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Has Handwriting Become an Instructional Dinosaur? Handwriting May Be More Important Than You Think! @ Online Webinar
Nov 28 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

CEU Certificate available for $10.00

Presented by Nancy Cushen White, Ed.D., BCET, CALT-QI

Manuscript, cursive, and keyboarding have advantages at different ages.Handwriting involves both cognitive and motor skills—and influences reading, written expression, and critical thinking. Sequential hand movements activate brain regions associated with thinking, working memory, and language. A note-taking study showed better comprehension and retention of content for handwriters. Elementary students composing by hand wrote faster, longer pieces with more ideas. Cross-disciplinary research demonstrates effectiveness of explicit, integrated handwriting instruction from kindergarten to high school.

 In this session, attendees will learn that handwriting is a written language skill—not just a motor skill. They will learn at which ages and stages the use of manuscript, cursive, and/or keyboarding is most likely to be an advantage for various students, and will be able to give examples of strategies for integration of handwriting and keyboarding instruction into the teaching of reading and written expression.

About the Speaker:  Dr. Nancy Cushen White has 40+ years of experience in public schools as a classroom teacher, special ed teacher, and program specialist in San Francisco Unified School District. She works as a certified academic language therapist, a board certified educational therapist, and dyslexia consultant in private practice. She is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics-Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine-University of California-San Francisco. She is a member of the Board, member of the Faculty Senate, and a certified teacher training course director for the Slingerland Institute. She has taught literacy skills classes to young adults in the Pre-Trial Diversion Project through the Mentor Court Division of San Francisco Superior Court. She is a Literacy Intervention Consultant and Case Manager for Lexicon Reading Center in Dubai–United Arab Emirates. Nancy was a member of the AB 1369 Dyslexia Work Group assembled by the California Department of Education (CDE) to draft public school dyslexia guidelines required under the new law. 

 Nancy is a past member of The IDA Board of Directors and past president and current advisory board member of the Northern California Branch of IDA. She serves as an IDA representative to the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD). Currently, she is the editor of the Examiner, IDA’s monthly on-line newsletter. She received the Margaret Byrd Rawson Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Dyslexia Association in 2007.

This webinar will be recorded and available to view on IDA-UMB’s website after the event. If you register, you will be notified when the recording is available. 

Discovering the Sense in English Spelling: The Foundation of Literacy for Every Student @ Online Webinar
Dec 4 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

CEU’s available for $10.00

Presented by:  Timothy T. Houge, Ph.D. and Sue Hegland

If you care about literacy, you must have asked yourself this question at times: is it possible to structure literacy instruction to excite, challenge and empower all students, from the dyslexic reader who is struggling to the strong reader who is flying? It is actually possible to do this, and it’s also possible to make sure that each and every student becomes fully literate. But to make these things happen, we must rethink some misunderstandings about the structure and purpose of written English. This presentation will include an overview of the some of the foundational patterns in our completely coherent English writing system, along with examples from dyslexic and non-dyslexic student work. Join us for an introduction to the difference this can make for students at every level.

This talk was previously presented as the keynote at the Oct 4 “Literacy for All: Understanding Language, Learning and Dyslexia” conference in Sioux Falls, SD.

About the Speakers:  

 Timothy T. Houge, Ph.D. is an associate professor of elementary and secondary reading at Northern State University and the director of a campus one-to-one literacy-tutoring clinic. He has published multiple journal articles and presented his work at national, state, and local conferences. A long-standing advocate for effective reading and spelling education for all children, he has actively promoted the use of research to inform instruction. He has been a classroom teacher and a pull-out reading specialist, removing students from mainstream classrooms for a portion of the day to provide intense specialized reading instruction.

Sue Hegland is trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach and has extensively studied real spelling and Structured Word Inquiry. She is the author of the website  Sue’s mission is sharing information about the coherence and structure of the English language and the fact that spelling always makes sense.  She serves on the Board of Directors for the International Dyslexia Association, Upper Midwest Branch, and spent six years on the Board of Education for the Brandon Valley School District. She has served on a dyslexia workgroup for the state of South Dakota, has presented at Special Education and dyslexia conferences, and provides tutoring and training for teachers, private tutors, parents and students. Sue began learning about dyslexia in 2003, as the parent of a dyslexic child.


This webinar will be recorded and available to view on IDA-UMB’s website after the event. If you register, you will be notified when the recording is available. 

Organization & Planning: Executive Function Strategies for Middle and High School @ Children's Health Council
Dec 12 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Why is middle school and high school challenging for so many students? There is so much to manage–from keeping track of assignments across multiple classes and teachers to time management to organizing materials. In this class, parents will hear from CHC Executive Functioning expert, Vanessa Fasoli, ACC, about strategies and tools you can use with your child to promote effective organization and planning skills.

Dyslexia and Literacy: Differences Within Differences @ UCLA Luskin Conference Center
Feb 15 @ 7:30 am – 3:00 pm

This conference is designed for teachers, practitioners and parents to help them learn to identify, understand, and provide evidence-based teaching for students who have dyslexia and dyscalculia.Participants will learn the latest genetic studies as a basis for understanding current practices for assessment and intervention. The focus of these discussions will be for school-age students.

Conference Agenda

7:30 – 8:45 a.m.


8:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.


Neurological Differences in Dyslexia and Literacy

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Laurie Cutting, Ph.D.

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
TDF’s Hans Christian Andersen Award Presentation & Break

2017 Recipient: To Be Announced

Issue Differences Among African-American Students

10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Nicole Patton-Terry, Ph.D.

Dyslexia and English Language Learners: The Variations among Different Learners

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Penelope Collins, Ph.D.

12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Foundation of Reading Acquisition and Dyslexia: Implications for Early Intervention

1:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Barbara Wilson, M.Ed.

Closing Remarks

2:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Joan Mele-McCarthy, D.A., CCC-SLP


Phonics First® Level II Orton-Gillingham Course @ TBD
Jul 16 @ 8:30 am – Jul 20 @ 3:30 pm

Click HERE for the flyer.

Phonics First® Level II Orton-Gillingham Course Content designed for:
K-12 General Education; Resource/Special Education

This rigorous course emphasizes instruction of the learning/language-disabled student at all grade-levels and is critical for teachers working with dyslexic/LD students grades 4-12 and adults.

Level II is required for those pursuing Brainspring’s nationally recognized certification.

Participants gain expertise in:
• Instruction of skills taught in Phonics First® Level I
• Customizing lessons for the dyslexic and learning/language-disabled student at all grade levels
• Advanced concepts of decoding and encoding

Participants learn to customize instruction in:
• Basic phonics through advanced morphology
• Syllabication/multisyllable word attack strategies
• The Reciprocal Teaching process
• Multisensory comprehension
• Multisensory syntax (grammar)

Additional benefits:
• Guidance with lesson planning and classroom implementation
• Interactive, collegial discussions
• Opportunities for hands-on lesson practice with other participants
• Emphasis on teaching reading to struggling and dyslexic/LD readers using Orton-Gillingham methodology

Upon completion, participants will:
• Receive a document of completion
• Be prepared to teach Phonics First® and Structures to K-12 dyslexic/learning disabled students
• Be eligible to apply for Brainspring’s nationally recognized Orton-Gillingham Dyslexia Specialist Certification program

Course Materials

  • Phonics First®/Structures Level II Course Manual
  • Phonics First® OR Structures Curriculum Guide
  • Phonics First® OR Structures Card Pack
  • Multisensory Grammar and Written Composition

Participants MUST bring:

  • Phonics First® OR Structures Curriculum Guide
  • Phonics First® OR Structures Course Manual
  • Complete Phonics First® OR Structures Card Pack organized by Layers/Modules
  • 1 sand tray with Magic Sand® OR White Board/Marker

To purchase any of these materials, call 800-732-3211.


Phonics First® Level I Orton-Gillingham Course @ TBD
Jul 23 @ 8:30 am – Jul 27 @ 3:30 pm

Click HERE for the flyer.

Phonics First® Level I Orton-Gillingham Course Content designed for: K-5 General Education*, Intervention, Resource, Special Education
* Classroom intervention instruction for grades 4-5

This comprehensive and highly intensive course qualifies teachers to bring Orton-Gillingham multisensory instruction to their classrooms.Phonics First® transforms beginning, struggling, dyslexic/LD readers into skilled learners through our effective, fun, multisensory approach to reading and spelling.

Participants learn to teach:
• Alphabet and phonemic awareness strategies
• Basic and advanced phonetic concepts for decoding and encoding
• A Three-Part Drill for structured review
• Tactile/kinesthetic spelling techniques for phonetic and non-phonetic words
• Syllabication for multisyllabic words (8 Syllable Types/3 Syllable Patterns)
• Higher-level spelling skills
• Oral reading/connected text fluency

Additional benefits:
• Guidance with lesson planning and classroom implementation
• Opportunities for hands-on lesson practice with other participants
• Emphasis on teaching reading to beginning, struggling, and dyslexic/LD readers using Orton-Gillingham methodology

Upon completion, participants will:
• Receive a document of completion
• Be prepared to teach Phonics First® to K-5 students
• Be eligible for Level II and to apply for Brainspring’s nationally recognized certification program

Prerequisite: None
Course Hours: 30


 KIT CHOICES Course Materials Implementation Materials Remote Support
 Starter Kit X
 Classroom Complete Kit (Recommended)


Small-Group Complete Kit (Recommended)

 Classroom Support Kit


Small-Group Support Kit



All Kit options include the Starter Kit of course materials necessary to participate in the course and work one-on-one with a single student.

                                     Course Materials


Brainspring recommends a Complete Kit for each teacher attending a Phonics First® course.  A Complete Kit includes the materials necessary to implement the Phonics First® curriculum with multiple students.

 Classroom Materials

 (for up to 25 students)

  OR  Small-Group Materials

 (for up to 10 students)



To address questions that occur as teachers begin implementing Phonics First®, a personalized consultation session provides effective support based on each teacher’s unique needs.

  • The teacher records and uploads a 20- to 30-minute video of a lesson being taught to students.
  • The Phonics First® Coach views the video and schedules a 20- to 30-minute phone consultation to provide guidance, feedback and support and to answer questions for the teacher.