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Mark Weakland

Weakland, Mark

Mark Weakland is a consultant, teacher, writer, and musician living in western Pennsylvania. He is the creator of teacher resource books, nationally-presented seminars and workshops on literacy topics, award-winning music projects, and more than 70 books for children. Visit his website (www.MarkWeaklandLiteracy.com) and YouTube channel (Mark Weakland Literacy); follow him on Twitter @MarkWeakland.


Workshops

  • Wiring the Reading Brain for Student Success: How does reading arise in the brain and why do reading difficulties develop? How can teachers prevent reading difficulties and/or help students overcome their reading difficulties? This workshop teaches the foundational elements of reading (the Eternal Triangle) and the reasons reading difficulties develop. It then gives instructional practices (activities, routines, learning strategies), done with and used by students, that build the foundational skills developing readers and spellers need. Special emphasis is given to practices that build automatic word recognition in both younger and older students, including phonological skills and orthographic skills (phonics, spelling, vocabulary, and morphology).

  • Differentiating Reading Instruction: This workshop teaches the foundational elements of reading (through the lens of the Eternal Triangle and the Simple View of Reading) and explores some of the reasons reading difficulties develop. It then lists and discusses three general instructional practices that help to prevent reading difficulties from developing, as well as help students overcome difficulties they do have. Next, participants explore reading and writing activities students can do independently, as well as the classroom routines and structures that support students engaged in independent activities. Finally, participants learn the basics of running and scheduling small group instruction.

  • Teaching Practices That Lead to Skillful Reading: This workshop teaches the foundational elements of reading (the Eternal Triangle) and the reasons reading difficulties develop. It then gives teachers opportunities to learn about and practice highly effective teaching techniques that can be used in every lesson (such as descriptive reinforcement and instant error correction), as well as practical and effective ways of building both language comprehension and reading fluency. Specifics of language comprehension and fluency include activities such as See, Think, Wonder, slide shows, interactive read alouds, formal and informal methods of guided repeated reading, and paintbrush and Crazy Professor reading.

  • Teaching Spelling and Phonics Through Writers’ Workshop: This workshop links the development and mastery of phonics and spelling to writing, specifically within the framework of Writers’ Workshop. After learning a brief history of Writer’s Workshop, teachers explore and discus the foundations of reading (which includes spelling, phonics, and writing). An overview of writers’ workshop for young students (kid writing) is given and then specifics are explored. Specifics include making a writing plan, building language prior to writing, connecting sequential spelling and phonics to writing, and creating a classroom culture of writing. Ways to adapting elements of early writers’ workshop for older students with reading difficulties are also explained and explored.

  • Helping Students Who Have or May Have Dyslexia: Dyslexia is most often described as a long-lasting difficulty with reading, spelling, and aspects of phonology. This workshop begins with an overview of the foundational elements of reading (the Eternal Triangle) and a discussion of why reading difficulties of all types develop. The focus then shifts squarely to dyslexia and these specifics: how it arises (presented using the neurobiological model), traits and characteristics of students who have or may have dyslexia, an exploration of screening assessments that help schools gather relevant data, instructional techniques especially useful when teaching struggling readers, and activities, routines, and materials useable by all teachers, helpful to all developing readers and spellers, and especially beneficial for those students who have or may have dyslexia.