Reading in the City – Conference Schedule

Saturday, April 15, 2023, 8am-3:30pm at Denver Academy

The Conference Pricing & FAQs Schedule Speakers

Saturday, April 15, 2023 – Conference Schedule

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

Registration Check In – 8:00 to 8:45 am

Opening Remarking & Morning Plenary Session

8:45 to 10:30 am

The Language Literacy Network: A New Twist on the Reading Rope to Advance Literacy Outcomes

Dr. Jan Wasowicz, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL

The Scarborough Reading Rope is familiar to almost every educator. It’s widely used today, but it presents only one half of the literacy story: reading.
The Language Literacy Network (2021) reflects how the many language components of skilled reading and writing come together at the neural and behavioral levels based on neural-imaging and behavioral research of the last 30+ years since the Reading Rope was created in 1992. The Language Literacy Network infographic illustrates the dynamic interaction of many processes of language literacy learning, from discourse-level reading comprehension and written expression to word-level and sub-lexical skills of decoding, encoding, to automaticity in written word recognition and production. This illustration captures the bi-directional reciprocal relationship between reading and writing, especially in the transfer of skills between decoding and spelling.
This session will guide you through the components of The Language Literacy Network infographic and explore its similarities and differences with the Reading Rope. Dr. Wasowicz will focus on the practical implications of The Language Literacy Network and ignite you with new insights for evaluating and tweaking your teaching practices to align more closely with the current research.

Break – Visit Bookstore & Sponsor Tables – 10:30 to 10:50 am

Morning Breakout Sessions

(Choose 1 of 8) – 10:50 am to 12:00 pm

Plenary Question & Answer Session

Dr. Jan Wasowicz, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL

Join Dr. Jan Wasowicz and delve deeper into the concepts introduced in the plenary session. Come and ask specific questions directly to the speaker about how to better incorporate the Science of Reading and the Language Literacy Network into your instruction.

Experience Dyslexia® Simulation 

IDA-RMB Board of Directors

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.

Structured Literacy Across the Tiers: Alignment that Makes Sense

Nora Wersich Schlesinger, Ph.D., CALT, W.D.P.

This session will define the Science of Reading (SoR) and acknowledge the importance of implementing practice that is based on research. The key components and principles of Structured Literacy (SL), grounded in the science of reading, will be examined. This session will also look at the impact of aligning Tier1 SL instructional practices with those in Tier 2, as well as provide guidance for intensifying instruction for the most challenged reader.

Using the History of English to Unlock the Mystery of Spelling

Cindy Kanuch, M. Ed., CALT, A/OGA, C-SLDI, Principal of Orton Academy, IDA-RMB Director; Holly Haycraft, CALT, IDA-RMB Director; Teri Parsons, CALT, IDA-RMB Secretary; Trisha Friesema, M.A.T, CALP

English spelling has been falsely accused of being highly unpredictable. In reality, English is about 96% predictable, with only about 4% of words that are truly irregular. This workshop will explore the lineage of Modern English from the prehistoric beginnings to the modern times. Using the history of the English language, participants will learn about some of the more obscure spelling patterns and expectations that will unlock the mystery of many common spelling stumbling blocks. This seminar will give participants the tools needed to empower students to use all the clues of etymology, morphology, and orthography to improve understanding of spelling.

Embedding Executive Function Skills in the Secondary Classroom

Sarah Richards, Level I Certified Wilson Reading System Instructor, Bright MINDS Program; Jessica Thurby, Learning Specialist and Level I Certified Wilson Reading System Instructor, Bright MINDS Program

Participants will learn the importance of, and how to embed, executive function (EF) skills in the secondary classroom. A brief overview of EF skills will be provided along with practical strategies to assist students in performing these skills in both the physical classroom and the digital classroom. 

Growth Mindset and Classroom Culture in Mathematics Classrooms

Juliana Tapper, M.Ed

“I’m just not a math person.” Does that sound familiar? Maybe you hear your students say that phrase, or maybe you’ve found yourself feeling that way about your own math skills? Specifically designed for special education math teachers, attend this session as we first explore a research article about applying growth mindset practices specifically to our mathematics classrooms. Next, participate in two classroom culture strategies that build trusting connections both amongst students and with the teacher to create an inclusive math classroom that is safe for students to take risks and make mistakes.

Multisensory Methods for Establishing the Alphabetic Principle in PreK-1

Tanya Peshovich, M.Ed.

What do phonemic awareness and letter knowledge have in common? They both contribute to the development of the alphabetic principle. Children’s reading development is dependent on their understanding of this important principle – the idea that letters and letter patterns represent the sounds of spoken language. It is this fundamental knowledge and integration of phonemes and graphemes that prepares children for both reading and spelling. Utilizing key findings from research, educators will build on this understanding and leave with practical tools aligned to structured literacy principles so that they can embed multisensory instruction of letter names, shapes, and sounds into their daily instruction.

How the Science of Reading Informs Writing Instruction

Laura Boak, M.Ed Educational Therapist

This presentation provides participants with an understanding of how the many years of research behind the Science of Reading should inform their current writing instruction. It starts with an overview of the cognitive neuroscience surrounding both reading and writing and dives into what research actually says about supporting these processes in the classroom, small group, and one-to-one literacy instruction. Participants will learn actionable strategies that they will be able to implement immediately to support writing at the sound, word, sentence, and paragraph levels for students in grades K-12. Participants will also leave with a research-based lesson planning framework they can use to seamlessly integrate effective writing instruction into their literacy lessons.

Lunch – 12:00 am to 12:45 pm 

Lunch for this year will be provided by Tokyo Joe’s and will accommodate those with meal requirements such as dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan. Make sure to reserve the appropriate option during registration. We will not have extras. You may decline the meal, or bring your own, but we will not issue partial refunds. The meal options are as follows:

  • Gluten Free/Dairy Free White Chicken Bowl: white rice, chicken, mixed veggies, teriyaki sauce, & a drink
  • Gluten Free/Dairy Free Tofu Bowl: white rice, tofu, mixed veggies, teriyaki sauce, & a drink

Please note that alcoholic beverages and other items with age restrictions are not permitted on campus.

We recommend that everyone brings a reusable water bottle to refill during the day at one of the various fill stations around campus.

First Afternoon Breakout Sessions

(Choose 1 of 6) – 12:45 to 1:55 pm

Teaching Reading Using a Speech-to-Print Approach: How to Leverage Oral Language for More Effective Outcomes

Jan Wasowicz PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL

What exactly is speech-to-print instruction, and why does it have a such a strong positive impact on learning to read, write, and spell? All students – and especially students who have or are at high-risk for reading and writing problems – can benefit from a speech-to-print approach to reading and writing. Whether you’re a classroom teacher, literacy coach, interventionist or other specialist, this session will empower you with a purposeful understanding of speech-to-print instruction and give you specific and practical ideas that have a powerful impact on students’ reading and writing. You’ll see how easy it is to make everyday teaching practices more effective by giving them a speech-to-print tweak. You’ll leave with useful ideas that you can immediately put into action to quickly observe positive changes in your students’ learning.

Morphology Instruction and its Impact on Student Performance

Selena Roth, M. Ed., IDA-RMB Director

English is a morpho-phonemic language, and skilled reading is a complex process involving many subs-kills, including an awareness of the morphological structure of language. Morphological awareness is the ability to understand how words are broken into meaningful units (e.g., affixes, root words). Explicit and systematic teaching of morphological concepts helps struggling readers with reading, particularly those in upper elementary, middle, and secondary grades. To teach morphological concepts and their relation to reading, teachers need to have both awareness and knowledge of morphology. However, regardless of the type of certification (general vs. special education) or grade level (elementary vs. secondary), teachers have difficulty identifying morphemes in both simple and complex words. Suggestions for what and how teacher educators can integrate the teaching of morphological concepts into teacher preparation contexts are provided.

Making Middle and High School Math Multisensory

Kristen DeBeer, Multisensory Math Tutor

Students with language-based learning difficulties often struggle with math at the secondary level, whether because they lack fact fluency or other basic skills which they didn’t master in elementary grades, or because the secondary concepts are not being taught using explicit language and multisensory methods. Foundational math concepts such as fractions are critical for algebra, but many students enter middle school without necessary numeracy skills to build upon. This session will address the reasons students struggle at the secondary level, and give parents and teachers a demonstration of multisensory strategies to help students understand foundational concepts and make them stick. Topics from pre-algebra to geometry will be covered.

Early Literacy: Purposeful & Engaging Activities That You Can Start Tomorrow – Session is Full

Kelly Haase, Reading/Data Coach and Reading Interventionist; Brenda Butler, Kindergarten Teacher; Leslie Kesson, Reading Interventionist/Tutor 

Participants will experience a variety of hands-on activities and games that can be incorporated into purposeful early literacy instruction. We will highlight phonological/phonemic awareness and phonics activities that will ultimately support language development, as well as future reading & spelling abilities in any setting. 

Trail to Summit: Word Reading Instructional Framework

Laura Lay, Senior Literacy Consultant, Colorado Department of Education

This presentation will walk through the Trail to Summit program and how it can be used by parents, schools, and organizations. Trail to Summit Reading is an instructional framework provided by the Colorado Department of Education to help readers who struggle with accurate and automatic word reading. Studies indicate when students fall behind in beginning reading, they rarely catch up on their own – but we change that by using a highly structured program that focuses on critical word recognition skills. Trail to Summit can be used as a tutoring program or across Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III settings to complement existing programming or to bolster or enhance existing programming.

How to Support Struggling Readers and Students with Dyslexia in the Classroom

Todd C. Ognibene, Ph.D., NCSP, Psychologist and Bright MINDS Program Coordinator; Andrea Arguello, Assistant Principal and Bright MINDS Program Administrator

Participants will learn practical classroom instructional strategies to improve vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, and motivation for reading among struggling readers and those with dyslexia. They will also learn common classroom accommodations to help struggling readers across academic content domains. 

Break – Visit Bookstore & Sponsor Tables – 1:55 to 2:15 pm

Second Afternoon Breakout Sessions

(Choose 1 of 8) – 2:15 to 3:25 pm

Promoting Inclusion & Equitable Literacy Instruction for Individuals with Dyslexia

Nora Wersich Schlesinger, Ph.D., CALT, W.D.P.

This presentation will define dyslexia, discuss the manifestations of dyslexia and the lifelong challenges individuals with dyslexia face. The science behind literacy acquisition and instruction will be presented to help participants better understand equitable and inclusive literacy instruction for individuals with dyslexia. The five critical components of reading will be discussed. Participants will learn “why” systematic and explicit instruction in these reading components are essential for equitable and inclusive literacy instruction for individuals with dyslexia. The negative impact of dyslexia on individuals, families and society will be discussed. The connection between social justice and literacy as a civil right will be presented. A dialogue about access to equitable and inclusive literacy instruction using relevant literature and access to meaningful text with morphological and phonological consistency will be shared.

Using Narratives as a Bridge to Informational Text

Carolee Dean, M.S., CCC-SLP, CALT; Jolene Gutiérrez, MLS; Beth Anderson, M. Ed.

Emergent readers, struggling readers, and second language learners need the type of meaningful, real-world content found in accessible, comprehensible, informational text. Unfortunately, many students struggle with making the leap from stories to nonfiction. Three children’s authors who are also experienced educators will discuss strategies for using narrative children’s literature as a bridge to both understanding and writing informational text. Narrative nonfiction follows the text structure of a story, but often has many of the key features found in informational text including indexes, word definitions, pronunciation guides, sidebars, timelines, graphs, charts, and more. Exploring these features helps students understand both the similarities and differences between various types of texts. The panel will discuss tips and activities for identifying and working with the different types of informational text including: Description, Chronological Sequence, Compare and Contrast, Problem and Solution, and Cause and Effect. Signal words common for each type will also be discussed. Examples will be shared of these text types occurring within narratives as well as within expository text. Strategies for scaffolding the writing process with mentor sentences, graphic organizers, and visual images will be explored as tools to decrease stress to promote learning and lower the Affective Filter for ELLs as well as students with dyslexia. Participants will leave with useful tips, book lists, specific strategies, and graphic organizers to structure written work. 

Improving Reading Fluency

Mary Yarus, M.Ed., CALT, SLDS, Dyslexia Specialist

Reading fluently requires more than reading as fast as you can. One must also read with accuracy and prosody. This presentation will provide information from researchers on what reading fluency entails and how to improve students’ reading fluency. There will also be hands-on practice with a reading passage and activities.

Best Practices for Teaching High Frequency Words

Carrie Cole, M Ed.

The memorization of a large number of high-frequency words (often called “sight words”) is an instructional approach that is often used in many early reading programs. This session will discuss the latest research on high-frequency word learning from Dr. Katie Pace Miles and Dr. Linnea Ehri, with specific connections to orthographic mapping. The differences between sight words, high-frequency words, and irregular words will be addressed, as well as considerations for aligning the introduction of high-frequency words to a systematic phonics scope and sequence. Educators will walk away with new knowledge and interactive instructional routines based aligned to structured literacy principles that they can immediately implement into their classrooms, bolstering student mastery of high-frequency words through the orthographic mapping process.

Secondary Special Ed Mathematics: Moving Beyond Facts & Fluency

Juliana Tapper, M.Ed.

If we desire secondary special education math teachers to move beyond facts and fluency, we need to provide support for teachers to grow in their confidence of the mathematics they teach as well as strategies to teach mathematics in engaging ways to struggling math learners. In this session we will dive deep into a secondary math content progression and experience collaborative activity structures that provide differentiation and engagement for ALL students. You’ll walk away from this session with a better understanding of what secondary special education math teachers want and need in their professional development along with ready to use classroom activities designed to raise student engagement. Teachers, admin, and directors are sure to find value here!

Interdisciplinary Approach to Addressing Phonological Processing Deficits

Robert Frantum-Allen, Consultant

Phonology is the study of the speech sounds of a language. Multiple disciplines address phonology and deficits in phonological awareness. In this session, we will explore with hands-on activities instructional strategies inspired from the fields of speech language pathology, Deaf education, Audiology, Bilingual Education and Dyslexia studies.  Using a Universal Design for Learning approach, participants will add additional tools to their tool belt to better problem solve and address phonological processing concerns. 

Morphology Make-and-Take Session

Rachel Arnold, Dyslexia Specialist, District Literacy Coordinator for La Veta School District, IDA-RMB President-Elect; Selena Roth, M. Ed., IDA-RMB Director

Why are morphological skills important to literacy? Learning about the meaningful relationships between words, including how they sound, affixes are spelled, and their morphological structure, contributes to vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension. Join us in making fun games while learning multi-grade, cross-discipline strategies for your classrooms!

Dyslexia and ADHD – The Facts, The Experience and the Impact

Kayden Forsha & Ryan Pool, TEDx Youth presenters; Elenn Steinberg, International presenter; et al.

Join this team of experts as they share the facts about dyslexia and ADHD. Learn the science and research – as well as a brief impactful simulation. In addition, they will share their compelling stories of how to turn challenge into opportunity. They will address sensitive subjects like how they use failure to grow to success. How to self-advocate and self-motivate and inspire teachers and peers. This informative and inspirational talk sheds light on subjects that can seem daunting, but essential to the success of our students who struggle to gain literacy skills or have dyslexia. Additionally, they demonstrate the gifts ADHD, of having so much energy it can be daunting and how to focus that energy to success. This fast-moving inspiring talk by young people who live it every day may change the way you view your students and children and inspire new tools and techniques to supporting students with dyslexia and ADHD moving forward. 

Scan the Code Before You Leave

3:25 to 3:30 pm

Scan the code with your phone and access our Conference Survey. You can download your Certificate of Attendance from the completion screen!


We are looking forward to a fantastic 2023 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


RMBIDA logo - no white