Update coming soon
2023 - St. Pete Beach, Florida
2023 - St. Pete Beach, Florida
2023 - St. Pete Beach, Florida
For the past thirty years, the Getting In Touch With Literacy conference has been a forum for discussion, explorations, and conversations about literacy for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. People have met colleagues and built connections through these in-person conferences since 1993. The last two years have made it difficult to maintain and foster connections.
You are a valued member of this community, and while we wait to gather again in 2023, we invite you to participate in a series of virtual conversations. Eight virtual sessions will capture the spirit of in-person interactions with robust conversations using a variety of breakout rooms and other online meeting tools.
Tickets are required to attend the virtual conversations. Cost per ticket is $30.00. Each ticket allows access for up to two people. In keeping with our desire to stay connected until the 2023 Conference, we encourage you to invite another member of our literacy community to join you on your ticket. Feel free to invite a co-worker, colleague, or even someone you met at the last Getting In Touch With Literacy Conference.
For those that applied their conference registration to the Conversations on Literacy, your tickets will be issued at no further cost.
For our university personnel preparation programs, a special rate is being offered. Please contact Janie Blome for more information. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect university students with colleagues around the world.
ACVREP CEUs are available for each session.
Join us between now and October 2023, as we build excitement towards the next in-person Getting In Touch With Literacy Conference to be held November 29 - December 2, 2023, in St. Pete Beach, Florida!
The facilitators of the third virtual "Conversations on Literacy: Content and Connections" will be Dr. Karen Blankenship, Dr. Francs Mary D'Andrea, and Mary Ann Siller on September 27, 2022, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (ET). You don't want to miss this discussion on informal student assessments, using data to develop next steps, how to foster interest in reading and writing, and more! Dr. Karen Blankenship has been a certified TVI since 1976. She has been an itinerant teacher, professor at Vanderbilt, and a coordinator at a special school. She is currently retired but continues to consult on QPVI and literacy.
Frances Mary D'Andrea, PhD., is an assistant professor of practice at the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the faculty at Pitt, she was an educational consultant specializing in literacy issues for students with visual impairments, and was an adjunct instructor at several U.S. universities. She became a teacher of students with visual impairments in 1982 and has taught in specialized schools, resource rooms, and as an itinerant teacher. From 1995-2005, she worked at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), and helped establish their National Literacy Center. She represents AFB on the Board of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA), and serves as secretary for the International Council on English Braille. Mary Ann currently teaches children birth through twenty-one with visual impairments in Texas. Through her work with the Texas Education Agency and American Foundation for the Blind, she enjoyed training teachers and parents with the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC) for children with visual impairments; designing national education projects, developing sensory and descriptive language programs for museums, designing and managing multi-year grants, developing school-to-work curriculum; conducting parent/professional trainings at state, national, and international levels, and developing legislative supports to enhance policies impacting children and adults with visual impairments. She continues to be truly inspired by the children she teaches who are blind or have low vision.
Mary Ann earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary and Special Education with an endorsement in the Education of Students with Visual Impairments at the University of Texas at Austin; a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with Diagnostic Assessment and Learning Disabilities certifications from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi; and an Educational Administration certification from Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.
For the September 27 conversation: Register Now for Conversations Session Three!
Topics and dates for the additional Conversations on Literacy will be announced as they are confirmed.
Update coming soon
Update coming soon
GITWL 2023 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.
Meet other passionate experts and share ideas
The Call for Proposals for the 2023 conference will open in late 2022 or early 2023. If you had an accepted paper for the 2021 cancelled conference you will be contacted about a resubmission or update. New submissions will also be welcomed.
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 with 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.
The special conference rate for GITWL attendees is $172 per night, which will be available November 28 - December 3, 2023. The conference rate applies for single or double occupancy. Click for Reservation
TradeWinds Island Grand Resort, 5500 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, FL 33706