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Part One - 2022 - The International Conference on the Science of Written Expression

*All times are set in Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Quiz - 5 Questions.

Starts at
9:00 AM*

Ends at
9:45 AM
KeynoteModule One
  • Effective, Evidence-based Writing Instruction for Elementary Grade Students

    We present a theory- and evidence-based multi-component writing intervention, called Self-Regulated Strategy Development Plus (SRSD+). SRSD+ integrates evidence-based writing instruction, SRSD (Graham, Harris, & McKeown, 2013; Harris & Graham, 2017), with explicit and structured instruction on oral language and transcription skills (thus called plus). SRSD instruction includes explicit, interactive learning of strategies for genre-general and genre-specific writing (including discourse knowledge and academic language), strategies for self-regulating strategy use and writing behavior throughout the writing process (e.g., goal setting, self-assessment, self-instructions, and self-reinforcement), and development of engagement and self-efficacy for writing. SRSD+ expands SRSD in novel and important ways by incorporating key component skills of writing, transcription (spelling and handwriting) and oral language skills (e.g., vocabulary and sentence proficiency). We present SRSD+ instruction, and evidence from a small-scale randomized controlled trial with students in Grades 1 and 2.


Young-Suk Grace Kim, PhD.
Senior Associate Dean, School of Education, University of California, Irvine
Starts at
10:00 AM*

Ends at
10:45 AM
Module 2: The Writing Brain
  • The Role of Handwriting in Shaping Early Neural Systems in Literacy

    Handwriting is a complex visual-motor skill that affects early reading development. A large body of work has demonstrated that a widespread neural system comprising ventral-temporal, parietal, and frontal motor regions supports handwriting in adults, yet there is little work that has investigated the neural systems that support handwriting in young children who are still learning to read. In our research program we seek to understand the neural substrates that support – and are affected by - handwriting through early development. We use functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and a novel MRI-compatible writing tablet that allows us to measure brain activation in young children during handwriting and visual letter perception. Across several studies we show that a) the developing brain is changed by handwriting experience in important ways that are not seen with typing or tracing; b) preschool children are especially sensitive - both neurally and behaviorally - to the variability in letter forms that results from writing by hand and c) that neural substrates that support handwriting change with experience and literacy skill. This body of work supports the idea that writing by hand is important for shaping brain systems that are important in literacy.


Karin H. James, PhD.
Indiana University, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Starts at
11:00 AM*

Ends at
11:45 AM
Module 2: The Writing Brain
  • Levels of Language: Application to Diagnosis, Instruction, and Functional Writing Systems

    Research will be presented showing that specific writing disabilities involve impairments in different levels of language: Dysgraphia (impaired subword handwriting), Dyslexia (impaired word spelling), or Oral and Written Language Learning Disability/OWL LD (Impaired morpho-syntax). Research will also be presented showing that, for students with or at risk for specific writing disabilities, instruction aimed at all relevant levels of language close in time is effective. For students with Dysgraphia or at risk for Dysgraphia, effective instruction includes subword handwritingàword spellingàtext composing. For students with Dyslexia or at risk for Dyslexia, effective instruction includes subword phonological and orthographic awareness and subword phonological-orthographic connectionsàword-specific spellingsàtext composing. For students with OWL LD or at risk for OWL LD, effective instruction includes subword morphological, phonological, and orthographic awarenessà morphophonemic-orthographic spelling correspondences and spelling function and structure wordsà syntactic construction and discourse organization. Finally, results of brain imaging studies showing connectivity across cascading levels of language of increasing size will be presented. Compared to typical controls, students with Dysgraphia were under-connected and those with Dyslexia were over-connected. All students showed brain response to multi-leveled writing instruction.


Virginia Wise Berninger, PhD.
Professor Emerita, University of Washington
Starts at
12:00 PM*

Ends at
12:45 PM
Module 2: The Writing Brain
  • The Cognitive Correlates of Note-Taking and Test-taking

    Note-taking is a pervasive and important academic activity. Among college students, research suggests (a) almost all take notes (94 – 98%) and, (b) taking and studying notes is related to good test performance (d = .75). We know very little, however, about the cognitive processes related to the quantity and quality of notes taken or the relationship of these processes and notes to good test performance. In a series of studies on lecture and text note-taking, we investigated the relationship of recording speed (e.g., handwriting speed), attention, language understanding, working memory, and other skills, to notes and test performance among college, high school and middle school students (some studies included comparisons of students with and without disabilities). Our work indicates, with some caveats, that quantity and quality of notes are related primarily to recording speed, language understanding and sustained attention. Further, notes significantly predict students’ performance on tests that measure memory for what they have heard or read but they are not significantly related to tests that measure inferences. Only measures of language understanding and background knowledge were significantly related to tests that measure inferences.


Stephen T. Peverly, PhD.
Teachers College, Columbia University Professor of Psychology and Education
Starts at
1:00 PM*

Ends at
1:45 PM
Module 3: Spelling Matters
  • Bilingual Spelling Instruction for ELLs:Testing Language-specific Effects in Response to the Mind’s Ear and Eye Training in Italian and English

    Worldwide, primary school children are faced with the task of learning two or more spelling systems simultaneously, one of which is often English, an outlier orthography. Literacy researchers and teachers alike are aware of the need of scientific evidence that could inform this bilingual spelling instruction. However, so far rare or none are the experimental studies that have tested the effects of bilingual spelling interventions. In the present talk I will discuss the findings of a published RCT (randomized controlled trial) that examined the language-specific effects of a spelling intervention (the “mind’s ear and eye training”, by Berninger et al., 1998) delivered to 6- to 9-year-old Italian children simultaneously in Italian (their L1, a very shallow/superficial orthography) and English (their additional language, AL, a deep/opaque orthography). There is a lively debate among researchers as to whether acquiring word reading and spelling skills in a native language (L1) and in an additional orthography (L2 or a foreign language) requires the development of same or different (i.e., language-specific) language-learning abilities. The findings of our study suggest that bilingual spelling acquisition rely on general language-learning skills that do not vary across alphabetic orthographies and that, consequently, the same instructional spelling strategies can be effective for learning to spell in L1 and in the AL, independently of the differences between these orthographies. However, some language-specific effects of spelling instruction also emerged from this study, and will be discussed in light of the characteristics of the instructional context in which the study was run.


Barbara Arfé, PhD.
University of Padova, Italy
Starts at
2:00 PM*

Ends at
2:45 PM
Module 3: Spelling Matters
  • Spelling Development the Science Behind It

    Spelling is a window on what a person knows about words and learning about words and about the language will improve spelling as well as reading and writing skills. In this presentation, we demonstrate the regularity of English spelling based upon the phonological, orthographic, and morphological principles and how spelling can be taught in an explicit, systematic, and direct manner. I will also review some of our research on spelling acquisition in different dialects and languages.


R. Malatesha Joshi, PhD.
University Professor of Literacy Education and Educational Psychology, Texas A&M University
Starts at
3:00 PM*

Ends at
3:45 PM
Module 3: Spelling Matters
  • Morphemes Matter

    English consists of over one million individual words. While knowing phonics alone helps decode and spell words of one syllable, most words are polysyllabic and contain syllables and/or morphemes (the meaning units in words). Morphemes differ depending on word origin and provide strategies for many facets of reading and writing, including spelling, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and composition. Anglo-Saxon bases and affixes, along with Latin roots and their affixes and Greek combining forms will be discussed. Instructional strategies and activities for individual and small group tutoring as well as classroom instruction will be presented.


Marcia K. Henry, PhD.
Professor Emerita, San Jose State University and Past President of The International Dyslexia Association
Starts at
5:00 PM*

Ends at
5:45 PM
Module 3: Spelling Matters
  • Learning to write words

    Spelling is an important aspect of literacy development, but researchers and educators typically pay less attention to spelling than to reading. The goal of this presentation is to show that there is a science of spelling development and to present some of the main findings. I review studies looking at populations ranging from toddlers to adults, examining how different aspects of spelling skill develop. The focus is on English, but studies of other languages are considered as well. I also discuss implications for instruction, both for typically developing children and children who experience problems in learning to read and spell.


Rebecca Treiman, PhD.
Washington University – St. Louis
Starts at
6:00 PM*

Ends at
6:45 PM
Module 3: Spelling Matters

Barbara Arfé, PhD.
University of Padova, Italy

Marcia K. Henry, PhD.
Professor Emerita, San Jose State University and Past President of The International Dyslexia Association

R. Malatesha Joshi, PhD.
University Professor of Literacy Education and Educational Psychology, Texas A&M University

Rebecca Treiman, PhD.
Washington University – St. Louis

Starts at
7:00 PM*

Ends at
7:45 PM
Module 4: Composing Matters Too
  • How to teach vocabulary and sentence writing explicitly

    Bulbous, heinous, colossal…do you use these words in your writing? Students in remote schools in the Kimberley of Western Australia not only understand and spell these ‘Tier Two’ words (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2013) but regularly use them in their daily writing. Writing is an essential skill for academic success and a crucial part of communication and critical thinking yet is considered one of the most difficult academic areas to teach. This is because it involves the integration of many different precursor skills and knowledge that many pre and in-service teachers report feeling ill-prepared to teach (Clary & Mueller, 2021; Graham, 2021). To improve the written expression of mostly Aboriginal students, who often speak English as a second language, teachers include short and explicit writing lessons that integrate vocabulary, spelling and sentence level writing. This short daily instruction teaches the subskills to enable students to produce longer texts.

    The instructional approach, which is based on the principles of explicit instruction lesson design and delivery, has yielded significant improvements in students’ writing and far greater engagement and enjoyment of writing. The term ‘explicit instruction’ refers to a systematic method of teaching with emphasis on proceeding in small steps, checking for students understanding and achieving active and successful participation by all students (Rosenshine, 1987, 2012).

    This session will outline the daily instructional sequence developed for primary/elementary students and show video examples of how vocabulary and sentence structure is taught.


Lorraine Hammond, PhD.
Edith Cowan University, Perth WA
Starts at
8:00 PM*

Ends at
8:45 PM
Narmene Hamsho, PhD.
University of Massachusetts, Boston

Thank you to our Conference Sponsors

Gold Learning Without Tears
Gold Perfection Learning
Gold Zaner-Bloser
Gold Wilson Language
Silver Handwriting Success
Silver Magic Link Handwriting
Bronze Dotterer Educational Consulting
Conference Partner National Handwriting Association

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