Kelley symposium to discuss opportunity gap Nov. 11

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Kelley symposium to discuss opportunity gap Nov. 11

Freddy Hiebert presents at the 2014 Helen Kelley Symposium.
Elfreida Hiebert presents at the 2014 Helen Kelley Symposium.

A nationally recognized authority on early childhood literacy education will keynote the 2014 Helen Kelley Symposium for Excellence in Education at 3 to 5 p.m. Nov. 11 at the East Union’s Great Plains Room. The event is free and open to the public.

Elfreida “Freddy” Hiebert will discuss how early childhood educators can design early reading literacy programs to help overcome the influences of poverty in the acquisition of literacy skills.

The event is sponsored by the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies in the College of Education and Human Sciences. It is funded through a generous gift from Richard and Helen Kelley through the University of Nebraska Foundation.

Registration is requested online, but is not required.

CEHS colleagues are studying the book “Closing the Opportunity Gap” by Prudence L. Carter and Kevin G. Welner and discussing how all departments in the college can address the widening gap that children of poverty face in accessing education in and out of school. Hiebert’s presentation will be a supplement to this college-wide discussion and would be appropriate for anyone interested in youth and children.

“Dr. Hibert’s talk will be engaging and stimulating, regardless of attendees’ field or discipline, and it will help us continue our conversations about the complexity of the opportunity gap and how we are making a difference,” said Richard Bischoff, chair of the department.

Hiebert has a long career as a literacy educator, first as a teacher’s aide and teacher of primary-level students in California and, subsequently, as a teacher educator and researcher at the universities of Kentucky, Colorado-Boulder, Michigan and California-Berkeley. Her research, which addresses how fluency, vocabulary, and knowledge can be fostered through appropriate texts, has been published in numerous scholarly journals and books. Through documents such as “Becoming a Nation of Readers” and “Every Child a Reader,” she has contributed to making research accessible to educators. Hiebert’s contributions to research and practice have been recognized through awards such as the 2013 American Educational Research Association’s Research to Practice award.

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