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Reading League Science of Reading Conference

The Reading League 2022 Science of Reading conference was full of amazing speakers, fascinating presentations, and impactful takeaways. Keep reading to check out what we learned during this jam-packed conference focused on bringing the Science of Reading into the light!

This last week we got to attend the 2022 Reading League Science of Reading conference in Syracuse NY.  We have done many SoR events before but this has been a bucket list one for sure.  Here’s a quick glimpse with definitely more to come! 

Our favorite sessions were about learning to read is a civil right and the inequities around that.  We got to see a full movie screening of The Right to Read and it was SO GOOD.  It comes out in the Spring and it is a must-see for every teacher (and their spouses so they understand the passion). 

We focused our sessions on decoding and high-frequency words.  Lots of nuggets of information there that we will definitely work into our resources so they are the best they can be for you! 

Check out all of the Science of Reading articles here!

This article goes well with these Simply Kinder resources:

Reading League Conference Key Takeaways

Overall, the reading league conference in Syracuse, New York was filled with high-quality research, dynamic speakers, powerful messages, and impactful teaching practices. We left feeling inspired and renewed to continue spreading the light on the Science of Reading. Keep reading for some presentation highlights and key takeaways.

First check out the video:

The Right to Read Film Screening

We were invited to screen the upcoming documentary, The Read to Read, which will be released in Spring 2023. This movie is incredibly well done and thought-provoking and helps viewers place a face with the literacy crisis our nation is facing. It focuses on identifying the problems and also providing answers and hope for how we can do better for all people. We will be sharing more as we get closer to its release date but mark your calendars for this one!

“Illiteracy is the civil rights issue of our time.

It is also one of our most SOLVABLE problems.”

Sold A Story Podcast

The following morning started with a warm welcome message and a video from Emily Hanford about her new podcast series Sold a Story: How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong. Wow, just wow! This is a must-listen for everyone! This six-part series is deeply powerful and get to the root of the problems our the growing number of students that cannot read. Please listen and share with others.

Key Session Takeaways:

Delivering the Promise of the Science of Reading to All Readers with Dr. Nicole Patton Terry from the Florida Center for Reading Research. Dr. Terry stressed that putting research into practice is hard but important. We are failing our students including the immediate area around the University where she works. She said, “The solution is not simple.  There is not one thing we should do.  Throwing money and dropping policies won’t do it.  Don’t you think if it was that easy, we would be doing it now.  This is hard work.” It’s about community, working together, and doing better for everyone. Make sure to also check out the many resources, most of which are free on their website.

The Science of Decodables: Why, when, how?  With Dr. Heidi Anne Mesmer was an amazing session about decodability and its impact on reading. Dr. Mesmer stressed that decodability is a continuous line and that providing students with more decodable text leads to strong building blocks of fluent reading. Providing students with the tools to decode and read is extremely empowering! Building decoding skills leads to self-teaching of new words and growing students’ automatic reading. Phonics + decodables = better retention of decoding.

Gradual Release Across Tiers is crucial with consistent instruction and routines for students.

How the Reading Brain Learns to Spell Dr. Shelley Blackwell was a session about moving away from traditional spelling and using more of a word study approach.

Word Study: Instructional Process:

1) Teacher says a word in a sentence

2)  Students say the word with teacher and finger-stretch sounds together

3)  Student maps on sound-spelling paper (sound boxes)

4)  Teacher maps correct spelling on board, teaches spelling pattern; students self-correct on paper

The key takeaway is spelling is recalling a word structure. Spelling is a thinking process, not a memorization task. Spelling takes meaningful repetition.

Home practice lists focus on patterns vs. memorization!

The closing Presentation was with Dr. Anita Archer! We didn’t get too many notes because we were so engaged in her speaking! She is incredible! She stressed that we need to keep the “teach” in teacher, focus on making sure every student participates every time, learning is not a spectator sport, and provide lots of opportunities to respond. More to come on what we learned from Dr. Archer but she also gave away these amazing posters! Yippy!

What an amazing two days of learning, reflecting, and collaborating. If you have any questions on if this conference is a good fit for you in your role in education, please reach out! We were grateful for the experience and enjoyed the city of Syracuse and our beautiful hotel!

At Simply Kinder we work together to bring you ready-to-use resources to partner with great teaching for any curriculum, a Facebook community where teachers talk all things Kindergarten, and low-prep learning ideas that your students will love. Be sure to stay up to date with all things kindergarten on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and through email. Simply Kinder: where teaching Kinder is definitely better together!

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