Readsters offers dynamic and interactive professional development workshops that support excellent reading instruction.

Just as every student has specific and different instructional needs, educators also have varying needs. We can modify existing workshops or develop new workshops to meet your requirements.

Our workshops are typically 1½ to 3 hours long, with a few being full-day sessions. Teachers leave our workshops with practical information they can implement immediately along with the scientific research and theoretical basis to understand the significance of the workshop content.

Readsters’ popular workshop topics include:

Click on any topic above to learn more.

Understanding Struggling Readers

Most teachers and other adults don’t remember the details of how they learned to read. Therefore, it can be hard for them to understand the frustrations that new and struggling readers experience.

Our workshops about struggling readers give teachers the background they need to understand why students struggle. Teachers also develop a framework for assessing why students struggle with reading, which leads to more effective ways to help students overcome their individual reading difficulties.

Readsters also offers a workshop with three reading simulations that put teachers in the place of a struggling reader. The simulation activities help teachers understand how difficult it is to change a poor reading habit, how lack of fluency affects comprehension, and how difficult it can be to learn to decode. The workshop stimulates discussion about how struggling readers feel, and about the effectiveness of various teaching methods.

Popular Readsters Workshops on Understanding Struggling Readers:

  • The Simple View of Reading, with Case Studies
  • Understanding Adolescents with Reading Difficulties
  • Three Reading Simulations: Changing Habits, Poor Fluency, and Learning to Decode
  • Decodable and Leveled Readers: Using Them Appropriately

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Phonological Awareness

Many research studies point to phonological awareness weaknesses as an underlying problem for 80–90% of struggling readers, no matter their age. It is critical to have a clear understanding of this complex realm to help struggling readers.

Our workshops clearly explain the phonological skills hierarchy and how understanding the various levels of phonological awareness can lead to better instruction. Teachers leave the workshops with effective ways to assess and teach phonological awareness so that all students achieve strong phonemic awareness and are ready for phonics instruction.

Popular Readsters Workshops on Phonological Awareness:

  • Understanding Phonological Awareness
  • Assessing Phonological Awareness and Other Pre-Reading Skills with Readsters Pre-Reading Probes*
  • Teaching Phonological Awareness (often combined with Teaching Letter Names and Sounds with Systematic, Explicit, and Multi-Sensory Instruction)
  • Teaching Correct Phoneme Articulation

Click here to enter your name and email address for complimentary access to the downloadable version of Readsters Pre-Reading Probes, a quick and easy assessment of phonological skills, letter names, and letter sounds.

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Letter Names and Letter Sounds

In addition to phonological awareness, students must know letter names and letter sounds to learn to read. Our workshop gives teachers systematic, explicit, and multi-sensory ways to teach letter names and letter sounds. Teachers leave with tools they can use in the classroom for teaching and tracking students’ progress toward learning letter names and letter sounds.

Popular Readsters Workshop on Letter Names and Letter Sounds:

  • Teaching Letter Names and Sounds with Systematic, Explicit, and Multi-Sensory Instruction (often combined with Teaching Phonological Awareness)

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High Frequency Words

Students are expected to learn a few high frequency words even before they officially learn to read, and they are expected to master the 100-200 most frequent words throughout first and second grades. Teachers often express frustration when their students continue to struggle with reading and spelling irregularly spelled high frequency words such as were, where, they, what, and who. This workshop explains why these words are so difficult for some students. Teachers will leave with tools to assess, organize, and sequence the teaching of high frequency words so that students no longer struggle with these words.

Popular Readsters Workshop on High Frequency Words:

  • Teaching, Assessing, and Tracking High Frequency Words

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Basic and Advanced Phonics Instruction

Research shows that reading has two main components: word recognition (decoding) and comprehension. The importance of giving all students the ability to easily and quickly decode familiar and unfamiliar words cannot be overemphasized. Many struggling readers of all ages have decoding weaknesses, yet some teachers feel ill-prepared to teach phonics because they weren’t taught phonics and have never studied it.

Our workshops give teachers a thorough understanding of phonics principles, a way to assess decoding skills, and methods for teaching phonics to students of any age.

Popular Readsters Workshops on Basic and Advanced Phonics Instruction:

  • Phonics Primer—An Introduction to How English Spelling is Systematic
  • Assessing Decoding Skills
  • How to Teach Beginning Phonics
  • How to Teach Advanced Phonics
  • Lose the Rules: Multi-Syllable Words Made Easy
  • English Has Four Spelling Systems—Solving the Mysteries of Spelling by Understanding History

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Fluency programs aimed at improving a student’s reading rate—measured as words correct per minute—are often prescribed as an intervention for struggling readers. But not all students need fluency instruction, and those who can benefit may be at different levels and have different needs.

Our fluency workshop presents a three-pronged framework that includes assessing and practicing accuracy, rate, and expression. Teachers will learn to identify students who can benefit from fluency instruction and practice. They will also be able to provide successful, focused, differentiated instruction for each student. Teachers will leave with tracking charts for various levels of instruction and ways to implement fluency instruction for those who need it.

Popular Readsters Workshop on Fluency Instruction:

  • Fluency Instruction: It’s About More Than Rate, and It’s Not for Everyone!

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Learning vocabulary, especially academic vocabulary, is essential to reading ability and success in school. We need to teach new words so that students use them and retain their meanings. Educational experts in the field of vocabulary generally agree that using the dictionary to teach word meanings is ineffective. If that is the case, what does work? Research shows that teaching students to connect the spelling, pronunciation, and meaning of a new word improves the possibility that the word is stored in their long-term memories.

In our workshop teachers learn and practice three techniques to improve vocabulary instruction so that students use words and retain their meanings. Teachers in all grades and content areas report noticeable improvement when they use these three simple, yet powerful techniques.

Popular Readsters Workshop on Vocabulary:

  • Effective Vocabulary Instruction: Throw Out the Dictionary!

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Successful intervention instruction depends on appropriate assessment. Understanding differences between various assessments—including type and purpose—is essential for providing effective instruction to struggling readers.

Readsters offers workshops on two specific assessments. One diagnoses pre-reading skills and the other diagnoses decoding skills. These workshops can be extended to include analyzing data and using data to group students for intervention. Both of the assessments are free and will be provided at the workshops.

Popular Readsters Workshops on Specific Assessments:

  • Assessing Phonological Awareness, Letter Names, and Letter Sounds with Readsters Pre-Reading Probes
  • Assessing Decoding Skills with the Diagnostic Decoding Surveys1

Two additional assessment workshops help teachers and administrators select the best and most efficient assessments to meet their purposes. One workshop describes the purposes and intricacies of four different types of assessment: screening, progress monitoring, diagnostic, and outcome. The other workshop shows how to use data effectively. Administrators and teachers will leave the workshops with an understanding of how to purposefully select assessments and use their data appropriately.

Popular Readsters Workshops on on Selecting Assessments and Using Data:

  • Understanding Assessment: Different Types of Assessments with Different Purposes
  • Using Appropriate Data to Group Students for Successful Intervention

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Effective Techniques for Teaching Reading

We have observed hundreds of teachers, modeled in scores of classrooms, taught our own classes, read many books about effective teaching, and attended a number of workshops on teaching methods. From those experiences, we have developed two workshops to help teachers reach even the most reluctant struggling readers. Both workshops include explicit methods that can be used immediately in the classroom or a small group setting. The workshops also include ample opportunities for practice of those methods.

Popular Readsters Workshops on Effective Techniques for Teaching Reading:

  • Teaching Tips to Reach Struggling Readers: Wait for Answers, Offer Choices, Provide Positive Error Correction, and Ensure Understanding
  • Surefire Multi-Sensory Techniques to Help Struggling Readers

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Phonics Blitz™Phonics Boost™, and the Diagnostic Decoding Surveys1

Linda Farrell and Michael Hunter wrote Phonics Blitz (1st Edition), Phonics Boost, and the Diagnostic Decoding Surveys prior to founding Readsters in 2009. Tina Osenga was part of the development team for the products. Readsters is often asked to provide support for these products, and we are happy to do so.

Phonics Blitz and Phonics Boost are programs for older students who struggle with decoding. We believe the products offer excellent decoding instruction for struggling readers who have been assessed correctly with the Diagnostic Decoding Surveys. Therefore, we continue to offer support to schools in the form of workshops, lesson observations and feedback, and assistance with structuring lessons so that all students are engaged. When we give workshops or other support, we bring the benefit of our understanding of the products as authors, and our vast experience observing and modeling lessons in schools. Schools appreciate our intimate knowledge of the products and their purposes.

Popular Readsters Workshops on Phonics Blitz, Phonics Boost, and the Diagnostic Decoding Surveys:

  • Diagnostic Decoding Surveys: Administration and Using the Scores to Group Students
  • Phonics Blitz: Initial Training Workshop
  • Phonics Boost: Initial Training Workshop
  • Combination Phonics Blitz/Phonics Boost: Initial Training Workshop
  • Follow-Up Workshops for Phonics Blitz or Phonics Boost

1Phonics Blitz, Phonics Boost, and the Diagnostic Decoding Surveys are owned by Really Great Reading®. We do not receive any royalties, monies, or other compensation from sales of these products.

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For additional information about Readsters’ professional development workshops, please call us at 703.535.7355 or email us at