2017 Annual Conference - Atlanta

Pre-Conference Symposia 

The 2017 Conference Committee has put together a fantastic group of symposia for the attendees at the 2017 Reading, Literacy & Learning Conference. Below describes the six sessions available to choose from. Please click on each title for a detailed description of each symposia.

PC1 The Five Ws of Structured Literacy: How to Build a Successful Reading Model to Improve Literacy on Your Campus 

Chair: Regina Boulware-Gooden, Ph.D.

Where do I find those critical partners who help to build a successful program? How do I embed structured literacy into a Tier 1 classroom setting? What roadblocks should I anticipate when planning implementation strategies? What factors need to be considered at the start of implementation? When should structured literacy be placed during your reading block and who delivers the instruction? Why is evaluation a critical piece that cannot be left out of the equation?

This timely symposium offers strategic blueprints for implementing structured literacy in today’s classrooms. Hear from knowledgeable professionals in the field of literacy, school administrators, and classroom teachers about the many facets of providing a structured literacy program as they address questions that may arise during the symposium. The six presentations are followed by a Q&A opportunity for participants.

PC2 Executive Function, Metacognition, and Strategic Thinking: Preparing Learners for Effective Academic Self-Management 

Chair: Sucheta Kamath, M.A.,BC-ANCDS, CCC 

Success in teaching and learning rests on the shoulders of teachers and students. Conventional wisdom and compassionate intuition make educators want to implement teaching methods to help circumvent students' difficulties in learning, organizing, and producing work. However, students’ difficulties are often related to their lack of awareness of their own approaches to managing their learning, which often result from underdeveloped executive-function processes. In this symposium, presenters address a critically important piece of this puzzle by discussing the vital connections between executive-function processes, metacognitive awareness, and self-directed learning. Presenters highlight well-researched and effective approaches to fostering metacognitive awareness and enhancing student’s self-knowledge, strategy use, and flexible thinking. Participants leave with specific and practical teaching tools that can be immediately implemented into their classroom curriculum.

PC3 The Role of Speech in Reading

Chair: Margie B. Gillis, Ed.D.

The symposium includes four presentations that will begin with a consideration of the speech- and auditory-related neural pathways involved in reading and conclude with practical discussions of speech-to-print instruction, including research with speech-to-print materials for instruction and remediation.

PC4 Mathematical Literacy: Creating Instructional Models That Meet the Needs of Students With Dyslexia and Related Learning Disabilities

Chair: Marilyn Zecher, M.A., CALT, Math Specialist, ASDEC, Affiliate Instructor Loyola University Maryland 

We have long known that students with dyslexia and related learning disabilities often struggle in more than one academic area. Though we have developed models for delivering successful reading and language instruction in both initial and remedial instructional settings, we have not as yet developed a more unified approach to instruction for these individuals in mathematics. Just as evidence from neuroscience has validated approaches to literacy instruction, it has offered monumental revelations about a core deficit in mathematics. This evidence has profoundly shaped how we approach teaching mathematics at developmentally appropriate levels. When combined with our knowledge of the impact of language on learning, it suggests some universal guidelines for instruction. This symposium explores the impact of dyslexia and related learning disabilities in mathematics. It offers evidence-based practices for supporting students and suggests some strategies or “lessons learned” from our shared history of structured literacy instruction. Symposium presentations examine the challenges of initiating, building, and sustaining an instructional model that serves this specific population. Each presentation offers insights, examples, and evidence of successful instructional models, as participants collectively glean some universal truths about educating this population in the area of math. Audience participation is part of this practical symposium as we explore the meaning of an explicit, synthetic, analytic, structured, sequential, cumulative, and thorough approach to teaching mathematics. Finally, we offer resources and models of what is possible for educating in a way that is appropriate for all, but essential for some.

PC5 Reading Intervention for Children and Youth With Reading Disabilities: Questions Answered and Questions Remaining Regarding the Impact of Age, Comorbidities, Lexical, and Individual Child Characteristics on Reading Intervention Response and Outcomes

Chair: Maureen W. Lovett, Ph.D.

There is emerging consensus on some overall parameters of effective intervention for children and youth who struggle with reading development, but relatively little insight into why some children respond readily and others show less response. Like reading itself, intervention outcomes are multidimensional, and our ability to measure decoding, word reading, and spelling progress is far superior to our capacity to assess changes in vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension. We know that it is easier to intervene earlier, but we do not fully understand the limits and the reasons why later reading intervention is so difficult. This symposium includes four researchers who have been active in reading intervention research for many years. From different perspectives, these researchers describe some of their latest work on understanding intervention responses in different samples of children and youth with reading disabilities (RD) and young children at risk. All presenters address the implications of their findings for teachers and practitioners working with struggling readers.

PC6 Assistive Technology for a New Generation

Chair: Jennifer Topple, M.S., CCC-SLP, Director of Assistive and Instructional Technology, The Howard School

For many years, the academic help provided to students with dyslexia was limited to remedial language instruction and resource support, including basic accommodations giving students extra time to complete assignments. While those traditional supports remain important, the rapid development of assistive technology has led to a dramatic increase in independence for dyslexic learners and allows them to thrive alongside their nondyslexic classmates. This engaging half-day symposium helps attendees understand the why and how of AT implementation in 21st-century classrooms. Presenters highlight the educational approach of the universal design for learning (UDL), and the latest and most effective AT tools are demonstrated and discussed. The session wrap ups with a testimonial from a college student who was once a struggling writer, but because of assistive technology, is now pursuing a degree in writing.

*All sessions are subject to change.