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March 10 @ 9:00 am 3:30 pm

Impact Literacy Speaker Series

Text reads: Impact Literacy Speaker Series

Closing the Opportunity Gap: Promoting Access & Equity through Literacy

Join us on the Lesley University campus in Cambridge, MA for a 6-day Literacy Speaker Series.

Details coming in 2021!

Number of Days:
6 days
Grade Levels:
  • Classroom Teachers, Interventionists & Specialists
  • Literacy Coaches & Teacher Leaders
  • District & School Leaders
Non-credit; graduate credit available for Summer Literacy Institute

Featured Speakers

Lester Laminack
Sonja Cherry-Paul
Cornelius & Kass Minor

Reading to Make a Difference: Using Literature to Help Students Speak Freely, Think Deeply, and Take Action with Lester Laminack

Headshot of Lester Laminack

Building off the work of Rudine Sims Bishop we will extend the notion of literature as windows, mirrors, and doors to create more inclusive classrooms. Because identity influences our choices and our perceptions of what we read it is important to broaden students’ view of the world through diverse literature. In our classrooms, shared read aloud experiences can help students find value in their complex identities while honoring new perspectives other than their own.

Participants will examine the presence of mirrors, windows, and doors in a carefully selected collection of literature. Together we will examine our personal identities and reflect on how these influence the selection of texts we make available for students. We will explore an instructional framework that enables you and your students to delve into diverse literature to help students build empathy, speak freely, think deeply and take action.

Participants in this workshop will:

  • Deepen an appreciation for the importance of diverse literature
  • Evaluate their classroom libraries for the inclusion of diverse literature
  • Utilize the provided instructional framework to design future instruction
  • Evaluate a collection of literature for potential mirrors, windows, and doors
  • Consciously examine personal bias and the limitations it places on the selection and use of diverse literature


Book Clubs for a Better World: Reimagining Reading Instruction as Liberatory Spaces with Sonja Cherry-Paul

The benefits of book clubs extend far beyond reading comprehension and academic gains. Together, we’ll explore the possibilities of book clubs as brave spaces where students reflect on their racial identities, read Headshot of Sonja Cherry-Pauland discuss books that affirm them, and challenge inequities.

We’ll bring greater clarity around the term “culturally relevant” and construct book clubs as spaces to disrupt normalized models and exclusionary practices of “knowing” in order to honor and affirm the racial and cultural identities of students. Book clubs have an indelible influence on students as they develop as critical thinkers, lifelong readers, and change makers in the world. They have the potential to shift the teacher/student power dynamics and become liberatory spaces where students take ownership over their own reading lives.

Reaching All Learners: Taking Action for Equity to Close the Achievement Gap with Cornelius & Kass Minor

As educators, we often wonder how to be responsive to students when their needs, communities, backgrounds, and experiences are different from ours. We strive to provide reading and writing opportunities for all children that are engaging and responsive to them. But too often current reading instruction leaves too many with negative reading identities, complicating the work even further. We know that reading does not happen in isolation. However, because so many people treat it this way, many kids are left out of a positive culture of reading that will contribute to their success.

Participants will leave this institute with concrete ways to think about how to connect reading to students’ lives, communities, and aspirations. We will examine reading identity and how it intersects with racial, gender, and class identity. Throughout the institute, participants will learn how to effectively respond to the students in front of them through exploring student identity; observing students; and conducting authentic assessment. We will consider how powerful reading experiences are the means for both student reading growth and for building and shifting powerful learning communities.

Headshots of Kass and Cornelius MinorThe institute will be led by The Minor Collective, a community-based movement designed to foster sustainable change in schools, established by Kassandra Minor, an inclusive educator, and Cornelius Minor, literacy leader and author of We Got This. Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be​​​​​​. Lesley University faculty will also guide you in your thinking around these topics.

Workshop Dates & Location

All events take place at Lesley University, 1815 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140.
Find a place to stay in the area.

  • March 18, 2020 (1-day workshop): Lester Laminack – POSTPONED
  • April 16, 2020 (1-day workshop): Sonja Cherry-Paul – POSTPONED
  • July 12-15, 2021 (4-day institute): Cornelius and Kass Minor – NEW 2021 DATES

Costs & Registration

1-day workshop: $295 per workshop (8:30 am–2:30 pm, includes boxed lunch and book)

Register for March 18 with Lester Laminack – POSTPONED

Register for April 16 with Sonja Cherry-Paul – POSTPONED

4-day institute: $895 (8:00 am–3:45 pm; noncredit, includes book)

Registration for the new July 12-15, 2021 dates with Cornelius and Kass Minor coming soon.
Click here for full details.

Interested in professional learning at your school 
or district? Schedule a meeting with one of our faculty trainers.