GUAM IRA conference opens the importance of language arts

Department of English and Applied Linguistics organized the 29th Annual Regional Language Arts Conference at the Hyatt Regency Guam in Tumon on Nov. 18 and 19. The Guam International Reading Associations sponsored the conference.

Guam IRA is a professional organization that helps educators and parents to discover the world of books. This organization helps individuals who are concerned with the developmental program of reading for adults and children. The Guam IRA strives to work together to improve literacy and reading instruction in Guam and Micronesia. Their mission is to spread awareness and impact reading to all people. Guam IRA strives to make reading as a lifelong habit for younger readers and have a connection to the island’s community through projects and event.

Evangeline Chaco, past president of the Guam International Reading Association, discusses why reading is very important.

“Literacy is essential for everyone because literacy is the composite of reading and writing. It’s essential for our generation. Basically, the kids will replace us,” Chaco said. “They are our future and for our progress to move forward, we need to teach kids basic reading and writing.”

Chaco also talks about the programs sponsorship with the University of Guam and their involvement throughout the years.

“We’ve always assisted and sponsored for the University of Guam every year so it’s an annual event that we participate in.” Chaco said.

The theme of the conference was Reading and Writing Together. Guam IRA had UOG faculty and staff member James Sellmann and guest presenter Margaruite Smith to make a speech and present the program that helps benefit for the teachers and students to teach and improve their reading and writing skills.

James Sellmann, Ph.D., dean of the UOG College Liberal Arts and Social Science discusses about how language is the core activity of the cobaltic human being.

“Everything that we’re about is and ends with the language arts,” said Sellmann.

Sellmann believes that without our native languages, symbolic interactions, cultures and civilizations, mathematics, science, and the love of wisdom would not be possible without the language arts.

Special guest Margaruite Smith, Ed.D, manages textbook sales and teacher training for all the Pacific Islands of Micronesia and U.S. territories presented a PowerPoint presentation and talked about the reading and writing instruction using the Common Core State Standard. State leaders launched this instruction in 2009.

Smith also discussed the keys to building strong readers and writers. Smith hopes that her presentation will help students give the opportunity on what they can succeed  in their reading and writing abilities.

“Students in school really need to have the opportunity to think. It’s not that teachers in the past haven’t made you think, it’s just that now they have standards that they can take a look at that they can use as a road map for thinking skills.,” said Smith.

Chaco hopes for the near future that Guam IRA will take their program moving forward with the use of technology.

“We are acquiring software programs a software that narrates a book, so the kids enjoy that. And as for the adults or high school, we’re looking into ebooks.” Chaco said.


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