Course Listing

2 Day Seminars

Talking and Writing: Strengthening Written Expression at the Word, Sentence, and Discourse Levels

Writing research indicates that students who understand how sentences and paragraphs are structured are able use this knowledge as they learn to write. Students with language-based learning disabilities do not implicitly form patterns about language structure, nor do they automatically map their knowledge of oral language into its written forms. This seminar examines ways to introduce and strengthen writing skills at the word, sentence, micro-discourse, single, and multi-paragraph levels. Particular attention is placed on a theme-centered developmental curriculum to develop the sentence skills which provide the basis for paragraph level written expression. In addition, techniques to activate students’ background knowledge and facilitate brainstorming key vocabulary and concepts will be covered.


Upon completion, participants will be able to:

  • describe how attention, verbal working memory, executive functioning, and processing speed support language understanding and expression
  • identify classroom management techniques that support language learning
  • provide strategies for organizing vocabulary and concepts thematically
  • describe semantic feature analysis and semantic categorization skills
  • explain how adjective knowledge can be leveraged to enhance learning of adverbs
  • implement systematic hierarchical instruction at the sentence level with emphasis on matching the logic of the sentence with the logic of the paragraph
  • implement micro-united techniques that aid idea development in paragraphs
  • explain how the personal sequence narrative can provide a bridge to expository writing
  • identify prerequisite skills for producing informational texts



This course is appropriate for educators at the upper elementary to lower middle school levels.



A copy of the text From Talking to Writing: Strategies for Supporting Narrative and Expository Writing, by Terrill M. Jennings & Charles W. Haynes (2018) will be included in the cost of tuition. Books will be available for pickup on the first day of the course.



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
Dates/Time Price
July 16-17, 2018
8:30am - 3:00pm

Registration is unavailable at this time.

Teachers Say...

“I can honestly say that I did not want the class to end. It opened my eyes to so many procedures I can use with my class. I get so much out of the Landmark experience that I look forward to taking courses every year.”

Jude Shanahan

About the Instructor

Terrill Jennings

Terrill Jennings, a founding teacher of Landmark School, has taught students with dyslexia for more than 40 years. She has chaired and co-chaired the Language Arts department at Landmark’s Elementary•Middle School, and she also co-founded Landmark’s Expressive Language Program. Her particular instructional focus is developing techniques and strategies for teaching written expression. Terrill received her master’s in reading from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In her retirement, Terrill is the reading coordinator for volunteer tutors at Esperanza Academy, an inner city school for Latina girls. She also is a consultant for the Dyslexia Reading Center in Dubai, UAE. In December 2016, the Massachusetts Branch of the International Dyslexia Association presented Terrill with the Alice H. Garfield Award for outstanding commitment and service to children who struggle with reading.

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