Language Arts and Reading/Writing Across the Curriculum Workshops
“Make It Concrete: Using Visualization Techniques to Improve Comprehension and Increase Engagement in Content Area Classrooms”

Do your students have problems retaining important information in content area classes?  Do they seem disengaged when they are asked to read in these classes?  The problem may very well be that they are not learning at a deep, conceptual level because they cannot visualize the ideas they are studying.  Most students struggle with abstract concepts well into their high school years.  The good news is that there are many simple ways to help students “see it” so they can “get it.”  In this fun, fast-paced workshop, Willy uses a number of short content-area texts and takes you through a variety of activities for making them concrete.  Come prepared to move and groove!

Length: Half-day or Full-day (Full-day preferred)
Audience: Teachers, all grade levels and content areas, though either just elementary or just secondary works better for this than all grade levels at the same time.


“The Power of the Word: Helping Students Build a Powerful Vocabulary”

Research indicates that many students come to school at age 5, already battling a huge handicap—the crippling effects of a small oral vocabulary.  As the years pass, the gap between these students and their more fortunate peers steadily increases, and the effects on academic achievement and success in life are far-reaching.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Recent research has defined what works; all we need is the will power to implement these effective strategies across all grade levels.  In this informative workshop, Willy takes you through the research and models the practices that must be implemented to close the academic vocabulary gap so that all students can succeed—in school, and in life.

Length: Half-day or Full-day (full day preferred).
Teachers, all grade levels and content areas.


“You Can’t Read What You Don’t Know: The Crucial Role of Background Knowledge in Reading Success (or Failure)”

People argue over just about everything concerning reading instruction—phonics and whole language, phonemic awareness and fluency, sight words and syntax—and certainly, all of these issues are important.  But for years, perhaps the most important element necessary for reading success—prior knowledge—has been virtually ignored.  New research about how the brain learns to read, however, has highlighted the crucial role played by prior knowledge, and teachers are beginning to realize that this must be an important area of focus for instruction.  In this interactive session, Willy Wood, an expert on the human brain and effective teaching practices, outlines the important elements of an effective reading program that starts with, then builds on, students’ prior knowledge.  School-wide policy issues are covered, as well as specific strategies for every classroom.

Length: Half-day or Full-day (full-day preferred).
Audience: Teachers, all grade levels and content areas, though either just elementary or just secondary works better for this than all grade levels at the same time.


“Five Facts about the Reading Brain and What they Mean for the Classroom”

In this engaging session, brain-compatible teaching expert Willy Wood will share with you what cognitive science and neuroscience can (and can’t) tell us about how the reading brain works.  You will learn what parents and child-care providers should focus on in the area of literacy and what they shouldn’t focus on.  Come to this session prepared to challenge some of the beliefs you may currently have about preparing young children to read.

Length: Half-day.
Audience: Teachers, pre-K through third grade or Parents of Pre-K through third grade children (better if their children are on the younger end of this range, as they will be able to implement the strategies earlier).