Discourse, Language and Reaching Struggling Readers
All teachers want to improve the academic performance of their most struggling learners, particularly in reading. In spite of all the changes in reading programs and approaches, lower levels of achievement by populations such as low-income students and English learners have not changed much. One key to success in reading and all academic performance, especially in this era of the Common Core, is a student’s overall level of language skill—vocabulary, grammar and discourse (the 3 levels of academic language in the WIDA framework). Perhaps the least understood of these levels is the discourse level; that is, the level that someone is independently able to structure their language in speech and in writing. Yet, discourse level skill is directly connected to reading comprehension and writing skill.
This unique training focuses on the discourse level of language, and is designed to clarify the following issues for educators and administrators in grades preK-5:
- the concrete connection of oral language to literacy skills
- the developmental stages of personal narrative
- the close connection of the developmental stages of narrative and text structures
- a concrete tool to help students develop increasing skill with personal narrative, the Story Grammar Marker®
- questioning practices that help students develop stronger narrative skills
- other cohesive devices that bind academic text
Participants will walk away with a new appreciation of oral language development, an understanding of the importance of systematically helping students develop narrative skills, and concrete ideas and tools for making this happen.
Presenters are Ken Pransky and Maryellen Rooney Moreau.
Ken Pransky has been a teacher and teacher educator for 35 years in the US and abroad, teaching, coaching, and training, specializing in helping teachers work with struggling learners, including English learners. He has taught in Iran, Spain, and Mexico, served as a program director in Japan, and serves regularly as a teacher trainer for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, as well as a trainer and coach in districts across the state. Participants applaud his workshops as “clear, concise, and useful,” and praise Ken’s ability to connect with teachers. He has been a keynote speaker and presenter at regional, national and international conferences. Ken is the author of My Fantastic Words Book: Young Student Thesaurus, Beneath the Surface: The Hidden Realities of Working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Young Learners (K-6), and Memory at Work in the Classroom: Strategies to Help Underachieving Students,coauthored with Dr. Francis Bailey.
Maryellen Rooney Moreau, M.Ed. CCC-SLP is the founder and president of MindWing Concepts. Her forty-year professional career includes: school-based SLP, college professor, diagnostician at the Curtis Blake Child Development Center and Coordinator of Intervention Curriculum and Professional Development at the Curtis Blake Day School for children with language learning disabilities. In 1991, she created the Story Grammar Marker® tool and methodology after years of research and practice and was awarded 2 United States Patents. Since then, she has written 15 publications and created a line of more than 40 multisensory materials that support this methodology, including Braidy the StoryBraid®, Story Grammar Marker®, ThemeMaker® and Talk to Write, Write to Learn®. Maryellen is an internationally recognized professional development presenter, having provided professional development and materials to thousands of educators world-wide. Focusing on the discourse level of language, Maryellen’s goal has always been to give every child—regardless of age, ability or culture—the skills to think, communicate & learn effectively in order to achieve academic and social success.