Annual IDA Conference to Focus on Research to Practice

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By Karen Huppertz

May 2017

The theme of this year’s IDA Reading, Literacy and Learning Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, Georgia, November 8–11, 2017, is “Why Structured Literacy Works for Struggling Readers: Validated Interventions and Practices.” As in years past, preeminent leaders in education dedicated to dyslexia will present the latest research, but this year the focus will be more practical than ever—how to apply this research in the classroom.

“We know effective instruction improves reading and changes the brain. We have the research to support these outcomes,” says Conference Co-Chair Rebecca Tolson. “This conference will also provide the evidence to support why it works.”

The conference will kick off Wednesday, November 8, with school visits to see Structured Literacy in action. In addition, there will be full- and half-day symposia focusing on implementation of Structured Literacy in public schools, executive function, multisensory math, and assistive technology.

The opening day will culminate with the roundtable discussion, “The Intersection of Research and Practice: A Conversation with the Most Distinguished Voices in the Field of Dyslexia.” During this moderated conversation about the current state of research-to-practice, participants will share their views on what current research tells us about dyslexia, the implications for intervention, the role of research in intervention, and how we can do more to align research and intervention.

The roundtable will be moderated by Peggy McCardle, private consultant and an affiliated research scientist at Haskins Laboratories. She is the former chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health. Other participants will include

  • Don Compton, Professor of Psychology at Florida State University/Florida Center for Reading Research;
  • Joan Mele-McCarthy, Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy for the American Speech, Language, Hearing Association;
  • Ben Powers, Headmaster at Eagle Hill Southport School, New York;
  • Julie Washington, Professor and Program Director of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Health and Human Development at Georgia State University;
  • Maryanne Wolf, author of Proust and the Squid and the RAVE-O Intervention Program; and
  • Others to be announced.

“To have this many leaders in the field of dyslexia onstage together, discussing the latest research and its implications for the classroom, is an exceptional opportunity,” says Conference Co-Chair, Josh Clark. 

Also new this year will be opportunities for teacher training with Structured Literacy partners: LETRS, Neuhaus Education Center, Wilson, and others. These sessions will provide practical applications for teachers and administrators interested in more in-depth training. “We hope that adding training opportunities to the conference line-up will add significant value to the conference for teachers and school administrators,” says IDA Board Chair Jennifer Topple. “Teachers will leave our conference with a better, more in-depth idea of what they can do with their students on Monday morning.”

Teachers working toward IDA Certification may also participate in an IDA Exam Review. This study session will provide an overview of the IDA Knowledge and Practice Standards and help attendees fill any missing knowledge gaps before they take the exam.

“We know if we can get struggling readers into Structured Literacy instruction early, we can change the outcome.” – Rebecca Tolson, Conference Co-Chair

The Reading, Literacy and Learning Conference, for both professionals and families, is expected to draw more than 2,000 teachers, educators, and administrators, reading specialists, researchers, university faculty, psychologists, physicians, tutors, and parents. The four-day conference includes four general sessions with keynote speakers, full- and half-day pre-conference symposia, over 100 breakout sessions, an exhibit hall, networking opportunities, social events, and visits to local schools.

Attendees will enjoy all the southern charm and friendliness one would expect from Atlanta, in the center of the South. Located in the very heart of the city, the Hyatt Regency is within walking distance to hundreds of gastro-sensational restaurants, unique shopping, and attractions. We’ve got you covered with all the new IDA-sponsored networking and social events, including a night of fun at the World of Coca-Cola hosted by the Georgia Branch. Keep an eye out for more details as they become available. Registration opens in July. 

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