CONFERENCE SESSIONS 2024

Conference Sessions, Speakers, and Abstracts

DAY ONE: Wednesday, October 16, 2024

Zaretta Hammond

Opening Keynote

Leveraging the Science of Reading for Liberatory Education

Zaretta Hammond

Reading is an essential skill in today’s global knowledge-based economy. Even with our technological advances, being able to read well is a determining factor in the life options students have open to them in school and beyond. In this presentation, Ms. Hammond will share how we can craft an learning ecosystem in our school communities that equip all educators, not just language arts teachers, to provide the type of literacy instruction and support necessary to help students develop true agency and autonomy as powerful, joyful readers by the time they graduate.

Spanish 101 for Emergent Bilingual Teachers: Lessons from Teaching Spanish Reading

Florencia Salvarezza and Eria Cotto Pidgeon
This presentation equips emergent bilingual educators with the foundational knowledge of Spanish reading foundation, focusing on five key areas: phonics, morphology, syntax, vocabulary (including cognates and false friends), and applying these concepts to effective reading instruction. Participants will gain valuable insights and practical strategies to support emergent bilingual students’ phonemic awareness, sound-symbol correspondence, vocabulary development, grammatical structures, and reading comprehension in Spanish. Through engaging activities and real-world examples, educators will explore research-based practices and learn how to leverage students’ existing language skills to foster biliteracy development.

When Practice Isn’t Enough: Providing Explicit, Systematic Fluency Instruction In Upper Elementary

Melissa Orkin and Elizabeth Norton
Recent RLJ articles have described both the limitations of repeated reading as the primary tool for developing fluency among all readers, and the value of incorporating high leverage, multi-componential instructional practices like connecting word study to vocabulary knowledge, parts of speech, and morphology. This session features the articles’ authors as they unpack the research that underlies brain changes associated with grade-school fluency improvement. and high leverage fluency practices for upper elementary school students, particularly striving readers. This session will also dedicate significant time to providing practical guidance for educational strategies and routines.

Developing Proficient Writers: What Does the Sentence Have to Do With it?

Amy Siracusano
Sentences are the building blocks of composition. Sentences must be crafted to accurately convey the intended meaning, and sentence structure must vary to keep writing interesting. Too often, instruction at the sentence level is hurried and more emphasis is placed on paragraph composition. Without learning about crafting sentences, paragraphs are stiff, boring, and lack specificity of meaning. Instruction in sentence construction should be carried on throughout elementary school, and even beyond. Participants in this session will leave with instructional approaches for teaching students how to compose various types of sentences.

Closing the Implementation Gap: Strengthening the Bridge Between Policy and Practice

Kymyona Burk
A comprehensive approach to improving literacy outcomes begins with adopting an early literacy policy that supports educators, students, and families in preventing or addressing students’ reading difficulties; however, the policy is only as effective as its implementation. In this session, we will explore the landscape of early literacy policies across the United States and discuss strategies for leading a coordinated approach to close the gap between what we know and what we do.

The More You Read, The More You Know: Best Practices for Comprehension Instruction

Molly Ness
This session unpacks the complexities of comprehension and its underlying factors. Our focus will be on engaging comprehension instruction that encourages metacognition and higher-level thinking. Join us to understand the importance of funds of knowledge, identify comprehension breakdowns, and consider the role of think alouds in building comprehension.

The Simple View of Reading: Definitions, Criticisms, and Contrasts

Wesley Hoover
Several recent statements assert that the Simple View of Reading (SVR) is a dated, incomplete, and inadequate account of reading. With these in mind, this session will discuss the SVR as a theory of reading, the predictions it makes, and the central evidence that bears on its claims. The session will also include discussions of the main criticisms that have been made of the SVR, responses to those, and comments on the alternatives that have been proposed as Replacements.

From Language to Liberation: Knowledge and Practice for Each Child and Every Educator

Ryan Lee-James
Language access, both oral and written, is a powerful tool for children to live life on their terms and make the most significant difference in the lives of others. In our society, access to oral and written language defines and predicts long-term health and economic outcomes. Unfortunately, statistics continue to reveal disproportionate access by race, socioeconomic status, and language status. The focus of this breakout session is to explore how to converge structured literacy with culturally affirming and preserving language-teaching strategies using African American English (AAE) as a case in point.
The session objectives are as follows:

  1. Review our nation’s illiteracy crisis relative to who has and has not had access historically, including root causes;
  2. Examine AAE and its relation to written language;
  3. Describe both incidental and direct teaching approaches for children whose oral language varies systematically from the language of print;
  4. Identify language-affirming and preserving strategies to implement throughout the day and;
  5. Review ways to engage in ongoing interprofessional education and practice. Participants who attend this breakout session will glean or deepen their knowledge and skill in serving children from diverse language backgrounds.

Building Your Scientifically-Based ELA Block

Jamey Peavler
A scientifically-based literacy block reflects research on what and how to teach to maximize student outcomes. Reading Science frameworks illustrate the relationship between word recognition and language comprehension instruction on global reading outcomes. The reciprocal relationship between oral and print language (word recognition) is strong. By understanding these frameworks, and how these language components develop, we are better informed to design and deliver effective instruction. By coupling guidance on what to teach with knowledge of stages of mastery and cognitive load theory, we can better design instruction that supports students toward proficiency.
Objectives:
• Review research-based frameworks that define learning targets for developing reading proficiency. Which skills should I target?
• Outline the critical components of an effective literacy block. What should the reading block look like?
• Identify practices that maximize instruction and improve student outcomes. How can I ensure that students are getting the instruction they need?

Real Talk, No Classroom is Monolingual: Embracing Black Language in Structured Literacy Lessons

Jasmine Rogers
This session will explore Dr. Jasmine Rogers’ doctoral dissertation research that explored the intersection of the Science of Reading and Black Language, focusing on teacher responses to Black Language in structured literacy lessons. The study aimed to answer the following questions: What are teachers’ responses to student use of Black Language in the K-2 structured literacy environment? And, to what extent does professional learning about Black Language affect teachers’ instructional actions when teaching Black Language-speaking students? This study aimed to examine the language used by teachers and students during sessions, focusing on the teacher responses to student Black Language use to develop culturally and linguistically responsive teaching practices in structured literacy lessons.

Using her research and her role as a Coach in the DC Reading Clinic’s In Schools program, Dr. Rogers will share linguistically responsive actions that teachers have implemented and provide guidance on steps educators can take to develop teaching practices aligned with the science of reading that embrace Black Languages speakers.

Session participants will learn about the development of metalinguistic skills, linguistically responsive pedagogy, and instructional measures that can be implemented to teach foundational literacy skills.

Avoiding the Implementation Gap: The Critical Role of School and District Leaders in Translating the Science of Reading Into Classroom Change

Devon Gadow and Meredith Cotter
In the past several years, more than 32 states and the District of Columbia have signaled the importance of instructional practices aligned to the Science of Reading via funding legislation and funding efforts. It feels like we are at an inflection point in the shift toward research-based practice in literacy. However, in TNTP’s work with more than 300 school systems nationwide shows a clear “implementation gap.” playing out in real-time, as districts move to enact important changes mandated by law without ensuring that educators can make the necessary connections between the theory they’ve learned in their state-mandated science of reading training, the materials they have access to, and the unique learners in their classrooms. In this session, TNTP will share what we are learning about how systems are avoiding the “implementation gap,” and engage participants in a discussion about what’s working, and the lessons learned from their own systems.

North Carolina Literacy: How Statewide Initiatives and Nonprofit Grassroot Efforts Are Working Together to Impact Student Outcomes

Linda Rhyne, Amy Rhyne, Rupen Fofaria, Camille Walters, Nancy Hennessy, and Monica Campbell
What happens when state legislation, massive funding, and sustainable coaching systems work alongside nonprofit organizations and grassroots efforts? Teachers and students win. Join us for a panel discussion moderated by Linda Rhyne, President of The Reading League North Carolina, highlighting how multiple people and organizations work together towards sustainable change and a state full of proficient readers. Panelists include Nancy Hennessy, M.Ed experienced literacy consultant, author and former president of International Dyslexia Association; Amy Rhyne, Office of Early Learning Senior Director at NCDPI; Monica Campbell, Professor of Education and the Executive Director of Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Literacy Center; Rupen Fofaria, Director of the North Carolina State Board of Education, and Camille Walters, UNC Charlotte Mebane Early Literacy Scholar alumni and current K-5 teacher.

Talking to Families about Dyslexia: Where Do I Start?

Karen Kehoe
Central to our roles as educators is family engagement. We communicate regularly with our students’ parents and caretakers about any number of issues –report cards, field trips, behavior concerns, fire drills. Yet, for all that we talk about freely with families, there is one topic that still sparks uncertainty, anxiety, and even fear among many educators: if, when, and, especially how, to mention the “D” word. Dyslexia. To demystify dyslexia for families, educators themselves need a solid understanding of this brain-based language difference, the most common source of children’s reading difficulties. They need to feel not only knowledgeable but also confident in their ability to communicate effectively with families of children who are struggling to learn to read. This session will focus on helping educators build a knowledge base about dyslexia, with an emphasis on identification of risk indicators and characteristics of dyslexia. Participants will learn strategies for communicating clearly, directly, and compassionately with parents and families to ensure students with risk indicators or characteristics of dyslexia get the support they need and deserve.

Understanding the Early Reading Brain: Building Capacity, not Compliance

Carolyn Strom
What do findings from neuroscience mean for word reading instruction? Most importantly, what are the concrete implications for classroom practice? These questions will be at the heart of this session. We will focus on three key design principles of our brain, along with the core cognitive processes involved in beginning to read and spell. This talk will explain key findings about the reading brain through a scientific story called The Tale of Three Cities, which describes how we construct a reading circuit by building neural pathways between three different “”cities”” in the brain. As we gain a more detailed understanding of the reading brain, we will connect scientific principles to classroom practices and to everyday “”kitchen table”” routines that can enhance word learning. Participants will leave with actionable insights, frameworks, and concrete strategies to apply in their work with early readers and with reading teachers.

Undiagnosed: The Ugly Side of Dyslexia

Lauren Taylor and Ameer Baraka
During this session, you’ll hear WHY screening a child for Dyslexia starting as early as five years old can set the trajectory for the rest of their life. Both panel participants have lived a life where they’ve either experienced the ramifications of not being diagnosed with dyslexia as a child or they have watched family members and friends go through the same. Ameer checked every box off before finally landing in prison the second time. It was then that he finally found out he was Dyslexic. No one at school ever thought to ask him if he could read. They did not ask him that until he was in prison. He came from a family of educators who also did not understand why he could not read like his brother and sister. This would ultimately set the stage for his future and his decisions. He truly lived the “ugly side of Dyslexia” that we only hear about.

The Science of Reading Comprehension – Powerful Learning With Knowledge Acquisition and Transformation

Kay Wijekumar and Kacee Lambright
Literacy is a human right. Unfortunately, teaching every child to comprehend has remained an elusive goal for over 30 years. In this session, Drs. Wijekumar and Lambright will share the theoretical foundations, practical applications, and impactful outcomes of the Knowledge Acquisition and Transformation (KAT) framework. KAT begins with the essential core reading comprehension skills (e.g., main ideas, inferencing) and thoughtfully and empirically addresses the complex school contexts (e.g., the textbooks, standards, resources, instructional practices) to make strong positive outcomes for children in grades K-12. Transformative 100% pass rates are reported by teachers (e.g., special education, bilingual, integrated English Language Arts ELA) implementing KAT with fidelity when using their schools’ prescribed curricula. Attendees will learn how to implement KAT in their classrooms with examples from three text genres (i.e., narrative, expository, and poetry).

The Language Foundations of Reading: From Research to Practice

Danielle “Nell” Thompson
When thinking about learning to read it is critical to distinguish between decoding and comprehension. According to the Simple View of Reading, reading for meaning depends on two separable skills: decoding and language comprehension. In this session I will review recent work providing very strong support for the Simple View of reading. In addition, I will present less widely recognized evidence that the development of decoding also depends upon early language skills. Early language problems and speech problems in the preschool years both place children at risk of problems in learning to decode when they enter school. This evidence has important implications for the teaching of reading, and for the identification and prevention of reading problems. These implications led to a two-fold early literacy development project in a small town in Livingston, Montana, USA. In this project the public educational system decided to review and update their assessment protocols and instruction based on the presented evidence. The initial phase of the project addressed system change and the assessment changes focused on early decoding skills but not language. They also focused on equipping educators with the knowledge and tools needed for teaching evidence-based reading instruction. While great progress was made through the pandemic, some students were not making the same gains. At this point the decision to implement a new screening and instruction for language was made. All 3.5-5-year-old children were screened with the language screening tool and the triage of data from parents, educators and assessments guided the school in equipping the educators with everyday whole group language instruction and small group language intervention. This session will discuss the details and progress of this project and how it could support others in doing this work.

Tier 1 Instruction Is Risk Reduction

Stephanie Stollar
Research suggests that most reading failure can be prevented in the primary grades through early screening, effective instruction, and intensifying intervention as needed – the central elements of the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) approach to educational service delivery. However, many schools fail to realize the critical role of classroom reading instruction as the key contributor to the power of prevention. When too many students are at risk, even well-resourced intervention systems are quickly overwhelmed, and it becomes difficult to provide intensive intervention. This session will explore how universal screening data can be used for focusing on student needs and designing a universal system of reading support that reduces risk, increases intervention effectiveness, and improves reading outcomes for all students.

Explicit Instruction: Key to Academic Achievement

Anita Archer
Dr. Archer will review the past 50 years of research on Explicit Instruction and show how the major findings can be translated into daily practice for both prevention of academic challenges and intervention. Evidence-validated practices for designing and delivering instruction will be discussed and modeled.

Supporting Multilingual Learners in the Classroom

Cammie McBride
There are numerous factors to consider when approaching the needs of multilingual learners in the classroom as it relates to their acquisition of the English language. These include the similarity or dissimilarity of the students’ L1 (first language) to their L2 (second language, in this case, English), the degree of cross-linguistic transfer between a student’s L1 and L2, and a student’s motivation, socioeconomic status, exposure to English, parental involvement, L1 fluency, and potential language/literacy difficulties (such as dyslexia). While not all multilingual learners struggle when learning to read in English, there are several effective strategies teachers can implement to help those who do. For example, integrating explicit instruction and practice in reading, writing, speaking, and listening can be beneficial in teaching a multilingual learner. Additionally, teachers can aid in students’ English language acquisition by learning about script and language features in the L1 of their multilingual students. We will discuss these and other strategies enabling multilingual learners to bolster reading, vocabulary knowledge, and fluency in English literacy learning.

Supporting Secondary Students’ Literacy Outcomes Using Evidence-Based, Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Instruction

Alex Shelton
At the secondary level, students are expected to read and comprehend rigorous texts in order to acquire content knowledge. Yet many students, including students from historically marginalized backgrounds, experience literacy difficulties that ultimately hinder content learning. As such, teachers should provide instruction that promotes secondary students’ literacy outcomes and expands their content knowledge. However, teachers might be unsure how to provide instruction that is both evidence-based and culturally relevant, particularly for students of Color and English learners. Therefore, this session provides practitioners with guidance on how to plan and deliver evidence-based, culturally and linguistically responsive literacy instruction. By providing such instruction, teachers will be able to support the literacy and overall academic outcomes of secondary students while honoring their cultural and linguistic identities, leveraging their cultural and linguistic resources, and reflecting the diversity of society.

Structured Teacher Education for Structured Literacy: How we Changed our Literacy Courses

Joy Chadwick and Jodi Nickel
This session will describe Joy and Jodi’s journey from balanced literacy to Structured Literacy and the way this journey influenced the structure of their teacher education courses. They will focus on the knowledge and skills teacher candidates need to be successful in supporting readers, including an understanding of evidence-based practice with a clear scope and sequence and instructional strategies to scaffold student understanding. Research documenting teacher candidate learning through tutoring and the way this experiential learning deepened teacher candidate understanding will be presented. They will also demonstrate how community partners are informing their practice.

Foundations of Literacy: A Comprehensive Approach

Tracy Weeden and Catherine Scott
This presentation focuses on planning instruction that includes the components and principles of Structured Literacy. Based on the Science of Reading, Structured Literacy instruction is beneficial for all students and essential for students with dyslexia. The presenters will discuss the research and rationale of the components and principles of Structured Literacy and present instructional strategies that support proficient literacy.

Differentiation Done Right

Margaret Goldberg
Balanced Literacy presented a vision—students reading, writing, and talking about books—but it didn’t offer a reliable path to get all kids there. By adjusting the amount and content of direct instruction according to students’ needs, our school is increasing the number of students who enjoy cuddling up with a good book. More than just a way of grouping students, Walk to Read is a school-wide system that fosters adult collaboration, centers data-driven decision making, and has deepened our staff’s understanding of how to ensure students’ reading success. Come learn about the Walk to Read model, how it’s evolved over years of implementation, and how Nystrom Elementary is working to apply research to practice so all kids learn to read.

Trick or Treat? What ‘Tricky’ Words Show Us About the Whole System

Lyn Stone
This presentation will review Ehri’s well-substantiated theories of Orthographic Mapping and Phases of Word Reading and Spelling Development. Dr. Miles will explain how these theories provide an essential framework for instruction to support emergent readers. Examples of the research that support both theories will be presented, and connections will then be made to Share’s Self-Teaching Hypothesis and Perfetti and Hart’s Lexical Quality Hypothesis. Dr. Miles will include hands-on activities and ground the theories in practice to support translation to practice.

Accelerate Philly, A District’s Journey Adopting High Quality Instructional Resources

Nyshawana Francis-Thompson
In this session participants will learn about a five phase process that engaged stakeholders to adopt high quality instructional resources aligned to the science of reading.

Teacher Preparation: Pushing Uphill From Down Under: An Australian Perspective

Tanya Serry, Jennifer Buckingham, Lorraine Hammond, and Pamela Snow
Over recent decades, Australian reports identify that preservice teachers receive little preparation for explicitly teaching reading (Buckingham & Meeks, 2019; Rowe, 2005). Furthermore, both in Australia (e.g., Stark et al., 2015) and internationally (e.g., Washburn et al., 2016), research consistently reveals that educators’ explicit knowledge about linguistic constructs central to providing effective initial reading instruction varies greatly. Collectively, it appears that many teachers are not sufficiently equipped to teach reading effectively nor to identify and support struggling readers for maximum benefit. Consequently, reading instruction and support approaches that lack a robust evidence base persist in classrooms and intervention settings globally. Despite this bleak outlook, the landscape in Australia for enhancing the knowledge and skill levels related to reading instruction is changing. This is taking place for both in-service and preservice teachers. In this symposium, we present four drivers of change, spanning the political, teacher preparation, and school sectors, that are contributing to the change process. At the political level, we provide a brief historical timeline of attempts at educational reform that has culminated in the 2023 “Strong Beginnings” Report of the Teacher Education Expert Panel. This report provides 14 non-negotiable recommendations to enhance teacher preparation programs. We describe targeted in-school mentoring and coaching programs designed to assist schools to raise their standards and practices in relation to reading instruction. Alongside these initiatives, we outline the important role played by non-for-profit foundations, social media and the impact of grassroots professional learning forums such as “ResearchEd” and “Sharing Best Practice” We then describe the story of an education faculty at one Australian university, that has taken the lead in a refreshed preservice teacher training curriculum. The curriculum is underpinned by learning sciences within a social equity framework, an,d importantly, explicitly teaches their students the why and the how of reading instruction. We outline the enablers and the various challenges, both within and external to this education faculty, in relation to the refreshed focus on preparing preservice teachers to teach reading. Finally, we describe two programs of research embedded within the above-mentioned education faculty that are creating opportunities for preservice teachers to gain professional experience in the science of reading opportunities.

Help! My Student Is Stuck at Sound-by-Sound Reading

Linda Farrell and Michael Hunter
Teachers are often puzzled by their students who can orally segment & blend phonemes, know letter names & sounds, yet continue to read many words by sounding out each letter, then blending the sounds into a word. Most of these students are in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grades, with a few in 4th grade or higher. In this session, participants will (1) learn why these students don’t progress to whole word reading, (2) learn the steps to help these students move to whole word reading, (3) practice activities that will help students progress, and (4) receive materials they can use with these students.

Meet the Authors of The Reading League Journal

Journal Authors
This session will feature authors of articles that have appeared in The Reading League Journal. You will also learn how you can submit an article to the Journal!

DAY TWO: Thursday, October 17, 2024

Linnea Ehri
Dr. Barbara Foorman

Day Two Keynote

Clarifying Concepts in the Science of Reading and Their Application in Practice

Linnea Ehri and Barbara Foorman

In this keynote address, Drs. Ehri and Foorman will clarify critical concepts central to the science of reading and their application in reading practice. First, Dr. Ehri will explain orthographic mapping as a process that establishes written words in memory enabling readers to read words automatically and to spell words. She will present research showing the involvement of phonemic segmentation, grapheme-phoneme knowledge, and decoding skills that facilitate orthographic mapping. Second, Dr. Foorman will explain that language comprehension comprises listening, vocabulary, and syntax and overlaps with word reading in predicting students’ reading comprehension performance. She will also discuss the importance of privileging sound-spelling patterns in identifying words (over other cues), having students read texts in small groups that allows them to practice the sound-spelling and morphological patterns taught, and having teachers differentiate instruction-based on student data.

Day Two Keynote

Clarifying Concepts in the Science of Reading and Their Application in Practice

Linnea Ehri and Barbara Foorman

In this keynote address, Drs. Ehri and Foorman will clarify critical concepts central to the science of reading and their application in reading practice. First, Dr. Ehri will explain orthographic mapping as a process that establishes written words in memory enabling readers to read words automatically and to spell words. She will present research showing the involvement of phonemic segmentation, grapheme-phoneme knowledge, and decoding skills that facilitate orthographic mapping. Second, Dr. Foorman will explain that language comprehension comprises listening, vocabulary, and syntax and overlaps with word reading in predicting students’ reading comprehension performance. She will also discuss the importance of privileging sound-spelling patterns in identifying words (over other cues), having students read texts in small groups that allows them to practice the sound-spelling and morphological patterns taught, and having teachers differentiate instruction-based on student data.

Language Comprehension and Developmental Language Disorder: Considerations for MTSS

Tiffany Hogan
Reading comprehension scores are not improving in the US. Reading comprehension involves two primary skills: the ability to read words (word recognition) and the ability to understand the language created by these words (language comprehension). Recent legislation, reporting, and discussions have focused on evidence-based curricula for word reading and for how to best identify and treat children with dyslexia, who have a primary deficit in word reading. In this seminar the focus will be on assessment and curricula for stimulating language comprehension. Participants will learn about recent advocacy for children with specific language comprehension impairments, including those with Developmental Language Disorder. We will focus on how MTSS can be amended to improve identify and support these children. Developmental Language Disorder is a common learning disability – 10% of children or 1-2 in each classroom – that is hidden with only 20% identified for support. This lack of identification means that these children go on to have reading comprehension problems, often as late emerging poor readers who fall through the cracks. Participants will leave with a better understanding of how to support language comprehension for all children in their classes, attending to the ‘other,’ side of the simple view of reading.

Mitigating the Matthew Effect for Struggling Adolescent Readers

Michelle Elia
Ameliorating the impact of poor literacy skills at the adolescent level (middle school and high school) is no easy task. It requires systemic changes at the district and building levels as well as instructional changes at the classroom level. This session will provide straightforward guidance on how to plan for the implementation of MTSS at the adolescent level, with recommendations for both systems-level and grade-level changes. Objectives: ● Participants will identify systemic changes necessary to implement MTSS at the middle school and high school level. ● Participants will learn instructional approaches and strategies for core instruction and interventions to benefit struggling adolescent readers.

The Science of Reading: How Can I Tell If What I’m Doing Is Really Backed by The Science?

Holly Lane
The science of reading has become a powerful movement, and program developers and publishers have taken note. In an effort to hold onto their share of the market, many have claimed to have incorporated science into their programs. Unfortunately, a new label on a package doesn’t necessarily indicate there’s a better product inside. As contradictory claims are made, how can educators know who and what to believe?

Learn to Implement an Evidence-based 7-Step Vocabulary Instructional Routine

Ellen Kappus
Vocabulary knowledge is critical for reading comprehension, but classroom vocabulary instruction sourced through ELA resources is often less robust and explicit than what research suggests. Attendees will learn a 7- step vocabulary instructional routine, an evidenced-based approach from the Vocabulary and Language Enhancement Projects (VALE). VALE projects include multiple studies over 10 years in grades K-5 that resulted in positive effect sizes ( Manyak, Manyak, Kappus, 2021). Participants will have access to the VALE research through QR codes, while the session is devoted to teaching one component of the multi-faceted approach. Participants learn to implement the 7-step Instructional routine (Kappus, 2022) of high frequency, less known, tier-2 words through active participation in the gradual release Process.

Bridging the Science of Reading and African American Students’ Reading Success

Ramona Pittman, Malatesha Joshi, and Emily Binks-Cantrell
This presentation highlights the importance of the science of reading and African American students’ reading success. Utilizing evidence-based approaches for reading instruction, this presentation will also delve into specific strategies within the science of reading that prove effective in advancing literacy skills among African American students. Attention will be given to the phonological, morphological, orthographic, syntactic, and semantic differences between African American English, the language variation that the majority of African Americans use, and the language expected to be spoken at school. Lastly, within the science of reading, recognizing and valuing diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds will be addressed. Intended audience: PK-5.

Embedding and Aligning: Expanding our Thinking on Improving Treatment Effects for Students With Reading Difficulties

Sharon Vaughn
Intervention studies have yielded small to negligible effects on improving reading comprehension for students with reading difficulties (e.g. Connor et al, 2018; Goldman, Snow, & Vaughn, 2016; Lonigan, Burgess, & Schatschneider, 2018; Scammacca et al., 2016; Vaughn et al, 2013; Wanzek et al., 2013) even though the NAEP data suggests that more than ½ of students are unprepared to read and understand grade level text. This presentation provides findings from 2 randomized controlled trials that examine how to better align instruction in interventions with instruction in Tier 1 classes. The first study demonstrates that when reading comprehension practices are applied consistently and in organized manner within classrooms, the impact on reading outcomes is greater. Teachers rarely provided high quality vocabulary instruction. Specific practices for how to build aligned instructional practices that enhance background knowledge and also provide adequate time for text reading are presented. The second study describes a set of practices that integrate anxiety management within reading instruction with an aim for both improving reading outcomes and managing anxiety. Findings from both studies with direct implications for reading instruction as well as instructional practices that can be implemented in the classroom will be provided.

Understanding the Orton Gillingham Meta-Analysis: How Does This Fit Within the Science of Teaching Reading?

Elizabeth Stevens and Christy Austin
The presenters recently published a meta-analysis on Orton Gillingham (OG) interventions (Stevens et al., 2021) and a follow-up article in The Reading League Journal (Austin et al., 2023). This research sparked many conversations among practitioners, parents, and clinicians. The presenters will describe the key findings from the OG meta-analysis and how this research fits within the science of teaching reading to students with word-level reading difficulties including dyslexia. This session seeks to answer the following questions by making education science accessible to the practitioner community: (1) What questions does this research answer? (2) What questions are left unanswered? (3) What does it mean for instruction for students with word-level reading difficulties including dyslexia? (4) How can teachers become wise consumers of educational information (i.e., distinguish evidence from beliefs)? Finally, the presenters will allow time for Q&A to give attendees an opportunity to ask questions to clarify their understanding about the research.

Applying What We Know to Informative Passages

Anita Archer
Reading comprehension is a complex subject with many factors influencing students’ comprehension. In this session, Dr. Archer will review the research on comprehension and present research-validated practices that can be used BEFORE reading a passage (e.g., teaching the pronunciation of the difficult words, teaching the meaning of unknown vocabulary, teaching or activating background knowledge, and previewing passages), DURING passage reading (e.g., asking questions, having students generate questions, teaching students comprehension strategies, utilizing graphic organizers) and AFTER reading a passage (e.g., leading students in a discussion of the passage, providing additional vocabulary practice, introducing strategies for responding to written questions, having students write a summary of the passage.) Dr. Archer will model these essential reading practices with informative passages reading.

Language Support for Multilingual Learners During a Phonics Lesson Sequence

Dale Webster
Deep and thorough knowledge of letters, spelling patterns, and words, and of the phonological translations of all three, are of inescapable importance to both skillful reading and its acquisition. By extension, instruction designed to develop children’s sensitivity to spellings and their relations to pronunciations should be of paramount importance in the development of reading skills” (Adams, 2000). This presentation will introduce and provide the rationale for each step of CORE’s explicit phonics lesson sequence. The importance of this explicit phonics lesson sequence to multilingual learners’ successful reading acquisition will be the focus of this presentation. Multilingual learners learning to read in English may need additional language support during phonics instruction to understand the words that they are learning to decode. Specific instructional techniques to support language development as they relate to blending, dictation/ guided spelling, and reading decodable text will be modeled and practiced. Myths about decodable text will also be addressed.

All Means All – But How?

Nancy Young, Kymyona Burk, Jan Hasbrouck, and Laura Stewart
Today’s classrooms contain an ever-widening range of learner needs. The provision of appropriate literacy instruction must take this diversity into account. But HOW? This panel of experts will use Nancy Young’s infographic The Ladder of Reading & Writing© (2023) to present specifics about the HOW of differentiated instruction from kindergarten on up.

This lively discussion will explore these topics:

  • Range of learner needs in today’s classroom
  • Instructional implications of differentiating for all learners
  • Respecting variations of English
  • Differentiating for older students

This session is appropriate for all educators and educational leaders.

Getting Started With Structured Literacy in Grades 3-5

Pam Kastner, Erin Eighmy, and Tambra Isenberg
Discover effective strategies for implementing Structured Literacy (SL) practices in intermediate grades to ensure all students access high-quality complex texts. This presentation highlights essential shifts in literacy instruction, such as replacing round-robin reading with more engaging alternatives, fostering student-friendly definitions through vocabulary routines, and promoting comprehension through GIST statement writing. Join us to empower teachers with the competence and expertise required for deeper text comprehension.

Understanding How Trauma and Stress Impact Student Performance

Steven Dykstra
In this update on Dr. Dykstra’s popular presentation on the foundational developmental needs of all children (safety, language, and relationships), he looks more specifically at trauma and stress. He will not only report that it affects both academic and behavior performance, he will discuss one of the main mechanisms by which trauma and stress exert their influence. Our children, like all the rest of us, are actively preparing and rehearsing for the next minutes, hours, days, and years of their life. They are predicting what is to come and doing their best to prepare for it. Traumatic stress changes our predictions and shifts our preparations. Simply put,many of our children are trying to use their preparations for the next bad thing in their life to navigate schools experiences that don’t match up well with their preparations. They are practicing football and rehearsing it in their heads, only to find we’re playing baseball. Then we are confused when they tackle a baserunner. Dr. Dykstra will discuss and model ways of asking questions and raising these issues so children (and staff) can become more aware that it is happening, thereby giving both children and adults a better understanding of the often confusing challenges this presents.

The Structure of a Reading Revolution

Julie Washington
The “reading wars’ have been described variously as science vs practice, phonics vs whole language, and dueling views of reading instruction. This characterization belies the systematic and thoughtful progression of normal science that has lead us to what can more accurately be described as a “reading revolution.” This session will apply Kuhn’s (1962) cycle of scientific advancement to discuss and demonstrate the progress we have made in the development of science and practice related to reading, identifying the paradigm shifts along the way that have lead to our current thinking.

Content-Rich Literacy Instruction in the Primary Grades

Sonia Cabell
To become good readers, students need to systematically build knowledge of the social and natural world. National interest has been growing in instructional approaches that integrate content knowledge and literacy in the elementary grades. This talk focuses on the research on content-rich literacy instruction, with a special emphasis on the primary grades. The presenter will offer research-based practices that can improve students’ vocabulary, comprehension, and knowledge. These practices include (1) systematically integrating science and/or social studies topics into literacy instruction, (2) using conceptually coherent text sets to build knowledge, (3) engaging in discussion and writing focused on building knowledge, and (4) teaching relationships among words.

Building a Solid Literacy Infrastructure to Improve Outcomes for All Students

Kristen Wynn
This session will explore the relationship between High-Quality Professional Learning (HQPL) and High-Quality Instructional Practices (HQIP), grounded in the Science of Reading (SOR), to build an effective local system to improve literacy achievement for all students. Presenters will share essential management structures for leaders to maximize instructional outcomes.

Word Connections: Multisyllabic Word Reading Intervention for Students in the Intermediate Grades

Jessica Toste
As students move into the upper elementary grades, they face greater amounts of texts with more complex words, yet many lack a systematic approach for decoding these words. Students with reading disabilities (RD), even those who have attained foundational reading skills, often experience substantial difficulty with multisyllabic words. This session will provide an overview of processes involved in multisyllabic word reading and describe research-based instructional practices that comprise the Word Connections program. Word Connections is a supplemental, targeted reading intervention program for students in third grade and above. It includes 40 lessons (40-min) focused on multisyllabic word reading fluency. The Word Connections program has been tested with students identified as with or at-risk for RD and findings from experimental studies have demonstrated positive effects (e.g., Toste et al., 2017; 2019). Specifically, students who participated in the intervention showed greater gains in word reading and decoding, reading comprehension, spelling, and accurate reading of both isolated affixes and multisyllabic words. In this session, we will demonstrate the instructional routines used for each of the seven Word Connections activities and discuss considerations for effective implementation.

Literacy Adelante: An Indiana School’s Data-Informed Journey to Improved Foundational Skills in K-3 Classrooms

Edward Rangel and Chrissy Franz
“Literacy Adelante” delves into the transformative journey of a school that is strategically harnessing both the research of the science of reading and the power of intentional data analysis, assessment, and action planning to move foundational literacy skills forward. This session will provide a comprehensive overview of the methodologies employed, the challenges faced, and the remarkable results achieved through a systematic approach. Participants will gain insights into the school’s robust data analysis framework, designed to identify gaps and trends in student literacy performance. Through the lens of this framework, attendees will experience and practice how one key lever in the system, Foundational Skills Practice Clinics, has changed the course of teacher development.

Structured Literacy: What Every Educator Should Know

Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan and Dale Webster
The International Dyslexia Association Governing Board approved the term Structured Literacy in June of 2014. The term was developed to describe a comprehensive approach to literacy and dispel the myths that only phonological awareness and phonics were considered essential for learning to read. It has been 10 years and it is clear that more clarity for the use of the term Structured Literacy is needed. This session will describe the components of Structured Literacy. The instructional approach and how lessons should include the integration of each of the components will be discussed. The Structured Literacy InfoMap as a graphical representation of the approach to literacy instruction, grounded in the Science of Reading will be shared for use by all participants.

So, How is Knowledge Both the Result of and Vehicle for Constructing Comprehension?

Nancy Hennessy
Similar to comprehension, knowledge is a complex sum of all that we have learned and experienced. It is both the result of and a vehicle for building deep comprehension. An informed instructional framework recognizes that making meaning of the text depends on accessing multiple sources, including linguistic, cultural, domain/content, and conceptual knowledge. We will surface how these multiple sources contribute to reading comprehension. Then, take time to delve purposefully into the why, what & how of text structure & and content/background knowledge. Our understanding of the complexity and multiple aspects of knowledge are critical to our students’ ability to acquire knowledge from text.

Why Are Our Children Not Reading on Grade Level?

Malatesha Joshi and Emily Binks-Cantrell
About 33% (1 in 3) of fourth grade children are not reading well at their grade level even though evidence-based materials are available to teach reading. While various factors such as socio-economic status, family background, and oral language might be responsible for poor reading performance, the biggest reason might be the instruction provided to children. In this presentation, we shall try to provide some research evidence as to why elementary school children might not be receiving evidence-based literacy instruction.

Literacy as a Child Health Issue: Pediatricians as Allies in Promoting the Science of Reading

Eiman Abdulrahman, Andrew Aligne, Robert Rogers, and Todd Porter
Literacy is one of the major social determinants of health. As a result, pediatricians should be stakeholders in reading instruction, especially early literacy development. This connection is demonstrated by the fact that the evidence-based National Reading Panel report was sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. 1 In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends as official policy that pediatricians take action to promote literacy. 2 Across the nation, the main way that pediatricians have done so is by participating in Reach Out and Read, a program that distributes free books to infants and young children. These programs focus on the Language Comprehension side of the Simple View of Reading as opposed to the Decoding side. This session will explore health impacts of illiteracy and help educators understand where pediatricians are coming from when it comes to early literacy. What do they learn about it? What are they screening for? What are they able to treat? How can pediatricians be better allies in promoting the Science of Reading? We hope to engage in a discussion to help educators and physicians work together better. Pediatricians are often called upon to medicate children for behavioral problems at school. Sometimes such problems could have been prevented with better early literacy education. Indeed, the research on High Scope indicates that the remarkable social benefits from high-quality preschool programs come “because of, not instead of, improvement in children’s intellectual performance Pediatricians can help promote early literacy by learning more about the Science of Reading, and complement existing activities like Reach Out and Read. Academic pediatricians can collaborate with educational researchers on rigorous outcome evaluations of interventions to promote literacy. There is a need for translational research to take us from science-informed to evidence-based interventions. Preventing reading difficulties and increasing equity in kindergarten readiness would be of huge lifelong benefit to millions of children.

10 or so Things to Know About Education Law and Reading

Laura Heneghan
Did you know that the laws in these areas may be different depending on your state? Or that there are laws in place regarding RTI/SRBI? Or that the term dyslexia appears in the federal law for education? You may think that the laws relating to education and reading have nothing to do with you, your job, or your child. Or you may not know the breadth of the laws in these areas. I’m going to spend some time talking through the ways that the law interacts with education and reading. It doesn’t only have to be when there is disagreement. A big part of my job as an attorney who represents children with disabilities and their parents is to educate my clients on their rights and the laws that apply so they can work collaboratively with their school district. So let’s spend a little time talking about the law as I walk you through 10 or so things you may not know!

Orthographic Mapping and Phase Theory: Translating Research to Guide Practice

Katie Pace Miles
This presentation will review Ehri’s well-substantiated theories of Orthographic Mapping and Phases of Word Reading and Spelling Development. Dr. Miles will explain how these theories provide an essential framework for instruction to support emergent readers. Examples of the research that support both theories will be presented, and connections will then be made to Share’s Self-Teaching Hypothesis and Perfetti and Hart’s Lexical Quality Hypothesis. Dr. Miles will include hands-on activities and ground the theories in practice to support translation to practice.

ABCs of CBM: Why and How to Use CBMs

Michelle Hosp
This session is perfect for those newer to Curriculum-Based Measurement working with students in K – 8. We will cover how and why CBM was developed, along with an overview of the different measures, including their similarities and differences. How CBMs are used for both screening and progress monitoring, and what questions they help answer about students’ reading skills will also be covered. Participants will leave with a practical foundation in CBM regarding what it is and how the data is used.

Implicit Learning Should Never be the Plan (But it Should Always be the Goal)

Steven Dykstra
In our zeal to promote explicit instruction and avoid the perils of expecting kids to “figure it out” on their own we may have lost sight of the difference between implicit instruction (which isn’t instruction at all) and implicit learning. We see this confusion in Whole Language and Balanced Literacy where they discouraged explicit instruction for fear it would undermine implicit learning. Explicit instruction is supposed to lead to implicit learning at some point. It has to. The are not enough hours in the day or days in the year to teach everything you need to know in order to be a strong reader, much less everything else outside of reading. Children who struggle to read likely struggle with inferring as much about language and reading as children who find reading easier, and I think anyone who has ever taught children to read would agree. It is imperative that we do as much as we can to give them opportunities to improve their implicit learning abilities and there are clues in the scientific literature that hint at how we might do that and illuminate ways we already are.

Translanguaging and Building on the Linguistic Assets of All Students

Antonio Fierro and Julie Washington
Translanguaging is not only the ability to move fluidly between languages. Translanguaging is also a pedagogical approach to teaching in which teachers support and honor the linguistic assets that students already possess. This approach is essential for embracing, understanding, and for the preparation of instruction to address dialectal variations and working with English learners. A translanguaging pedagogy can contribute to a richer appreciation of a language’s complexity and cultural context.

Teaching with Specificity in Mind: A Case Study Approach

Carol Tolman
During the past few years, renewed interest in research led to improved professional development for all literacy stakeholders. With so much knowledge shared, how is a teacher supposed to know what to do, when, for whom, and for how long? Join Dr. Tolman as she uses a case study approach to discuss the importance of drilling down to teach with specificity. As we look through the lens of data analysis, it will allow us to work smarter, not harder!

“Is she on Grade Level?” Taking Another Look at how we Discuss Reading Levels K-3

Jan Hasbrouck
Parents, caregivers, and educators all want to know about students’ reading levels. Parents typically want reassurance that their child is making adequate progress or, if not, what appropriate, purposeful interventions are being provided. Educators frequently use this kind of information to discuss students’ placement in instructional programs and to determine their progress over time. Historically, the term “grade level” has been the most well-understood terminology for these discussions. “Your child is on grade level in reading.” “This student is reading 2 grades above her level”, etc. Since the mid-1990s students’ reading level is often discussed in terms used by the widely implemented “guided reading” programs where levels are reported as A-Z+ with bands of these “gradient text levels” are assigned to grade level equivalents (e.g., Levels E-J are for grade 3). This session reviews the problems of using “grade level” or “gradient level” to communicate a student’s level of progress or proficiency in reading. Using terminology aligned with the concept of reading development over time (Chall’s reading “stages”, Ehri’s “phases”, and Kilpatrick’s “levels”) will be suggested as a more valuable and justifiable way to have these important conversations, at least at the early stages of reading development. How educators can move toward the use of more useful, evidence-based standards will be presented.

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