Building a Toolbox for Literacy Assessment & Intervention for Students with Complex Learning Needs (CLN) anchored in the Science of Reading and Writing

by Instruction within Inclusive Learning Environments

Meet In Person
September 28, 2023 at 8:30 am - September 29, 2023 at 3:30 pm
Check In
at 8:00am

Course Fee


Course description

Don't miss this exciting 2-day workshop with Natoinal Speakers Janet Sturm, Maureen Staskowski, and Jillian McCarthy on September 28-29, 2023 in Lawrence, KS 

Is the science of reading and writing anchoring your assessment and instruction toolbox for students with complex learning needs (CLN)? Students with CLN deserve scientific, proven methodologies to facilitate the most efficient literacy acquisition. This two-day workshop will focus on the word recognition, decoding and encoding aspects of literacy acquisition, rather than the language comprehension and vocabulary side of reading. Hands-on practical application will be emphasized throughout the series, and participants will have opportunities to share experiences as they implement new reading and writing tools and techniques. 

ASHA Credit

Approved for 11 hours of continuing education clock hours for  Kansas licensed Speech-Language Pathologists by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. 

This workshop is financially supported by the Kansas Department of Education through TASN contract of the High Quality Instruction in Inclusive Learning Environments project. 

Day 1 Agenda 8:30 am - 3:30 pm, Lunch Provided

Day 1 will kick off by centering our thinking on the science of reading and writing and the research with students with complex learning needs (CLN). Participants will discuss how discoveries in neuroscience about learning to read have informed practice. Day 1 will continue with a focus on the assessment process for word recognition skills of phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, and reading connected text. Given that students with CLN have speech intelligibility issues, topics will include methodologies to assess phonological awareness and phonics to obtain baseline data for instruction that teaches the accurate perception of sounds. Accurate perception, rather than production, has been shown to be critical in organizing the sound system for students with CLN. Assessment of spelling, comparing the use of multilinguistic coding to traditional approaches will be addressed. Finally, participants will explore how they can integrate assessment data across phonological awareness, phonics, and spelling to support progress monitoring that drives instruction, including using data to set meaningful IEP goals. 

Day 2 Agenda 8:30 am - 3:30 pm, Lunch Provided

Day 2 will shift from assessment to instruction aligned with the science of reading and writing for students with CLN. Overarching topics for participants will include phonemic awareness, planning instruction from multilinguistic coding for prephonological and phonological spelling, special considerations for phonics instruction and reading connected and decodable text for students with CLN. Participants will explore how they will use this information to make instructional changes for their students. The workshop will culminate with an examination of writing as communication, targeting both spoken and written language. Throughout the workshop case studies will be used to demonstrate how to integrate, layer, and sequence the discussed literacy skills throughout daily instruction.

Our Speakers

Janet Sturm

Janet Sturm, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, ASHA-F, is a professor in the Department of Communication Disorders at Central Michigan University. She has been working in classrooms for over 30 years. Her research and development work focuses on writing instruction for students with disabilities, computer-supported literacy, formative and summative assessments of beginning writers, and classroom communication. She has served as the principal investigator for two National Institute of Health grants focused on writing software and developed the First Author Writing Curriculum for students with complex learning needs. She is a Fellow of ASHA and a Board-Certified Specialist in Child Language.

Dr. Janet Sturm is being paid an honorarium and travel expenses for this presentation. She receives a salary from Central Michigan University where she is a full-time faculty member. She receives payment for consulting with school districts across the United States. Non-financial: Dr. Sturm does not have any non-financial disclosures at this time.

Maureen StaskowskiMaureen Staskowski, Ph.D, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, an ASHA Fellow, is a language and literacy consultant who works with school districts to implement systems that improve student outcomes in language and literacy.  She worked for 30 years in a large metropolitan region, leading augmentative communication and assistive technology efforts, developing training and credentialing, and consulting with staff regarding implementation. She has developed networks to advance professional knowledge in literacy with high and low incidence disabilities She has served on national committees related to language and literacy and has presented and published on these topics.

Dr. Staskowski receives payment for consulting to school districts in various places in the United States. She is being paid an honorarium and travel expenses for this presentation. Non-Financial Disclosure: Dr. Staskowski does not have any non-financial disclosures at this time. 

Jillian McCarthyJillian McCarthy, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is an associate professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology. Her current research interests include vocabulary and spelling development for students with complex learning needs (CLN). She has received grants from the U.S. Department of Special Education to prepare speech-language pathology and special education students in the areas of AAC, language, and literacy.

Dr. McCarthy receives a salary from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, where she is a full-time faculty member, and a portion of today’s presentation was developed. Additionally, she has received an honorarium and funds in order to present in person at today’s session. Non-Financial Disclosure: Dr. McCarthy does not have any non-financial disclosures at this time. 




Learning Objectives

  1. Explain how scientific discoveries about learning to read, write, and spell have informed practice.
  2. Describe considerations for the assessment of phonemic awareness, phonics, and spelling for students with CLN.
  3. List 5 instructional practices for students with CLN that align with the science of reading and writing.


Refund Policy

Registration may be cancelled up to 14 days prior to the event for a full refund. Cancellations received within 14 days of the event will not be refunded. No-show registrations will also not be refunded.


September 28, 2023 at 8:30 am - September 29, 2023 at 3:30 pm
Check In
at 8:00am
Each Day 8:30am - 3:30pm
USD 497 District Office / Leadership and Legacy Center (old board room)
110 McDonald Drive; Lawrence
Meet In Person 11.5 Professional Learning Contact Hours
Janet Peters
Janet Sturm, Maureen Staskowskion, Jillian McCarthy

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