Robin Zikmund, IMSE Dyslexia Advocate and Community Engagement Manager, attended the event and connected with countless educators seeking training in Structured Literacy and OG.  She was thrilled to report how many attendees are familiar with IMSE, our products, and Carla Siravo. More than 2,800 attendees from nearly every state were present, including Hawaii and the UK. Educators, administrators, parents, and advocates pushing for change, state leaders from Decoding Dyslexia and Parents for Reading Justice were there with a shared passion, ensuring all children learn to read.  

Below is what Robin had to share for those interested in attending next year’s event:

The energy at this year’s PlainTalk was incredible, motivating, and encouraging – everyone was like-minded with the same common goal, ensuring all children learn to read. There is so much need, there was a real sense of community and collaboration with some of the very best in the world of literacy there, providing knowledge and support in this crusade of change, bringing literacy to all. It was an honor to be there.

Session, Speakers, and Takeaways

There were two full days of professional development sessions for educators ranging from thought leadership discussions to practitioner-led SoR application in the classroom.  In particular, there were two sessions that moved me. The first was Making the shift: Transforming Early Literacy from Policy to Practice with Kymyona Burk and Casey Sullivan-Taylor.  They emphasized the power that comes from investing in people, like identifying teachers who are effective leaders who can help implement bold changes in literacy instruction and foster buy-in with peers.

 “The Mississippi Magic can happen in any state when we invest in people.” 

~ Kymyona Burk

The second session, How to Lead From Where You Are: Igniting Literacy Change in Your Current Role, was given by Terrie Noland. Her message was a powerful call for those of us devoted to ensuring access to literacy for all to: become leaders of change, share our voice because it matters, and help empower others to have the courage to enact change, like considering a curriculum beyond the one you have been provided. Use your voice: ask your principal for permission to teach using structured literacy. Introduce a colleague, a friend, or a parent, to structured literacy. Be the example that others will want to follow.  As Ms. Noland said, “Having courage does not mean you are not afraid. Having courage is about doing through fear.” 

I walked away with an acute awareness that we are all in this together, that it really does take a village. When you inspire even one person toward change, that has a lasting impact.

– Robin Zikmund, IMSE

Please connect with us on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn, and Pinterest to get tips and tricks from your peers and us. Read the IMSE Journal to hear success stories from other schools and districts, and be sure to check out our digital resources for refreshers and tips.