The Michigan Reading Association is a regular visitor to Grand Rapids for its annual conference where between 1,500 and 2,000 attendees from across the state gather to learn and share ideas on the latest techniques around teaching reading and literacy.

“We've been in Grand Rapids for many, many years,” said Mary Bigler, a professor at Eastern Michigan University’s College of Education. “There's a good support for it here and the schools. I think people are very comfortable here because Grand Rapids is such a nice city and it's a destination spot for people to come with good restaurants and lots of good things going on.”

Bigler said the conference attracts classroom teachers from preschool through 12th grade as well as university instructors of literacy education.

“The teachers have opportunities to learn and be inspired and go back to their classrooms and do an even better job with teaching children how to read and write,” she said. "I think we should be highlighting literacy everywhere: in the home, in the communities, in the schools, in the states—all over the nation. If youngsters can read, they can learn."

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