Course Listing

Learning Lab

Learning Lab: Capitalize on Text-Based Opportunities for Writing

Does reading enhance written expression? Does writing enhance reading comprehension? Does increasing how frequently students write improve how well they read and reflect their understanding? The connection between experiences with written expression, reading comprehension, literacy acquisition, and the development of knowledge is well-documented in research. This Learning Lab will explore these relationships in the context of elementary school classrooms.

In the morning sessions on both days, participants will consider the research that analyzes the positive impact of connected, text-based reading and writing experiences on literacy acquisition and the development of knowledge. A particular area of focus will be how to integrate principles of language-based instruction into linked reading and writing experiences. A goal of this integration is to develop a routine that makes the relationship between reading and writing more explicit for students who struggle with reading and written expression and/or who have diagnosed language-based learning disabilities. Identifying opportunities for developing text-based experiences with narrative, informative, and persuasive writing using fiction and non-fiction texts from participants’ own classrooms will be emphasized.

The afternoon sessions on both days will provide participants the opportunity to apply the principles introduced in the morning sessions to their own classroom curriculum. Afternoon sessions will be dedicated to designing and/or reworking personal text-based lessons, individually or collaboratively with fellow educators, to include principles of language-based instruction regarding reading and writing. Participants will also have the opportunity to synthesize their Learning Lab experience through reflection and discuss their professional reflections with each other.


Upon completion, participants will be able to:

  • synthesize the findings documented in current research that explores the impact of text-based reading and writing experiences on the development of literacy and knowledge
  • identify and use effective, research-based strategies for activating student engagement when reading fiction and non-fiction text
  • define and use a process approach for narrative, informative, and persuasive writing that explicitly includes planning, writing, and revising
  • design, and/or redesign, personal lessons from classroom curriculum to explicitly include principles of language-based instruction learned in the Learning Lab
  • explain the importance of and advocate for explicitly and routinely linking text-based reading and writing experiences using principles of language-based instruction for struggling readers and writers and/or students diagnosed with language-based learning disabilities



This course is appropriate for special and general educators at the elementary level (grades K-5)


To use as a base for designing and/or redesigning lessons during the afternoon sessions, Learning Lab participants should bring two to three examples each of fiction and non-fiction text used in their classroom and/or examples of previously taught lessons, related materials, and student work samples of text-based writing using both fiction and non-fiction text.



Participants wishing to receive 1 graduate credit for this course must bring payment of $200 on the first day of the seminar. Payment must be made via credit card or check made out to Fitchburg State University. Cash or Purchase Order will not be accepted for this payment.

Course Information

10 Hours/PDPs
1 Graduate Credit ($200 additional fee payable on first day of seminar)
Dates/Time Price
July 19-20, 2018
8:30am - 3:00pm

Registration is unavailable at this time.

Teachers Say...

“This class was well organized and presenter clearly explained strategies and concepts that are highly relevant to classroom practices. I acquired a battery of strategies that build on/connect to each other to help teach and support my students across all curriculum areas, especially for supporting organization of language.”

Kim Murphy

About the Instructor

Ann Larsen

Ann has been working professionally in the field of language-based learning disabilities since 1977. Her responsibilities over the years at Landmark School have included: assistant director of admission, academic dean at Landmark High School, academic case manager at Landmark Elementary•Middle School, dean of women students, and language arts teacher and tutor. Ann currently consults with public, private, and charter schools across the country regarding evaluation, academic planning, and program design, development, and implementation for children with language-based learning disabilities. Ann is a graduate of Smith College, with former Massachusetts certification in elementary education and special needs administration.

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