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UMFK well represented at Aroostook "Right to Read" conference

November 11, 2005

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The University of Maine at Fort Kent was well represented by 33 enthusiastic elementary and secondary education students and several faculty members at the 26th Annual Aroostook Right to Read conference held at the University of Maine at Presque Isle recently.

The theme of this year's conference was "Books-Windows to the World".

The UMFK participants were among approximately 125 educators, from the County, convening at the annual conference.

Faculty members representing the campus community included education professors Penny Albert, Gilbert Albert, Dr. Bruno Hicks and Mary Lunney, a part-time faculty member at UMFK and principal of Madawaska Elementary School.

Lunney is also known for her enormous contributions and impact to reading in Aroostook County as well as her work in the education department at UMFK.

The five hour conference incorporated exhibits, various workshops and speakers.

The highlight of the event was a keynote address by Dr. Janet Allen, a former educator at Maine School Administrative District #1 in Presque Isle. Presently, Allen is an author of children's literature and a private special reading consultant, who works with school districts statewide.

Her speech was based on two topics, the first part was entitled "Beating the Odds: Choosing What Matters in Teaching and Learning" and the second half was "Word Matters: Making Vocabulary Instruction Meaningful".

"It was exciting being in her presence and one could easily deduct that she was an expert in her field. Not only was she extremely knowledgeable, but she also commanded a dynamic stage demeanor," according to Mike Charette, UMFK education student who attended the conference. "What really made Allen a pleasure to listen to was just the proper mix of reading strategies, sprinkled with real life experience."

All workshops were mediated and presented by current teachers from Aroostook County. Some of the topics presented, included "Great Books Kids Want to Read", "Poetry Café", "Behavior in the Classroom", and "Newspapers Maintain the Brain". Each workshop lasted slightly longer than one hour, and attendees received a five contact hour certificate.