Discourse, Language and Reaching Struggling Readers

Effective Teaching


All teachers want to improve the academic performance of their most struggling learners, particularly in reading. In spite of all the changes in reading programs and approaches, lower levels of achievement by populations such as low-income students and English learners have not changed much. One key to success in reading and all academic performance, especially in this era of the Common Core, is a student’s overall level of language skill—vocabulary, grammar and discourse (the 3 levels of academic language in the WIDA framework).

Perhaps the least understood of these levels is the discourse level; that is, the level that someone is independently able to structure their language in speech and in writing. Yet, discourse level skill is directly connected to reading comprehension and writing skill. This unique training focuses on the discourse level of language, and is designed to clarify the following issues for educators and administrators in grades preK-5:

  • the concrete connection of oral language to literacy skills
  • the developmental stages of personal narrative
  • the close connection of the developmental stages of narrative and text structures
  • a concrete tool to help students develop increasing skill with personal narrative, the Story Grammar Marker®
  • questioning practices that help students develop stronger narrative skills
  • other cohesive devices that bind academic text

Participants will walk away with a new appreciation of oral language development, an understanding of the importance of systematically helping students develop narrative skills, and concrete ideas and tools for making this happen.

Audience and Grade Level

Teachers, Special Educators, Interventionists, ELL specialists, SLPs and all Specialists working with elementary grades.


Future training dates will be announced here. If you have questions or are interested in offering this training on-site, please contact us.


  • Ken Pransky has been a teacher and teacher educator for 35 years in the US and abroad, teaching, coaching, and training, specializing in helping teachers work with struggling learners, including English learners.

For more information, contact:
Events Coordinator
413.586.4900 x5981