2,500 to 3,500 readers and writers.

The International Reading Association conference, from Saturday through Monday, includes sessions on how to teach students to gather evidence from books and other sources and to write effectively; ways to encourage reading; and ways to get the rest of the class doing interesting and useful work when the teacher is working with small groups of students.

Spokesman Dan Mangan said the exhibit hall will give teachers and administrators a chance to look at a variety of books, software and other classroom material.

“To be valid a classroom pedagogy or instruction technique needs to be firmly rooted in rigorous research,” Mangan said. “Sometimes the findings are counterintuitive.”

For example, he said, studies have shown that rewards such as pizza parties for the class that has read the most books can boost morale. However, they have minimal effects on the children’s reading ability. “In fact, the only rewarding for reading that really enhances and deepens reading ability consists of rewards that have to do with reading. To win books of your own; to win the opportunity for more reading - that works in the way that free pizza or other prizes don’t.”

As the International Reading Association winds up on Monday, RT Booklovers begins two days of workshops followed by its annual conference - more workshops, panels, chances to pitch books to editors and agents, and less serious fare.

Both organizations will bring in big-name authors.

Keynote speakers at the International Reading Association conference include well-known children’s authors Dav Pilkey, perhaps best known for his Captain Underpants series, and Jeff Kinney, of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” book and its sequels.

Pilkey plans to talk about how growing up with dyslexia and ADHD affected both his ability to read and his current work, according to the conference issue of the organization’s magazine, “Reading Today.”

At RT Booklovers, put on with a $1 million budget by RT Book Reviews magazine, a panel about the role of violence in thrillers brings together six writers including Tess Gerritsen, Andrew Peterson, David Morrell and F. Paul Wilson.

Charlaine Harris, whose books sparked the “True Blood” TV series, is among speakers on a panel about crafting characters in paranormal books that will be moderated by Jeaniene Frost of the Night Huntress series.

Romance writer Jaci Burtone, is a presenter in Wednesday workshops titled “Secrets to Erotic Romance Success” and “Real Sex in the Real World.”

Daisy Hutton, fiction publisher for Thomas Nelson, Inc., which bills itself as the world’s largest Christian publisher, is on a panel the same day, titled “The Wide Horizons of the Christian Fiction Market - and How to Make Your First Sale.”





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