2021 Conference Program

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

Achieving Equity in Literacy
Recordings Available Now through January 31, 2022
Virtual 2021 Conference


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, so they can learn successfully and 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.


On-Demand         Interactive Technology for the Classroom: On Demand Workshop

Watch at your convenience starting November 13th! 

Michael Frawley, Director of Educational Technology, Woodlynde School 

Would you like to use assistive technology to help your students, but you are not sure what programs will be most helpful? View this session and learn learn from experts how to use helpful technology. 

  1. Screencastify: Whether you’re demonstrating the steps of a project, walking through a digital process, or providing student feedback, screencasts save you time and give students agency over their workflow. Mike will highlight the benefits of Screencastify (a Google Chrome add-on) for teachers and students. It’s a simple tool with myriad applications. There are basic and paid features. Bring your laptop to get started!
  2. Read & Write for Google Chrome: The average classroom has readers and writers of all levels. The Read & Write add-on for Google Chrome provides easy accommodations and differentiation for your students. You will be walked through its basic and paid features, demonstrating several ways it can be applied in the classroom.  


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.


Plenary Session      

Mentoring Students for Success 

Jake Sussman, Founder and CEO of Superpower Consulting

In this session, Jake Sussman, Founder and CEO of Superpower Consulting, celebrates the unique minds and strengths that children with dyslexia and ADHD bring to the table.  He will describe how parents and teachers can help children with learning differences understand their own unique learning styles, develop self-confidence and self-advocacy skills, and become consciously aware of their emotional reactions in order to meet the challenges they will face throughout all stages of life.


> Conference At a Glance <

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