Back-to-School Literacy Conference: Chicago

Back-to-School Literacy Conference: Chicago

CHICAGO, IL: August 1-4, 2017

The Back-to-School Literacy Conference offers four dynamic one-day workshops focusing on strategies to kick-start your instruction in reading and writing. Pick the days that best fit your needs. Whichever option you choose, you're sure to walk away with the tools you need to make the 2017-18 school year your best yet.


Teaching K-5 Reading: (Kristi McCullough, presenter)

AUGUST 1, 2017: An Introduction to Literacy Stations

This powerful workshop is designed to help K-5 teachers create a plan for launching and leading literacy stations during the daily reading block. Before students can be academically engaged in literacy stations, they first need to understand their own roles and responsibilities during independent learning time. This workshop will start with strategies for setting expectations, building routines, and creating procedures at the beginning of the school year. Attendees will receive a day-by-day plan for starting this process beginning with the first week of school.

AUGUST 2, 2017: Launching an Effective K-5 Reading Block

This workshop will equip teachers with research-based strategies for how to start up a daily reading block that balances three key components: whole-class instruction, literacy stations, and small-group teaching.  Reading expert Kristi McCullough will show teachers how to plan for whole-class comprehension mini-lessons that spin off into purposeful and targeted small-group instruction. By day’s end, attendees walk away with a classroom-tested  "road map” for how to effectively integrate the three components of the reading block.

Can't attend in Chicago? Reading series also available in:
Merrillville, IN

Teaching K-12 Writing: (Kristina Smekens, presenter)

AUGUST 3, 2017:
Launching the Writer's Workshop (W1)

Many teachers have confessed that they struggle to get their writer’s workshop off the ground. What should I do the first weeks of school? What are key lessons to jumpstart my writing curriculum? How fast or slow should I move? Regardless of the writing model you’re currently using, this full-day workshop provides participants with a powerful framework of lessons that can help launch their writing year. Throughout the day, attendees will have the opportunity to plot and plan their own instructional calendar for teaching writing during the first six weeks of school. Teachers walk out the door at the end of the workshop ready to go with their own blueprints in hand!

AUGUST 4, 2017:
Teaching Writing Skills All Year Long (W2)

After you’ve devised a plan to launch your writer’s workshop during the first weeks of school, the next step is to look ahead toward the rest of the year. This full-day workshop is designed to guide K-12 teachers through the planning of a yearlong writing curriculum, incorporating mini-lessons, literature, and assessment within a variety of writing units and genres. Kristina will provide lesson plan examples for multiple writing units, then she'll reveal her framework for developing writing units on your own.

Can't attend in Chicago? Writing series also available in:
Merrillville, IN


What are teachers saying about the Back-to-School Literacy Conference?

“I’m excited about getting school started now!” M. Wood

“Everything was totally relevant, practical, & ready to implement. Exactly what teachers need!” S. Hollstegge

“I think the Smekens approach is highly effective.” C. Blake

Graduate Credit

Thanks to a partnership with the Midwest Teachers Institute, workshop attendees can earn three hours of nationally-accredited graduate credit. The cost of graduate credit is $300 for each 3-hour course.

Registration information will be shared during the 10 a.m. break of each workshop. After the workshop, attendees have 2 weeks to apply their training hours to the program. The cost of graduate credit is separate from the cost of attending a workshop.

Call Smekens Education toll free to learn more.

Attend one day:
$225 (Early Bird)  |  $250 (Standard)

Attend two days:
$425 (Early Bird) | $450 (Standard)

Attend three days:
$625 (Early Bird)  |  $650 (Standard)

Attend four days:
$800 (Early Bird) | $825 (Standard)


Discounts available!

  • Register at least 15 days in advance and save!
  • Register for more than one day and save!
  • For teams of 3+: Save $6 per person
  • For teams of 10+: Contact our office for a 10% savings

Belvedere Events & Banquets

1170 West Devon Avenue
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
(847) 534-0600

Lodging Recommendation:
Country Inn & Suites
1160 West Devon Avenue
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
(847) 985-0101

*To secure discounted room rate, mention Smekens Education and make reservations at least 30 days in advance.

Professional Growth Credits

Certified educators can earn professional growth credits for attending a Smekens Education workshop. All workshop attendees receive a certificate of participation for 5.5 hours of professional development for each one-day workshop. Visit our Continuing Education Credit page to learn more.

Illinois-Specific Credit

As an approved professional development subcontractor, Smekens Education is happy to provide all Illinois teachers with state-approved professional development credit for attending the Elk Grove Village, IL location of the Back-to-School Literacy Conference.