Test page for 2020 Literacy Retreat: French Lick

Test page for 2020 Literacy Retreat: French Lick

French Lick, IN - June 9-10, 2020

The 2020 Smekens Literacy Retreat is a professional “getaway” for teachers…a time to relax 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 most pressing literacy challenges in grades 2-12.

Pricing and Group Rates

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Contact Us (888)376-0448
Above rates reflect Early Bird pricing through April 1, 2020.
Beginning April 2, the standard rate will be $525/person.


Six Powerful Sessions

SESSION 1:Boost comprehension by targeting inferring skills all year long
When students struggle on standardized reading assessments, it’s often because they lack the skills to draw an inference using evidence from the text. Too often, kids scour the reading, looking for right-there answers they can plug in as a response. In this kick-off session to the Literacy Retreat, attendees will identify a yearlong scaffold to move students from simple answers to complex inferences to multi-text syntheses.
  • Apply inferring instruction to all comprehension standards & units throughout the entire school year.
  • Help students to figure out the answer to any inferential question.
  • Support students who lack background knowledge to make an inference.
  • Scaffold a comprehensive set of inferring strategies, including those previously shared by Smekens with brand-new techniques, to teach this crucial reading skill.
Analyze author moves with explicit instruction in reading and writing
Virtually every educator has heard the term “literary analysis,” and most teachers are probably addressing this standard in some fashion already. But this elusive skill tends to baffle teachers and students alike. In this two-part session, first learn how to look at text through the lens of a writer. Then gain concrete techniques for teaching students to write a literary analysis.
  • Teach students to conduct a literary analysis that goes beyond simply labeling the facets of plot exposition or naming literary devices.
  • Identify common “author moves” within popular literature and informational texts.
  • Equip students with the skills to analyze and question author intentions in craft, technique, and structure.
  • Advance from analysis to evaluation as students argue the impact author choices make in the work as a whole.
  • Teach after-reading writing skills that allow students to construct a thorough, well-crafted literary analysis.
Evaluate the impact of visuals and videos
Smartphones and social media have changed the rules of visual literacy, raising the bar for how educators teach students to analyze and evaluate information. What students need now are the skills to read and interpret the meaning and message conveyed through illustrations, photos, videos, and sound. This timely session provides actionable techniques for building successful and discerning readers in the digital era.
  • Use targeted reading mini-lessons to address the subskills of the media literacy standard.
  • Equip students with the skills to identify the advantages and disadvantages of various mediums in conveying meaning.
  • Prepare students to respond to standardized test questions that require the interpretation of photos, charts, graphs, videos, and more.
Target essential writing skills within the content-area classroom
Let’s face it—simply assigning more writing does not produce better writers. In order to build strong writers, teachers need to deliver explicit instruction about how to write well. And while this type of teaching is a natural fit during language arts, there are a myriad of skills that can be taught in the content areas as well. All educators will feel at home during this session that merges the best of discipline-specific content with essential writing skills.
  • Equip students with the writing-after-reading skills to demonstrate understanding of content-area learning.
  • Identify the most universal and high-priority skills for strong content-area writing.
  • Utilize ready-to-use mini-lessons provided during the session to teach important elements of informative, persuasive, and argumentative writing.
Foster resilience through reading and writing workshops
Achieving expectations for social-emotional learning can sometimes feel like another weight on an already heavy load. However, resilience is a core SEL skill that can be cultivated during the reading and writing workshops. Whether analyzing the grit of characters in literature or nurturing writers who persevere through the process, reading and writing workshops are ripe with opportunity for an intentional focus on resilience.
  • Establish a workshop environment that supports all types of learners and grows achievement simultaneously.
  • Deliver student-centered minilessons that honor the struggle involved in learning new content.
  • Select tasks and assignments that build strong habits while allowing for independent decision making and even activism.
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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.

French Lick Springs Hotel

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.


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.

French Lick Springs Hotel
8670 West State Road 56
French Lick, IN 47432
(888) 936-9360
Discounted Room Rate:

What teachers say about the Literacy Retreat

“This workshop is extremely engaging, informative, and useful to teachers. The interaction attendees get to experience is awesome!" Christina Hidalgo, principal at Kiser Elementary School, Clayton, NM

“The people here have been beyond welcoming. I feel like anyone who comes to a Smekens conference becomes a part of a huge supportive family.” Cassidy Carroll, teacher at Henderson County South Middle School, Hendersonville, KY

“We brought a group of 14—knowing the power of Smekens is to saturate the content across all grade levels. You did not let us down! It was BA-BAM our staff was needing! The relevance of the content…this was exactly what we needed help with. Thank you for listening to educators, knowing what is needed for testing, but in the end—what makes for better readers, writers, & thinkers.” Tricia Stanley, principal at Granville Wells Elementary School, Jamestown, IN

“Oh. My. Goodness. The energy and passion in this room is contagious! From Kristina, to her staff, to the educators—it is good for the teacher soul! Kids need this energy and passion from those who work with them every day! Thanks for energy and passion!” Staci Rooze, teacher at Wea Ridge Middle School, Lafayette, IN

“True inspiration! You lit a fire under this 27-year experienced teacher…which says a LOT! I especially loved the idea of synthesizing and that you ‘taught’ me to recognize that I have been ‘telling’ not teaching! That is huge! Thank you for your team of expertise! It is admired and appreciated. The secret site is invaluable! The presenter’s knowledge and connection to the teachers and students is phenomenal!” Kathryn Riner, teacher at Granville Wells Elementary School, Jamestown, IN

“I am blown away by what I’ve learned. The welcoming atmosphere was the best! I came alone and left with friends! I learned so much and have left here feeling like a better teacher who is more prepared to set my students up for success.” Tiffany Belcher, teacher at Centerton Elementary School, Martinsville, IN
Have a question? Contact our office to learn more.
(888) 376-0448

Conference & Lodging:
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.

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
  • High-Ability 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.

Graduate-Level Credit

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.

For 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.