Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Hands-on Approach for Struggling Readers

Today I presented at the Council for Exceptional Children conference in National Harbor, Maryland (right outside of Washington, D.C.). The presentation went well, even though it was the last presentation of the day.  In fact, it was so well-attended that I ran out of handouts!

Receiving the Practitioner Presentation Award at the Business Meeting

The presentation was entitled, "A Hands-on Approach for Struggling Readers." It won the Practitioner Presentation Award for the Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities (DADD).

The objectives of the presentation were as follows:                    
--Establish rationale for using decoding and encoding strategies to improve literacy.
--Share a framework of specific decoding and encoding strategies for application.
--Present classroom activities that can be used to reinforce these learned strategies.
--Provide take-home application to be used in your classrooms.

Attendees demonstrating "Act a Word"
The presentation required audience participation. I was pleased by how willing and eager the attendees were to participate. They did great! :) 

After the presentation, I was pleased to have met a new colleague from Staff Development for Educators (SDE). Perhaps there will be opportunities to share this presentation, or similar ones, at professional development conferences in the future. Stay tuned!

The handout can be accessed here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Free Online Resource for Developing Oral Proficiency in Adult English Language Learners

I was just introduced to a free online professional development resource for developing oral language proficiency in adults learning English. It's a self-paced module entitled, "Developing Oral Proficiency of Adults Learning English" published by the Center for Applied Linguistics. It can be accessed at or by clicking here. The module provides step-by-step information via informational texts, self-assessments, videos, instructional activities, and other resources.

Because research supports the role of oral language development as a precursor to reading and developing literacy, I see this resource as a great tool for not only teachers who teach listening/speaking classes, but also those who provide reading and literacy instruction. (See my blog post entitled, "The Connection Between Oral Language and Literacy".)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Free Virtual Seminars at

I recently learned that has a series of virtual seminars that are free for TESOL members. You can register here, and more information can be accessed here. Topics include the following:

Teaching Large Heterogeneous Classes in ELT Contexts Worldwide
    with Penny Ur    May 5, 2011, 10:00 am–11:30 am ET
Effective Strategies for Collaboration Between ESL/ELP and K–12 Classroom Teachers
    with Margarita Calderón  June 2, 2011, 3:30 pm–5:00 pm ET
Tech Tools for Busy Teachers
    with Deborah Healey and Robert Elliott   May 26, 2011,10:30 am–12:00 pm ET
Developing Effective Family Literacy Programs That Serve the Needs of ELLs of All Ages
    with Catherine Porter and Laura Bercovitz   June 9, 2011, 3:30 pm–5:00 pm ET 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why Phonics for ELLs Webinar Links

I would like to thank all of those who attended my webinar yesterday about teaching phonics to English Language Learners (ELLs). If you missed it and you're interested in the power point presentation slides and/or viewing the recorded session, you can access them here.

One of the attendees at the end of the presentation inquired about ideas for specific phonics strategies they could teach in their classroom. I recommended visiting the Online Workshop link available on the Reading Horizons website. You'll notice that the link to this free resource is included on the above link as well, in case others are also interested in practical ideas for teaching phonics strategies.

In response to another attendee's question, I mentioned a free online pronunciation tool that can be accessed here.

I thought I would share one attendee's reactions to the webinar:

I watched the Webinar this morning and found it very interesting.  It supported my belief system completely toward the subject of phonics.  I am 70 years old and this is year 43 for teaching in schools.   My age group was not taught phonics when we were in lower grades of school, and I am the world's worst speller.  We were taught to read by sight words. So I am a victim of one not learning phonics, and I know for a fact how important new reading techniques are for our children and now my grandchildren. Thanks very much. 

Did you learn anything new from the information presented? Was there something in particular that stood out to you? Your comments are welcome!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Free ESL Webinar - Why Phonics for ELLs?

Now that I'm back in town for awhile, I was asked by Reading Horizons to conduct a free ESL webinar on April 13th at 11:00am MST. I've chosen to talk about why phonics is relevant for English Language Learners (ELLs). Specifically, I will address the relevancy of teaching phonics to ELLs, specific English language skills that ELLs gain, and reasons for teaching phonics to ELLs of various levels. Since this topic addresses one of the objectives of my blog, I thought I would mention it here in this blog post.

If this is something of interest, you can register for the webinar here.

Also, for a list of other informative webinars, click here.

(In case you missed it, download the webinar here.)