Feb. 25, the last day of the 2017 Nebraska State Reading Conference, has been designated as an early childhood institute. "Plant the Seeds of Literacy" is the theme of the 2017 conference, scheduled for Feb. 23-25 in Kearney, Neb. People can register for one, two, or three days. Dr. Kathleen Gallagher, the Cille and Ron Williams Endowed Community Chair for Early Childhood Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, will be the keynote speaker Saturday morning. Other presenters Saturday include Barbara Beck, an early childhood instructor at Central Community College; Nancy Christensen, an instructional writing coach for K-8 classrooms; Dr. Jane Fleming, co-founder of Kids Like Us, a nonprofit organization focused on teaching with culturally relevant texts; Judy Lauby, speech services coordinator for ESU 10; Patricia Mahrt-Roberts, an early childhood education consultant; and Michelle L. Rupiper, associate professor and assistant department chair for Child, Youth and Family Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Children's book author Jerry Pallotta is the luncheon speaker.