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Highlights of 45th National Direct Instruction Conference

Over 200 educators gathered in Eugene, Oregon, July 23-27 for the 45th National Direct Instruction Conference. This year the conference celebrated 50 years since the first Direct Instruction programs were published. There was a display of some of the earliest DISTAR Reading, Language and Arithmetic kits. Attendees were also treated to an opening keynote given by veteran DI consultant Carolyn Schneider. Carolyn highlighted the history of DI and the impact it has made over the years. Click here to watch Carolyn's keynote.


The 2019 Excellence in Education Awards were presented at the conference opening. There were 6 recipients of the Siegfried Engelmann Excellence in Education Award. They were:

  • Kathy Bremer, a teacher from Titusville, Florida
  • Christine Martin, a resource specialist from Livingston, California
  • Brenda Kahn, an instructional coach at Frederick Elementary in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Marvelyn Johnson, an instructional coach at Frederick Elementary in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Jenae Toulson, an instructional coach at City Springs Elementary in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Stacey Hicks, an instructional coach at City Springs Elementary in Baltimore, Maryland

The Wayne Carnine Student Improvement award was given to Malachi Howard, a student in Portland, Oregon.

Click here to view the presentation of the awards.


Participants at the conference also enjoyed the DI Block Party, held the evening of July 24th. Sponsored by McGraw-Hill Education, the party featured hamburgers, hotdogs and all the traditional fixings. There were many games, including a very popular giant jenga game on the patio. Attendees also enjoyed sharing their karaoke skills with the rest of the crowd. The Block Party has become one of the most popular features of the conference, along with the excellent training.


Kurt Engelmann, President of NIFDI, gave the closing keynote, titled Are the Reading Wars Over? He highlighted a recent literacy leadership brief released by the International Literacy Association. In a major shift in its stance related to teaching beginning reading, the organization is now endorsing the use of explicit and systematic phonics. Click here to download a copy of the ILA paper. To view Kurt's closing, click here.

Start making your plans now to join us in Eugene July 27-31, 2020 for the 46th National Direct Instruction Conference!

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