2020 Literacy Retreat

2020 Literacy Retreat

The 2020 Smekens Literacy Retreat is a professional “getaway” for teachers…a time to rethink and recharge…a chance to learn best practice literacy strategies that can be applied right away. During six powerful sessions over two days, attendees will acquire the tools and the motivation to address some of today's biggest challenges in teaching reading and writing.

Why attend the Literacy Retreat?

It's Practical: This is no pie-in-the-sky, theory workshop. The Retreat offers down-to-earth, practical strategies that can be applied right away.
It's Relevant: Teachers will walk away with a clearer understanding of today's literacy standards and strategies to achieve those requirements in the classroom.
It's Applicable: Retreat topics apply to teachers from elementary through high school. Each session includes skills, strategies, and examples from a broad range of grade levels.
It's Inspiring: The Literacy Retreat inspires teachers and provides them with the tools and confidence to implement new ideas within their own classroom instruction.
Over the course of two days, attendees collect brand new strategies for teaching reading and writing during six distinct sessions. Each day will include a continental breakfast and a lunch buffet.

Pick your destination!

This year's Literacy Retreat will be offered at four unique venues, perfectly suited to provide a balance of learning, relaxation, and fun.

French Lick Springs Hotel—June 9-10, 2020

Established in the mid-1800s, French Lick Springs Hotel attracted guests from around the world to experience the "miracle waters" of its nearby sulfur springs. Now this classic hotel and its beautiful gardens have been restored to their famed charm and grandeur.

French Lick Springs Hotel
8670 West State Road 56
French Lick, IN 47432

Use this customized link to secure the discounted room rate. To book your room by phone, call (888) 936-9360 and use group code 0620SME. Please make reservations at least 30 days in advance.

Shipshewana Event Center—June 16-17, 2020

Located in the heart of Indiana's Amish country, the Shipshewana Event Center is also at the heart of over 150 retail shops. The small town of Shipshewana attracts half a million visitors a year and is home to one of the largest flea markets in the country.

Shipshewana Town Event Center
760 S. Van Buren Street
Shipshewana, IN 46565
Blue Gate Garden Inn
105 E. Middlebury Street
Shipshewana, IN 46565
(888) 447-4725 | (260) 768-4725

To receive the discounted room rate, please use this link and promo code: SMEKENS061620. Or, call the hotel at (260) 768-4725 and provide the group code: SMEKENS061620. Please make reservations at least 30 days in advance.

Hilton Columbus/Polaris—June 22-23, 2020

Within shuttle service of Polaris Fashion Place and other Columbus attractions, this award-winning hotel offers easy access to after-hour options for individuals and families. Modern amenities mix with classic style to offer the perfect place to unwind and recharge.

Hilton Columbus/Polaris
8700 Lyra Drive
Columbus, OH 43240

Discounted room rates will be available soon. To book your room by phone, call (614) 885-1600. Please make reservations at least 30 days in advance.

Drury Lane Conference Center—June 25-26, 2020

Home to one of the area's premier theatres, the Drury Lane Conference Center is conveniently located in Chicago's western suburbs, just minutes away from O'Hare International and Midway airports.

Drury Lane Conference Center
100 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181


Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Suites
10 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(800) 445-8667

Please use this customized link to make reservations for discounted rooms at the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Suites. Or call the hotel at (630) 941-0100 and use the group code: Smekens Education Solutions- Literacy Retreat. Please make reservations at least 30 days in advance.

What teachers say about the Retreat

“This Retreat was a fabulous combination of new learning, abundant FREE resources, and fun!" Mona Romine, library media specialist at Woodford County High School, Versailles, KY

“Even after 21 years in the classroom, the Literacy Retreat continues to help me see literacy and teaching in new, deeper, and more exciting ways.” Becky Osterfeld, ELA department chair at Jacob Coy Middle School, Xenia, OH

“Kristina knows what it is like being a busy teacher in a classroom day to day. She sets realistic goals and gives helpful suggestions and ideas to get there.” Michelle Greco, teacher at Lace School, Darien, IL

“I am always touched by the sincerity of the presentations, the presenter, and the entire team.” Joy Yurk, teacher at St. Paul Lutheran School, Grafton, WI

“BA-BAM I have been Smekenized!” Abigail Suhre, teacher at Hope Elementary, Hope, IN


Call Smekens Education toll free to learn more.

(888) 376-0448

$475 Early Bird (by April 1)
$525 Standard Registration


Discounts available!

  • For teams of 3+: Save $10 per person.
  • For teams of 10+: Contact our office for a 10% savings.
What's included in the registration fee?
Beyond two days of dynamic instruction, attendees also receive a full-color binder of materials, private access to exclusive web resources, fun prizes, plus breakfast, lunch, and snacks each day.

NOTE: Lodging fees and tuition for graduate-level credit are not included with registration.

Dates & Locations

June 9-10, 2020

June 16-17, 2020

June 22-23, 2020

June 25-26, 2020

Target Audience

  • 2-6 Classroom Teachers
  • 6-12 Language Arts, Social Studies, & Science Teachers
  • 2-12 Special Education Teachers
  • Literacy Coaches
  • Title I Teachers
  • ELL Teachers
  • Literacy Coordinators
  • Gifted & Talented Teachers
  • Principals & Assistant Principals


Who benefits the most?

English/Language Arts Teachers—grades 2-12!


Cancellations & Substitutions

Cancellations occurring 10 days or more prior to the workshop will result in a refund, minus a $50 service fee. Cancellations occurring less than 10 days prior to the workshop do not qualify for any refund. Substitutions may occur at any time.

Continuing Education Credits
Retreat attendees will receive a certificate of participation at the conclusion of the event and may utilize it to demonstrate participation in 11 hours of professional development (in Indiana, 11 PGPs). More information about how this workshop fulfills your state’s unique continuing education requirements can be found on our continuing education page.


Thanks to a partnership with the Regional Office of Education #19, all Illinois teachers attending our June 25-26 session in Chicago are eligible to earn state-approved continuing education credit for 11 hours of training. Smekens Education is an approved subcontractor for ROE #19.

Graduate-Level Units

For an additional fee, educators who attend the Literacy Retreat are eligible to pursue one, two, or three graduate-level university semester units from the University of the Pacific, Center for Professional Development and Continuing Education. Please check with your district to determine course acceptability.

Smekens Education and the University of the Pacific/Bernerd College take pride in working together to make available the opportunity for educators like you, to earn graduate-level university semester units. We understand that being an educator takes time, energy, and a lot of dedication, so we feel compelled to make this process affordable, practical, and at the same time rewarding.

For only an additional cost of $62 per unit, we can help you meet your salary advancement and/or recertification requirements. All University of the Pacific courses offered through Smekens Education are graded, graduate-level semester, professional development courses, designed as professional growth for educators. (These are post-baccalaureate professional development semester units of non-degree graduate level and are not applicable to a degree at University of the Pacific.)

The University of the Pacific is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Units are intended primarily for the use of salary advancement and recertification. Graduate-level units require workshop attendance and additional coursework.


Have a workshop question?
Fill out this form or call (888) 376-0448.