Session: Using Word Lists/Chains, Phrases, and Sentences to Build Literacy Skills

Are you looking for ways to spice up your Structured Literacy Lessons? Join us for an engaging seminar designed to equip elementary educators with effective strategies to enhance the reading and writing skills of their students. This session will focus on utilizing word lists/chains, phrases, and sentences as powerful tools for literacy development, and will also include oral language activities suitable for kindergarten students. Some will leave this break-out room with a door prize, but everyone will leave with a repertoire of practical ideas ready to implement in their classroom.

Lee-Ann has spent over 20 years teaching in Ontario elementary schools. She has always been fascinated by the process of teaching reading and working with struggling readers. Throughout her career, she has sought experiences to help her grow her understanding of the current best practices in reading instruction. This journey has included Reading Recovery, Empower Reading, Orton Gillingham (through Fundamental Learning, Liisa Freure), Structured Literacy, and most recently, an exploration of Structured Word Inquiry. In 2022, Lee-Ann became certified by AOGPE at the Associate level. She has now resigned from teaching to focus on growing her company SyllaSense, where she writes and publishes decodable books, and shares her knowledge of structured literacy through workshops and free teacher resources. Lee-Ann Lear, OCT, A/OGA

Teaching in the TDSB for 24 years, Shari Kudsia’s journey is marked by a commitment to improving literacy education. Trained in Reading Recovery, Shari, unsatisfied with its effectiveness, explored Orton-Gillingham and SWI under Liisa Freure of Fundamental Learning. Certified by AOGPE at Classroom Educator and Associate levels, she’s facilitated dyslexia-focused workshops and courses and serves on the board of the International Dyslexia Association. In the last five years, Shari has successfully integrated structured literacy, based on SOR, into her classrooms, witnessing significant literacy improvements in all students. Shari is committed to supporting educators in their efforts to improve spelling skills and has recently launched her business, Spelliosity. Shari Kudsia, OCT, A/OGA, CE/OGA

Throughout her career, Helen has made literacy a top priority. Despite having a Reading Specialist and training in Reading Recovery, Helen noticed that many of her students encountered difficulties in both reading and writing. Introduced to SOR Instruction by the SLP at her school, she eagerly sought further knowledge. Helen pursued Orton Gillingham training and SWI with Liisa Freure at Fundamental Learning, earning her A/OGA and Classroom Educator from the Orton Gillingham Academy. Over the past five years, Helen implemented Structured Literacy in her kindergarten class, passionately advocating for explicit teaching. She conducts ongoing professional development for her staff, and welcomes classroom observations to enhance literacy support. Helen Maclean, OCT, A/OGA, CE/OGA

Mara has 21 years of diverse experience at Thunder Bay Catholic and has primarily focused on teaching beginning and struggling readers. As a mother of a child with dyslexia, Mara’s firsthand experience with learning differences drives her quest for effective teaching methods, recognizing that traditional approaches may not be suitable for all learners. Mara is an Orton Gillingham Certified Classroom Educator, is trained at the Associate Practitioner Level, coupled with a 100-hour practicum supervised by Liisa Freure, and presently studies SWI with various mentors. She has been a catalyst for positive change within her educational community. Mara demonstrates her commitment by sharing her knowledge and experience with fellow teachers, families, and teacher candidates. Mara Hockenhull, OCT, CE/OGA