We ensure that children who struggle in learning to read and write gain the skills for a literate and productive future

 2017 Leadership and Preconference Institute Speakers

SATURDAY, January 28th –  9:00 AM TO 3:30 PM


The Leadership Institute is geared toward school- and district-level administrators. School teams welcome!
Janice Almasi

Anthony Muhammad, author, educational consultant, CEO, New Frontier 21, LLC, West Bloomfield, MI

Overcoming the Achievement Gap Trap: Liberating Mindsets to Effect Change
Explore the connection between personal and institutional mindsets and academic achievement gaps. The issue of inequality in student learning outcomes has been studied and debated for many years, but this workshop will seek to establish that the primary culprit in the fight to overcome the achievement gap is our thinking. Attendees will receive a copy of Overcoming the Achievement Gap Trap: Liberating Mindsets to Effect Change. Continue your exploration by attending more leadership sessions throughout the Conference and the administrator luncheon on Monday at 11:45 am ($10/person).


Janice Almasi

Janice Almasi, professor, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Interventions for Students who Struggle: Designing Narrative Comprehension
Research has shown that students who struggle with comprehension, particularly those at risk for ADHD, have difficulty (a) making causal connections, (b) identifying story structure, (c) generating inferences, and (d) identifying important events. They also demonstrate low levels of self-efficacy. Video excerpts from actual lessons highlight a new intervention designed to enhance elementary-aged children’s narrative comprehension and self-efficacy. Engage in critical reflection on the intervention’s lesson components and video excerpts from actual lessons. Actively examine texts and create instructional activities using instructional elements from the intervention to maximize student learning and motivation.

Jan Burkins, author and consultant, Atlanta, GA
Kim Yaris, author and consultant, Wellington, FL

Who’s Doing the Work: Reading Instruction That Transfers to Independence
Examine your instruction and identify places where you may be inadvertently doing the work for students, creating dependency and interfering with student growth. Learn how to make simple adjustments to instruction which can lead to powerful shifts in student engagement and empower students to do the work of becoming better readers. Discover the answers to these questions: What do “independent and proficient” readers look like? How do they behave? How do I develop lessons and what language should I use to give students more responsibility for their work? How does student empowerment connect to the gradual release of responsibility?


Nancy Anderson

Nancy Anderson, Reading Recovery trainer, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX

Sound Systems: Helping Children Construct Visual Processing Systems
Young children creatively construct systems for reading and writing. The relationship between letters, sounds, and words is a critical component of the learning process. A principle that permeates Dr. Clay’s work is “what is easier to hear is easier to see.” Teacher focus on children’s language competencies and attention to larger within-word units, makes visual processing easier. Analysis of student behaviors and specific teaching procedures are demonstrated and role played.


Adria Klein, Reading Recovery trainer, Saint Mary’s College, Moraga, CA
Allison Briceno, assistant professor, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA

Oral Language Development and Literacy Learning: Understanding Language Structure to Provide Scaffolding for Students
Vygotsky's concept that language reflects thought leads us to understand the impact of language on literacy development. Examine the foundational importance of oral language, identify teaching that fosters oral language and literacy development, and discuss the reciprocity between oral language and reading and writing. The focus is on English learners including analyzing running records to deepen understanding of language structure.

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