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All Workshops


Featured Keynote- Emily Hanford
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We're thrilled and honored to have investigative reporter Emily Hanford as a keynote speaker for our third annual Literacy & Justice for All Symposium. Emily's work has shed light on the literacy crisis and explained it in depth. We look forward to her keynote and know it will ignite our participants and cultivate a day of learning, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. Emily Hanford is a senior correspondent and producer for APM Reports, the documentary and investigative reporting group at American Public Media. Her work has appeared on NPR and in The New York Times and other publications. For the past several years, she has been reporting on reading instruction. Her 2018 podcast episode “Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read?” won the inaugural public service award from EWA. Her most recent project, the podcast Sold a Story: How Teaching Kids to Read Went So Wrong, won a 2023 IRE Award and was nominated for a Peabody.


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Approaching Reading with a Strengths-based Lens:  Using Language Diversity to Support Literacy Learning

Dr. Julie Washington
Approaching Reading with a Strengths-based Lens:  Using Language Diversity to Support Literacy Learning

Can We Find Common Ground in California’s Ongoing Reading Crisis?

Claude Goldenberg
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Reading education has been contested ground in California (and the nation) for as long as anyone can remember. Can we find common ground in order to move forward with the best research-based policies and practices for all our students? This presentation will describe a project that attempted to answer this question in the affirmative for a small but critical group of ongoing issues: Best practices for emergent bilingual and multilingual students; screening for possible reading difficulties in K-2; and teaching foundational literacy skills. Participants will be asked to consider whether similar processes can lead to similar results for additional issues and what needs to happen next if we’re to resolve some of the endless controversies and coalesce around a core group of agreements for coherent statewide literacy policies.


Can we find common ground in California’s ongoing reading crisis?
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Beyond Topsoil Teaching: Tending to the Roots of Reading in the Brain

Carolyn Strom, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Literacy, NYU

What do findings from cognitive neuroscience really mean for reading instruction? Most importantly, what are the concrete implications for classroom practice? These questions will be at the heart of this session. We will focus on three key design principles of our brain, along with the core cognitive processes involved in establishing the roots of learning to read and spell. This talk will explain core findings about the reading brain through a scientific story called The Tale of Three Cities, which describes how we construct a reading circuit and build new neural pathways between three different "cities" in the brain. As we gain a more detailed understanding of the reading brain, we will connect scientific principles to both classroom practices and to everyday "kitchen table" routines that can enhance word learning.  Participants will leave with actionable insights, frameworks, and strategies to apply in their work with early readers and with reading teachers.

Beyond Topsoil Teaching: Tending to the Roots of Reading in the Brain


Supporting Bilingual Oral Language Development in PreK and TK 

Sara Rizik-Baer
Program Manager of SEAL (Sobrato Early Academic Language)

This session will explore current research on meeting the needs of young DLLs, particularly in the area of oral language development in both their home language and English. We will discuss what is meant by “rich, complex, precise language” and the various roles adults can play to foster and advance oral language skills within the context of thematic instruction. Additionally, we will Introduce key strategies to take back to the classroom to support this work.

Supporting Bilingual Oral Lang

Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Glass Doors: Supporting Diversity and Inclusion with Storybooks

Maya Gutierrez
Director of Programs of Tandem, Partners in Early Learning
Cecilia Valdez
Curriculum Specialist of Tandem, Partners in Early Learning

Let's take a closer look at the books on our shelves.  Are they reflective of the wonderful diverse communities all around us? Do the children we work with see themselves and their families, friends and neighbors represented? Using Dr. Rudine Bishop's "Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors" Framework, we will discuss key features to look for while building your classroom library. We will discuss and share a few examples of favorite inclusive titles and demonstrate concrete strategies that uplift diversity while sharing books with young children.

Mirrors, Windows,
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What is the Science of Reading and How Does it Support Diverse Learners?

Kristen Koeller
Reading Teacher & President of The Reading League California

This session will review the fundamental elements of reading science and examine the foundations of reading research.  Attendees will gain a better understanding of how research can guide literacy instruction to improve reading outcomes for students in schools.  This session will describe the use and reliability of evidence-aligned reading instruction with multilingual, bidialectal, and neurodiverse learners - like those with dyslexia.

What is Science of Reading

Less Talking, More Action!

Devika Sood
Director of Program, FULCRUM
Romy Trigg-Smith
Director of Early Literacy, OUSD
Erin Cox
Early Literacy Lead, Aspire Public Schools

Now that you have ideas and insights percolating from the rich input and discussions at the Symposium so far, come join us to dig into how to implement these in your contexts. If you are a teacher, site leader, or systems leader and want to understand where you are in the process of implementing structured literacy, what the key next steps are, and are ready to start planning for those next steps to bring back with you--come join us! We have tools and resources as well as thought partnership and consult available for each stakeholder group. Let's roll up our sleeves together and 'get after it!'

Less Talking

Reading Is a Civil Right: A Panel from Nystrom Elementary School

Margaret Goldberg 
Literacy Coach, Nystrom Elementary
Jamie Allardice
Principal, Nystrom Elementary
Jessica Jang
First grade teacher, Nystrom Elementary

In this interactive session, the principal, literacy coach, and teachers from Nystrom Elementary will share how they've been taking action to improve reading outcomes at their school.  The team will share how the staff co-constructed, implemented, and collaborated to continuously revise their school's literacy action plan. This session will explain, from a variety of perspectives, how a vision for literacy can become a reality. Bring your questions related to the practicalities of ensuring that students receive their civil right to read.

Reading is a Civil

Fulfilling the Science of Reading Promise

Jessica Reid Sliwerski 
CEO and Co-Founder, Ignite! Reading
Kareem Weaver
Co-Founder and Executive Director, FULCRUM
OUSD Teacher TBD

As fierce advocates for racial equality in literacy in Oakland and nationally, Kareem Weaver and Jessica Sliwerski believe that literacy is a fundamental civil right. In this presentation, they will show how to strategically leverage the power of intentional multi-tiered systems of support with one-to-one, high-dosage tutoring for Tier 3 instruction. They will also highlight the success of this model in practice with an OUSD teacher who will share how Ignite! Reading is helping deliver impactful outcomes in the classroom and unlocking opportunities for students from all walks of life.

Fulfilling the Science of Reading

Unveiling the Power of Literacy: A Journey Towards Social Justice

Jody Kammer
Literacy Specialist | Student and Teacher Advocate
Reading Horizons

Join us for an interactive workshop that illustrates the connection between literacy and social justice for secondary students. Through our conversation, we will recognize the challenges faced by older learners with reading difficulties, and how limited access to evidence-based instruction perpetuates inequalities in education and society. Our discussion will also explore the broader impact on mental health, student well-being, and self-esteem.


By drawing on the latest research, we will showcase how frameworks such as Structured Literacy, and other differentiating strategies can promote fairness, collaboration, and inclusivity in the secondary classroom. We look forward to seeing you there!

Unveiling the Power
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Accelerating Foundational Skills for Older Readers

Roxanne Rose 
Manager of Educational Partnerships,
The Center for Collaborative Classroom 
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Andreia Simon
The Center for Collaborative Classroom 

Join us in an engaging conversation about accelerating foundational reading skills and the importance of effective instruction for struggling older readers. We will unpack the research and bridge it to practice by experiencing effective instructional routines within structured literacy lessons. Our key takeaway is to ensure that older readers' foundational skill gaps are recognized and addressed using instruction that is research-based, respectful, honoring of the students, and age-appropriate. The practical application and mastery of skills are essential in ensuring that all students become successful readers. Foundational skills for struggling older readers can change the trajectory of a student's life and it’s critical that educators have the knowledge and skills to meet their unique needs.

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Accelerating Foundational Skills for Older Readers

Understanding and Applying the Science of Reading: The Role of Phonics in Reading Development

Angela Cammarata
National Literacy Consultant, Zaner-Bloser, Inc.
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Scientific research in the fields of education, cognitive psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience support that teaching reading in the primary grades is the most urgent task in education today. This research supports systematic, explicit phonics instruction as a critical component of reading development. This session brings together the principles of the science of reading research, building of instructional knowledge around the role of phonics in reading development, and the impact of evidence-based, explicit instructional routines.

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Understanding and Applying the Science of Reading: The Role of Phonics in Reading Development
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Cultivating Equitable and Encouraging Environments for Multilingual Learners with SEEDS

Kamye Hugley
Manager of Training and Development, FluentSeeds
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California State-funded preschools are now required to ask families which languages preschoolers hear, speak, and understand. The goal is to support students to become bilingual by maintaining their home language while developing their English skills. ©SEEDS of Learning meets this goal by equipping educators with information, knowledge, and tools to support Multilingual Learners (MLs). We will discuss strategies to create a classroom environment that celebrates MLs’ language and lived experiences, promoting a sense of belonging and fostering MLs’ vocabularies and oral language skills by meeting their needs while building on their existing knowledge and strengths.

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Cultivating Equitable and Encouraging Environments for Multilingual Learners with SEEDS
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Go Public With Your Learning: Collaborating for Literacy

Nina Portugal
Director of Visibility and Community Engagement
Nhi Truong
Lead Program Facilitator
Brooklyn Joseph
Lead Program Facilitator 
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Solving literacy needs is complex and complex challenges call for complex solutions and approaches. Learn how to transform adult learning spaces by engaging in Public Learning, an equity-centered collaborative practice that is a tool and vehicle to celebrate questions and nuggets of discovery. This highly interactive workshop invites participants to reflect on a literacy challenge most pertinent to their work, collaborate towards solutions together, and leave with next steps. By making learning public by design, we acknowledge the uncertainty and complexity inherent to teaching, leading, and systems change.

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Literacy Leadership: Essentials of the Principal/Coach Relationship

Literacy Leadership: Essentials of the Principal/Coach Relationship

Jennie Johnson
Literacy Coach, Joshua Elementary
Lorraine Zapata
Principal, Joshua Elementary
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This session gives attendees insight into the essentials of a Principal/Coach relationship. In particular, the presenters will share methods by which they build relational capacity and ensure lasting change within the school community through a restorative framework. The relationship between a principal and a coach is critical in modeling and practicing capacity building. By establishing clear goals, regular communication, collaborating on professional development, demonstrating effective coaching behaviors, and celebrating successes, principals and coaches can work together to create a culture of continuous improvement and success for all students.

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Go Public With Your Learning: Collaborating for Literacy

Decodable Books: Removing the Guesswork

Elise Lovejoy 
CEO, Express Readers

Educators can help students achieve phonics mastery, fluency, accuracy, and even confidence by identifying and utilizing quality decodable books. Decodable books are a powerful and connected practice tool for beginning readers and are essential to building a strong foundation for capable reading skills. Reorganizing classroom libraries and using books to support and advance our students is essential to raise literacy scores, promote equity by meeting students where they are, and encourage students to find a love for reading through their confidence and successes.

Honoring Community Leadership: Accelerating

& Sustaining Change

Michael De Sousa
Founder, Roda Leadership Development

To accelerate and sustain literacy progress, leaders must cultivate a collective vision rooted in the hopes, dreams, and wisdom of the communities we serve. We all want to improve literacy outcomes, but scarcity mindsets and deficit discourse can cause leaders to adopt top-down and technocratic management approaches. We can create more equitable systems and sustain hard-earned progress by building authentic partnerships and investing in community leadership.


In this workshop, we will explore critical frameworks to disrupt patterns that undermine progress and subvert liberatory relationships. We will also examine case studies that highlight transformative practices for community leadership and partnerships. Lastly, we will brainstorm personal and organizational next steps to build, strengthen, and actualize a collectively-held vision for literacy in our schools and organizations.


Leading Curriculum Change in Pursuit of Equity

Hannah Freeman
Implementation Leader, Great Minds

How can leaders embrace curricular change as a process, rather than as one event? What key actions can leaders take throughout the process? And how can leaders maintain a clear focus on the north star of ensuring student outcomes are no longer predictable by race? In this session, leaders will seek to answer these questions through a framework for implementing a new literacy curriculum with the goal of greater equity in student outcomes.

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