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

“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!”

Structured Literacy is Required by CT Law

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.

Registration/Costs

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
Summer 2018 Structured Literacy series: June 25-June 29, 2018.

All five sessions are required.

Learner Outcomes

Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the warning signs of Dyslexia and list several assessments that can be used both for identification and monitoring students’ progress.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Deliver lessons using strategies and techniques learned throughout the course and with frequent practice, should see improvement in students’ word recognition skills.
  • Be prepared to sit for the Structured Literacy Teacher certification exam, administered by the Center for Effective Reading Instruction, a partner of the International Dyslexia Association.

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

Session 1: Understanding and Assessing Language-Based Learning Disabilities, Including Dyslexia

Thursday, January 18, 2018 (Literacy How, North Haven, CT)  

  • Learn why many students with learning problems have difficulties with some aspect of language.
  • Learn about dyslexia, the most prevalent and best understood language-based learning disability.
  • Learn how to recognize the warning signs of dyslexia.
  • Learn 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.

Session 2: Phonemic Awareness and Beginning Phonics: The Foundation of Learning to Read

Thursday, February 8, 2018 (Literacy How, North Haven, CT)

  • Learn why most students with word recognition problems have difficulty becoming fluent readers and may struggle with phonemic awareness, decoding, and/or spelling.
  • Learn how to link assessment data to reading material selection
  • Learn how to engage children in key instructional strategies and activities that teach these essential skills.
  • Learn how to integrate handwriting into foundational skill instruction

Session 3: Advanced Phonics and Morphology Instruction: Linking Sounds, Symbols, and Meaning

Thursday, March 8, 2018 (Literacy How, North Haven, CT)

  • Understand the importance of teaching students 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.
  • Learn why morphology—the study of base/root words and affixes—helps readers decode and unlock the meaning of complex words.
  • Learn how to teach these advanced skills, including morphology, in engaging and meaningful ways.

Session 4: Grammar and Syntax: The Building Blocks for Comprehending and Writing Sentences

Thursday, April 5, 2018 (Literacy How, North Haven, CT)

  • Learn why many children with comprehension problems have difficulty understanding sentences.
  • Understand why 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.
  • Learn techniques to support students’ ability to write coherent, interesting, and complex sentences.

Session 5: Semantics: Strengthening Vocabulary and Text Comprehension

Thursday, May 3, 2018 (Literacy How, North Haven, CT)

  • Understand how and why semantics—the meaning conveyed by words and sentences—helps students make sense of the world.
  • Learn why reading comprehension depends on knowing what words and sentences mean in context and why 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.

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

Interested in learning more?

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