Session Descriptions

Wednesday Pre-Conference for all educators,  1:00 – 4:30 PM: Jennifer Serravallo:  “Complete Comprehension”

“Comprehending what you’ve read is the goal of reading,” Allington and Gabriel have written, and yet comprehension assessment and instruction can be one of the most challenging things for teachers to feel comfortable and confident with (2012). With a focus on goals, skills, and strategies, Jen will help participants understand how knowing some hallmarks of leveled texts can help them norm expectations for student written and verbal responses to fiction and nonfiction texts. She will talk about the role of knowing students completely and deeply in order to support their comprehension and match them to texts they’ll love and understand. Jen will then show how knowing about texts and readers can help teachers to support student growth using a variety of teaching structures, including conferences and small groups.


 8:30 – 9:45 AM  Keynote:  CC Bates “Top Ten Ways to Catch Readers and Writers”

As teachers, we must not only catch readers and writers from falling, but actually set them on a path to success.  Join C.C. as she counts down the top ten ways to support early literacy learners.

Session #1

10:15 – 11:45 AM

Jamie Lipp (Reading Recovery)  “From Isolation to Integration:  Word Work Across the Lesson”

Do you sometimes feel like the word work component of your lesson feels less connected than it should?  Let’s work together to responsively plan for word work opportunities across the lesson, not just at the board.

Sue Duncan  (Reading Recovery) “My Book or Your Book”

We will explore how to think about finding an ideal text for a child beginning with finding a readable text to get a child underway and how to think about choosing “just right” books over time.

Will be repeated on Friday at 10

Cliff Johnson  (Reading Recovery)  “How to Increase a Child’s Meager Knowledge of Words”

This session will present some different ways of thinking about how to extend a beginning reader’s limited reading and writing vocabularies. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of learning about words in both continuous text and in the writing part of the lesson. Teachers will learn to introduce a variety of high-frequency words instead of words that the child may not encounter again for a long time.

Will be repeated on Friday at 10

Lisa Eickholdt  (General)  “Writing Clubs:  Fostering Choice, Collaboration and Voice in the Writing Classroom”

Breathe new life into your writing instruction with writing clubs! In writing clubs, students work with peers to study topics of interest. Clubs allow students to pursue high-interest independent writing projects without missing your whole group instruction. Come and see how fun and easy it is to implement writing clubs.

Mary Fried and Noel Jones  (Reading Recovery Teacher Leaders Only)   “Problem Solving Together:  Children Making Slow Progress”

This topic will be explored in an interactive, problem-solving session for Teacher Leaders only. TLs should bring your books, your experiences, and your brain!  Mary and Noel will guide the session, share our experiences, explore recommended procedures, and generate rationales that make a difference for many children.  Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals & Teaching Struggling Readers by Carol Lyons will be needed.

All Teacher Leaders should register for this session.

Denise Morgan (General)  “It’s All About Theme”

Theme might be the most challenging concept to teach. In this session, we will explore all things theme related. We will focus on developing and strengthening our abilities as adults and teachers to talk about theme. This, of course, is the first step in teaching theme well.

Jan Richardson (General)  “Assess-Decide-Guide:  Pathway to Accelerating Struggling Readers”

This session will present a proven and highly effective format for accelerating struggling readers.

ASSESS: Analyze assessments to identify processing issues that might be interfering with acceleration.

DECIDE: Select the appropriate text and instructional focus.

GUIDE: Utilize prompts and teaching points for reading, word study, and writing to foster independent problem solving.

Session #2

1:00 – 2:30 PM

Pam Grayson (Reading Recovery)  “Searching and Monitoring – Anticipating and Noticing”

The actions that take place as we read text can be described as searching and monitoring behaviors.  Searching behaviors provide the “feed-forward,” while monitoring behaviors provide the check that everything is all right.  Efficiency is key.  Let’s talk about how our teaching can help children become more efficient readers.

Jeff Williams (Reading Recovery)  “Book Introductions – You Only Get Out What You Put In!”

This session explores writing book introductions, for both fiction and nonfiction, that focus on M, S, and V as input so that you see them as outputs for effective processing.

Annette Torres Elias (General)  “Poetry as a Catalyst for Literacy Learning for Emergent Bilingual (ELL) Learners”

Poetry presents an opportunity to explore language, enhance word knowledge, and foster comprehension and fluency. In this interactive session, participants will explore the role of poetry in the reading and writing work of emergent bilingual (ELL) students.

  1. Journey Swafford (Reading Recovery) “Flexibility with Words in Writing”

In this session, participants will have the opportunity to examine lesson artifacts (lesson records and writing samples) and videos of writing interactions to consider how the teacher is fostering the development of flexible ways of working with words in writing.

Angela Rardon (General)  “Climbing the Ladder of Text Difficulty:  Pacing is Important”

Moving kids up in levels is one of the trickiest tasks of Guided Reading. When should you move children? How do you know when they are ready? What should you take into consideration? This informative session will provide hands on activities to help strengthen your understanding of pacing during Guided Reading.

Jamie Dawson (Reading Recovery)  “Turning Roadblocks into Speed Bumps:  Forging Detours with Hard to Teach Students”

In this session, participants will explore ways to support hard to teach students.   Participants will examine the role of the Observation Summary, Roaming around the Known, and critical teaching decisions in the first six to eight weeks to support these students.  Interactive discussion and video clips will be used. 

Michal Taylor (General)  “Guided Reading:  Teaching for Strategic Action”

A strategic reader knows what actions to take to monitor if what they read makes sense, sounds right and looks right. Active readers search for relationships between the print and ideas created in their minds. We will view video clips and Running Records and analyze and discuss actions readers are taking.

Session #3

3:00 – 4:30 PM

Annette Torres Elias (Reading Recovery)  “Language Connections that Propel Literacy Learning for Emergent Bilingual (ELL) Students”

The Reading Recovery lesson framework provides abundant opportunities for talking, listening, reading, and writing for emergent bilingual (ELL) students. In this session, participants will discuss how to plan language connections that will propel literacy learning.

Maryann McBride (Reading Recovery) “Puzzling the Hardest to Teach:  Eyes Off Text”

This session will explore ways to help reluctant Reading Recovery students who do not look at print at all, or in efficient and effective ways.  Lesson Records and video tapes will be used to demonstrate procedures as well as behaviors that indicate problems with looking.

Andrea Overton (Reading Recovery)  “I Took the Running Record:  Now What?”

In this session we will look at Running Records over a period of time from one student. We will discuss how to choose teaching points and how teaching points change over time.

Jaime Dawson (Reading Recovery)  “Focusing on Fluency:  An Integral Part of an Efficient Literacy Processing System”

In this session, participants will explore the role fluency plays as a part of an efficient literacy processing system.   Through interactive discussion and video clips, teachers will look at creating a fluency plan of action to support children’s efforts to read fluently.

Angela Rardon (General)  “Intervention Time:  In-Class Interventions for Struggling Students”

Have you ever wondered what to do with those students that don’t get chosen for a pull out intervention but you know need support? How can you possibly differentiate for the various needs in your class and fit in everything that must be accomplished? This session will provide lots of easy to implement, research based Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions to support student success. Come ready to participate!

Denise Morgan (General) “Strengthening Your Reading With a Writer Eyesight”

In this active, demonstration session, you will “write under the influence” of good writing. We will live the writing process first and then discuss what this means for your students.

Jan Richardson (General) “Understanding Guided Word Study”

Word study, including phonics, should be taught in small groups and based on the developmental needs of individual students. This session presents a simple and practical method for teaching word study that helps students build phonemic awareness and develop effective word solving skills. Learn how to select engaging activities that are based upon student assessments and linked to the guided reading text. The presentation includes video clips of guided word study with emergent, early, and transitional readers.


 8:30 – 9:45 AM   Keynote:  Betsy Kaye  “I, eye, aye:  Addressing Hidden Complexities in Letter Learning and Word Solving”

While reading, children must keep meaning at the forefront, rapidly recognize and use letter sequences, and negotiate the varied language structures of texts.  It’s a tall order!  This session reveals hidden complexities in letter learning and word solving and offers meaningful teaching approaches to address these intricacies.

Session #4

10:00 – 11:30

  1. Journey Swafford (General) “The Power of Poetry”

In this session, participants will be introduced to a variety of poems and poets.  All things poetry (using mentors, reading aloud, mini-lessons, anthologies, and suggestions for helping students write their own pieces) will be discussed.

CC Bates (General)  “Interactive Writing”

Interactive writing is an easy to use tool that assists children in developing early reading and writing behaviors by creating readable texts. Learn more about the power of interactive writing and how to integrate it into your already busy schedule.

Sue Duncan (Reading Recovery)  “My Book or Your Book”

We will explore how to think about finding an ideal text for a child beginning with finding a readable text to get a child underway and how to think about choosing “just right” books over time.

Repeat of session from Thursday @ 10:15.

Jamie Lipp (Reading Recovery)  “The Composing Conversation:  Avoiding Roadblocks on the Path to Writing”

Writing is a critical component of the Reading Recovery lesson.  Come explore various ways to improve conversations with students to ensure an efficient path from composing to constructing and beyond.

Cliff Johnson (Reading Recovery) “How to Increase a Child’s Meager Knowledge of Words”

This session will present some different ways of thinking about how to extend a beginning reader’s limited reading and writing vocabularies. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of learning about words in both continuous text and in the writing part of the lesson.  Teachers will learn to introduce a variety of high-frequency words instead of words that the child may not encounter again for a long time.

Repeat of session from Thursday @ 10:15

Lisa Eickholdt (General)  “Responsive Teaching:  Creating Meaningful and Memorable Writing Lessons”

In this age of packaged writing curriculum, designing your own lessons has become a lost art. But knowing how to create mini-lessons that take into consideration your students and your required curriculum, is an important skill that every teacher needs if they want to teach responsively. In this session, participants will learn how to design writing lessons that take into consideration their students’ needs, their students’ interests, and incorporates the work of real writers allowing them to design meaningful and memorable mini-lessons.

Mary Fried (Reading Recovery)  “Power Start:  The First Six Weeks of Lessons”

Words from Clay:  ‘For those children who are ‘Recommended’ I suspect that what is going wrong is going wrong in the first six weeks of their lessons.’  Clay’s words will echo throughout this session as we demonstrate and analyze teaching interactions that can make a powerful difference.

Session #5

12 noon – 1:30 PM

Pam Grayson (Reading Recovery)  “The New Book:  Read with Success”

One of the most challenging tasks for teachers of struggling readers is that of book choice.  In discussing book choice Dr. Clay includes the words “facilitative,” “motivating,” “challenge the child’s processing system,” “assist,” and “read with success.”  In the end, isn’t it more about the child than the book!

Jeff Williams (General) “Analyzing Running Records to Inform Group Instruction K – 4”

Classroom teachers will learn to gain insight for small group instruction by analyzing running records beyond MSV, using a tool based upon McGee and Fried’s research, to illuminate powerful teaching needed for lifting problem-solving.

Michal Taylor (General)  “What’s the Power of Knowing a Word in a Snap?”

The main predictor of early reading progress is WRITING VOCABULARY. Moving a sight word from new to fluent retrieval is a crucial part of learning to read and write. We will learn how to foster building a known writing vocabulary in our guided reading lessons to be used that day.

Maryann McBride (Reading Recovery)  “Puzzling the Hardest to Teach:  It only works one way”

This session will explore ways to assist Reading Recovery students who have serial order difficulties.  Examination of Observation Survey as well as records will assist teachers in identifying these students earlier and intervening sooner to get serial order across lines of texts and within words under control.

Andrea Overton (Reading Recovery) “The Power of Familiar Reading”

In this session we will discuss the importance of familiar reading and how the intentional planning for familiar reading will provide support for students across the lesson.

Betsy Kaye (Reading Recovery)  “Visual Perception in Early Literacy Learning”

As children learn to read and write, they must continually adjust their visual working systems for literacy.  This session explores the visual perception challenges children encounter while learning to look at print and engages participants in an exploration of Clay’s procedures that address these challenges.