Conference Overview

About the Conference

The MidSouth Reading and Writing Conference brings together nationally recognized literacy researchers, practitioners and authors to offer professional development opportunities for K-16 audiences—teachers, ESL teachers, literacy coaches and specialists, administrators, media specialists and teacher educators. The presenters cover a wide range of relevant topics that include reading and writing in content areas, literacy instructional strategies, technology, children’s and young adult literature, reading and writing process, and culturally responsive pedagogy.

Professional Development Credit: 12 hours

When: Thursday, June 14 and Friday, June 15

Where: Carver High School - Birmingham, AL


Early Bird (before May 1st): $125
Standard: $150
One Day: $75
Group of 10+ teachers: $100 per teacher
Student (Undergraduate & Pre-Service teachers only): $50
Presenter: $75

Lodging: DoubleTree by Hilton
808 20th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35205


Who Should Attend?

  • Pre-School Teachers

  • Elementary & Middle School Teachers

  • Reading & Curriculum Coaches

  • Principals

  • University Students

Conference Proposals

The call for conference proposals is now closed.

Extend your conference experience by downloading session materials.

Why Attend Mid-South?
  • Affordable Cost of Attendance

  • Earn Continuing Education Credit

  • Meet Literacy Experts and Renowned Authors

  • Connect with Other Literacy Enthusiasts

  • Shop Outstanding Vendors

  • Learn New Literacy Strategies

Keynote Speaker Publications

  • Nell Duke
  • Alfred Tatum
  • Ellin Keene
  • Charles Ghigna
What Previous Attendees Say
  • "Plenty of relevant, interesting sessions from which to choose."

  • "Lots of books available to buy! The high school was a great location."

  • "Everyone was nice and helpful if you needed help! A great experience!"

  • "The facilities were fantastic. Great variety of sessions for various grade levels."

  • "Everything was very well organized. There were no long lines to sign in. The lunch was excellent."

  • "The presenters were highly knowledgeable, engaging, and progressive. They presented the information in a way that made me want to create connections with my students in order to better their comprehension."

  • "The sessions were excellent, as much of the information was new and the presenters had real life situations that they used to explain their rationale."

About Our Keynote Speakers
  • Nell Duke

    Nell Duke

    Nell Duke’s work focuses on early literacy development, particularly among children living in poverty. Her specific areas of expertise include development of informational reading and writing in young children, comprehension development and instruction in early schooling, and issues of equity in literacy education. She has served as Co-Principal Investigator of projects funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the George Lucas Educational Foundation, among other organizations. Duke has been named one of the 50 most influential education scholars in the U.S. in EdWeek. In 2014, she was awarded the P. David Pearson Scholarly Influence Award from the Literacy Research Association. She has also received awards from the American Educational Research Association, the Literacy Research Association, the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the Michigan Reading Association.

    Duke serves as a consultant for a number of education and policy organizations, and speaks widely on literacy education. Duke is author and co-author of numerous journal articles and book chapters. Her most recent books are Inside Information: Developing Powerful Readers and Writers of Informational Text through Project-based Instruction and Beyond Bedtime Stories: A Parent’s Guide to Promoting Reading, Writing, and Other Literacy Skills From Birth to 5, Second Edition. Duke also has a strong interest in improving the quality of educational research training in the United States. Her Twitter handle is @nellkduke.

    Select Publications

  • Alfred Tatum

    Alfred Tatum

    Alfred Tatum is the author of the Heinemann titles Reading for Their Life and its DVD staff development companion Reading and Writing for Resiliency. Alfred’s textual lineage includes such works as Black Boy, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas. He grew up in the Ida B. Wells housing projects in Chicago, embracing literacy as a way out of violence and poverty. Today his research and advocacy are aimed at advancing the literacy development of adolescents, and especially African American boys in urban communities. Alfred is the author of the NCTE James N. Britton Award–winning Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males, an associate professor in the Literacy, Language, and Culture Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Director of the UIC Reading Clinic, and a former middle school teacher and reading specialist.

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  • Ellin Keene

    Ellin Keene

    Ellin Oliver Keene has been a classroom teacher, staff developer, non-profit director, and adjunct professor of reading and writing. For sixteen years she directed staff development initiatives at the Denver-based Public Education & Business Coalition. She served as Deputy Director and Director of Literacy and Staff Development for the Cornerstone Project at the University of Pennsylvania for four years. Ellin works with schools and districts throughout the country and abroad with an emphasis on long-term, school-based professional development and strategic planning for literacy learning. She serves as senior advisor at Heinemann, overseeing the Heinemann Fellows initiative and is the editor of the Heinemann Professional Development Catalog-Journal.

    Ellin is author of Engaging Children: Igniting the Drive for Deeper Learning (2018), is co-editor and co-author of The Teacher You Want to Be: Essays about Children, Learning, and Teaching (Heinemann, 2015); co-editor of the Not This, but That series (Heinemann, 2013 - 2015); author of Talk About Understanding: Rethinking Classroom Talk to Enhance Understanding (Heinemann, 2012), To Understand: New Horizons in Reading Comprehension (Heinemann, 2008), co-author of Comprehension Going Forward (Heinemann, 2011), Mosaic of Thought: The Power of Comprehension Strategy Instruction, 2nd edition (Heinemann, 2007, 1st edition, 1997) and author of Assessing Comprehension Thinking Strategies (Shell Educational Books, 2006) as well as numerous chapters for professional books and journals on the teaching of reading as well as education policy journals. Ellin is a Heinemann PD provider, presenting One-Day Workshops, Webinars Series, and all forms of On-Site PD. She is most sought after for her long-term professional development residencies in partnership with Heinemann Professional Development.

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  • Charles Ghigna

    Charles Ghigna

    Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He is the author of more than 100 books from Random House, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc., Disney, Hyperion, Scholastic, Abrams, Boyds Mills Press, Charlesbridge, Capstone, Orca and other publishers, and more than 5000 poems for children and adults in newspapers and magazines ranging from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Highlights and Cricket magazines. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, instructor of creative writing at Samford University, poetry editor of English Journal for the National Council of Teachers of English, and as a nationally syndicated poetry feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He speaks at schools, conferences, libraries, and literary events throughout the U.S. and overseas, and has read his poems at The Library of Congress, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the American Library in Paris, the American School in Paris, and the International Schools of South America. For more information, visit his website at

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Conference Schedule

Thursday, June 14

8:00-8:30 Registration
8:30-8:45 Welcome and Awards
8:45-10:00 Keynote | Nell Duke
10:15-11:30 Concurrent Sessions (75 minute)
11:30-12:30 Lunch
12:45-1:40 Concurrent Sessions (55 minute)
1:55-2:55 Keynote | Alfred Tatum
2:55-3:00 Closing

Friday, June 15

8:00-8:30 Registration
8:30-8:45 Welcome and Awards
8:45-10:00 Keynote | Ellin Keene
10:15-11:30 Concurrent Sessions (75 minute)
11:30-12:30 Lunch
12:45-1:40 Concurrent Sessions (55 minute)
1:55-2:55 Keynote | Charles Ghigna
2:55-3:00 Closing