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A Reading Convention Pondering

The International Reading Association Convention is in Chicago this week.  I felt the sense of urgency to attend, to learn more, to meet with colleagues from across the world with the same passion for teaching literacy that I possess.  Oh, and I should also note . . . the convention is being held less than an hour from my house.  I need to go.

I have much to process and share about the two days that I attended.  However, on the first day this is what I found myself pondering on the train ride back home.

a conference

Ready to learn
to hear from some
of the great ones
in the field of literacy.

Excited to be
with a sense of
validation and conviction.

Digging deeper into
my own learning and
understanding -- pushing
my thinking to application.

And then I arrived
to a buzzing frenzy
of a 'marketplace' with
every vendor known to teachers.

Each company trying
to outdo their neighbor.
Who can create the biggest -
tallest - techy-est - comfiest booth?

And the free goodies, samples, bags --
Really? How many bags  does one need,
even a teacher?  I saw a teacher with
at least 10 bags on her shoulder . . .

For all the MONEY
spent on the marketing,
the booths, the freebies --
I only wished for one thing:

Books. Books, books, books.
That money could have -- no,
should have been spent on books
for students all across the world.


  1. As is usual with conferences of all kinds, it's about priority and the priority for these vendors is to SELL, SELL, SELL, by giving out little things that will break or get thrown away. I agree, money that could/should have been spent in many different ways. Hope you enjoyed the rest of the conference. Love ya, M

  2. Your observation articulates exactly why I admire your style so much. I just could not afford to attend IRA this year. So, I have been eagerly following the tweets and facebook updates of colleagues who are attending. Sadly, I have seen more updates about free stuff they acquired than I have seen evidence of true professional growth. I can't wait to hear some of what you aquired--I just know it will be deeper than an armload of free bags!

  3. Michelle,
    You make such a valid point about how money is spent and how it could be better sometimes makes me sad how marketing people tend to drive the bus...and sometimes wreck it!
    I don't think anyone from our district got to attend this year due to budget constraints...I am glad you got to attend, definitely a great opportunity!

  4. So much fun-I envy you Michelle. Hope you tell even more, but the marketplace is a fine place to begin & to think about.


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