English Learners and Emergent Bilingual Students:
What Do We Know and What Can We Learn?

LAS VEGAS | MARCH 25, 2023

We are all better when we work together.

In a world full of disagreement, we invite you to experience the refreshing and affirming opportunity of listening to experts respectfully share their expertise, and from that – gain knowledge that will accomplish a goal we all share: helping children to achieve academic success. 

Join us in Las Vegas, NV, on March 25, 2023, for our first annual summit – English Learners and Emergent Bilingual Students: What Do We Know and What Can We Learn?


Becky Sullivan

Becky Sullivan

Session One:
Policy to Effectively Support All Learners

Ken Pugh

Dr. Kenneth Pugh

Session Two:
The Neuroscience of Language and Literacy

Dr. Antonio Fierro

Dr. Antonio Fierro

Session Three:
Foundational Reading Skills Within a Comprehensive Literacy Program

Magaly Lavadenz

Dr. Magaly Lavadenz

Session Four:
Developing Oral Language, Vocabulary, and Background Knowledge


Montserrat Garibay

Montserrat Garibay

Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director, The Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA)

Kari Kurto

Kari Kurto

National Science of Reading Project Director, The Reading League

Martha Hernandez

Martha Hernandez

Executive Director, Californians Together

Tracy Weeden

Dr. Tracy Weeden

President and CEO, Neuhaus Education Center

View the Summit 2023 agenda and explore the interactive experience we have planned for you.


Policy to Effectively Support All Learners

Becky Sullivan, Director, K-12 English Language Arts, Sacramento County Office of Education
Dr. Linda Cavazos, Executive Director, ELLAS Consulting
Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, Strategic Advisor, Californians Together
Dr. José Viana, Senior Education Advisor, Lexia Learning

Panel Abstract: With many states enacting recent policies aimed at improving literacy outcomes, this panel will consider the extent to which such policy has included research-based guidelines for Emergent Bilingual/English Learners, students with dialectical variations, and other language differences. Moderated by Becky Sullivan, our panelists will share potential insights for future legislative efforts and implementation practices.

The Neuroscience of Language and Literacy

Dr. Kenneth Pugh, President and Director, Haskins Laboratories
Dr. Marilu Gorno-Tempini, Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, University of California San Francisco
Dr. Ioulia Kovelman, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan
Dr. Maryanne Wolf, Director, UCLA Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice
Dr. Brianna L. Yamasaki, Assistant Professor for the Department of Psychology, Emory University

Panel Abstract: This session will engage cognitive and neuroscientists in a discussion of the current research on multilingualism and literacy development. Moderated by Dr. Kenneth Pugh, our panelists will share instructional implications based on these findings and address possible next steps in research.

Foundational Reading Skills Within a Comprehensive Literacy Program

Dr. Antonio Fierro, Chief Academic Advisor, Tools4Reading
Dr. Claude Goldenberg, Nomellini & Olivier Professor of Education, Emeritus, Stanford University
Dr. Sylvia Linan-Thompson, Associate Professor, College of Education, Special Education, University of Oregon
Dr. Martha Martinez, Director of Research and Evaluation, SEAL (Sobrato Early Academic Language)

Panel Abstract: This session will explore the components of a comprehensive literacy program as it relates to English Learners/Emergent Bilinguals (EL/EBs). Moderated by Dr. Antonio Fierro, our panelists will explore what the research says about foundational skills instruction and pedagogical implications for teaching literacy skills in a linguistically diverse classroom.

Developing Oral Language, Vocabulary, and Background Knowledge

Dr. Magaly Lavadenz, Distinguished Professor of English Learner Policy, Research, and Practice, Loyola Marymount University
Mitchell Brookins, Educational Consultant, Teacher PRO
Dr. Amy Elleman, Director, Literacy Studies Ph.D. Program, Middle Tennessee State University
Patricia Pate, Early Learning Program Manager, SEAL (Sobrato Early Academic Language)

Panel Abstract: Proficient reading and writing skills are supported by strong language comprehension skills and prior content knowledge. Moderated by Magaly Lavadenz, this panel will discuss the research base, benefits, and implications of developing oral language skills in more than one language and linking new learning to knowledge acquired in a student’s home language.


Historically, there has been a disconnect between literacy experts within the fields of science of reading and English Learners / Emergent Bilinguals. Conflicting views often impact educational policy and lead to confusion in the field, which may in turn impact students. Beginning in March 2022, The Reading League and allied science of reading community members have engaged in a series of productive and groundbreaking conversations with the National Committee on Excellence in Literacy (NCEL) and its allied community members. These conversations were intended as opportunities to listen to understand and find areas of alignment as well as areas where more conversation is required.

Join us for this unique opportunity to hear experts from these fields continue these discussions!


March 25, 2023

Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, NV



A Unique Experience

Join The Reading League for a unique experience as we step into an important space to listen and learn. In national conversations about literacy, it is rare that groups with differing vantage points focus on common goals of listening and alignment. At the summit, experts from the English Learner / Emergent Bilingual (EL/EB) field and the science of reading community will come together to elevate our understanding of evidence-aligned literacy instruction for EL/EB students.

Grow Your Network

Expand your league by engaging with others who have different viewpoints to broaden your usual ways of thinking and come away with a richer perspective from a larger community. Listen, learn, and connect with new colleagues outside of your current network of professionals.

Fresh Perspectives

Hear fresh perspectives from experts not often highlighted in conversations about the science of reading. National leaders in neuroscience, policy, foundational reading skills, and language development and comprehension will engage in four panel discussions. Bring new knowledge back to your hive and spread the word!

Build Knowledge

The summit provides opportunities for collective knowledge building between panelists and attendees as we deepen our understanding of evidence-aligned instruction for EL/EBs. This is designed to be a collaborative event that will provide the opportunity to add to participants’ existing knowledge base, clarify misunderstandings, and find common ground. 


What makes this summit unique?
Each annual summit will highlight topics where there is perceived disagreement between experts in various literacy ecosystems.

What is the structure of the Summit?
The summit will feature a series of four moderated panel discussions covering the topics of neuroscience, policy, and instruction. Together, we will strengthen our understanding of what has been researched, what is known, where further research is needed, and why it is important to include others in the national science of reading discussion.

Unlike a conference, there will not be breakout sessions. All attendees will spend the day experiencing the insights from the shared dialogue. It is our hope that all will build new professional networking opportunities with those in attendance.


Aprendo Leyendo
Curriculum Associates
95 Percent Group
PAF Reading Program
Reading Horizons
Wilson Language Training

Join us for the first ever TRL Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, on March 25, 2023.