Back-to-School Literacy Conference

Back-to-School Literacy Conference

Teaching Small-Group Guided Reading: Grades K-2

Glenn Westlake Middle School, Lombard, IL

In this powerful workshop, teachers will learn how to plan and conduct differentiated small-group reading sessions that result in improved student achievement. Kristi McCullough will show teachers how to support students at their developmental levels, engage them in authentic text, and provide targeted lessons to increase students’ comprehension in both literature and informational texts.

Workshop Topics:

  • Learn how to develop a schedule where small-group reading occurs in tandem with students working independently in literacy stations.
  • Obtain ways to utilize teacher-led small groups during the reading block.
  • Understand how to interpret reading levels of students and match them with appropriate text.
  • Gain strategies to support readers at different stages of reading.
  • Learn how to tie whole-group mini-lessons to small-group instruction.
  • Learn types of before, during, and after-reading strategies and how they fit into small-group reading lessons.
  • Acquire methods for supporting readers by incorporating effective oral reading strategies.

When you leave, you’ll be able to:

  • Use small groups to support and deepen mini-lesson skills first taught during whole-class direct instruction.
  • Introduce a new text to students in a way that provides support for them to be able to decode and understand the text.
  • Increase the amount of time students spend reading the whole text.
  • Cultivate student interaction with the text during reading.
  • Organize your space and supplies to make small-group instruction both efficient and effective.
Reading Levels A-I
Learn tools and activities for teaching components of reading for the Pre-A/Emergent and Early/Beginning Stages.
  • Comprehension strategies target retelling, summarizing, and predicting.
  • Support students’ thinking about text by annotating for the group.
  • Increase fluency with attention to font, format, and punctuation.
  • Build automatic recall of phonics principles, high-frequency words, sounds, and letters.
GRADES 2-5 - DAY 3
Reading Levels J-Z
Learn tools and activities for teaching components of reading for the Transitional and Fluent Stages.
  • Comprehension strategies target summarizing key information based on text structure and inferring.
  • Support students’ thinking about text with annotation strategies and tools.
  • Solidify fluency with attention to phrasing and punctuation.
  • Analyze word parts to increase decoding and vocabulary.
  • Incorporate discussion with chapter books.

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:

Target Audience

K-5 Classroom Teachers
Literacy Coaches
Literacy Coordinators
Title I / Directors
Special Education Teachers
ELL Teachers
K-5 High-Ability Teachers
K-5 Administrators


“The workshop was packed with ideas to improve guided reading groups. Kristi's personality and energy were fun! You could see her passion for reading the way she presented!” Karly Douglas, Kindergarten Teacher, Heywood Elementary School, Troy, OH
“I have launched guided reading in my classroom, and I struggle with what to focus on with groups/individual students. This information is EXACTLY what I needed!” Olivia Raley, Grade 2, Calvary Elementary School, Lebanon, KY
“Smekens always has workshops that give me fabulous ideas and cause me to reflect on what I currently do. I can't wait to get back into the classroom.” Tracy McKee, Grade 2 Teacher, Saint Christopher School, Indianapolis, IN
"I love the immediate use of materials. I always walk away with great ideas right now!" Mary Cooper, Grade 6 Teacher, New Buffalo Middle School, New Buffalo, MI

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
Principals attend free!
With the paid registration of at least one staff member, the building principal may attend this workshop at no charge. (Registration is still required & substitutions are not permitted.)

Workshop Itinerary
7:30-8:30 a.m. — Check in & breakfast snack
8:30 a.m. — Workshop begins
11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. — Enjoy lunch on your own
12:45 p.m. — Workshop resumes
3:30 p.m. — Workshop concludes
Glenn Westlake Middle School
1514 South Main Street
Lombard, IL 60148

Lodging Recommendation:
Crown Plaza Lombard Downers Grove
1250 Roosevelt Road
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 629-6000

To secure discounted room rate, use the group code: SME and make reservations at least 30 days in advance. To book your reservations online, use this link.
Discounted Room Rate: $109

Free shuttle service is available for all teachers in attendance compliments of Crown Plaza. Service extends to a 7-mile radius of the hotel. Please make arrangements at the front desk when you check in.

If you are without a vehicle and would like to order out for lunch, consider using a popular meal-delivery app to have your lunch delivered to the school.

Professional Growth Credits

With prior approval from the attendee’s school district, participants may receive credit for 5.25 hours of professional development for each full-day session of the Back-to-School Literacy Conference. At the conclusion of each day, attendees receive a Certificate of Completion, which can be used to verify attendance. Visit our Continuing Education Credit page for more information about how this workshop fulfills your state’s unique continuing education requirements.

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 Illinois location of the Back-to-School Literacy Conference.

Graduate-Level Credit

Through a partnership with University of the Pacific, workshop attendees can earn one, two, or three nationally-accredited graduate-level semester credits for attending a workshop during the Back-to-School Literacy Conference. The cost of graduate-level credit ($62 per credit) is separate from the cost of attending a workshop. For more information, please contact us.


Cancellations may occur up to 3 days prior to the selected workshop without penalty. A refund, minus a $50 service fee, will be paid for cancellations made within 3 days of the workshop. No refund will be given to registrants who fail to provide advance notice to Smekens Education of a cancellation. Substitutions may occur at any time. However, free registration (for principals) is non-transferable.