2023 Dimensions of Dyslexia: The Keys to Structured Literacy Conference – Keynote

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“The Writing Rope: A Framework for Explicit Writing in All Subjects”

Joan Sedita, M.Ed., is the founder of Keys to Literacy, a literacy professional development organization working across the United States. Joan has been in the literacy field for over 40 years as a teacher, administrator, and teacher trainer. She is the creator of The Writing Rope framework and has authored multiple literacy professional development programs, including The Key Comprehension Routine, The Key Vocabulary Routine, Keys to Beginning Reading, Keys to Content Writing, Keys to Early Writing, and Understanding Dyslexia. Beginning in 1975, she worked for 23 years at the Landmark School, a pioneer in the development of literacy intervention programs. Joan was one of the three lead trainers in MA for the Reading First Program and was a LETRS author and trainer. Joan received her M.Ed. in Reading from Harvard University and her B.A. from Boston College.

“Structured Reading Comprehension Intervention for Students with Reading Difficulties”

Elizabeth Stevens, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas. Stevens completed her doctoral degree at The University of Texas at Austin, where she coordinated large-scale research projects at the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. She has a master’s degree in special education from the College of William and Mary and a reading specialist degree from the University of Virginia. Prior to pursuing her doctorate, she taught special education for nine years. She recently served as Co-Principal Investigator of an IES-funded Development and Innovation Project, Middle School Matters, which focused on developing a professional development (PD) model to support middle school teachers with implementing research-based practices during content-area reading instruction. Elizabeth’s research focuses on designing and testing reading interventions to improve the reading outcomes of students with learning disabilities and learning difficulties. She is interested in the effects of aligning Tier 1 (core) instruction with Tier 2 intervention for upper elementary students with reading comprehension difficulties. She is also interested in the intersection of reading and mathematics, particularly related to mathematics vocabulary knowledge. As part of this, she conducted a randomized control trial, virtual intervention study in Spring 2021 to examine the effects of combining vocabulary instruction with schema intervention on the word-problem performance of third graders with mathematics difficulty. Elizabeth has extensive experience in designing literacy interventions for diverse and at-risk populations and examining the effects of those interventions through high-quality studies. She provides PD to states and districts across the country to support teachers with implementing effective practices for reading instruction. Stevens has published in numerous journals including Scientific Studies of Reading, Exceptional Children, Remedial and Special EducationJournal of Learning DisabilitiesReading and Writing, and Teaching Exceptional Children 

“Dyslexia: Legislative Updates and Statewide Initiatives”

Jennifer Lindstrom, Ph.D., joined the Teaching and Learning team at GaDOE in September 2021 as the Statewide Dyslexia Coordinator to assist our state as we lift awareness of dyslexia and create stronger, evidence-based supports for students who are experiencing difficulties while learning to read and write. Dr. Lindstrom’s leadership and guidance will ensure that our students get the “best of the best” from our teachers and schools. Dr. Lindstrom continues to serve as Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Special Education and as Adjunct Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Georgia. At UGA, Dr. Lindstrom directs ongoing research focusing on identification of dyslexia and other learning disabilities, issues surrounding the provision of accommodations to individuals with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, and early literacy with a focus on teacher training and the use of research-based methodologies for improving student performance.