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Using Stories as the On-Ramp for Students’ Social and Emotional Development

Tuesday, August 9, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Reading Through the Summer Slide – Engaging Families Through Literacy

Presented by Dwight Smith, Founder and Author, My Special Word; and Kristen Walter, US Director of Programs, Worldreader

Sponsored by Worldreader

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How can we use the power of words to inspire students to wholly live in each day, reflect positively upon themselves, and navigate their relationships with others? In this edWebinar, the presenters explore the My Special Word collection, a series of books designed to help children discover their power from within.

The presenters examine how reading stories—the place where we can walk in another’s shoes—helps build emotional literacy as we see characters navigate their own emotional regulation and find strength in their words. The discussion includes the correlation between standards, focusing on college and career readiness strands with a natural link between ELA and SEL. Finally, they look at an example and break down how short, explicit SEL lessons can be built out of a story. Watch this session to explore the My Special Word book series and learn how to empower students to find their own SPECIAL words.

This recorded edWebinar is of interest to PreK through elementary teachers, librarians, school and district leaders, ELL educators, migrant family coordinators, and Title 1 coordinators.

Dwight SmithAbout the Presenters

With over 40 years of experience in the IT industry, Dwight Smith is the founder, president, and CEO of Sophisticated Systems, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. With approximately 50 technology professionals employed on average, the company has a philosophy that “giving back” to the community is not an option but an absolute requirement. Dwight is very active in the Columbus community and believes that it is an honor to be in a position to contribute to the community. In 2015, Dwight established My Special Word. Dwight resides in Lewis Center, Ohio with his wife, Renee. He has a quote about My Special Word, “The idea is that we can create a conversation in a non-intimidating fashion, I believe in general that if we change the words we use, we can change the conversations. If we change the conversations, we can change behaviors. And if we change behaviors, we can change the world.”

Kristen WalterKristen Walter, Worldreader’s Director of US Programs, has worked in literacy education for the last 20 years. Before joining the Worldreader team, Kristen was the director of education and partnerships for Reading In Motion and teaching and learning manager for Crayola. Kristen’s teaching career spanned over 15 years, starting as a certified art and music instructor in NC and ending as an arts integration specialist with a focus on improving literacy development for second language learners. A leader in the classroom and beyond, Kristen helped her school become a national Title I school, P21 Exemplar School, finalist in the Intel Schools of Distinction Math Award, CCAC Crayola grant winner, and win the National School Change Award. She has been recognized as a Yale Distinguished Music Educator and both Kristen and her fifth-grade students were invited to showcase a game design project at the first annual White House Arts Integration Fair.

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

Join the Be a Literacy Hero community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


Worldreader is a global nonprofit that provides access to digital books to children and families around the globe. Since 2010, over 13 million people — using e-readers and tablets in schools and libraries, and mobile phones worldwide — read e-books for free on their devices.



Tuesday, August 9, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
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