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WLU Literacies for All Summer Institute

2016 Call for Program Proposals

Literacy That Matters: Curriculum, Creativity, and Critical Action

July 14-16, 2016 • St. Louis, Missouri

Whole Language UmbrellaThe theme of this year’s Literacies for All Summer Institute, Literacy That Matters: Curriculum, Creativity, and Critical Action, invites us to share the ways in which we move beyond the limits of mandated curriculum, commercial programs, and testing as we explore language and literacy teaching and learning that matters in the lives of our students and their communities.  

Learn more and submit a program proposal.


Looking Back at the 2015 Summer Institute

Summer Institute Program

From INBOX, July 14, 2015

Literacy, teachers' and students' curiosities, and participation in communities that support learning and language development.

#WLU15 tweet from Amy Riley

#WLU15 tweet from Katie Wood Ray

LISTEN:  Prisca Martens and Ray Martens, who did the line drawings for the Literacies for All Summer Institute program, talk about "Young Children Composing Meaning in Story Studio."

Literacies for All program drawings by Prisca Martens and Ray Martens

Don HoldawayThe Resource Center: Authentic Classroom Interaction
The recipient of the 2015 Whole Language Umbrella Lifetime Membership Award, Don Holdaway, talks about putting the joy back into teaching and learning. "We do not need to worry about motivation," Holdaway maintains, "when we bring out the natural joy of language and literature."  Language Arts, November-December 1982 

JoBeth AllenLISTEN: JoBeth Allen talks about "Creating Home-School Partnerships with Diverse Families."  Education Talk Radio, June 15, 2015  


Keynote Speakers:

Grace LinGrace Lin is the author and illustrator of picture books, early readers, and middle-grade novels--including the 2010 Newbery Honor book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. See more about Grace and her work at

Photo: Alexandre Ferron

JoBeth AllenJoBeth Allen is Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia in language and literacy education, where she taught courses on writing pedagogy, poetry, family-school partnerships, and critical pedagogy, and conducted collaborative action research with teachers on issues of educational equity and social justice. She is the author of Creating Welcoming Schools: A Practical Guide to Home-School Partnerships with Diverse Families.

Peter H. JohnstonPeter H. Johnston is professor emeritus of the University at Albany. His recent research has focused on the consequences of teachers' classroom talk for the ways children learn and experience themselves and each other, and how engaged reading influences children's social, emotional, moral, and academic development. He has published several books, including Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives.

Candace Kuby and Tara Gutshall RuckerCandace Kuby is Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Missouri and received her PhD in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education from Indiana University.

Tara Gutshall Rucker is in her 8th year as an elementary teacher in Columbia Public Schools, Columbia, Missouri and received her MA in Curriculum and Instruction through the Teaching Fellows program at the University of Missouri. Candace and Tara are currently writing a book about their five years of co-researching in a multimodal Writers’ Studio (2016, Teachers College Press).


Preconference: Thursday, July 9
Speaking Out and Acting Up: Using Theater Strategies for Activating Teachers, Students, and Communities to Respond to Oppressive and Controversial Situations
We’re thrilled that Theatre of the Oppressed NYC will lead the workshop. Learn more.

Luncheon: Friday, July 10
Celebrating the Past, Present and Future of WLU
At this year’s luncheon, we celebrate 25 reunions since the first WLU conference in St. Louis in 1990. As whole language teachers, we come together around a meal for stories, songs, and images reflecting on friendships and inspirational conference experiences. Learn more.

Symposium Sessions: Saturday, July 11
Symposium sessions invite participants to explore topics in depth and through firsthand experiences. The four symposium sessions are offered at the same time so that they are not competing with concurrent sessions. Learn more.

Summer Institute Highlights
Learn more about the sessions, strands, and events planned for this year's Summer Institute.


The Literacies for All Summer Institute is a forum in which teachers and learners in this increasingly complex world can share their creative work.  In whole language classrooms, curriculum builds from the experiences, inquiries, challenges, and problems in learners’ daily lives. Learners develop as readers and writers as they address important issues, solve problems, and explore themes that cross subject-area boundaries.  Our small conference provides opportunities for in-depth discussions, the sharing of rough-draft thinking around critical issues, and first-hand, multimodal learning experiences.

The Literacies for All Summer Institute is a peer-reviewed conference.  All proposals addressing whole language themes are considered.


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