Announcing: 2023 Memphis Literacy Conference

Keynote Speaker Kymyona Burk, Ed.D.

Exclusive screening of the film, The Right to Read

In its third year, Memphis Literacy Conference, a program of Memphis Teacher Residency, will host keynote speaker Kymyona Burk, Ed.D. The conference will be held at Crosstown Concourse at 8:00 am on July 29, 2023 and is designed for school leaders, literacy teachers, and literacy experts. Attendees will have the opportunity to view The Right to Read, a film by Jenny Mackenzie and executive produced by LeVar Burton, which shares the stories of an NAACP activist, a teacher, and two American families (one from Memphis) who fight to provide our youngest generation with the most foundational indicator of life-long success: the ability to read.

Dr. Burk is the Policy Director for Early Literacy at the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) where she assists state leaders pursuing a comprehensive approach to K-3 reading policy for their states. Burk received a Doctorate in Early Childhood Education, Specialist in Secondary Education/English, Master of Science in Educational Leadership, Master of Arts in Teaching English, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Jackson State University. She most recently served as the Executive Director for the Office of Teaching and Learning in the Jackson Public School District where she provided leadership and vision for all aspects of the district’s instructional programs. As the former K-12 State Literacy Director for the Mississippi Department of Education, she led the state-level implementation of the Literacy-Based Promotion Act (2013), which aims to ensure that all students are proficient readers by third grade. Burk’s experience includes serving as a reading and English teacher, school-based literacy coach, district literacy trainer, and University-based Literacy Coordinator. She currently serves as a Board Member of The Reading League.

The Memphis Literacy Institute’s vision is that every school in Memphis would implement research-based literacy best practices so that every Memphis student has the opportunity to experience the dignity and equity of reading on grade level. In addition to the Memphis Literacy Conference, the Institute partners to train teachers and leaders and support schools toward literacy excellence through its other programs: a Reading Specialist Certification Program through which participants receive an accredited Reading Specialist endorsement and degree; a catalog of learning experiences for teachers and leaders based on the science of reading (available 2023-24); and, school-based partnerships through which MLI provides consulting and coaching to help schools implement a comprehensive literacy model. 

Conference organizers anticipate that demand for the 300 registrations will be high and are grateful to conference sponsors: Memphis-Shelby County Schools, International Paper Co., Greenline Pet, Duncan Williams Asset Management, Knowledge Tree, Regions Bank, Grinder Taber Grinder, Inc., Varsity Spirit, Albertine, Co., Novel Memphis, The Peabody Memphis, and Wiseacre Brewing Co.

Online registration ($55) opens Tuesday, April 11.