Helping Struggling Readers Understand Complex Informational Texts

Professional Development
Graduate Credits: 


This workshop is offered free of charge thanks to a grant from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program at CES.  

This workshop features:

  • Access to top literacy trainer, Ken Pransky
  • A focus on informational texts, as required by Common Core ELA standards
  • Use of the resources of one of the world's largest libraries - the Library of Congress - in support of literacy
  • Instruction regarding reading and writing in all disciplines

How can teachers in grades 3-12 teach struggling readers to read complex informational texts in core academic disciplines? Do we understand the real issues that impact reading performance, and do we have the skills to help students overcome these issues? 

This workshop will offer perspectives and tools to support students in their present capability to work with complex informational texts and help them develop their future capacity as more independent readers.

Participants will:

  • Learn and apply effective strategies to teach informational texts to struggling readers, including English Language Learners (ELL Levels 3-5) and Special Education students
  • Identify the essential factors of reading comprehension, analyze students' reading performance relative to these factors, and help students develop increased reading comprehension capacity
  • Learn to recognize and avoid the language pitfalls of teaching informational texts, especially from the academic disciplines, to struggling readers
  • Learn to identify and address strengths and gaps in students background knowledge, vocabulary, understanding of academic concepts, and core academic skills
  • Develop a lesson or activity that demonstrates strategies to effectively teach informational texts to either ELLs or Special Education students

Prerequisite Requirements

Participants may register for this course if they have completed one or more graduate level courses (listed below) of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program at CES (completed for graduate credit or equivalent PDPs). This does not include earlier courses or workshops that were not offered for graduate credit.

Eligible Prerequesites

Spring 2016 Courses:

Or one of the following:


Classroom teachers of all subject areas, Grades 3 - 12.


22.5 PDPs or 1 graduate credit in partnership with Fitchburg State University. Note that these PDPs will satisfy the ELL or SPED-related requirement for recertification. To earn PDPs or Graduate Credit, participants must complete all assignments by the last class, details of which will be provided in the class syllabus. Graduate Credit from Fitchburg State University costs $220. Registration for Graduate Credit takes place in the first class, with payment accepted by credit card or check.


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.

  • Rich Cairn

    Rich Cairn founded the Accessing Inquiry project of Emerging America, which focuses on inclusion of ALL learners in History, Civics, and Social Science classrooms, especially students with disabilities and English Learners. 

For more information, contact:
Events Coordinator
413.586.4900 x5981