Drs. Joan Brest Friedberg and Elizabeth Segel, pioneers in the field of Early Literacy in Pittsburgh, founded Beginning with Books (BwB). BwB, an early literacy organization, was dedicated to assisting early educators learn about best practices that help children become successful learners and to support families of young children by providing access to high quality children's books and materials.
From this important work, a collaboration began between Beginning with Books and the University of Pittsburgh that led to the development of the first Early Literacy Conference in 2001. This conference, and those that followed, always feature the expertise of highly regarded researchers and practitioners in early literacy and highlightes acclaimed children’s book authors from around the country. Keynote speakers have provided area educators with cutting-edge research and best practices in early literacy as well as Caldecott and Coretta Scott-King award winning authors and illustrators.
Although Beginning with Books is no longer in operation, the goals and values live on at the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC). PAEYC continues to honor the work of Joan and Betty by sponsoring the Friedberg-Segel Early Literacy Conference bi-annually. The 2015 conference was held Oct. 23 at the Fred Rogers Center in Latrobe, Pa. Speakers included Gail Lovely, Founder, Suddenly It Clicks! and ISTE Early Learning Professional Network, and Megan McDonald, award-winning children's author of Judy Moody and Stink series.