2021 Conference Program

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PBIDA’s 43rd Annual Fall Conference on Literacy and Learning Disabilities

Achieving Equity in Literacy
Saturday, November 13th
Woodlynde School

Special Hybrid Set-Up for 2021!


Keynote Address

Julie Washington, Ph.D., Director of the Learning Disabilities Research Innovation Hub and Director of the Dialect, Poverty and Academic Success lab at University of California, Irvine.

Teaching African American Children to Read: The Impact of Language Variation

Learning to read depends upon learning the phonemic, phonological, syntactic and morphological structure of words. For children who speak varieties of English that differ from General American English these domains of language may differ significantly from text, making it harder to learn to read and write. In the case of African American children in particular, use of the language variety African American English has been found to influence outcomes in reading, writing, spelling and assessment and this is particularly true for children growing up in poverty. This presentation will focus on the intersection of language variation, poverty and reading acquisition for African American children in preschool through fifth grade.

Saturday Morning Workshops:


AM 1          Culturally-Informed Literacy Instruction Meets the Science of Reading  

Peggy Hickman, Ph.D. and Priscilla Jeter-Iles, Ed.D.

In this session, participants will learn frameworks for considering the Science of Reading instructional principles within the context of culturally-informed literacy instruction practices. Participants will also consider the ways that structured- and culturally-informed literacy practices work together in recognizing diverse students’ lives and resources in literacy teaching and learning.


AM 2         When Learning and Schools Cause Trauma: Strategies for ALL Educators

Colleen Lelli, Ed.D., Director of the Center for Children of Trauma and Domestic Violence
Education at Cabrini University.

“Dyslexia is dealing with trauma,” (British Dyslexia Report, The Human Cost of Dyslexia, 2019).  Sadly, students with learning disabilities, Dyslexia and/or ADHD are more vulnerable to stress. Students who struggle with school often report that they are frustrated, fearful of failure, and feel unsupported at school. This chronic stress can be identified as a trauma and many times can result in behaviors that can be interpreted as avoidance, resistance or negativity. Parents, teachers, school counselors and psychologists, administrators, social workers and other service providers (e.g., physical therapists, occupational therapist, speech and language pathologists, etc.) can use strategies to support all students faced with trauma learn successfully, feel pride and positivity about who they are both inside and outside the classroom. Multiple resources will be provided for all educators and therapists to use and implement in their practice.


AM 3         Assistive Technology Workshop  

                 Limited Space. In-person only  

Michael Frawley, Director of Educational Technology, Woodlynde School

Do you want to help your students or children make better use of Assistive Technology, but you know they need help in how to use various programs and apps? Bring your tablet or laptop to this session where you will practice using several programs and apps. You will leave the session able to demonstrate how students can work more effectively using assistive technology.


Saturday Afternoon Workshops:


PM 1         Promoting Interest in Reading Using Culturally Relevant Reading Materials

Julie Washington, Ph.D.

Every year for many years now a list of children’s books representing diverse populations is published in order to document the numbers of books written annually that includes characters of major racial and ethnic groups. Each year the verdict is the same, there are not enough books being published that reflect the diversity of classrooms in the U.S. How much does diversity in   books, and culturally relevant stories really matter for the development of reading? This presentation will focus on the current state of thinking about the impact of culturally relevant texts for improving reading outcomes of African American students.


PM 2         Join Our Journeys: 1000 Steps Toward All Children Reading

Panel Discussion

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  And so it is, in our collective journey into the Science of Reading until all children read.   Join moderator, Dr. Pam Kastner, and panel members, Mary Dillon, Christina Grayson, and Ernesto Ortiz, as they exchange insights into their schools‘ steps towards evidence-based reading practices.  From teacher preparation, curriculum changes, scheduling issues to student outcomes, our audience will have the opportunity to participate as the panel shares their greatest challenges, biggest a-ha moments, and celebrated successes from their journeys toward all children reading.


PM 3         Dyslexia Simulation Sampler  

                  Limited Space. In-person only

Penny Moldofsky, Director of the Literacy Institute, Woodlynde School.

Participants will learn about the key aspects of dyslexia and related learning challenges through a series of small group simulations. They will experience the effortfulness and the challenges facing a student with dyslexia, followed by a facilitator-led debriefing. We have selected four of the six modules from the full simulation to provide a meaningful overview—including the impact of dyslexia on math and how executive functions and dyslexia are connected.


Plenary Session      

Jake Sussman

More information coming soon.


> Conference At a Glance <

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