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WMU-Southwest hosts Celebrate Literacy Conference

June 6, 2007

BENTON HARBOR, Mich.--For the second consecutive year, Western Michigan University-Southwest has joined forces with the Community Partnership for Lifelong Learning to celebrate literacy through a full-day conference scheduled for Tuesday, June 12, at WMU's Napier Avenue facility on the campus of Lake Michigan College.

The second annual Celebrate Literacy Conference is titled "Strengthening Our Community" and offers participants a host of workshop topics designed to educate, enhance and inspire. This year's conference features a number of presenters who will provide interactive, thought-provoking information intended to challenge the community to create a passion for literacy. There are four scheduled tracks for the day.

  • Family literacy
  • Developing a literate community
  • Youth enrichment strategies
  • K-12 education strategies

Conference participants will hear from two nationally-recognized speakers who are experts in their respective fields. Delivering the keynote address will be Dr. Sonya L. Whitaker, director of literacy, social studies and career education for Schaumburg Public Schools, the largest elementary school system in Illinois. Whitaker is not only known as a dynamic "edutainer," but she is also a

passionate educator who truly believes in a literate community.

The luncheon speaker is Dr. Edward Green, general manager for Family Literacy Center Inc. A national speaker and expert on family literacy, Green's passion is working in a framework that supports the family and encourages family learning.

Western Michigan University will not only host the conference, but several faculty members will present topics in the K-12 education strategies track. Drs. Karen Thomas and Lauren Freedman, both professors in the Department of Special Education and Literacy Studies on WMU's main campus, will lend their expertise in literacy to serve as hosts of several sessions. Additionally, Dr. Leonard Seawood, director of WMU-Southwest, will speak to conference attendees about how to create a culture of literacy.

This year's conference includes breakfast and lunch, and the registration cost is just $25. Representatives of Benton Harbor-area communities, as well as those interested in celebrating literacy, are invited to attend.

Additional conference details, including workshop descriptions and speaker information, can be found online at www.sw.wmich.edu/Events/LiteracyConf or call (269) 925-6100.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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