Workshops and Events for Educators

 2019-2020 Dyslexia Success Series

Building Strong Foundations: K-1 Literacy Screening, Instruction, and Intervention


This Dyslexia Success Series will focus on identifying and instructing students in kindergarten and first grade who are at risk for or demonstrate characteristics of dyslexia. These sessions are integrated, with knowledge and skills building from the first workshop in September to the last one in February.

These workshops are geared toward education professionals such as core reading teachers, RTI interventionists, special educators, school psychologists, speech-language pathologists, coaches and administrators. Certificates of attendance will be given to support professional development credit. Parents are also welcome to attend.

All workshops will be held from 9:30 am – 12:30 pm on campus at MTSU. Light refreshments and water will be available.


Event MapEvent Flyer


Screening for Reading Difficulties in the Early Grades

Erin Alexander, Ed.S., NCSP, CALP
Emily Farris, Ph.D.

September 7, 2019 

Screening kindergarten and first grade students for potential reading difficulties allows for early intervention and an increased likelihood of better learning outcomes over time. This ensures that all students have the foundational skills needed to support their literacy development. Attendees will:

  • Understand the purpose of screening kindergarten and first grade students
  • Learn which early reading and reading-related skills are developmentally appropriate to screen in these grades
  • Discover which skills are most predictive of later reading success and of potential reading disabilities such as dyslexia

Using Assessment Data to Identify Needs and Plan for Instruction

Erin Alexander, Ed.S., NCSP, CALP
Emily Farris, Ph.D.

October 5, 2019 

Screening not only indicates which children need intervention, it also supports data-based decisions for instruction. This practice should be considered  a necessary next step in the screening process in order to plan appropriate, targeted instruction.  Attendees will:

  • Understand what types of data can be gleaned from measures used to predict later reading success and potential risks for reading disabilities (such as dyslexia)
  • Explore the patterns of errors that a student makes so that specific areas of weakness can be identified
  • Use error patterns to set instructional targets for kindergarten and first grade students

The Sounds of Language: Phonological Awareness Instruction

Melinda Hirschmann, Ed.D., CALP

November 2, 2019

Phonological awareness is critical for learning to read and spell in our alphabetic written language system. Direct instruction in phonological awareness in pre-K through first grades provides substantial benefits for reading and spelling. Many struggling readers have a phonological processing weakness. Attendees will:

  • Understand the role of phonological processing in reading and spelling development
  • Recognize the developmentally-appropriate skills progression for phonological and phonemic awareness
  • Explore strategies to develop phonological and phonemic awareness with K-1 students

The Symbols of Written Language: Letter Knowledge Instruction

Melinda Hirschmann, Ed.D., CALP

December 7, 2019 

Combining phonological awareness instruction with letter knowledge promotes proficiency with early decoding and spelling. Students need to become both accurate and automatic with letter naming and letter writing in support of their literacy development. Attendees will:

  • Understand the role of letter knowledge in literacy development
  • Recognize the value of integrating direct, explicit handwriting instruction in the elementary grades
  • Explore instructional strategies to support students in naming and forming alphabet letters

Sound-Symbol Correspondence: Beginning Phonics Instruction

Melinda Hirschmann, Ed.D., CALP

January 25, 2020 

Students who have developed phonological awareness and letter knowledge have the foundations needed for understanding the alphabetic principle. This is the bridge to beginning phonics instruction. Attendees will:

  • Recognize research-based instructional sequences and methods for teaching letter-sound correspondences
  • Explore strategies for blending letter-sounds for reading and segmenting letter-sounds for spelling
  • Understand the role of decodable text for practicing learned skills

Vocabulary and Comprehension Instruction in the Early Grades

Jennifer Flipse, Ph.D., CALP

February 22, 2020

Comprehension is the goal of reading. Vocabulary and background knowledge support comprehension. At-risk students often need direct instruction to support growth in vocabulary and comprehension skills. Attendees will:

  • Understand the development of oral language and vocabulary knowledge
  • Maximize direct vocabulary and comprehension instruction in the K-1 classroom
  • Explore strategies for creating a classroom rich in oral language