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July 5, 2006

Jennifer Fennell
(850) 245-0413

5th Annual Just Read, Florida! Leadership Conference Bolsters Reading Education in Florida
More than 3,500 Florida educators to attend special event

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Just Read, Florida! will convene its fifth annual Leadership Conference Monday in Lake Buena Vista. The all-inclusive conference is open to superintendents, principals and reading coaches for a nominal registration fee. There will be more than 300 concurrent sessions, many led by principals and reading coaches from across the state, sharing reading education and best practices.

State and national leaders, reading experts and celebrities will speak during the three-day event. Governor Jeb Bush, who made reading a top priority in his administration, will speak Monday. Governor Bush will be joined by Florida State Board of Education Chairman Philip Handy, renowned author and screenwriter Antwone Fisher, and Just Read, Florida! Director Evan Lefsky, Ph.D. On Tuesday, Education Commissioner John L. Winn, former Disney's American Teacher of the Year Ron Clark, K-12 Public Schools Chancellor Cheri Pierson Yecke, Ph.D., and Florida Lottery Secretary Rebecca Dirden Mattingly will speak. Lt. Governor Toni Jennings and literacy expert Bill Brozo, Ph.D. will speak Wednesday.

Guest Speakers

Antwone Quenton Fisher works as a screenwriter, author and film producer. New York Times Bestseller Finding Fish: A Memoir, is the inspiring story of his incredible life's journey. The film, Antwone Fisher, written by Fisher himself reflects on his life as a sailor and as a child growing up in Cleveland. Through his collection of poetry titled, Who Will Cry For The Little Boy?, now one of the best selling books of poetry of all time, Fisher reveals the inner truths that took him from a tumultuous childhood to the man he is today. Fisher will speak during the opening session Monday and share his personal struggle about learning to read and the importance of literacy.

Ron Clark has been called "America's Educator." His work with disadvantaged students in rural North Carolina and inner-city Harlem garnered worldwide attention. Currently, Clark is working to open a school in Atlanta for low-income students. The Ron Clark Academy will apply a curriculum focused on international adventures. Clark will address conference attendees Tuesday to discuss what it takes to be an effective teacher.

William G. Brozo, Ph.D. is Professor of Literacy in the Graduate School of Education at George Mason University. He has taught reading and language arts in junior and senior high school and is the author of numerous articles on literacy development for children and young adults. Brozo writes a regular column for the International Reading Association's Thinking Classroom entitled "Strategic Moves". Brozo will speak Wednesday and discuss ways of enriching the literate culture of middle and secondary schools, enhancing the literate lives of boys and making teaching more responsive to the needs all students.

The Just Read, Florida! 2006 Leadership Conference will be held:

July 10-12, 2006
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin
1500 Epcot Resorts Boulevard
Lake Buena Vista

Just Read, Florida! makes reading a priority in Florida's public schools and among the community groups and volunteer organizations that support them. It is based on the latest reading research, which includes emphasis on phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. For more information about Just Read, Florida! visit