Monday, February 21, 2011

UIS Teacher Education chair attempts to read over 500 books in preparation for conference

Cindy Wilson admits it might not have been a smart idea to attempt to read over 500 children’s books in the weeks leading up to the annual Illinois Reading Council Conference in Springfield, but she’s having a great time doing it.

Wilson is the chair of the Teacher Education Department at the University of Illinois Springfield and president-elect of the Illinois Reading Council. Her goal is to read almost every book by every author who is speaking at the March 17-19 conference.

“Nobody has said out load that they think I’m crazy for doing this. Many people have said I’m courageous for attempting to do this,” said Wilson.

Wilson was responsible for selecting all of the authors, who will appear at the conference. She was already familiar with many of the author’s work, but still felt she had more to learn.

“I decided to take it on because the authors that I chose, I chose because I really admired them for their work and so I wanted to read everything that they had written,” said Wilson.

The Lincoln Public Library in downtown Springfield is helping Wilson gather all the books she needs. The library always has a stack of books ready for her to read and they’ve helped her borrow books from other libraries.

Wilson hopes reading the books will not only help her understand them better, but help advertise the conference. She’s started a blog where people can track her progress in reading the books and learn more about the authors coming to the conference.

Wilson doesn’t expect to be able to actually read all 546 books, but she’s hoping to at least make it through the first 300. She started reading novels and has now moved onto books with a smaller amount of text.

“Fortunately they are children’s books primarily, so some of them go very quickly,” she said.

She jokes she could read 60 books an hour if they only had a few words per page, adding “I’m enjoying myself so much reading these books.”

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