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Posted 02/14/2015 12:00AM

To hear Ron Reigner detail the event, it would seem that the president was coming to the Golden Isles.

In actuality, Reigner isn’t that far off. On Friday, the former president of the 70,000-member International Reading Association will visit the College of Coastal Georgia for a one-day literacy conference.

“We at the college are very excited to have Dr. Patricia Edwards come to speak with us and present to us her extensive years of research regarding increasing literacy rates, especially in the minority and lower-income sector of the community,” said Reigner, who holds the Community-Supported Professorship in Early Childhood Reading and Language Arts in the School of Education and Teacher Preparation at the College of Coastal Georgia and is working with local educators to host the College of Coastal Georgia Literacy Forum on Friday.

During the day-long conference, Edwards will begin the day with a presentation titled “Children’s Literacy Development: Making it Happen through School, Family and Community Involvement.”

As the name suggests, her lecture will explain her decades of research on how literacy, especially in young minds, hinges extensively on involvement outside the classroom.

“There is a real effort to include parents and the community in a child’s education,” Reigner said. “We know that a child will achieve more when there are more people involved in their education. In her talk, Dr. Edwards will showcase just that, which will be beneficial to all the event participants with an interest in education.”

For the afternoon portion of the lecture, Edwards will be joined by several guest speakers for a panel discussion regarding the connections between home life and academic achievement. Edwards will be joined on stage by three guest speakers, Anita Beasley, Sheree Bryant and Beth Perdergraft, all of whom are involved in the Georgia Reading Association chapter of the International Reading Association.

In the final leg of the conference, the three panel guests will be available for breakout sessions of various literacy and learning topics.

Working for months to plan the workshop conference, Reigner has been pleasantly surprised by the response he has received from area educators, civic groups and individuals interested in education and literacy efforts. He anticipates more than 130 attendees for the conference from seven counties in the region.

“People are excited to take part in this great event,” Reigner said. “It is an honor to have Dr. Edwards speak to us, and undoubtedly, we will all walk away from this event with a deeper understanding of how we can improve literacy rates in our communities. We’ve seen growing efforts in many ways, from many organizations and associations, trying to improve literacy in our community. It’s great to see us all coming together like this, for the overall improvement of our community.”

The College of Coastal Georgia Literacy Forum will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. in the Southeast Georgia Conference Center on the college’s Brunswick campus. Admission is free to all.

For more information, visit

The Brunswick News
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