New strategies for teaching reading & writing
The Literacy Retreat has become known as the "shot in the arm" K-12 teachers crave to strengthen their own instruction in reading and writing. Over the course of two days, attendees collect brand new strategies for teaching reading and writing during eight distinct sessions.
Why attend the Literacy Retreat?
The Literacy Retreat is a professional "getaway" for teachers…a time to rethink and recharge…a chance to learn from experts who are passionate about teaching reading and writing. But what makes this event worth your time and money?
This is no pie-in-the-sky, theory workshop. The Retreat offers down-to-earth, practical strategies that can be applied right away.Relevant
Teachers will walk away with a clearer understanding of Common Core literacy standards and strategies to achieve those requirements in the classroom.Applicable
Retreat topics apply to teachers from kindergarten through high school. Each session includes skills, strategies, and examples from a broad range of grade levels.Inspiring
The Literacy Retreat inspires teachers and provides them with the tools and confidence to implement new ideas within their own classroom instruction.
8:30 a.m. — 3:30 p.m. • Continental breakfast & lunch buffet included
As teachers embrace the power of directing students back to the text for a close reading, the challenge becomes how to implement this strategy effectively. This session will help teachers plan for meaningful close reading that results in deep understanding. INSTRUCTOR: KRISTINA SMEKENS
- Obtain strategies for choosing texts judiciously.
- Recognize the different purposes, facets, and emotions associated with repeated readings.
- Learn how to plan text-dependent questions to target different comprehension strategies.
It’s one thing to have students engage in a "close read.” But how do teachers know if students reached a deep understanding of the content? This session will target formative and performance assessments that can be employed as students work through a close reading of challenging text. INSTRUCTOR: KRISTINA SMEKENS
- Identify ways to provide immediate feedback while students are reading.
- Learn along-the-way assessments that indicate to what degree students are comprehending.
- Obtain ideas for how to respond when assessments reveal students are not understanding the reading.
When students have the skills to write a well-developed first draft, they are better prepared to tackle both standardized assessments and everyday writing. In this session, attendees will learn fun and varied ways to push students toward crafting first drafts that include rich ideas and logical organization. INSTRUCTOR: KRISTINA SMEKENS
- Identify the types of details appropriate for a first draft.
- Learn how to employ pre-writing strategies that tap into students’ background knowledge.
- Reveal organizational approaches that can help generate more ideas and details.
Although students may easily imagine literature and stories, visualizing informational texts can be more challenging. This session will unveil explicit instructional strategies to help students "see” information related to content-area subjects and abstract concepts. INSTRUCTOR: COURTNEY GORDON
- Understand how to scaffold reading skills to improve visualization.
- Obtain mini-lesson ideas for teaching visualization of informational text.
- Learn ways to apply students’ visualization skills from literature to informational text.
8:30 a.m. — 3:30 p.m. • Continental breakfast & lunch buffet included
In the age of iPads, Kindles, smart phones, and online assessments, students have to be equipped with skills to navigate beyond a printed passage. In this session, attendees will learn practical strategies for teaching comprehension of visual and digital texts, regardless of what types of technology are available in the classroom. INSTRUCTOR: KRISTI McCULLOUGH
- Identify the types of text that are considered "visual” or "digital.”
- Learn the skills and abilities readers need to comprehend visual and digital texts.
- Obtain ways to incorporate multimodal and digitally-based texts into an already packed curriculum.
Teachers need innovative ways to integrate expository writing in order to meet the Common Core expectation that students question and research every day. In this session, attendees will learn how to utilize nonfiction notebooks to record, analyze, and write about informational text. INSTRUCTOR: KRISTINA SMEKENS
- Learn lesson concepts to teach students to document their thinking about informational text.
- Obtain strategies for using nonfiction notebooks to explore ideas, deepen thinking, and reflect on key concepts.
- Identify ways to utilize nonfiction notebooks as an assessment of student comprehension.
As instructional time for writing gets gobbled up by ever-changing priorities, finding ways to incorporate purposeful writing can be a challenge. In this session, learn how short and powerful writing experiences can punctuate learning across the curriculum. INSTRUCTOR: KRISTINA SMEKENS
- Recognize opportunities for short and powerful writing experiences in your daily schedule.
- Identify the universal skills applicable to all modes of writing versus those skills unique to expository writing.
- Target the essential skills associated with different types of short and powerful writing.
Research reveals that when students can identify similarities and differences through comparative analysis, their achievement soars. Knowing the 3 phases of comparative thinking, teachers can lead students toward deep understanding of any topic. INSTRUCTOR: KRISTINA SMEKENS
- Increase reading comprehension by teaching students how to identify the important details.
- Learn organizational strategies to support students’ compare-contrast writing.
- Examine a range of student work that demonstrates comparative thinking.
Continuing Education Credits
With prior approval from the attendee’s school district, participants may receive credit for 11 hours of professional development for attending the Literacy Retreat. More information about how this workshop fulfills your state’s unique continuing education requirements can be found on our continuing education page.
For an additional fee, participants in this workshop are eligible to earn up to three hours of graduate credit from Purdue University-Calumet.
Look for additional information to be posted here regarding the course assignment and due dates.
Graduate credit options:
Retreat Syllabus--1-Credit Option
Retreat Syllabus--2-Credit Option
Participants may opt for 1, 2, or 3 credit hours for attending the Retreat.
Completion of both the 1-credit assignment and the 2-credit assignment results in 3 credits earned.
Call Smekens Education toll free to learn more.
Dates & Locations
8670 West State Road 56 | French Lick, IN 47342
100 Drury Lane | Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
240 U.S. 20 | Middlebury, IN 46540
Title I Teachers
K-12 Gifted & Talented Teachers
K-12 Principals & Assistant Principals
"100% valuable! 100% motivating!"D. Carlson
"Great for all grades—even K!" K. Niepokoj
"Great for all grades—even K!"