Launching an Effective K-5 Reading Block: Chicago

Launching an Effective K-5 Reading Block: Chicago

CHICAGO, IL: August 2, 2017

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.

Training Topics:
  • Acquire ways to concretely introduce a comprehension strategy through visual icons and teacher modeling.
  • Learn how to scaffold direct instruction so that skills are introduced to the whole class and then reinforced in the small-group setting.
  • Learn how to introduce literature and informational text so that students can access text successfully, regardless of genre.  
  • Learn before, during, and after-reading strategies and how they fit into a small-group reading lesson.
  • Examine methods for supporting readers by incorporating oral reading strategies other than "round robin” style.
  • Recognize how to align reading instruction to grade-level specific standards.

When you leave, you’ll be able to:
  • Make reading lessons more visual with anchor charts, Think Alouds, and more.
  • Engage students in lessons that incorporate text from many genres.
  • Notice and name text features to give students many ways to access information in informational text.
  • Introduce fluency strategies that correlate with the Fluency Station.
  • Execute an Interactive Read Aloud to engage students in practicing comprehension strategies with mentor text.
  • Use data to form small groups based on student need.
  • Select texts that allow for differentiated small-group reading instruction.
  • Increase the amount of time students spend reading the whole text.

Free follow-up training video:

  • Teachers who attend this Reading Block workshop will be given a complimentary one-month subscription to Kristi's matching video on webPD, Leading an Effective Reading Block (K-5).
  • During the complimentary subscription period, teachers are encouraged to share access with every colleague in their school, allowing the entire staff to learn key concepts from the workshop.

Workshop Excerpts:


K-5 Classroom Teachers    
Literacy Coaches
Literacy Coordinators    
Title I Teachers / Directors
Special Education Teachers
ELL Teachers
K-5 Gifted & Talented Teachers
K-5 Administrators

“I really feel like a light switch has come on with my understanding of the whole reading block & its effectiveness! I have been using Thinking Strategies for several years now, but I absolutely love the way the comprehension strategies were introduced during the workshop. It really makes sense! Everything started clicking for me!” J. Burchett
“It will help me better organize my reading class. It will help me make sure that I provide valuable work for my kindergartners.” B. Isaacs
“Makes me feel prepared and motivated to set up my reading block.” L. Utley
“The organization and implementation of reading block structure and procedures will help me be efficient and more confident.” S. Kamp
“Leaving with concrete plans and activities.” C. McNary
“I love the materials that are included in the packet. I also like how Kristi taught us HOW to implement what we learned into our classrooms.” T. Shonborn
“This content will help me plan and group small groups in all subject areas.” B. Burger
“Wow! I’m walking away with wonderful mini-lesson ideas and an overview. Lesson focus is essential, but you’ve taken this one level deeper in sequentially making sure ALL aspects of reading skills are covered equally!” L. Capatosto
“I had an epiphany today…I can now mesh the basal, guided reading, and centers. I can’t wait to go back and tell my staff! Thank you!” R. Taylor
“I feel more confident about launching a reading block to meet more individual student needs.” N. Krug
“Great examples and real-life application. As a reading specialist who does pull-outs with one classroom at a time, I can use these ideas to help teachers plan.” M. Robinette

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.

Kristi's Mug Shot


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.