IDA’s Annual International Conference is the premier professional development conference dedicated to dyslexia. The conference brings in experts from all over the world to educate attendees on the latest research, remediation, and more. The Reading, Literacy & Learning Conference is held for both professionals and families and is attended by some 2,500 teachers, educators, and administrators, reading specialists, researchers, university faculty, psychologists, physicians, tutors, and parents.
This symposium introduces the key features of structured literacy, with examples of structured literacy approaches for phonemic awareness and word reading, spelling, and written expression. For each of these domains, core features of SL are emphasized and contrasted with non-SL approaches to instruction. Other symposium prese ntations highlight assessment techniques that are especially valuable in the context of SL approaches, as well as issues in preparing teachers to implement SL.
The symposium chair previews the structure and topics of the symposium. She introduces each group of presenters and their topics. She also summarizes the broad goals of the symposium, for audience members to gain a clearer understanding of the characteristics of SL teaching in different domains of literacy; differences between SL and other approaches to literacy instruction; and reasons why SL benefits struggling students, including those with dyslexia.
Structured Literacy Approaches for Phonemic Awareness and Word Reading
Stephanie Al Otaiba
Dr. Al Otaiba and her co-presenters begin with a focus on phonemic awareness skills, and the precursor phonological sensitivity, starting with awareness of the first sound in a word, and then incorporating the alphabetic principle and word study. They describe criteria for evidence-based programs, with web-based resources to support the implementation of explicit and systematic instruction, and with examples of motivating games for practice and teaching transfer within intensive interventions.
Structured Literacy Approaches for Spelling
Dr. Moats describes SL approaches to teaching spelling, beginning with the spelling of simple one-syllable words and proceeding through multisyllabic words. She emphasizes the idea that good spelling in English depends on multiple kinds of language knowledge (e.g., phonology, orthography, semantics, morpho-syntax). She also explains the value of alphabetic and linguistic knowledge for spelling unpredictable or “irregular” words.
Structured Literacy Approaches to Teaching Written Expression
Charles W. Haynes
Dr. Haynes and his co-presenters detail SL techniques for written expression, starting with word-level strategies. The presenters then provide a carefully structured sequence of activities at different levels (e.g., sentence-level, micro-discourse, and paragraph-level instructional strategies). It includes many effective visuals and practical ideas for teachers in improving the written expression of students with writing disabilities.
Assessment to Inform Structured Literacy Teaching
This presenter discusses the role of assessment in implementation of SL instruction. She emphasizes assessment techniques such as error analysis that can help educators better target instruction in the context of these approaches, including examples of specific student data and their implications for instruction. The presenter also explains why poor performance on broad measures of reading comprehension should be regarded primarily as a “flag” for further assessment.
Preparing Teachers to Implement Structured Literacy
This presentation summarizes some of the challenges in preparing teachers to implement SL approaches. These challenges include failure to set priorities in teacher education, limited knowledge of SL in many teacher educators, and lack of adherence to standards that are useful for implementing SL. It concludes with some possible ways to address these challenges, including the value of the IDA Knowledge & Practice Standards and the IDA accreditation process.
(Part 2 – afternoon)
Lessons Learned Implementing Structured Literacy
Implementing Structured literacy requires a coordinated, systemic approach. In this symposium, leaders representing state departments, district administrators, and classroom teachers candidly discuss their challenges and attempts to address those challenges. When Structured literacy is implemented well, with strong systemic support, teacher efficacy and student achievement increase.
Implementation of SL requires coordinated support from all levels of the education system. This symposium focuses on the roles played by the state department, school districts, a teacher, and teacher educators. The speakers were selected based on their extensive experiences implementing evidence-based reading curricula in classrooms. The symposium begins with an overview of structured literacy. The remainder of the symposium is focused on sharing experiences and lessons learned by a state department official, an administrator of a large urban district, a classroom teacher, and teacher educators. A panel fielding questions and providing answers concludes the symposium. Participants are encouraged to be actively involved, participating in the dialogue and sharing their personal experiences.
Lessons Learned: Advocating for Legislation
Margie B. Gillis
Increasing numbers of states are passing legislation related to dyslexia and many of those states mention structured literacy in their bills. Representatives from two of those states describe the work that they’re doing to ensure that these policies are implemented in the best interest of the students they serve.
Lessons Learned: Districts’ Implementation of Structured Literacy Instruction
Louise Spear-Swerling & Carrie Thomas-Beck
This session describes the process of developing a model of professional learning for structured literacy Instruction for administrators and teachers and the “Readiness to Benefit Factor.” The importance of the roll-out and getting buy-in from all is discussed. Barriers to making systemic changes in a district are highlighted. Finally, the evidence of the impact of successful implementation of structured literacy Instruction is shared.
Louise Spear-Swerling, Martha Hougen, Stephanie Al Otaiba, Louisa Moats, Charles W. Haynes, Melissa Farrall, Margie B. Gillis, Regina Boulware-Gooden, and Carrie Thomas Beck have no relevant financial or nonfinancial relationships to disclose.Speaker(s):
This full-day symposium focuses on new findings related to the language basis of reading and the neurodiversity of dyslexia with application for classification of poor readers and improving comprehension and writing. The symposium is the 1st annual pre-conference symposium to honor Sylvia Richardson. Time will be spent at the beginning of the symposium to pay tribute to her extensive contributions to research and practice in dyslexia.
Tiffany Hogan, Hugh Catts, Charles W. Haynes, Leslie Laud, and Susan Lambrecht Smith have no relevant financial or nonfinancial relationships to disclose.Speaker(s):
Dr. Sherman’s vision, leadership, scholarship, and humanity have touched countless lives. This annual symposium has been established in his name in recognition of that impact and to honor his unique and transdisciplinary contributions to neuroscience, education, and the International Dyslexia Association. The symposium’s aim is to provide a platform for interdisciplinary presentations and dialogue that advance future collaboration, leadership, and innovation at the nexus of research, practice, and policy.
Dr. Sherman is known for seminal research establishing dyslexia’s brain basis, visionary leadership as IDA’s president, coining cerebrodiversity, and championing the needs and abilities in those with dyslexia. He’s also known for engaging presentations spanning the research-practice chasm and for translating findings into inspiring messages for parents and educators. In keeping with these themes, this session presents cutting-edge research and bidirectional neuroscience-education collaborations that improve the teaching-learning landscape for students with dyslexia.
Neuroscience and Education: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
Rapid progress in understanding the genetic, neurobiological, and cognitive bases of reading problems coupled with new paradigms in support of brain-based learning and remediation has paved the way for the emerging field of educational neuroscience. To realize its promise, we need to develop novel, respectful, and innovative bidirectional partnerships between researchers and practitioners (something Gordon Sherman exemplifies better than most). We consider the current state of this process and what’s most needed right now to realize the promise and achieve practical outcomes.
The Promise of In-School Neuroscience: An Initial Report on Two Collaboratives
Despite advances in our understanding of the neural basis of reading and treatment response, there remain missing links between educational neuroscience research and practice. For example, this research is often conducted using large and expensive equipment, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which presents barriers for expanding this work to classroom-based research and for long-term longitudinal tracking. In this talk, initial findings are presented from a study that utilizes in-school EEG data collection to track children over longer periods to identify individual treatment-response profiles.
The Virtuous Cycle Between Education and Neuroscience: Neural Plasticity in Children With Dyslexia
Research on individual differences in learning has led to the development of intervention programs to improve reading skills in young, struggling readers. However, a concern that remains is the extent to which short-term intervention programs are capable of changing the developmental trajectory of the brain’s reading circuitry. Participants learn about new findings that underscore the brain’s impressive capacity for plasticity when children are provided with reading instruction that is tailored to their needs.
Ken Pugh, Nicole Landi, Jason Yeatman, Jay G. Rueckl, and Mark S. Seidenberg have no relevant financial or nonfinancial relationships to disclose.Speaker(s):
We all know that dyslexic minds process information differently. Their holistic, highly creative, lateral thinking has created some of the world's greatest art, literature, inventions, and businesses. Yet dyslexia is still perceived as a disadvantage. We want to change this perception. We want the world to respect dyslexia and realize the value that dyslexic minds add to companies, schools, teams, and life. We aspire for individuals with dyslexia to embrace their unique abilities and find strength in their differences.
Come listen to this remarkable group of dyslexic individuals who have become leaders in their chosen profession. These out-of-the-box thinkers have overcome the challenges of dyslexia and have excelled beyond their own and others’ expectations. They are a CEO, an artist, a UX/UI designer, a poet, and two youth champions.
These six professionals share their personal experience of growing up with dyslexia. They will speak about their experience in school and in the workplace, how they managed their challenges, how they leveraged their gifts, and their advice for unleashing ‘the secret sauce of dyslexia’ to succeed in life. They will provide advice to teachers, parents and employers on how to enable dyslexic individuals to find their gifts and empower their advocacy.
Whether you are dyslexic or care for someone who is, we know you will be inspired and uplifted by their stories. You are not alone.
Jane Cooper, Jared Blank, Pete Denman, Sat Singh, Eric McGehearty, Natalie Tamburello, Madalyne Clark, and LeDerick R. Horne have no relevant financial or nonfinancial relationships to disclose.Speaker(s):
In this symposium, we present an introduction to new ideas about intervention. We present data showing that novel intervention approaches based on (a) reading theory from psychological and cognitive science, (b) information about individual difference from neuropsychological profiles, and (c) information from studies of the neurobiology of reading. The goal is to help researchers, educators, families, and policymakers achieve a shared understanding about potential new ways to support students with dyslexia.
Fumiko Hoeft is an IDA national board member-at-large and will discuss the development of a screening tool that involves a colaboration with a non-profit organization, Curious Learning. Fumiko Hoeft, Roeland Hancock ,Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus and Bob Cunningham have no relevant financial relationship to disclose.Speaker(s):
During this symposium three presenters will report on evidence-based reading and writing practices that will be useful to practitioners and families. The text structure strategy is an evidence-based intervention proven successful in improving reading comprehension with all children in grades 4 through 9. Two presentations will focus on reading narrative and expository texts and the third presentation will focus on writing assessments and interventions.
Kausalai Wijekumar, Gary Troia, and Andrea L. Beerwinkle have no relevant financial or nonfinancial relationships to disclose.Speaker(s):
Identification: Opening General Session
IDA celebrates its 70th Annual Conference with the opening general session, “Paving the Way to the Future.” This session begins with an inspirational performance by Lida Winfield depicting her journey with dyslexia. A panel representing individuals with dyslexia, educators, administrators, designers, researchers, journalists, and advocates will be led by the moderator, Dr. Tracy Weeden of the Neuhaus Education Center. Panelists include Emily Hanford, award-winning APM journalist; John Hoke, Nike Chief Design Officer; Dr. Cena Holifield, Associate Professor at William Carey University and Executive Director of Dynamic Design/3D School; Dr. Carrie Thomas Beck, Dyslexia Specialist, Oregon State Department of Education; and Dr. Julie Washington, researcher and professor at Georgia State University.
Join us for a candid conversation to learn how each of these individuals is paving the way to a better future for individuals with dyslexia and related disorders.Speaker(s):
Identification: Orton Memorial Lecture
The study of reading and dyslexia has been one of the major successes in modern cognition. Although many questions remain, there is broad agreement about basic facts (e.g., that dyslexia is a developmental condition that affects learning to read; that it mainly manifests in difficulties in linking spoken and written language; that it has genetic and neurobiological bases; that individual outcomes are determined by interactions among multiple risk factors that vary in severity, etc.). This view is not shared by other stakeholders, however. Dyslexia remains the “d-word” in education. Teachers lack the relevant background because it is not part of their training. They are more likely to be taught that the condition doesn’t exist, that it is just an excuse for poor teaching, and that any child can learn to read with sufficient effort. Books, articles, and websites that attempt to communicate research findings have little impact because they don’t reach the audience of disbelievers. Educators impede legislative attempts to address dyslexia and teacher preparation. Many dyslexics embrace the view that dyslexia is a “gift,” which is a way to blame dyslexics who fail to become Silicon valley billionaires or famous actors. This situation is harmful to dyslexics and to other people who struggle to read. What else can be done, by researchers and by organizations such as the IDA? I’ll advance several possibilities and challenges.
Mark Seidenberg has no relevant financial or nonfinancial relationships to disclose.Speaker(s):
This symposium, led by the National Center on Improving Literacy (NCIL), will provide educational professionals with practical recommendations on how to implement evidence-based screening and intervention practices for students with dyslexia. It will review recent trends in dyslexia legislation, the characteristics of effective screening practices, classroom intervention strategies, and home-school collaboration ideas. Throughout the presentation, attendees will learn about free evidence-based tools and resources available on NCIL’s website.
Hank Fien, Jessica Turtura, Brian Gearin , Yaacov Petscher, Nancy Nelson, and Scott Baker have no relevant financial or nonfinancial relationships to disclose.Speaker(s):
This symposium will address research and policy issues in the assessment of and intervention for English Language Learners (ELL). Assessing learning disabilities such as dyslexia and language impairment in ELL children and youth has been controversial and challenging. Suggestions for culturally and linguistically appropriate assessment will be provided. We will present evidence of effective interventions, based on structured literacy principles, for helping ELL students, whether dyslexic or typically achieving, acquire basic literacy skills.
Linda Siegel, Esther Geva and Elsa Cardenas Hagan have no relevant financial or nonfinancial relationship to disclose.Speaker(s):