Reading in the City – Conference Schedule

Brain Research & Practical Teaching Strategies

April 13th, 2019 – 8 am to 3 pm at Grant Beacon Middle School!



Saturday, April 13th, 2019

IMPORTANT: If you don’t see a session when registering, then it is sold out. We will try to update the page regularly, but are not directly synced with the registration system so updates are not immediate.

Registration in the Lobby – 8:00 to 8:45 am

Welcome! Opening Remarks – 8:45 to 9:00 am

Morning Plenary Session

9:00 to 10:15 am

Dr. Hugh Catts

Early Identification of Dyslexia: Current Research and Implications for Practice

Research showing the challenges faced in early identification and how recent theory has begun to address these challenges is reviewed in this symposium. The need for a cumulative risk and resilience model of dyslexia that recognizes numerous causal and protective factors is considered. Research showing the connection between these various factors and dyslexia is also reviewed. The presenter further discusses the implications of this work for screening practices and how early identification can be achieved in a timely and efficient manner.

Break – Visit Bookstore & Info Tables- 10:15 to 10:30 am

Morning Breakout Sessions

(Choose 1 of 7) – 10:30 to 11:40 am

Reading Comprehension is not a Single Ability

Dr. Hugh Catts

Much concern has been raised about the poor performance of American children on high stakes tests of reading comprehension. As a result, considerable national and state funding has been allocated to research directed at improving reading comprehension. The results of this research have shown that reading comprehension is much less malleable than expected. In this presentation, it is proposed that a primary reason for this lack of malleability is that reading comprehension is not a single entity that can be easily improved with general comprehension strategies or instruction. It is better described as a multidimensional construct that is impacted by numerous factors including reader, text, and task elements. Characteristics of the reader, including language/cognitive abilities and especially background knowledge, influence comprehension. Also, what is read and for what purpose can have a significant influence on one’s understanding. The implications of a multidimensional model for the assessment and intervention of children at risk for reading comprehension problems will be discussed.

SOLD OUTExperience Dyslexia® Simulation

This hands-on simulation session lets participants experience some of the challenges and frustrations faced by people with language-based learning differences. Participants will be guided through a set of learning tasks commonly encountered in the classroom or workplace including reading comprehension, fluency, writing, spelling, listening and processing speed. These will be followed by a lively group discussion focusing on experiences shared and lessons learned. Attend the Dyslexia 101 session for additional practical tips, accommodations and interventions for the classroom.

SOLD OUT – The Tipping Point: The Birth of a Literacy Excellence School

Michael Pickering, PhD. & POWER Zone Superintendent, Lynne Fitzhugh, Ph.D., LDT, CALT-QI; President of the Colorado Literacy and Learning Center, and Rebecca Thompson

How does a Title I public school become a model of literacy excellence, including excellence for those with dyslexia? It started with one highly trained teacher and grew through visionary leadership. Incorporating IDA’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading in a school-wide initiative, hear the journey into identification and remediation of dyslexic students on a grand scale: the first public school in Colorado entirely dedicated to students who are diagnosed with, or fit a profile for, dyslexia.

SOLD OUTIs Phonemic Awareness Important for Older Students? Yes, it REALLY Is!

Deb Coultas, M.A., Coultas Educational Consulting; IDA-RMB Nominating Committee Member

This interactive session will demonstrate why phoneme awareness is important for older students, from upper elementary to high school. Those who struggle with decoding and spelling need the connections between phonemic awareness, decoding and spelling. Participants will learn the importance of sound tracking, and experience activities to engage older students as they are learning these skills.

CI (Comprehensible Input): Multisensory Techniques for Foreign Language Acquisition

Amy Cord, M.Ed., French Teacher, Aspen Middle School, Aspen School District

Students with dyslexia often struggle with traditional methods of acquiring a foreign language. Amy will share successful techniques on how she reached her middle school French and Spanish students who were struggling with traditional grammar and skills-based strategies. She will demonstrate a language-acquisition lesson using Comprehensible Input (CI) methods and discuss ideas for using similar strategies in your classroom to promote success with your students. CI focuses on multisensory storytelling to use and practice foreign languages in context and then solidifying these skills by writing the stories students have created.

What’s the Difference?

Ellen Hunter, MSE, Supervisor, Professional Learning and Strategic Partnerships, Exceptional Student Services, CDE; and Alexandra Frazier, Ed.S., Principal Literacy Consultant-Teaching and Learning Unit, P-3 Office, CDE

During this session, the presenters will first discuss the differences and similarities between private evaluations and school-based evaluations. Next, they will highlight the purposes and differences between Individual Education Programs (IEPs), 504 Plans and READ Plans and help participants think through how each of these ‘plans’ are developed and implemented.

Want to Build an Inclusive Classroom? Learning Tools is Your Superpower! 

Microsoft Team

We know how important it is for educators to design authentic activities that acknowledge and accommodate for all variations of learners. Learning Tools brings advanced accessibility options for a wide range of students with proven success in reading and writing achievement. See how this and other Microsoft tools bring the content to the student while removing barriers to learning.

Lunch – 11:40 am to 12:25 pm 

Lunch will include a Side Salad, Gourmet Wrap, Gourmet Chips, a drink and a dessert. Vegetarian and Gluten-Free options are available, but must be selected during registration.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions #1

(Choose 1 of 8) – 12:25 to 1:35 pm

SOLD OUT – Understanding and Managing the Impact of ADHD and Executive Function Skill Development on Learning and Behavior

Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ACAC, ADHD-CCSP, ADHD Parent Coach and Teacher Trainer; and Carly Goldrich, Special Education Teacher, BSVD

This training provides the latest research and best practices regarding how to understand the impact of ADHD and Executive Function weaknesses on students. Participants will gain skills, strategies and techniques to support students in need at the Point of Performance while balancing the needs of all students in the classroom. Take advantage of the latest brain research and evidence-based best practices to get kids motivated, focused, organized, and performing closer to their true potential.

SOLD OUT – The Path to Fluency: The Importance of Orthographic Mapping

Diane Mayer-M.Ed, Fellow-in-Training/AOGPE, Literacy Specialist/Littleton School District, IDA-RMB Vice President; and Nancy Blum-M.A.Ed., M.S.W., Literacy Specialist, IDA-RMB Board Member

This session, based on the work of David Kilpatrick, will address the critical roles that phonemic proficiency, letter/sound automaticity, and orthographic mapping play in the development of reading fluency. The session will highlight the importance of orthographic mapping in the process of learning how to store and rapidly retrieve words. Participants will come away with an understanding how words are stored for rapid retrieval, as well as strategies and activities they can take back to use with their students on Monday!

Modeling Mathematics: Explore the structure and concept development of grade level math – Grades 4-8

Lisa Costa, M.ED, NBCT in Young Adulthood and Adolescent Mathematics, 7th Grade Mathematics Teacher, Cherry Creek School District

Modeling the Mathematics: Explore the structure of models to support student’s concept development of grade level math concepts (including middle school grades). Understand how students who struggle in mathematics are able to succeed at grade-level standard requirements using models to build their understanding.

SOLD OUT – Systems, Structures, and Sustainability- Supports that Change Trajectories for all Kids

Melody Ilk, M.A., President and Consultant, Literacy Transformations, LLC Research to Practice

This session will cover the critical systems and structures necessary to improve reading outcomes for all students. The session will also address the science behind successful implementation and how districts and schools can analyze where they are and how to make the next steps toward improvement.

SOLD OUT – It’s Okay to Say “Dyslexia”- The Journey in Littleton Public Schools

Janie Youderian, Elementary Special Education Coordinator; and Amy McIntosh, Coordinator of Literacy of Littleton Public School District

This session will share the journey of a school district working to support students with dyslexia and other learning differences. You will hear about the general education k-2 curriculum adoption, the work of a dyslexia task force and the on-going educator collaboration to improve literacy outcomes for students.

SOLD OUT – Fun with the Six Syllable Types

Holly Haycraft, Elementary Education licensure, B.S. Special Education, M.Ed Administration, Special Education Teacher, Valley View K-8, Mapleton Public Schools, IDA-RMB Board Member; and Cindy Kanuch, M.A. Ed., CALP, A/AOGPE, Title 1 Reading Interventionist Calhan Elementary, Private Tutor, IDA-RMB Board Member

Learn engaging activities that provide opportunities for students to apply their understanding of the six syllables in a fun way. You will receive materials for each activity to use with your students!

Seven Steps to Make Learning More Accessible with Microsoft

Microsoft Team

Making a learning environment accessible for everyone is a must as today’s classrooms are diverse and include English Language Learners and students with special needs. In fact, teachers already have technologies to help with this at their disposal. This session will help teachers recognize just how easy it is to ensure that all learning materials are accessible to everyone. These 7 simple steps could make a significant impact for the people who need accessible materials.

SOLD OUT – Meeting the Needs of Dyslexic Students in the Classroom

Colorado YES! Ambassadors

The talented YES! (Youth Examples of Self-Advocacy) Ambassadors present what they, students with dyslexia, need in the classroom. These middle school and high school students will give you strategies across curriculums that can be implemented in classrooms immediately. There is no one better to cover these topics than students who have felt the defeats and triumphs of different learning techniques. They will also cover common accommodations and assistive technology. This presentation is perfect for administrators, tutors, teachers, parents, and students.

Break – Visit Bookstore & Info Tables – 1:35 to 1:50 pm

Afternoon Breakout Sessions #2

(Choose 1 of 8) – 1:50 to 3:00 pm

SOLD OUT – Dyslexia 101

Sally Pistilli, Dyslexia Resource Group Director, A/AOGPE, Dyslexia Interventionist, IDA-RMB Nominating Committee Member

So you think it’s dyslexia. What now? This session provides an exploration of this common learning difference, beginning with the early warning signs and characteristics you will observe. We will then investigate what appropriate assessment and effective remediation looks like, incorporating the accommodations and assistive technology that can best support your students in the classroom. Leave with a knowledge base that will allow you to empower these bright young learners!

Morphology Madness – A Play & Take Session

Karen Leopold M.Ed, Fellow/AOGPE, IDA-RMB Treasurer, IDA Branch Council Pacific Region Representative

Learn about the 3 major layers of the English language – Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Greek – and how each layer influences our language. We will also explore how a word’s language of origin influences meaning.

SOLD OUT – The Work of Turnaround: Transforming a Classroom, Transforming a School

Cindy Kanuch, M.A. Ed., CALP, A/AOGPE, Title 1 Reading Interventionist Calhan Elementary, Private Tutor, IDA-RMB Board Member; and Linda Slothower, M.S.Ed., Principal, Will Rogers Elementary, District 11 Colorado Springs

The task of turning around a low performing or struggling school is daunting and extremely challenging. This seminar will focus on areas such as student culture, data analysis, planning, and instructional strategies that can transform a classroom and a school.

SOLD OUT – Building Conceptual Understanding Through Math Manipulatives (Elementary)

Lisa Costa, M.ED, NBCT in Young Adulthood and Adolescent Mathematics, 7th Grade Mathematics Teacher, Cherry Creek School District

Building conceptual understanding through mathematics manipulatives. Hands-on conceptual development of early mathematics understanding.

It is Language, Folks: Using Language Performance to Diagnose Dyslexia and Reading Disorders

Larisa Wilder, MA SLP-CCC, Speech Language Pathologist at Wilder Language and Learning, IDA-RMB Board Member

Dyslexia is accepted as a specific learning disability that is caused by a language deficit. Yet, interventions and diagnosis practices are not always language-based. This presentation: (1) Will discuss how language testing can impact reading intervention and broaden treatment goals to improve reading and language performance. (2) Will link common language tests to expected reading skills. (3) Will explain how language testing is used to validate diagnostic impressions for reading performance.

The Truth About Assistive Technology

Colorado YES! Ambassadors

This powerful presentation allows attendees to learn about dyslexia and the way assistive technology can help students with dyslexia reach their academic and personal goals. The YES! (Youth Examples of Self-Advocacy) Ambassadors are students with dyslexia currently attending middle and high school. They are uniquely qualified to explain how teachers, parents, and students can use Assistive Technology to augment interventions, assist in homework, and level the playing field in school. The Ambassadors will discuss the AT they use and why. They will also demonstrate their Assistive Technology at the end of the presentation. This presentation is perfect for administrators, tutors, teachers, parents, and students.

SOLD OUT – Step-by-Step Paragraph Writing and Idea Generation

Yona Sammartino, Orton-Gillingham Tutor, IDA-RMB Administrative Director

Do you often hear, “I don’t know what to write!?” Developing writing skills in a step-by-step fashion enables students of any grade level to organize their ideas and complete assignments. Based on the Orton-Gillingham Approach, these multisensory instructional strategies will inspire and energize students, as they become confident competent writers. Whether you are a teacher, tutor, or parent, this session will give you strategies you can use immediately.

SOLD OUT – The Ins and Outs of Disleckzeea, Disleckia, Dislexea… Dyslexia

Tammy Curran, M.Ed., A/AOGPE, Denver Academy Literacy Specialist, Director of Tutoring Services, IDA Certified Dyslexia Practitioner, IDA-RMB Vice President; and Jay Mayer, A/AOGPE, IDA-RMB Board Member

Come and hear some stories and strategies to help you guide your dyslexic bundle of joy! There are so many things to consider when it comes to understanding dyslexia. It’s an overwhelming topic to understand and discuss. We will share some strategies to help you with the in’s and out’s of your dyslexic child/student.


We are looking forward to a fantastic 2019 conference!


“Dyslexia is a different brain organization that needs different teaching methods. It is never the fault of the child, but rather the responsibility of us who teach to find methods that work for that child.”

—MARYANNE WOLF, Director, Center for Reading and Language Research, Tufts University


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