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Updated: Feb 2, 2021

In February, the Twin Cities Area Reading Council (TCARC) through collaboration with Scholastic Education, hosted Pam Allyn at a Saturday workshop where participants were treated to Pam Allyn’s passion and extensive knowledge in the area of literacy instruction and equity in education.

Pam is described as a “champion for kids and young people, for their real lives with stories, a teacher of teachers, author, and education entrepreneur.” Pam Allyn is the author of several books on equity and education; among them, Every Child a Super Reader (Scholastic 2015) co-authored with Dr. Ernest Morrell. During the TCARC event, Pam Allyn shared how all children can become super readers through the 7 strengths model.

Allyn states that a “super reader” is one who “enters text with purpose. Regardless of platform (print or digital) and genre (fiction, informational, or poetry), she reads text with deep comprehension and finishes it feeling satisfied, informed, and inspired” (Every Child a Super Reader, p. 16). Super readers read voraciously, often read in more than one language, are reflective and most importantly, love to read. There are 7 strengths that can be nurtured in children to support their growth as super readers. These strengths are based in social-emotional research and help to create a strong foundation for lifelong learning. These strengths are: belonging, curiosity, friendship, kindness, confidence, courage, and hope.

In her talk, Pam Allyn described some ways to promote the 7 strengths.

To promote:

  • Belonging: Provide community building activities that engage all students.

  • Curiosity: provide opportunities to build inquiry about self, the community and the world.

  • Friendship: provide learning opportunities for students that allow them to collaborate in partnerships and groups.

  • Kindness: Provide learning activities that support social action in reading and writing.

  • Confidence: Explore new types of reading and writing and provide opportunities for students to talk about their reading and writing.

  • Courage: Teach students how to persevere and overcome struggle.

  • Hope: Make goal setting a part of every week, month and year with students.

There are major benefits to being a “super reader. Allyn states that being a “super reader” translates to high achievement. The research (Sullivan and Brown 2013) suggests that reading for pleasure has more influence on academic achievement scores than whether their parents held degrees. Literacy is at the heart of communication and being able to communicate well is imperative to being a successful member of society.

“Super reading” can also support children in the development of empathy and understanding. In her book, Allyn states that research (Kidd and Castano, 2013) has shown that the reading of fiction can actually support in navigating social relationships in the real world.

Super reading also supports children's’ sense of self and emotional resilience. Reading, writing and exposure to multiple genres, perspectives, and modalities of literacy provides us with a path to access the world around us in ways we might never otherwise be able to access. We are opened up to a world of possibilities through text.

We are thankful for our opportunity to host and learn from Pam Allyn on how to grow a foundation of emotional strengths through literacy in our children that will support them in their academic and emotional future.

TCARC looks forward to hosting another inspirational literacy leader, Jennifer Serravallo, on May 15, from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center. Please visit for more information. We hope to see you there for another great learning experience!


The fall Twin Cities Area Reading Council (TCARC) event was a great success. In coordination with Scholastic, the Twin Cities Area Reading Council welcomed Scholastic Chief Academic Officer, Michael Haggen. Michael led a discussion with district leaders about equity in our schools. The evening was filled with discussion about literacy and how to assist our students in closing the “opportunity” gap. There was discussion about classroom libraries. Our classrooms need to be equipped with books that have all children represented and represent a variety of genres. There was much talk about how to provide opportunities for children and open up our classrooms to world views. If you would like to learn more, please check out the Scholastic Teacher & Principal School Report: Equity in Education at the following link:

The Twin Cities Area Reading Council will continue to work with Scholastic to provide opportunities for our members to attend professional development and keep equity at the forefront. We are excited to announce our February 2018 event with world-renowned literacy expert, author, and motivational speaker, Pamela Allyn. Pamela is the founding director of LitWorld, a global literacy initiative serving children across the United States and in more than 60 countries. Pamela will continue to build on this year’s MRA and TCARC theme of social justice, equity and literacy! Please watch for information coming soon!


Lucy Calkins, Founding Director of The Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University, shared a foundational presentation entitled, A Fast-Paced Intensive Overview of the Writing Workshop. Lucy’s expertise, wisdom, and leadership have provided amazing impact and solid grounding for the literacy profession. Lucy provided an overview of Writers Workshop and many practical ideas to incorporate into daily literacy work! 

Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center 11411 Masonic Home Drive Bloomington, MN 55437

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