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GITWL 2021 brings together the most current thinking on all forms of literacy for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, including print, braille, auditory, tactile graphics comprehension and the use of assistive technology.
Presentations will address the needs of a range of ages and all levels of ability, including conventional and functional literacy. Plus, more than 60 concurrent workshops and additional poster sessions will focus on specific areas, including:
Assessment, instruction and support
Assistive technology and tactile graphics
Braille Instruction and Tactile Literacy
Cultural Linguistic Diversity and English Language Learners
Early Childhood Literacy
Legislation and Policy Affecting Literacy
Literacy and Additional Learning Needs
Transitional and Vocational Literacy
Literacy In Everyday Life
Literacy for individuals with visual impairments is an area of increasing interest. At one time, the subject was just one of many diverse topics discussed at general conferences. But for the past 28 years, a group of professionals and individuals with visual impairments has organized a conference devoted specifically to this topic.
The following communities have organized and sponsored the literacy conference in the past:
1993 Little Rock, Arkansas
1995 Austin, Texas
1997 Minneapolis, Minnesota
1999 San Francisco, California
2001 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2003 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
2005 Denver, Colorado
2007 St. Pete Beach, Florida
2009 Costa Mesa, California
2011 Louisville, Kentucky
2013 Providence, Rhode Island
2015 Albuquerque, New Mexico
2017 New Orleans, Louisiana
2019 Seattle, Washington
Noted presenters from both the vision and general literacy fields through the years have included Ruby Ryles, Fred Schroeder, Carl Augusto, Sharon Sacks, Judith Dixon, David Warren, Donna McNear, Kay Ferrell, Sally Mangold, Linda Jones, Karen Wolffe, Frances Mary D'Andrea, Amanda Hall Lueck, Jamie Dote-Kwan, Jeffrey Senge, Anne Corn, Ike Presley, Cay Holbrook, Alan Koenig, Eileen Curran, Bernadette Kappan, Denis Schreiber, Barbara Paten Maurer, Reid Lyon, Barbara Miles, Brian Cambourne, Phil Hatlen, Linda Mamer, Diane Wormsley, Ann MacCuspie, Kevin Sterwart, Karen Karsh, Betty Zaborowski, Deborah Hatton, Lisa Fittipaldi, Erik Weihenmeyer, Susan Spungin, Barbara Foorman, Michael Melor, Diane Croft, Jeff Bohrman, Jag Einhorn and Paul Malloy.
Key Beliefs of the Getting In Touch With Literacy Conference
Literacy is liberating. It opens doors, enlarges the world and makes life richer and more meaningful. Reading impacts us in a way that no other art form - or life skill - can duplicate. It touches all areas of our lives.
It is important to focus on all areas of literacy including braille, print, combination of braille and print, use of assistive technology and other literacy tools, research, practice. The conference is not a "braille literacy conference" though some have tried to define it as such - it is a conference that includes underlying respect for all forms of literacy. It is the belief of conference organizers that individuals with visual impairments have a right to respect for the use of all literacy tools.
A range of age levels and all ability levels should be addressed. Presentations are encouraged that deal with topics related to infants and toddlers, school aged students, and adults. Both conventional and functional literacy issues are included.
Conference committees raise funds and solicit sponsorship in order to keep registration costs for conference participants as low as possible. Because this conference is most valuable to those who provide direct service to individuals with visual impairments, every effort should be made to keep registration and lodging costs reasonable for teachers of students with visual impairments and rehabilitation teachers. Sponsorship of various aspects of the conference (speakers, meals and breaks, printing, etc) helps keep conference expenses as low as possible. Proceeds from the Getting In Touch With Literacy conference should be used to support the on-going planning of professional development in literacy instruction. Therefore, all conference proceeds from this conference will be dedicated to efforts to support literacy for individuals with visual impairments.
TradeWinds Island Resort on St. Pete Beach is located on 20 acres, directly on a Gulf of Mexico beach in Saint Pete Beach. The hotel offers 5 outdoor swimming pools, 4 full-service restaurants, and a spa.
Guest rooms at the Island Grand are equipped with a microwave, coffee machine, toaster, small refrigerator, and kitchenware. A flat-screen cable TV is also included. Some rooms offer views of the Gulf of Mexico.
TradeWinds Island Grand features 2 hot tubs and 2 tennis courts. Guests can enjoy paddle boats, beach volleyball, a water slide, and beach cabanas. Complimentary access to the KONK Activities Center is available for all guests. 24-hour babysitting services and themed drop-off camps are available for an additional fee. Water sport activities include water slide rides and parasailing.
Dining options at the TradeWinds Island Grand include the Palm Court Italian Grill, Bermudas, Flying Bridge.Casual dining includes a poolside beach bar and grab-and-go options.
Fort De Soto Park is 16 minutes' drive from TradeWinds Island Grand, while Central St. Petersburg is 10 mi away. The Dali Museum is just 11 mi from the hotel.
Click here for group rate and hotel registration information.
TradeWinds Island Grand Resort, 5500 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, FL 33706