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Conference Speakers

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Keynote Speakers

GoldenbergDr. Claude Goldenberg 

Title: What matters for promoting EL achievement?

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Abstract: Last year in my presentation to this group I surveyed the current state of research on improving academic outcomes for English learners. I reported and discussed four key takeaways: (1) What is effective for ELs is very similar to what is effective for students "in general," but (2) ELs require modifications and additional supports; (3) ELs' home language can and should be used to promote their school success; and (4) English language development should be taught explicitly and distinctly from the moment ELs start school. This year I will focus on #1: What is effective for ELs is very similar to what is effective for students "in general." I will go into more depth on this claim, describe its research basis, and encourage participants to consider its implications for teaching ELs.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Claude Goldenberg is the Nomellini & Olivier Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. A native of Argentina, his areas of research center on promoting academic achievement among language minority students. He received the 1993 Albert J. Harris Award from the International Reading Association for an article describing improvements in early Spanish reading achievement at an elementary school where he taught first grade. His 2004 book Successful School Change: Creating Settings to Improve Teaching a Learning was the basis for the 2010 Best Research Award from Learning Forward. Goldenberg is co-author of Promoting Academic Achievement among English Learners: A Guide to the Research (Corwin) and co-editor of Language and Literacy Development in Bilingual Settings (Guilford). He currently directs a randomized control trial in Rwanda evaluating an early literacy intervention created by Save the Children and advising Save on improvements to the program and preparing trainers in developing-world contexts. Recent Publications.


Susan NeumanDr. Susan B. Neuman

Title: Learning from What Works: Helping all Children Become Successful Literacy Learners

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Abstract: This presentation will describe the conditions of education for many of our struggling readers and writers. It will then describe evidence-based strategies that work to improve student's learning. It will focus on instructional strategies known to enhance literacy learning especially for children who are second language learners or need additional supports to accelerate achievement and school success.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Susan B. Neuman is a specialist in early literacy development; whose research and teaching interests include early childhood policy, curriculum, and early reading instruction for children who live in poverty. In her role as the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, Neuman established the Early Reading First program, developed the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program, and was responsible for all activities in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Act. She has written more than 100 articles, and authored and edited eleven books, including the three-volume Handbook of Early Literacy Research (Guilford Press), Changing the Odds for Children at Risk (Teachers College Press, 2009), Educating the Other America (Brookes, 2008), Multimedia and Literacy Development (Taylor & Francis, 2008), and Giving Our Children a Fighting Chance: Poverty, Literacy, and the Development of Information Capital. (Teachers College Press, 2012). Her most recent book is All About Words: Increasing Vocabulary in the Common Core Classroom, Pre-K Through Grade 2 (Teachers College Press, 2013). She received her doctorate from University of the Pacific, Stockton, California. Recent Publications.


Featured Presenters

Richard KitchenDr. Richard Kitchen

Title: Introducing an Assessment Tool Designed to Support the Mathematical Learning of ELLs

Abstract: In this session, I will share a research protocol developed to support the mathematical learning of English language learners (ELLs). The protocol, referred to as the "Discursive Assessment Protocol," was designed to be both culturally affirming and equitable. As part of the session, participants will view videos of 6th grade ELLs as they engage in the different stages of the research protocol solving problems that involve fractions. Participants will have opportunities to discuss the videos with regards to specific practices related to equity and ELLs being supported to develop their mathematical thinking.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Richard Kitchen is Professor and Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair in Mathematics Education at the University of Wyoming (UW). Dr. Kitchen was the co-Principal Investigator of the Center for the Mathematics Education of Latinos/as (CEMELA) that was funded through the National Science Foundation, Center for Learning and Teaching. As part of the work of CEMELA, he developed a formative assessment protocol in mathematics specifically for ESL students that builds on their cultural and linguistic resources as a means to support their problem solving strategies. He is the author of one book, lead author of another book, the co-editor of two books, and initiated and served as a co-editor of the TODOS: Mathematics for All Research Monograph. Dr. Kitchen has worked nationally and internationally with numerous schools as a consultant and professional development provider in mathematical content and pedagogy. His research interests include diversity and equity in mathematics education, school reform at urban schools that serve the poor, and formative assessment of English language learners. Recent Publications.


Leigh Hall portrait

Dr. Leigh A. Hall

Title: "I Don't Really Have Anything Good to Say:" Instructional Practices that Support Diverse Students' Talk About Texts

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Abrstract: Reading and discussing texts is a central expectation for students as they progress through school. However, students who have academic reading difficulties often struggle to understand texts and participate in discussions. This talk will center on instructional practices teachers can use that will help students with academic reading difficulties, including English Language Learners,: (a) feel more comfortable in engaging with challenging texts and (b) increase their participation during text-based discussion.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Leigh A. Hall is a professor at the University of Wyoming where she holds the Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowed Chair in Literacy Education. She taught middle school language arts and social studies in Houston, Texas before returning to graduate school to earn a doctorate in literacy education. Prior to coming to UW, Dr. Hall was at the University of North Carolina for 12 years. Dr. Hall’s research centers on helping adolescents improve their academic reading and writing abilities. She examines how teachers can work with diverse learners to help them improve their literacy practices within the context of the classroom. Dr. Hall is particularly interested in the role technology can play in enhancing instruction to achieve these goals. Her research has received several awards including the Outstanding Dissertation award from the International Literacy Association, the Early Career Achievement Award, and the Edward B. Fry Book Award for Empowering Struggling Readers: Practices for the Middle Grades (both from the Literacy Research Association. She has published in such journals as Research in the Teaching of English, Journal of Literacy Research, Teachers College Record, and Harvard Educational Review. Recent Publications.


headshot image of kim

Kim Jones

Title: Parent Involvement: Engaging with families of English Learners

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Abstract: Productive parent-teacher interaction and increased parental involvement leads to higher EL achievement. Nevertheless, engaging with families of English learners in meaningful and authentic ways throughout a child's educational journey has historically seemed like a daunting and intimidating undertaking for both educators and families. This session will include a panel of educators from across the state as we examine our current practices, identify barriers, and collaboratively explore ways to break through those barriers and deepen relationships with families of English Learners. Panelists will include perspectives from teachers, administrators, coordinators, and parents.

Speaker Bio: Kim Jones is an Instructional Facilitator and English Learner Program Coordinator for Natrona County School District in Casper, WY. She has been an educator for 23 years. She has completed both her BA in Elementary Education and MA in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wyoming. She holds both a K-12 Literacy Endorsement and K-12 ESL Endorsement in Wyoming. Kim provides training and support for teachers working with English Learners from pre-K to 12th grade across a variety of educational settings.


Dana Robertson

Dr. Dana A. Robertson (Back by Popular Demand)

Topic: Dialogic reasoning: Supporting young learners' language and literacy development through high-level talk opportunities

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Abstract: Emerging evidence shows that oral language proficiencies and academic vocabulary predict both EL learners' and English-speaking students' abilities to comprehend, especially as students move beyond decoding and word recognition (August & Shanahan, 2006). Engaging young students, and especially those who are still learning conversational English, in rich language environments immerses them in hearing and using oral language and academic vocabulary extensively throughout each successive school year. How do we promote productive interactions in classrooms between the teacher and students, student and student, and among young ELLs and English speakers? What constitutes effective oral language and vocabulary instruction for young English language learners? How does this instruction differ from effective instruction for native English speakers? In this session, I will describe the use of classroom talk as an instructional tool to build young ELLs' oral language abilities, vocabulary, and concept knowledge as they engage reading, writing, and high level talk across content areas.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Dana A. Robertson is Executive Director of the Literacy Research Center and Clinic and Assistant Professor in the School of Teacher Education at the University of Wyoming. He is a former classroom teacher, literacy specialist, and coach. Dr. Robertson has conducted research and written on classroom discourse, comprehension instruction, struggling readers and writers, coaching, and teacher professional development related to literacy. He is a frequent presenter at national and international literacy conferences, a co-author of two books and two chapters and has been published in several journals, including The Reading Teacher, Reading Psychology, Language Arts, Voices From the Middle, and Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy. Recent Publications.


Patrick Manyak

Dr. Patrick Manyak (Back by Popular Demand)

Title: Vocabulary Instruction for English Learners: Practical Principles and Approaches from the Vocabulary and Language Enhancement Research Sites

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Abstract: There is no more pressing instructional issue for U.S. schools that serve English Learners than the need for comprehensive vocabulary instruction. The lack of robust vocabulary knowledge represents the major obstacle to long-term academic success for many ELs. In this presentation, I share insights that I have gleaned from my own ongoing collaborative research projects that have focused on designing, implementing, and researching the effectiveness and feasibility of comprehensive vocabulary instruction for diverse students at several grade levels. In particular, I will show video clips of classroom instruction and demonstrate instructional practices that address teaching word meanings, word learning strategies, and the application of vocabulary in writing. In addition, I will discuss pragmatic issues and questions with the audience and ask research teachers to share practical experiences regarding the implementation of these instructional activities. Overall, my goal will be to facilitate a session that both presents cutting-edge instructional approaches and materials and involves substantial interaction focused on adapting these approaches and materials for specific school settings and students.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Patrick Manyak is an associate professor of Literacy Education at the University of Wyoming. A former bilingual teacher, he has published numerous articles resulting from his research on the language and literacy development of English learners. Manyak has recently served as a co-principal investigator in an IES-funded research project focused on the development and feasibility testing of a multifaceted, comprehensive, vocabulary instruction program (MCVIP) for 4th and 5th grade English learners and native English-speakers. Recent Publications.

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