Early Literacy Summit 2020: A Vision for the Future

January 8, 9 & 10, 2020 ~ Chandler, AZ

Now Accepting Scholarship Applications

Deadline October 25, 2019

A limited number of scholarships are available to support library staff who live at least 50 miles from the venue to attend the full summit. Support for scholarships is provided by the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State, with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Scholarship applications are being accepted through October 25, 2019 and applicants will be notified of scholarship awards by November 4. General registration will open November 8.

If you have questions about the scholarship application process, please contact the Registration and Scholarship Committee at 520-432-8935 or earlyliteracysummit@azla.org.

If you are ready to apply, the application is available here.

This three-day summit will provide opportunities for Arizona’s Early Literacy professionals that serve ages 0-5 to network and learn from experts and each other.

Wednesday Pre-conference

Re-imagine the Future - Bay Area Discovery Museum

Michelle Weissman Randall, PhD

Early Education Advisor, Bay Area Discovery Museum

Through an interactive presentation with hands-on activities, this session will introduce librarians to the research, practical implications, and resources offered in the Reimagining toolkit, which is available in its entirety for free online. The Reimagining School Readiness Toolkit is a suite of research-backed resources created for librarians to help families prepare children ages 0 to 8 for success in school and in life.

Michelle Weissman Randall, PhD

Early Education Advisor, Bay Area Discovery Museum

Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Francisco State University and a Doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught both at the preschool and university level, including classes on a variety of topics in child developmental psychology. She also has extensive experience working as an evaluator helping individuals and organizations study the effectiveness of a wide variety of both formal and informal educational programs for teaching and learning. Michelle is especially interested in how children learn, the tools they use for learning, and the socio-cultural influences on learning. She blends her academic training with her varied and deep experiences in teaching and psychological and educational research to help guide and develop programs to be most successful.

Wednesday Keynote

Early Literacy and the Growth Mindset

Dr. Blake Brandes

Librarians have the power to foster a Growth Mindset by supporting children’s passion in the critical formative years of ages 0-5. Through Dr. Brandes’ experiences of using beatboxing to help children express themselves he has seen the power of creativity and passion spark self-expression in children of diverse backgrounds and ability levels. He will speak to the importance of libraries as a community center of discovery, where children’s passions can be explored and expanded through the thoughtful guidance of early childhood librarians as well as some practical Growth Mindset strategies to promote the joy of literacy in children.

Dr. Blake Brandes is a youth motivational speaker, hip-hop educator, music producer, and student leadership expert. Blake received his PhD in Hip-Hop and Global Youth Cultures from the University of Kent. He believes in the importance of education and the power of hip-hop to connect with young people in a meaningful way.

Keynotes Sponsored by the Arizona State Library

Thursday Keynote

Experiences Elevate Everything

Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD

Dr Navsaria will discuss the critical importance of the first thousand days of life and the key role human relationships and interactions play in that time period. The concepts of toxic stress and how early adversity leads to lifelong issues will be reviewed, with practical examples and discussion of research which highlights these areas. Examples of the role that libraries can play in these arenas will be shared, in particular around how both parents and practitioners can be supported well by libraries and librarians.


Dr. Dipesh Navsaria is a pediatrician. He blends the roles of physician, occasional children's librarian, educator, public health professional and child health advocate. With graduate degrees in public health, children’s librarianship, physician assistant studies, and medicine, he brings a unique combination of interests and experience together.

Friday Keynote

The Importance of Self-Regulation and Social-Emotional Skills for School Readiness

Dr. Megan McClelland

This presentation will discuss the importance of children’s self-regulation for success throughout childhood and into adulthood. It will describe what self-regulation is and how it can protect children who are struggling in other areas. Finally, the talk will focus on interventions that have been found to strengthen children’s self-regulation and early school success.

Dr. Megan McClelland is the Katherine E. Smith Professor of Healthy Children and Families at Oregon State University (OSU) where she serves as Endowed Director at the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families. Her research focuses on optimizing children's development, especially as it relates to children’s self-regulation, early learning, and school success. Her recent work has examined links between self-regulation and long-term outcomes from early childhood to adulthood, recent advances in measuring self-regulation, and intervention efforts to improve these skills in young children. She works with colleagues and collaborators around the world and is currently involved with a number of national and international projects to develop measures of self-regulation and improve school success in young children.

Friday Closing Keynote

Drawing a Bright Future for Children - Chris Gall

Chris will share the importance of early reading and how it impacts a child’s direction in life as he presents a live drawing demonstration.

Chris Gall is an award-winning, internationally recognized illustrator and author. His artwork has been seen in almost every publication in America, including Time, Newsweek, People, Fortune, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. He is a regular contributor to Arizona Highways Magazine.

He has written and illustrated 15 books for children, including the Dinotrux series, now an animated television series airing on Netflix. Chris graduated from the University of Arizona in 1985 and has been a Tucson resident ever since.

Thursday Sessions

Digital Resources for Media Mentors - Natalia Hoffman, Impact Director, Dianette Plácido, Education Director, Fernando González, Digital Director - Make Way for Books

Digital Resources for Media Mentors will take an in-depth look at digital resources for children in the birth to five years. From apps marketed as educational tools to help children learn to read at a young age to apps based on beloved characters such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, parents and children are inundated with conflicting messages about whether and how to use these tools. Families look to librarians to guide their selection of these resources and to understand their impact on their children’s development.

Planning Meaningful Early Childhood Programs – R. Lynn Baker

Library programs that are planned intentionally have the biggest impact on young children and families. In this session, participants will learn about the connection between intentional planning and creating programs that make the most impact, including:

• Steps for choosing developmentally appropriate books and materials for programs

• Strategies for choosing high-quality, diverse books

• Planning interactive activities to engage children and families in language and early literacy best practices

School Readiness panel - Vicky Vela-Thai - Phoenix Public LIbrary, Joanne Floth - Read On Chandler, Kendra Davey - Pima County Public Library, Kristain Johnston - Chandler Public Library, Debe Moreno - Chandler Public Library

In this panel session, library staff will share their experience of School Readiness programs in libraries. Learn from your colleagues who have first hand experience in planning, implementing and providing library programs that support families and caregivers in preparing children for the rigors and demands of school. Learn how libraries can collaborate with school districts and other community partners to help prepare children to succeed in school.

PBS - Presented by Arizona Public Media and Arizona PBS, Cheryl Gerken, Educational Outreach Coordinator, AZPM, Kimberly Flack, Director of Education and Community Impact, Arizona PBS Panel

PBS is much more than TV shows and PBS kids. PBS offers a wealth of learning resources for parents, caretakers, teachers and yes, even librarians! During this session, you will learn about the many resources for early learners as well as some fun ideas for putting these resources into practice at your library.

Meeting Diverse Needs Through Sensory Storytimes: Programming for Children with Special Needs – R Lynn Baker

This training is designed to help you learn specific strategies for creating storytime programs which intentionally meet the diverse needs of children who may have difficulties attending large group storytime programs for a variety of reasons. After completing this course, participants will be able to:

· Explain the difference between a high-energy Sensory Storytime and a low-key Sensory Storytime

· Identify specific changes in the environment to meet the needs of children need a high-energy and low-energy environment

· Plan activities and experiences that meet a wide range of diverse needs that are characteristic of children who have difficulty attending traditional storytime programs

Little Learners Leaping into Science - Alyson Smith, Arizona Science Center, Donna Throckmorton, Arizona State Library

Investigate the benefits of evidence-based workshops that pair hands-on science activities with children's books that engage the littlest learners and their families and explore easy to implement STEM activities that spark curiosity.

Through an emphasis on literacy and science, Leap into Science builds the capacity of informal educators and parents to be competent science facilitators and to spark a love of science in little learners. Designed to bring high quality STEM and literacy resources to community settings like libraries, museums, and out-of-school time programs and especially to under-resourced communities, Leap into Science is a series of evidence-based workshops that pair hands-on science activities with children’s books.

Fostering STEAM – Kendra Davey, Pima County Public Library

Are you feeling a little leery of adding STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activities to your program lineup? Are you a little weary of hearing how important STEM learning is? Does the thought of adding math activities make you feel a little teary? If that is the case, this session is for you. Using engaging, easy, hands-on activities, you will learn the STEM mindsets that support STEM learning. Fostering STEM mindsets is a critical aspect of successful STEM learning. STEM mindsets foster curiosity, encourage a willingness to take risks, give permission not to “know” the answer, use active listening, employ critical thinking, and approach life with a growth mindset. With an understanding in how to nurture these mindsets in children and ourselves, STEM learning becomes joyful and FUN!

Embodied Play 101 – Katie Scherrer

This session provides an introduction to whole-child school readiness. Attendees will gain a rich understanding of early learning in body, heart, and mind and learn simple strategies for activating these domains of learning in all of their interactions with young children.

Practical Storytime Tips – Lisa Lewis - Show Low Public Library, Meg Beer - Pima County Public Library, and Retha Russell - Safford City Graham County Public Library

Join us in this panel discussion where we will be sharing practical storytime tips. We will talk about the importance of structure in your storytimes and how that helps children prepare to enter kindergarten. How to engage the parents and get them more involved and not sitting in the back of the room on their cell phones! And last but not least, we will be sharing innovative programs that have been successful in our libraries! Out with the old and in with the new!

Friday Sessions

Physical Literacy and Early Literacy: Exploring connections – Katie Scherrer

If we care about early literacy, we have to care about physical literacy. Drawing from exciting recent research, this session explores how the brain learns through the body, specifically in the development of critical early literacy skills. Participants will gain first-hand experience with intentional movement strategies that they can immediately use in their work with young children.

Red Light, Purple Light! Promoting Self-Regulation for School ReadinessDr. Megan McClelland

The workshop session following the keynote presentation will focus on the malleability of self-regulation and interventions that have been successful in promoting these skills in young children. The presenter will share information and research about the Red Light, Purple Light self-regulation intervention. Participants will be able practice games that promote self-regulation.