Don't Delay -- Registration Closes February 28th!
Registration is Now Open!
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In partnership with The Reading League – Missouri chapter, and our event sponsor, 95 Percent Group, we extend a warm welcome to all participants—whether you’re embarking on your journey with the Science of Reading, are a seasoned professional, or are looking to build connections in your state. This event is an opportunity to share knowledge and inspire change that will positively impact our students’ reading skills and the use of evidence-aligned instruction.

This event includes two keynote speakers, Laura Stewart (Big Literacy Questions, Bold Leadership Moves) and Antonio Fierro (Supporting Emergent Bilinguals).  Participants will also have the opportunity to participate in two break out sessions with topics including phonological awareness and phonics, comprehension, handwriting, spelling, morphology, dyslexia, and developmental language disorder.

This day of learning will build knowledge of evidence-aligned reading instruction and your presence will enrich the collective experience. At the same time, our event will be organic and inclusive, with opportunities to participate in discussions and build relationships with others in the region and to continue to connect when the event ends.

We look forward to empowering teachers with the science of reading alongside you.

Conference Information

Date: March 25, 2024

Time: 8:00AM – 4:00PM

Registration Cost: $75.00 per Person

Kauffman Foundation Conference Center

4801 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110

Registration Includes:

Keynote & Breakout Sessions

Networking Opportunities

Q&A with Literacy Leaders

Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks

Conference Schedule

8:00-8:45   Registration & Breakfast

8:45-9:00   Welcome & Introductions

9:00-10:30  Keynote – Laura Stewart

10:45-11:30  Breakout Session #1

11:30-12:30  Lunch

12:30-2:00  Keynote – Antonio Fierro

2:15-3:00   Breakout Session #2

3:15-4:00   Reflections & Closing

Keynote Speakers

Laura Stewart

Chief Academic Officer, 95 Percent Group

Laura Stewart is an educator and organizational leader.  She has served as a teacher, administrator, adjunct professor, and director of numerous professional development initiatives around the country.  Before joining 95 Percent Group as their Chief Academic Officer, Laura was the Chief Innovation Officer with The Reading League and the Chief Academic Officer for Professional Development at Highlights for Children.  She presents nationally and internationally, and is a published author.

Laura’s passion is empowering educators to positively impact ALL students and ultimately change the course of literacy achievement in this country.

Dr. Antonio Fierro

Vice President of Professional Learning and Academics, 95 Percent Group

Bio Coming Soon!

Breakout Sessions

Dr. Shelley Blackwell, MTSS Literacy Support Specialist, Olathe Public Schools

Building Linguistic Bridges: Morphology’s Contribution to Word Knowledge

Morphology is the unsung hero of literacy and an integral part of developing literacy and language.    This presentation will showcase the roles of morphology across literacy as well as practical ways that educators can integrate morphology instruction into their daily lessons.  Additionally, a resource will be shared with attendees that they can take and use immediately in their classrooms.

Gabi Guillory Welsh, Director of Therapeutic Language & Literacy, Horizon Academy

The Handwriting and Literacy Connection

Session attendees will learn how handwriting is connected with literacy, and that even in the digital age, handwriting is shown to be critical for literacy and learning. Explicit instruction and practice in handwriting is relevant for students at any age.

Maggie Block, Speech & Language Pathologist, Owner of Metro East Therapy

The Critical Relationship Between Oral Language Skills and Learning to Read

It is estimated that roughly half of children with dyslexia may also meet the criteria for a developmental language disorder (DLD) (Adolf, S.M. & Hogan, T.P., 2018). Research has also found that the prevalence of DLD is as common as both ADHD and autism combined, however, it is estimated that only 18% of children are identified and receive treatment (Christopulos, T. & Kean, J., 2020). Children with unidentified, and subsequently untreated DLD, are at a cumulative risk for academic and social difficulties. This presentation aims to build participants’ knowledge of how oral language skills predict reading outcomes, and how by embedding instructional support to develop these skills may provide the “missing ingredient” for many children with reading deficits.

Shelly Todd, MTSS Literacy Support Specialist, Olathe Public Schools

April Schoenberg, MTSS Literacy Support Specialist, Olathe Public Schools

Fluency: The Bridge to Comprehension

We hope to define and present the research to support the need for fluency instruction in secondary buildings and the way in which it builds comprehension. We will share our own data from piloting and then implementing fluency intervention in our district’s secondary buildings. Finally, we will present three effective strategies in building comprehension: repeated reading, phrase cueing and emphasizing words from Rasinski.

Dr. Shelley Blackwell, MTSS Literacy Support Specialist, Olathe Public Schools

Making Spelling Errors Make Sense

Skilled reading & writing draws on an underlying foundation of word knowledge.  Learning to crack the code of reading and spelling does not come naturally. This presentation will offer clarity and insight into the evidence behind effective spelling instruction, explain how the layers of language work together to boost spelling efficiency for students, and how to analyze spelling errors to direct instruction.

Dr. Laurie Curtis, KSDE Structured Literacy/Dyslexia Coordinator

Details Coming Soon!

Carla Chavez, Literacy Consultant, Path to Literacy, LLC

The Forgotten Parts of Structured Literacy

Structured Literacy is not just about phonics as is one of the biggest misconceptions.  While it is a huge component, the Simple View of Reading proposes that reading comprehension is the product of decoding and linguistic comprehension.  We need both to be skilled readers. 

This session will discuss the ability to derive meaning from words, sentences, and texts.  We will learn strategies for educators to use with readers in vocabulary, knowledge building, sentence structure and inference making so that we are instructed in all parts of structured literacy.

Dr. Elizabeth Stevens, Assistant Professor in the Special Education Department at the University of Kansas

Teaching Word Reading Aligned to the Science of Reading

The purpose of this presentation is to assist teachers with understanding and implementing evidence-based word-reading instruction for students with word reading difficulties, including students with dyslexia.  

Emily Treadwell, Director of the Learning Center at Central Christian School

Self-Regulated Strategy Development in Writing: an introduction to an
evidence-based approach

Attendees will learn the cycle of self-regulated strategy development in writing. They will leave with a model of how to break down components of writing and deliver instruction using an explicit, gradual release approach within a process writing framework. Additionally, they will leave understanding that implementing SRSD is a do-able frame with component parts they are already familiar with and using these parts in a strategic way will allow them to more easily grow independence in their writers.