（Contributed by Sylwia）
I attended the 39th Annual Reading for the Love of It Conference earlier this year. The conference had a series of presenters that discussed a variety of teaching strategies and techniques in regards to literacy. The event lasted all day, from 8am to 3:30pm. I enjoyed attending this event as it provided many useful strategies that are especially relevant to me, as my second teachable is English. Last semester, I taught a Grade 12 OSSLT class for students who were not successful on the literacy test. Being in this classroom environment really showed me how important it is to help students build their literacy skills, and how challenging school life and life post-graduation may be without these necessary skills.
One of the presentations that I attended was called “Talk, Talk and More Talk – Developing the Oral Language Skills of Primary Students”. While this was not directed toward teaching in the Intermediate/Senior field, I still learned a lot about the usefulness of building students’ oral language skills. Sue Jackson, the speaker, held the workshop to highlight different strategies to promote oral participation and enhance students’ communication skills. She noted that developing oral language skills is necessary for building the reading and writing skills of young people. In this workshop, we modeled the activities with each other that she discussed. I noticed that these were the same activities that I used to build oral communication with my EFL learners, when I taught in South Korea. I also found the necessity for oral communication to be true with my Grade 12 OSSLT class. By doing a class brainstorming session, a think-pair-share activity, or another activity that asked them to verbalize what they were thinking, it allowed them to be more comfortable with the reading and writing activities. In that sense, this presentation was useful, in the sense that it presented different activities for a teaching technique that I really value in my own classroom.
Compared with some other Professional Development activities that I attended, I think this was a useful session, as it allowed me to interact with teachers who have been teaching for a significant amount of time and it gave me some concrete ideas for how to engage my students in oral communication. Unfortunately, this event did not really target the field of Canadian and World Studies, although it would have been interesting to see a presentation about incorporating literacy across subjects, which I am disappointed that I did not have an opportunity to go to.