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September 9th, 2023  – Webinar with Joan Sedita

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

This webinar includes an overview of The Writing Rope model for writing instruction (Sedita, 2019). Many teachers do not recognize that effective writing instruction must address multiple components, represented as strands in a rope in this model. An explanation with references to research findings will be provided for the five strands: 1) Critical Thinking (generating ideas and information, stages of the writing process), 2) Syntax (syntactic awareness, sentence elaboration, punctuation), 3) Text Structure (narrative, informational, opinion; paragraph structure; patterns of organization, 4) Writing Craft (awareness of task, audience, purpose; word choice; literary devices, 5) Transcription (spelling and handwriting fluency). This workshop addresses writing instruction across grades 3-12.

Keys to Literacy:

Literacy Lines Blog:

Free Instructional Resources:


Recording / Handout


IDA Arizona Moderator: Heather Caciola

May 6th & May 20th, 2023  – Webinar with Dr. Mary Alt & Dr. Shelley Gray

Working Memory

This was a two-part interactive webinar (two 90-minute sessions). 

Working memory is the retention of a small amount of information in a readily accessible form. It facilitates planning, comprehension, reasoning, and problem-solving (Cowan, 2017). Working memory is essential to carrying out multistep activities, completing mental manipulations, and following complex instructions. During the first session on May 6th, participants learned about working memory, how it relates to education, and how to notice its influence in their home or classroom. 

At the end of Session 1,  viewers will be able to:

  1. Explain what working memory is to another person who did not attend the session.
  2. Analyze different settings/situations to see how working memory might be involved.



On May 20th, we discussed strategies to support working memory and examined participants’ own lesson plans to identify the ones that support or do not support working memory.

At the end of Session 2, viewers will be able to:

  1. Compare and contrast lesson plans and determine which plans support working memory, and describe how it is supported.
  2. Discover ways in which they are already supporting working memory in their lesson plans or envision new ways to support it. 


IDA Arizona Moderator: Heather Caska

April 6th, 2023 – Community Chat with Cigdem Knebel

Decodable Books for Striving Readers

In this Community Chat, Cigdem, we discussed what decodable books are, including some of their critical features and benefits. You will  learn how to determine the scope and sequence and why your STRIVING readers will love reading Simple Words Books (and you will too!)

Check out Simple Words Books for the word list for each book and many free resources.


IDA Arizona Moderator: Anne Iniguez

February 25th, 2023 – Webinar with Dr. Peg  Dawson

Executive Skills & Literacy

Executive skills are task-oriented skills that underlie students’ ability to learn. They are brain-based skills such as task initiation, sustained attention, working memory, planning, organization, and goal-directed persistence that are absolutely critical to school success. Although seldom taught explicitly, many educators now see that students who are strong in
these skills are more successful than those who aren’t. This workshop will introduce the 11 executive skills featured in the “Smart but Scattered” model and will describe how they support literacy development.

As a result of this workshop, viewers will be able to:

  1. Define 11 executive skills and give examples of how these skills manifest themselves both as strengths and challenges in daily school and home activities.
  2. Explain how executive skills develop across childhood.
  3. Explain how executive skills impact literacy development.

Recording / Handout

IDA Arizona Moderator: Heather Caciola

February 9th, 2023  – Community Chat with Faith Borkowsky

“Can You See Me?” Literacy Discussions Workbook: Raising Awareness and Action Plan

Our schools have been given more than enough time to figure out how to truly teach children to read. Government grants and initiatives have not made a dent in the literacy crisis, especially in Black and Latino communities. In a recent study, only about 18% of African American fourth-graders were proficient in reading. And yet, my experience is that the problem persists in even the most sought-after school districts. This is because the Balanced Literacy framework that is so entrenched is a failure. We all must have a sense of urgency and not stay silent. This problem will NOT go away with time.

Consequently, the drivers of change today are not educators but knowledgeable parents who recognize and understand faulty practices and have been questioning basic assumptions about literacy. Parents are not concerned with ideology or philosophy; they just want their kids to learn to read and write.

Download a copy of the free “Can You See Me?” workbook discussed during the chat at


IDA Arizona Moderator: Anne Iniguez

December 3rd, 2022  – Webinar: Handwriting & Dyslexia with Steve Graham

“Teaching writing to children and adolescents with dyslexia and learning difficulties”

This presentation draws on several meta-analyses examining the writing and reading of students with reading difficulties and dyslexia, as well as meta-analysis on effective practices for teaching writing. The presentation will address two issues: (1) the writing difficulties faced by students with dyslexia, and (2) evidence-based procedures for teaching writing to these students.


IDA Arizona Moderator: Misty Castillo

September 24, 2022 – Community Chat with Thia Luitch

What to ask your Gen Ed teacher about your child’s reading difficulties.

If your child is struggling with reading, it’s important to schedule a meeting with their teacher as soon as possible. Elementary Education Teacher and Child Confidence Coach, Thia Lutich, discussed the questions to ask your child’s teacher and the information to gather during your meeting.

If you want a copy of the handout or to join Thia’s Empowered Parenting Community, please reach out at


IDA Arizona Moderator: Heather Caciola

September 14th, 2022 – Webinar: Arizona’s Dyslexia Legislation

In partnership with the Arizona Department of Education, Dyslexia and Literacy Intervention Specialist Maggie Velazquez, M. ED, will speak on the current Arizona Dyslexia Legislation!

This session is designed to inform all K-3 classroom educators of the requirements of A.R.S §15-704, and A.R.S §15-211, commonly known as Move On When Reading, as well as, the integration of Arizona’s dyslexia requirements under the current SB 1572. Arizona’s K-3 reading policies have a positive impact on teacher knowledge with required ongoing teacher training based on evidence-based reading research, the use of diagnostic information to plan evidence-based appropriate and effective instruction and intervention, and required written notification to parents. This legislation affects approximately 320,000 K-3 students each year in roughly 1,200 schools. Participants will gain a greater understanding of the importance of K-3 reading in Arizona, statewide trends in early literacy, legislated requirements called for by the law, and their impacts on our teachers and students.


IDA Arizona Moderator: Heather Caciola

March 27, 2021 – Coffee Chat – A Dyslexic Journey with Kate Witt


IDA Arizona Moderators: Beth Bovee and Heather Caciola

November 21, 2020 – Coffee Chat  on the SLP’s Role in Dyslexia with Heather Caska and Dr. Anna Sosa


IDA Arizona Moderator: Beth Bovee

October 24, 2020 – Coffee Chat on Anxiety with Dr. Laura Wingers


IDA Arizona Moderator: Heather Caciola

September 26, 2020 – Coffee Chat on Structured Literacy with Dr. Susan Hall and Becky Rapier


IDA Arizona Moderator: Misty Castillo

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