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UNI's 50th Elementary Literacy Conference to feature author/musician Eric Litwin

February 26, 2018

Lynn Dykstra, instructor, Department of Teaching, 319-273-2575,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-2761,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The University of Northern Iowa will host the 50th annual Elementary Literacy Conference Friday, April 13, in the Schindler Education Center. This year's theme is “Literature, Laughter and Learning: A Lifelong Love of Literacy!"

The conference will feature Eric Litwin, New York Times best-selling author of the original "Pete the Cat" series and "The Nuts" and "Groovy Joe." Litwin’s books have sold more than 8.5 million copies, been translated into 14 languages and have won 18 literacy awards, including a Theodor Geisel Seuss Honor Award.

Another featured speaker will be John Schumacher (aka Mr. Schu), who is a blogger, part-time lecturer at Rutgers University and Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic Book Fairs. Library Journal named him “The Xtreme Librarian” for the high level of exertion—along with some gears and stunts—he uses to get kids reading, and Instructor Magazine named him a "Cool Teacher" for redefining what it means to be a teacher-librarian.

There will be a preconference event from 6 to 7 p.m., Thursday, April 12, in the lobby of the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, where Eric Litwin will perform a concert for families and do a book signing. The event is free and open to the community.

Since the Beginning Reading Conference began in 1969, it has hosted more than 53 authors in 50 years. The conference was conceived and organized by Joan Duea and Delsie Charais Foreman, former elementary school faculty at Malcolm Price Laboratory School. Although the conference was originally intended for lower elementary teachers and their principals, attendance has grown to include all elementary grade level teachers. The conference is one of the largest conferences hosted on UNI’s campus.

Parking will be available in the West Dome parking lot. Shuttle buses will transport guests from the lot to the Schindler Education Center every 15 minutes between 7 and 8 a.m. The preconference and conference events are sponsored by the UNI College of Education. The conference is free to UNI students and faculty; continuing education credits are available. To register for the conference or for more information, visit