ALTA 2017 Conference


Stay tuned for more information about these distinguished names in the field of dyslexia who will present at the conference.

Friday Highlights

Anne Treadwell, M.A.
Developing Word Awareness in a Structured Literacy Program

Research affirms that vocabulary knowledge is critical to reading comprehension and school success. Students come to school with a wide variance of word knowledge. It is essential that classrooms provide both incidental and explicit vocabulary growth opportunities. Word awareness includes an understanding of a word┬╣s structure and its meaning. This session will review vocabulary development as well as provide instructional activities to assure that structured literacy teachers develop students word awareness within any multisensory structured literacy program.

Session Length: 2 hours

Margie Gillis

Margie Gillis, Ed.D., CALT
Vocabulary Instruction: What words to teach and how to teach them

Margie is a Certified Academic Language Therapist and the president of Literacy How, Inc., a professional development organization that provides embedded coaching support to empower teachers with knowledge of evidence-based reading practices. She is an executive board member of the Academic Language Therapist Association and The Alliance, the co-founder and former president of Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities and the former president of the CT Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.

Given the vast number of vocabulary words students need to learn, it is critical to be deliberate in selecting words to teach. In this workshop, participants will first learn about the 'word selection grid' and how to use it as a planning tool for choosing vocabulary words to teach. Then, they will learn how to integrate the concept of 'word utility' with instructional methods and activities to teach the selected words. These methods of instruction include three dimensions: words that have multiple meanings, words that have morphological elements, and words that are part of a larger network, often associated with a specific content area.

Session Length: 2 hours

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Saturday Highlights

Timothy Odegard

Timothy N. Odegard, Ph.D., CALP
Identification of Students with Characteristics of Dyslexia in School Based Settings

Timothy Odegard is a Professor of Psychology and holds the Katherine Davis Murfree Chair of Excellence in Dyslexic Studies at MTSU. He received a B.A. degree from Hendrix College and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas. During his postdoctoral fellowship, he completed a two year dyslexia specialist training program at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Texas, becoming a Certified Academic Language Practitioner (CALP) and a licensed Dyslexia Teacher in Texas. He has taught undergraduate courses in Psychology at the University of Texas, Arlington and the University of Arkansas and graduate courses at the University of Texas, Arlington, serving on advisory committees and mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students. He has mentored McNair scholars, LSAMP scholars, and supervised numerous undergraduate honors theses. Many of the undergraduate students he mentored received local, regional and national honors for their achievements. He has also held faculty appointments with the University of Texas, Dallas and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He joined the MTSU faculty in 2015 after serving as Director of Research and Evaluation for Wilson Language Training Corporation for three years.

Dr. Odegard is a Developmental Cognitive Psychologist whose research focuses on memory and language, incorporating experimental methods and neuroimaging to understand the development of these aspects of human cognition. His research in the area of reading strives to identify factors that predict the response of individuals with dyslexia and related specific reading disabilities to intensive interventions and leverage this information to improve intervention efforts to meet the needs of these individuals. He has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense for his research. Notably, he received the Roland H. Waters Teaching Award from the University of Arkansas, Research Excellence Award from the University of Texas, Arlington, and the Innovator Award from the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council. Dr. Odegard regularly publishes peer reviewed research articles, most recently in Developmental Neuropsychology, and Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging.

Dr. Odegard serves on state and national committees and boards in the area of dyslexia and specific reading disability. He is a member of the Academic Language Therapist Association, International Dyslexia Association, and a fellow of the Psychonomics Society. He regularly speaks on topics related to dyslexia and specific reading disability for local, state and national groups.

Dyslexia laws have been enacted in over 30 states, but have these laws resulted in improved identification of individuals with dyslexia? This presentation attempts to answer this question using data from the 50 states and rates of identifying students with dyslexia in Arkansas and Texas. During the second half of the presentation, practices for identifying students with characteristics of dyslexia will be addressed. Attendees will be provided with various tools developed by the Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia to aid in the identification of students who present with characteristics of dyslexia. These tools will be modeled using case studies of students in public school settings.

Session Length: 2 hours

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Amy Elleman

Amy Elleman, Ph.D.
Constructing Meaning from Expository Texts: Strategies for Vocabulary, Inference Generation, and Text Structure

Amy Elleman is currently an assistant professor in the Ph.D. in Literacy Studies Program at Middle Tennessee State University. She earned her doctoral degree from Vanderbilt University where she became interested in designing interventions to improve comprehension, especially for children at risk of developing late emerging reading difficulties. Dr. Elleman has expertise in meta-analyses, assessment development, and designing innovative comprehension interventions. As a researcher with extensive practical experience as a teacher and administrator, Dr. Elleman is often invited to speak for audiences of educators interested in bridging the research to practice gap. Her current research focuses on understanding the most effective methods for increasing comprehension through knowledge building, vocabulary acquisition, and inference generation.

Independently learning from text becomes increasingly important as students get older. In this session, participants will learn evidence-based methods for improving students' comprehension of expository texts. This session will cover the importance of meta-cognitive strategies for increasing students' 'standards of coherence' while reading. In addition, participants will learn strategies for teaching students to construct meaning at both the micro-level and macro-level of informational texts through teaching vocabulary, promoting inference generation, and supporting text structure knowledge using graphic organizers.

Session Length: 2 hours

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