Build stronger readers & writers

Learn classroom-tested strategies for building stronger readers and writers during our Super Saturday conferences. Each event features a full day of breakout-style sessions tailored to the unique skills educators need to be successful in today’s classroom environment.

After you attend each Super Saturday, you will be equipped with strategies that you can integrate into your lesson plans right away. Plus, you can continue learning with on-demand access to the recordings of every session for an entire year starting from the event date!


Enjoy 50+ fun and engaging sessions.


Participate from the comfort of your home or school.


Interact live with presenters during every session.


Earn up to 40 hours of continuing education credit.


Learn to deliver explicit reading & writing instruction.


Access a huge collection of digital resources.

November 18, 2023

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET

Topics include vocabulary & word study, comprehension standards, reader thinking, text-based responses, and content-area reading.

February 17, 2024

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET

Topics include management, unit essentials, mini-lessons, writing about reading, and assessment.

Enjoy 50+ fun
and engaging sessions

Participate from the comfort
of your home or school

Interact live with presenters
during every session

Earn up to 40 hours of
continuing education credit

Learn to deliver explicit reading & writing instruction.

Access a huge collection
of digital resources

Save 30% when you register for both events

Super Saturday Combo


Attend Nov. 18 reading conference


Attend Feb. 17 writing conference


Earn up to 40 hours of CE credit


Save 30% off standard rates

Reading Conference Session Descriptions

November 18, 2023


Reading lessons redefined

In an era when distractions and disruptions are commonplace, delivering effective whole-class lessons is a persistent challenge. To overcome that challenge, teachers need the tools to make their lessons explicit and engaging. During her kickoff to Super Saturday, Kristina Smekens will redefine the traditional idea of a reading “lesson” and equip attendees with the motivation and methodology they need to begin using this instructional time to build better readers.

PRESENTER: Kristina Smekens

Vocabulary & Word Study

Recognize the stages of word work

Advance students through the hierarchy of phonics development.

  • Assess individual students to determine needs.
  • Receive 8 developmental activities to know and use sounds.
  • Honor the scope and sequence of phonics skills.
Ramp up root-word instruction

Grow vocabulary knowledge exponentially with explicit lessons on prefixes, suffixes, and bases.

  • Apply the generative principle to word study.
  • Unlock the meaning with direct instruction.
  • Develop and refine understanding with visuals and word play.
Master vocabulary with Marzano’s six steps

Provide whole-class mini-lessons on domain-specific vocabulary following Marzano’s research-based steps to mastery.

  • Learn the purpose behind each of Marzano’s six interactive steps and how they build.
  • Receive numerous strategies to ensure that students own and utilize new vocabulary.
  • Access vocabulary notebook templates.
Crack the code on functional vocabulary

Recognize the direct relationship between knowing general academic words and accurately decoding a prompt.

  • Demonstrate the impact that subtle word choice has on the answer.
  • Select 10-15 functional words per grade level.
  • Decode academic vocabulary in prompts.
Construct grade-level vocabulary lists

Learn the 4-step process for building a grade-level list of domain-specific and general academic words.

  • Generate initial grade-specific lists per subject area.
  • Learn ways to pare down the lists to prioritize essential words.
  • Revise and align lists to build across grade levels.

Comprehension Standards

Advance beyond retelling/summarizing in literature

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts to advance readers from retelling to summarizing to inferring the theme.

  • Recognize the sophisticated details hidden within each story element.
  • Learn to retell/summarize stories sequentially and succinctly.
  • Identify the three categories of lessons and themes.
Track ideas across a story

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts to teach readers how to track individual story elements and analyze their relationships.

  • Discern between tracking versus summarizing.
  • Track a character & infer his traits.
  • Analyze the impact of character & setting on plot.
Understand how text structure impacts comprehension

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts to understand the connection between an author’s purpose and the text’s organizational structure.

  • Recognize the structure of all stories.
  • Identify the six ways to organize informational text.
  • See the what-and-why organization in persuasive texts.
Differentiate between the perspective & point of view of texts

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts to determine character feelings in literature, infer author’s perspective in informational text, and analyze points of view of both.

  • Track the different perspectives of characters in the same scene/story.
  • Infer the perspective of a poem’s speaker or story’s narrator.
  • Compare authors’ accounts about the same event or topic.
Learn the secret to comparing texts

Acquire a scaffold of lesson concepts that move readers from analyzing individual ideas to comparing whole texts.

  • Dissect the compare-contrast expectations within the standards.
  • Retrain students to utilize the T-Chart over the Venn Diagram.
  • Learn and execute the 3-step comparative process.

Reader Thinking

Honor all components identified within the science of reading

Understand that phonics and decoding must be taught in conjunction with comprehension and meaning—and vice versa.

  • Understand how the 5 components of reading—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension—are dependent on one another.
  • Dissect the individual components of a typical reading block to denote those that address decoding versus comprehension.
  • Acquire fluency lesson ideas that go beyond reading rate to target phrasing, expression, and more.
Demystify context clues

Go beyond telling students to use context clues by explicitly teaching what clues to look for, where to look for them, and how to apply them.

  • Introduce types of clues authors provide.
  • Apply context clues during reading.
  • Provide various experiences for practice.
Teach inferring in 5 steps

Introduce how the Reading Voice and Thinking Voice work together to figure out something the author never stated.

  • Use both voices to make an inference.
  • Reveal the inference process within a growing anchor chart.
  • Apply the 5-step inference process to print, visual, audio, and video texts.
Infer despite a lack of background knowledge

Provide strategies for readers to approximate answers even without personal experience.

  • Create a classroom climate rooted in evidence.
  • Define what makes a text detail “relevant.”
  • Activate more than text-to-self connections.
Annotate & note-take to improve comprehension

Equip readers with various ways to record their thoughts about authors’ ideas.

  • Discern between annotation versus note-taking.
  • Make notes within one text and across multiple sources.
  • Scaffold skills for primary students and struggling readers.

Text-Based Responses

Equip readers from the first day to test day

Identify a yearlong scaffold of write-about-reading skills needed to be game-day ready.

  • Understand the culminating performance tasks required on most state assessments.
  • Receive a yearlong scaffold of essential literacy skills organized by semester.
  • Learn how to blend comprehension with write-about-reading instruction.
Write about texts in the primary grades

Recognize the essential ingredients in a written response—regardless of the developmental stage.

  • Recognize the developmental stages within persuasive, informative, and narrative writing.
  • Think beyond a retell and expect what and why in text-based responses.
  • Learn developmentally-appropriate writing skills that include textual evidence in pictures, labels, and simple sentences.
Improve constructed-response writing

Target the essential components that need to be included in a polished constructed response—evidence, elaboration, and explanation.

  • Connect any acronym (e.g., RACE) to the requirements of all constructed responses.
  • Acquire a sequence of skills to teach across several mini-lessons.
  • Observe a constructed response developed from an oral answer to a polished paragraph.
Synthesize to produce extended responses

Demonstrate a deep understanding after reading multiple texts on the same topic.

  • Teach the synthesis process in two separate steps.
  • Support student attempts to combine multiple ideas together.
  • Generate extended responses that fit various writing genres.
Target 4 types of narrative reading responses

Examine common narrative writing prompts students face on standardized reading assessments.

  • Review the core ingredients of any narrative.
  • Study four narrative-prompt types that spin out of reading passages.
  • Understand how text evidence is applied in narrative-response writing.

Content-Area Reading

Redefine research experiences

Identify frequent and authentic opportunities for students to execute research in the everyday classroom.

  • Discern between traditional research papers versus simulated-research tasks.
  • Recognize authentic reasons to research.
  • Emphasize the research process over the end product.
Understand the unique skills of subject-area reading

Learn precisely how texts and purposes vary when reading in math, ELA, science, and social studies.

  • Identify common text types inherent to different subject areas.
  • Adjust reading purposes for each content area.
  • Learn to overcome reader challenges associated with content-area texts.
Move beyond identifying text features

More than naming types of text features, emphasize the purposes behind the inclusion of these organizational aids.

  • Identify the three purposes text features serve.
  • Apply text features before, during, and after reading.
  • Recognize what grade levels introduce which text features.
Apply comprehension strategies when solving word problems

Teach the technical and close-reading skills needed to comprehend story problems in math.

  • Model how to closely read every story problem three times.
  • Adjust reader habits to think like a mathematician.
  • Translate numbers and symbols to find the story in the problem.
Dive deep into digital texts

Teach students what the Reading Voice says, sees, and hears when “reading” audio, visual, and video texts.

  • Alter students’ mindsets & mental efforts.
  • Define what counts as text evidence in various formats.
  • Overcome common reader struggle points.

Writing Conference Session Descriptions

February 17, 2024


Writing for life

Finding time for writing during the school day requires more than announcing journal topics and assigning bell-ringers. In fact, for students to grow as writers, they need explicit instruction and time to practice in both the writer’s workshop and the reading block.

During the keynote presentation, learn how to build lifelong writers by providing students with standards-based instruction that marries reading and writing and prepares students for success on standardized tests and in life.

PRESENTER: Kristina Smekens


Lead a writer's workshop

To build writers, it’s not a matter of choosing between the Six Traits, the writing process, state standards, or even the writer’s workshop model. All of these components need to occur in tandem. Every writer needs explicit instruction, in-class time to try the skill, and an opportunity to receive feedback. During this session, learn how to incorporate all of these facets within the core components of the writer’s workshop.

PRESENTER: Rachel Remenschneider

Assign writing-time tasks

Students get better at writing when they have an opportunity to experiment with a newly-taught writing skill. This experience occurs during the “You-do” portion of the writer’s workshop. During this session, collect practical ideas for engaging students in purposeful writing tasks after the mini-lesson.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels
PRESENTER: Courtney Gordon

Help students to write more

Although strong writing includes all Six Traits, the first hurdle is to teach students how to write more. This session focuses on the trait of ideas with explicit lessons on developing a topic, adding details, and incorporating evidence. These strategies will increase the length of students’ writing and also grow their writer stamina.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels
PRESENTER: Kristina Smekens

Teach with mentor texts

The power of mentor text is that students read and analyze the qualities of strong writing before they are expected to apply those same qualities within their own products. This session reveals the do’s and don’ts of incorporating picture books, exemplar papers, and real-world texts into your mini-lessons.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels
PRESENTER: Rachel Remenschneider

Foster independent writers

When the writer’s workshop is anchored in strong procedures, it sets the stage for building student independence. This session offers practical strategies for handling the “I’m done” writer,  the “I need help” learner, and the “I’m stuck on spelling” student. Learn several routines and procedures that build writer stamina and student independence, regardless of their age or grade level.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels
PRESENTER: Kristina Smekens

Unit Essentials

Write in the primary grades

Learn how to guide beginning writers through the four stages of development. This session will focus on cultivating skills in drawing, labeling, listing, and sentence-writing. In addition, learn how persuasive, informative, and narrative writing are represented within each of these stages and fit within a yearlong calendar of K-2 writing instruction.

AUDIENCE: K-2, ELL Levels 1-2
PRESENTER: Kristina Smekens

Plan the year of writing units

Teachers at all levels are expected to provide writing experiences across the three major modes—argumentative, informative, and narrative. However, this does not have to include a single mother-lode unit for each mode that spans weeks and ends with a final draft. Participants in this session leave with a calendar suggesting a progression of skills taught across the year in mini-units.

AUDIENCE: 2-12, ELL Levels 3-5
PRESENTER: Kristi McCullough

Target informative writing skills

Learn the most essential writing lessons to embed into any informative writing unit. These include knowing how to pull information from sources, gather and organize the important details, identify a topic/thesis statement, and present interesting facts and expert quotes.

AUDIENCE: 3-12, ELL Levels 3-5
PRESENTER: Shona Lansdell

Meet the argumentative standard

Before a writer can craft a solid argument that shows two perspectives, he first needs to know how to write persuasively from a single point of view. During this session, learn the subtle, but significant differences between persuasive and argumentative writing. After an explicit description of each, receive lesson ideas for crafting powerful persuasives and sophisticated arguments.

AUDIENCE: 3-12, ELL Levels 3-5
PRESENTER: Kristi McCullough

Know the narrative non-negotiables

Although narrative writing is the third writing mode listed in the standards, it does have a place in today’s classrooms and tomorrow’s careers. This session first digs into the two required elements of every story—generating the problem and crafting its solution. It also provides strategies for improving narratives in response to reading.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels
PRESENTER: Courtney Gordon


Master the mini-lesson

Highly-effective teaching occurs when educators deliver explicit instruction on standards-based skills during a 10-15 minute whole-class mini-lesson. In this session, learn how to deliver focused and engaging mini-lessons that follow the 4-step process and honor the gradual release of responsibility.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels
PRESENTER: Shona Lansdell

Model a strong example

The most effective writing mini-lessons follow the gradual release of responsibility starting with a strong teacher demonstration and Think Aloud. These teacher tools provide a framework that helps students understand the end goal and the steps required. In this session, learn how to perfect this “I-do” portion of every mini-lesson by moving beyond telling what to teaching how.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels
PRESENTER: Kristina Smekens

Integrate writing into all subjects

In order to write well in math, science, and social studies, the standards require explicit instruction be taught in every content area. This session will show attendees how they can punctuate students’ subject-area learning with short and powerful writing experiences. This includes providing discipline-specific writing instruction, assigning relevant writing tasks, and assessing content accuracy with first-draft writing skills.

AUDIENCE: 2-12, ELL Levels 3-5
PRESENTER: Rachel Remenschneider

Teach the purpose & impact of grammar

Convention instruction must go beyond memorizing rules. Rather, the instruction should focus on the purpose, function, and impact the grammar skill has on a sentence’s overall message. This session outlines several ways to make your initial grammar lessons more powerful, more visual, and more memorable.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels
PRESENTER: Shona Lansdell

Improve math writing

The expectation to write short responses in language arts is well known—but this is also an important component in today’s math class. Beyond showing their work and providing the correct answer, students also have to explain their thinking in writing. This session reveals mini-lesson concepts that target core writing skills needed in math.

AUDIENCE: 2-12, ELL Levels 3-5
PRESENTER: Bridget Longmeier

Write About Reading

Make inferences in 5 steps

Reading comprehension is no longer assessed with literal questions that have right-there answers. Now students must face text-dependent questions that require them to make an inference and support it with evidence. This session demystifies this abstract concept into a concrete, 5-step process.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels
PRESENTER: Kristi McCullough

Write polished constructed responses

Evidence, elaboration, and explanation are the essential components that need to be included in a polished constructed response. During this session, learn engaging strategies to help students make an inference and embed these essential elements every time they encounter a constructed-response prompt.

AUDIENCE: 3-12, ELL Levels 3-5
PRESENTER: Rachel Remenschneider

Teach both reader & writer workshops in K-2

Acquire numerous lesson ideas to teach pictorial, labeling, listing, and sentence-writing skills within a daily writer’s workshop. In addition, learn how to integrate those same skills within the write-about-reading lessons taught during the reading block.

AUDIENCE: K-2, ELL Levels 1-2
PRESENTER: Kristi McCullough

Synthesize before writing

Traditional research units are time consuming. However, learning to gather, organize, and present information from multiple sources is essential. This session will unveil short research experiences that teach students how to record details from individual texts and synthesize ideas across them.

AUDIENCE: 3-12, ELL Levels 3-5
PRESENTER: Courtney Gordon

Improve extended responses

Extended-reading responses require students to know how to supersize and stack constructed responses. In this session, attendees learn how to teach students to generate strong, multi-paragraph responses that fit a variety of persuasive/argumentative, informative, and narrative read-write prompts.

AUDIENCE: 3-12, ELL Levels 3-5
PRESENTER: Shona Lansdell


Assess based on instruction

When writing assessment is directly tied to instruction, students get to practice a skill while it’s fresh, and teachers can focus on meaningful feedback rather than draining their red pens. In this session, learn how to use the Six Traits of Writing to frame writing lessons and the assessments that follow. Then learn strategies for when to score for particular traits and when to assess all of them.

AUDIENCE: 2-12, ELL Levels 3-5
PRESENTER: Courtney Gordon

Build rubrics with young writers

Students need a tool that defines “good” writing and identifies what the teacher wants. Rubrics accomplish this. However, a rubric must be kid-friendly. Five-year-olds and/or ELLs have to be able to “read” it. This session will reveal strategies to create and grow a rubric with students that is visual and includes simple language that the youngest writers understand.

AUDIENCE: K-2, ELL Levels 1-2
PRESENTER: Shona Lansdell

Build rubrics with older writers

This session will reveal how 6-Trait rubrics are incorporated into the intermediate and secondary writing curriculum. Additionally, teachers will learn how to create a “kid-friendly” rubric, update the rubric as writers grow, and apply the same rubric to different writing products.

AUDIENCE: 2-12, ELL Levels 3-5
PRESENTER: Courtney Gordon

Tally points & calculate grades

Using the Six Traits of Writing as the framework to assess student work is a logical spinoff of trait-based instruction. But converting a Six-Traits rubric to points, and ultimately a letter grade, can seem like a barrier. In this session, learn how to assign value to each trait being assessed and then convert writing scores to grades.

AUDIENCE: 2-12, ELL Levels 3-5
PRESENTER: Kristina Smekens

Provide frequent feedback

Students grow as writers when they are given feedback that is prompt, purposeful, precise, and personal. In this session, learn how to hold conferences and provide students with feedback via compliments and comments.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels
PRESENTER: Kristi McCullough

Why should I attend PD on a Saturday?

Let’s face it—teachers are being stretched to the limit, and weekends are a cherished pocket of personal time. So why would you want to attend a full-day workshop on a Saturday?

Super Saturdays are going to be super fun! With free digital giveaways and periodic prize drawings, everyone will be a winner.

You will learn so many practical, ready-to-use strategies, you’ll be excited to return to school on Monday.


Substitute teachers are virtually nonexistent at most schools, making mid-week attendance nearly impossible. Even if you could find a sub, attending on a Saturday means no sub plans!

Attending on a Saturday allows you to participate from the comfort of your own home.

Don’t want to give up your Saturdays? No problem! Register anyway so that you have on-demand access to both conferences after each live event concludes.

Earn Completion Certificate

Earn continuing education credit

Receive a completion certificate for every session that you view, totaling up to 20 hours per conference

A Five-Star Event

Read what Super Saturday attendees had to say about their experience.

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What You Will Get

Recordings from Every Session

Your learning won’t stop once the conference is over with on-demand access to the recordings of every session for an entire year!

Handouts from Every Session

Gain access to ready-to-print, full-color, strategy-packed downloadable handouts for every breakout session!

Lifetime Access to the “Secret Site”

Your registration includes lifetime access to classroom-ready digital resources on our members-only Access site.


Ready-to-go Digital Resources

Downloadable Lessons
Blackline Masters
Related Video Content
Links to Helpful Websites

Meet the Presenters

Kristina Smekens

About Kristina

Kristina has a gift for making the complex seem simple—for showing teachers how to meet the needs of readers and writers by bridging the gap between education research and practical, classroom-tested strategies that work.

A master of motivation, Kristina helps educators find the encouragement they need to return to their classrooms and execute change.

Courtney Gordon

About Courtney

Known both for her enthusiasm and expertise, Courtney is a dynamic personality who makes friends fast and serves as a trusted guide to teachers across the K-12 spectrum.

With more than 10 years of experience as a Smekens literacy consultant, Courtney has the expertise to support teachers at every level of implementation.

Shona Lansdell

Shona Lansdell

About Shona

Always approachable and empathetic, Shona taps into her 25 years of experience as a teacher, coach, and building leader to offer practical and realistic guidance to teachers.

This professional development dynamo packs a punch with crowds of all sizes as she motivates educators to apply best-practice literacy strategies.

Kristi McCullough

Kristi McCullough

About Kristi

Teachers love the authentic, “from-the-trenches” insight that Kristi McCullough offers during her professional development sessions with K-6 teachers.

Her rich experiences as a teacher, professor, coach, author, and literacy consultant allow Kristi to offer practical, classroom-tested support to elementary educators.

Rachel Remenschneider

Rachel Remenschneider

About Rachel

Always developing her craft and expanding her knowledge, Rachel Remenschneider is driven by the desire to make a difference.

While working as a fourth-grade teacher at Leo Elementary, Rachel made a difference with her students by continuing with a new brand of school after COVID-19 caused a fast pivot for teachers, students, and families.

Bridget Longmeier

Bridget Longmeier

About Bridget

Bridget loves to learn, grow, and help others. That’s why she’s so motivated to come alongside teachers as they execute best-practice instruction in reading and writing.

Bridget’s career as an elementary teacher, literacy coach and Reading Recovery-trained practitioner has equipped her with the skills to help new and experienced educators alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I earn Professional Growth Credits?

With prior approval from your school district, you may receive credit for up to 20 hours of credit for each conference. After you watch a session in its entirety, you will receive a personalized completion certificate.

Visit our Continuing Education Credit page for more information about how these conferences fulfill your state’s unique continuing education requirements.

Can I earn Graduate-Level Units?

Through a partnership with University of the Pacific, conference attendees are eligible to pursue one, two, or three nationally-accredited graduate-level semester credits/units after each virtual event.

The cost of graduate-level credit ($62 per credit/unit) is separate from the cost of attending a workshop. For more information, please contact us.

What is the conference itinerary?

The Super Saturday Reading conference will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, November 18.

The Super Saturday Writing conference will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 17.

Can I share access with my colleagues?

Sorry, sharing your personalized link to participate in the conferences is not allowed. Doing so will trigger a block on your access. Our Terms of Use specify that one registration fee allows access for just one person. However, we are happy to offer group discounts! Give us a call at (888) 376-0448 to get the details.

Will these conferences be recorded?

Yes, you can watch the replays of all sessions on demand for an entire year! After your video access ends, you’ll still have lifetime access to the digital resources on the Super Saturday Secret Sites.

Will I receive a note-taking handout?
Yes! Every session will have its own note-taking handout. Attendees will receive an email a few days before each conference with instructions on how to download all of the handouts.
What is the cancellation policy?

Cancellations may occur at any time and a full refund, minus up to 5% transaction fees, will be paid.

Substitutions may occur at any time. If you need to cancel your registration, please submit your request to [email protected].

Reignite your reading & writing instruction during Super Saturday!

Have a Question?

Complete the form below or call (888) 376-0448.