“Advances in the field of neuroscience have dramatic implications for the classroom; they demand that educators keep abreast of the latest research and modify their practice accordingly. This series has empowered our team to take a fresh look at our curriculum, to be more diagnostic, and to adjust our instruction based on our observations of student performance in each of the areas of structured literacy.


We leave each session armed with ready-to-use materials, including informal assessments, instructional activities, and research publications to sharpen our understandings. We’ve experienced a supportive collegiality with the mentors that we hope to maintain in the future. What a valuable experience this has been!”

—Candice LaConti, Reading/Language Arts Specialist K-5, Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools

In response to Connecticut’s recent SLD/Dyslexia legislation, we designed this 30-hr series for special education teachers, reading interventionists, and any staff who work with struggling readers.

What is Structured Literacy?

Structured Literacy instruction is the umbrella term used by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) to unify and encompass evidence-based programs and approaches that are aligned to the Knowledge and Practice Standards and are effective for students identified with SLD/Dyslexia (most commonly known as Orton-Gillingham or Multisensory Structured Language). This approach is beneficial for all children learning to read but is essential for students with SLD/Dyslexia. Structured Literacy instruction is supported by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) for students with this reading disability.


Cost: 5-session series (8:30 am to 3:30 pm.): $825/person (includes all materials).
For school teams of three or more, $750/person for 5-session series (includes all materials).

Click here to register for
Spring 2018 Structured Literacy series.
All five sessions are required.

Learner Outcomes

Participants completing the Structured Literacy Series will be able to describe the warning signs of dyslexia and list several assessments that can be used both for its identification and monitoring students’ progress. Participants will also be able to summarize the six elements of language, including phonology, orthography, morphology, syntax, and semantics and describe several ways that these elements can be integrated into lessons using a Structured Literacy approach. In addition, participants will practice developing and delivering lessons that incorporate these six elements and the principles of instruction that are associated with Structured Literacy – that is, systematic, explicit, cumulative to mastery, diagnostic, and prescriptive. Teachers who practice delivering lessons using strategies and techniques learned throughout the course should see improvement in their students’ word recognition skills.

Once the course is completed, additional job-embedded coaching, application of learning, and consultation is available from Dr. Gillis and her literacy mentors at Literacy How on a fee-for-service basis.

Structured Literacy Series Contents

Understanding and Assessing Language-Based Learning Disabilities, Including Dyslexia

Most students with learning problems have difficulties with some aspect of language. Learn about dyslexia, the most prevalent and best understood language-based learning disability. Recognize the warning signs and how to use a variety of assessments—screening, diagnostic and progress monitoring—to identify and understand your students’ reading difficulties. Understand the relationship between language and reading acquisition.
Spring Series: Thursday, January 18, 2018 (Literacy How, North Haven, CT)

Phonemic Awareness and Beginning Phonics: The Foundation of Learning to Read

Most students with word recognition problems have difficulty becoming fluent readers. They may struggle with phonemic awareness, decoding, and/or spelling. Understand how to link assessment data to reading material selection and learn how to engage children in key instructional strategies and activities that teach these essential skills. Participants will also learn how to integrate handwriting into foundational skill instruction.
Spring Series: Thursday, February 8, 2018 (Literacy How, North Haven, CT)

Advanced Phonics and Morphology Instruction: Linking Sounds, Symbols, and Meaning

Once basic phonics skills are mastered, students learn how to identify six syllable/vowel patterns in order to read and spell multisyllabic words including those that are comprised of more than one unit of meaning. Morphology—the study of base/root words and affixes—helps readers decode and unlock the meanings of complex words. Learn how to teach these advanced skills, including morphology, in engaging and meaningful ways.
Spring Series: Thursday, March 8, 2018 (Literacy How, North Haven, CT)

Grammar and Syntax: The Building Blocks for Comprehending and Writing Sentences

Many children with comprehension problems have difficulty understanding sentences. Students must learn the function of the words in sentences and how their arrangement changes meaning. Learn engaging ways to improve students’ ability to speak, read, and write different types of sentences with a variety of structures. Participants will also learn techniques to support their students’ ability to write coherent, interesting, and complex sentences.
Spring Series: Thursday, April 5, 2018 (Literacy How, North Haven, CT)

Semantics: Strengthening Vocabulary and Text Comprehension

Semantics refers to meaning conveyed by words and sentences that help make sense of the world. Reading comprehension depends on knowing what words and sentences mean in context. Students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities have difficulty with this important element of language. Learn how to incorporate explicit vocabulary instruction into your reading comprehension lessons, building on the first four workshops in the series.
Spring Series: Thursday, May 3, 2018 (Literacy How, North Haven, CT)

Snow/makeup dates: Thursday, May 10, 2018 (Literacy How, North Haven)

Register today! Seating is limited.

Click here to register for
Spring 2018 Structured Literacy series.
All five sessions are required.

Interested in learning more?

Call our office at 203-239-7323 (READ) to discuss how we can work together.
Download the Structured Literacy PD flyer to print and share.

Become a Certified Structured Literacy Teacher

The International Dyslexia Association is beginning to certify teachers and reading specialists through their partnership with The Center for Effective Reading Instruction (CERI), the 501(c)(6) organization they established to further evidence-based approaches to reading and learning. The Structured Literacy Teacher certification is the first step toward higher level IDA certifications that are currently being developed. Click here for more information about the exam including how to apply.

The Structured Literacy Series will help prepare teachers and reading specialists to take the CERI exam. In this five-day (30 hour) course developed by Dr. Margie Gillis, a Certified Academic Language Therapist and founder of Literacy How, teachers will learn how to explicitly and systematically teach word recognition skills to students with SLD/Dyslexia. The series will demonstrate how to combine word recognition instruction that teaches foundational skills (i.e., phonemic awareness, decoding, and encoding) with methodology in reading comprehension, vocabulary development, and written expression.