Celebrating 50 Years of Supporting Literacy

Fifty years ago, Joan Duea and Delsie Charais Foreman, two UNI faculty members at the Malcolm Price Laboratory School, conceived and organized the first Beginning Reading Conference.

The initial goal of the conference was to provide outreach for kindergarten and first-grade teachers and their school administrators.

Cover of 50th Annual Elementary Literacy Conference programFifty years later, the conference has a new name -- the Elementary Literacy Conference -- and its goal had expanded to provide professional development and networking opportunities for pre-service teachers, classroom teachers and teacher educators.

Denise Tallakson, an instructor of elementary education at UNI and conference chair, credits the dedication of the elementary faculty at Price Lab with launching and sustaining such an important event.

“The conference was put on by the elementary faculty on top of their full-time role teaching elementary students,” Tallakson said. “The faculty felt strongly that they wanted to provide outreach to the practicing teachers and administrators in Iowa.”

Attendees at the 2018 Elementary Literacy ConferenceSadly, the 50th Annual Elementary Literacy Conference, held on Friday, April 13, 2018 brought the run of the conference to a close. But its impact on pre-service teachers and practicing classroom teachers across the state of Iowa will reverberate for years to come.

“Over 50 years, the impact of this conference is endless when you think of all the elementary students’ literacy lives it touched,” said Tallakson. “It also shows the commitment both Price Lab School teachers and UNI had to promote literacy across the state of Iowa and beyond.”