Workshops Available for Tennessee School Systems

To support school personnel in your work with students who experience difficulty acquiring grade level skills in reading and spelling, the Center offers professional development in the area of reading and reading disabilities. Workshops are provided at a nominal cost to schools and organizations within Tennessee. The Tennessee Center for Dyslexia charges a professional fee of $450 per half-day, $900 per full-day, and $1600 per 2-day workshop plus reimbursement of expenses at state rates when applicable (mileage, meals, lodging, copying).

All workshops are appropriate for K-12 settings (public and private schools), and all educators will benefit from attendance: general education teachers, special/exceptional education teachers, RTI coaches and interventionists, reading coaches, speech-language pathologists, school psychologists, school and district administrators.

All workshops will be grounded in a visual presentation with interactive lecture (questions, comments and personal experiences encouraged), educator activities, modeling, and instructional examples. Workshop content may be refined to target a specific grade level and audience. Please contact the Center to further customize these offerings to meet your specific professional development goals, including extended collaborations and consultations. All workshops are available for in-person and virtual delivery.

The Tennessee Center for the Treatment and Study of Dyslexia is supported financially through funding from Tennessee state government. This support makes it possible for the center to offer our workshops at a reduced rate to Tennessee school systems. We are pleased to offer our workshops to out-of-state school systems and educators. Please contact us for details and rate information. Please click on the "Submit a Workshop Request" button to formally request a workshop and provide us with information to help with planning. Brief descriptions of our current workshop options are provided below.

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 Trouble with Words: an Overview of Dyslexia (3 hours)

How do the characteristics of dyslexia impact reading achievement? Recognizing foundational reading skills deficits allows you to target instruction and intervention. An overview of the subskills needed to support reading achievement will be described followed by how reading development is impacted by dyslexia. Characteristics of dyslexia by grade range will be shared, and common myths associated with dyslexia will be discussed and dispelled. A review of Tennessee’s 2016 “Say Dyslexia” law and its components for school-based screening and intervention is also included.

 School-based Identification of Characteristics of Dyslexia (3 hours)

Uncovering word-level deficits through screening and assessment will help reveal characteristics of dyslexia in the school setting. A brief overview of reading development and dyslexia is followed by identification procedures as outlined in the 2016 Tennessee “Say Dyslexia” law. Identifying struggling students with characteristics of dyslexia will support their future reading achievement through targeted intervention of skills deficits. Screening for phonological and phonemic awareness, sound/symbol recognition, alphabet knowledge, decoding skills, rapid naming, and encoding (spelling) will be discussed within the context of response to core instruction and intervention in an RTI2/MTSS framework. Assessments and tools to support data collection and interpretation will also be included.

 Essential Components of Effective Reading Instruction (6-12 hours)

This two-day workshop for elementary educators begins with an overview of reading development and the cognitive processes that support it. An overview of dyslexia and how it impacts reading development will also be explained. Direct, explicit, and systematic instruction of foundational reading skills in the core class benefits most developing readers, and it is vital to support the needs of students with characteristics of dyslexia. Using the National Reading Panel report as a guidepost for essential components of reading instruction in early grades, knowledge about and instruction of the following components will be addressed: phonological and phonemic awareness, phonics (decoding and spelling), fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Instruction will be framed through Structured Literacy’s evidence-based teaching principles: explicit, systematic and cumulative, and diagnostic.

 Three Layers of Decoding: Understanding Phonemes, Syllables, and Morphemes (6 hours)

Nothing can replace the expert instruction of a highly knowledgeable literacy teacher. Reading teachers must have an understanding of the structure of language in order to best support their students in mastering reading and spelling skills. Many teacher preparation programs did not focus on instruction in the fundamentals and structure of the English language. This knowledge gap can limit our professional ability to plan for instruction and respond to individual student needs. This workshop focuses on the three layers of decoding: by phonemes, by syllables, and by morphemes. From the smallest unit of spoken sound (phonemes) to the smallest unit of meaning in a word (morphemes), terms will be detailed and examples given of how your knowledge supports student error correction and mastery of reading and spelling skills.

 It's Not Just What You Teach, But How You Teach It: Strategies to Maximize Your Small Group Reading Instruction (3 hours)

When teachers are working with small groups to remediate foundational level reading and spelling skills, making the most of that limited time together is vital. Whether you are working with small groups differentiated in the core, in the tiers, or in the special education setting, it is necessary to utilize this time to remediate skills as efficiently and effectively as possible. Being mindful of your instructional delivery will support a positive community of learners who are on task. Renew your commitment to pacing, engagement, and student progress by integrating these strategies based on Universal Design for Learning and explicit instruction. These strategies make teacher planning and delivery purposeful and organized, so both teaching and learning in these small groups is a pleasure.

 Teaching Handwriting: Automaticity in Support of Reading and Spelling (3 hours)

Brain-based and applied research studies have shown a clear link between handwriting and literacy skills. The important role that handwriting plays in literacy and academic performance is reflected in the Tennessee foundational literacy standards, as students are expected to write legibly in manuscript and cursive by the end of 4th grade. Handwriting is more than just a motor task; it is a complex skill set composed of motor, cognitive, and neuromuscular processes that increase activation in the reading network of the brain in a way that keyboarding alone does not. At the foundational reading level, writing individual letters and spelling words reinforces letter naming, phonemic awareness, and word reading. When handwriting automaticity and fluency is achieved, working memory and cognitive resources are freed to address spelling and higher-level thought processes used in written expression. This workshop addresses the advantages of formal handwriting instruction

 Intensive Intervention for Students with Characteristics of Dyslexia (6-12 hours)

Explicit and systematic instruction in word identification and decoding strategies is vital for students with characteristics of dyslexia. This hands-on workshop focuses on the instructional strategies needed for those working in the intervention setting with students who have characteristics of dyslexia. Structured Literacy instruction will be explained, and the comprehensive integration of its key elements will be examined: phonology, sound-symbol relationships, syllabication, morphology, syntax, and semantics. The principles that guide Structured Literacy instruction will also be discussed: systematic and cumulative, explicit and direct, multisensory, and diagnostic based on continuous assessment for individualization. The Structured Literacy approach meets the requirements for dyslexia-specific intervention as outlined in Tennessee’s 2016 “Say Dyslexia” law.

 Using Assessment Data to Inform Intervention Instruction (6 hours)

This workshop is intended to support educators in planning individualized intervention instruction based on student assessment data. Your district’s assessment data sources will be considered when planning this workshop: psychoeducational reports, universal screeners, skills-based benchmarks, dyslexia-specific screener data, progress monitoring information and other available classroom assessments. Item-level error analysis will be discussed as a means for organizing data and informing instructional targets for students in the tiers or special education setting.


The center also offers individualized, collaborative consultation services to districts and schools in support of reading and literacy development for all students. Our team includes researchers and practitioners who provide guidance and recommendations in the following areas:
  • screening students for risk or characteristics of dyslexia
  • analyzing student literacy data
  • providing dyslexia-specific intervention
  • examining core reading instruction
  • professional learning for educators

The Tennessee Center for Dyslexia charges a professional rate of $150 per hour for consultations services. Contact us for additional information.