Teaching Reading to Struggling Students | Teachers College Columbia University

Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Teaching Reading to Struggling Students

July 6 - 26, 2020

July 6, 2020 - July 26, 2020

Registration Fee: $595

Space is limited.

Group/Team Discount (5 or more): 25% off the registration fee, please contact cps@tc.columbia.edu to register

Units Awarded: Participants receive 20 Clock Hours and 20 CTLEs (applicable only to NYS residents).

This is a 3-module online professional development program on how to improve the reading skills of struggling students. The modules focus on reading difficulties and dyslexia; reading processes in English language learners; and instructional techniques for struggling readers. The program is offered for 3 weeks (July 6 - 26, 2020).

This program is asynchronous, meaning that students complete the modules at their own pace, at times of their convenience, and do not have to be online at any given time within the 3-week period. Students must complete Module 1 to receive acess to Module 2 and must complete Module 2 to receive access to the last module, Module 3. A digital certificate will be awarded upon completion of the entire program.

Please Note: For the best learning outcomes, students should aim to complete one module per week over the 3-week period, and expect to commit 6-7 hours per week working through the materials. There is no partial credit towards clock hours or CTLEs for partial participation in the program. All assignments are due on the last Sunday of the program at 11:59 PM EST.

Who should attend?

  • K-12 teachers in English language arts, social studies, science or special education classrooms
  • School principals, professional development personnel, and administrators
  • Speech and language pathologists

Learning Objectives

Participants will be become familiar with the following concepts and practices in teaching reading to low-skilled students:

  • Patterns of reading in individuals with learning disabilities, and English language learners
  • Etiology of reading disabilities
  • Gender differences in specific reading disability
  • Subtypes of dyslexia
  • Role of reading comprehension in learning of mathematics
  • Controversies in diagnosing specific reading disability
  • Response to intervention: rationale and implementation
  • Reading instruction for individuals with specific reading disability, and for English language learners
  • Explicit methods of teaching phonemic awareness, decoding, word recognition, vocabulary, oral reading fluency, and reading comprehension to low-skilled readers
  • Orton-Gillingham and related multi-sensory techniques for teaching word-reading
  • Spelling techniques and morphological awareness for low-skilled readers
  • Vocabulary interventions for low-skilled readers
  • Using multi-faceted reading interventions in the regular classroom
  • Comprehension strategies for narrative and informational text
  • The use of technology, including apps, to supplement reading instruction

Description of Modules

Module 1: Reading difficulties and dyslexia – 7 clock hours
Reading difficulties and dyslexia across the lifespan; patterns of reading and spelling; etiology; gender differences; reading subtypes; diagnostic techniques; controversy over the role of intelligence testing in diagnosing a reading disability; teaching students who have reading difficulty; response to intervention model for struggling readers

Module 2: Reading processes in English language learners – 6 clock hours
Characteristics of the reading of English language learners; general principles for teaching English language learners; approaches to reading instruction for English language learners; assessing the reading of English language learners

Module 3: Interventions to promote improvement in reading – 7 clock hours
Word recognition, decoding and spelling instruction; oral reading fluency instruction; vocabulary instruction for reading comprehension; reading comprehension – literal and inferential processes; reading comprehension for narrative and informational text; use of technology in reading instruction


Dolores Perin

Dolores Perin, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology and Education and Chairperson in the Health and Behavior Studies Department at Teachers College, Columbia University. She directs the Applied Education Psychology: Reading Specialist Program, which prepares students for state certification as a Teacher of Literacy. Her research interests center on the literacy skills of individuals with reading and writing difficulties, and she has published in a wide variety of journals. Dr. Perin teaches graduate courses including Theory and Techniques of Assessment and Intervention in Reading; Writing Interventions Theory and Practice; Adult Literacy and Developmental/ Remedial Education; and Diagnosis of Reading and Writing Disabilities. She is a state-licensed psychologist who has expertise in working with children, adolescents and adults with learning difficulties including dyslexia.

Susan Masullo

Susan Garni Masullo, Ph.D. is a full time Lecturer and Director of the Literacy Practicums in the Reading Specialist Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to coming to Teachers College, she had an extensive career as a reading/learning specialist working with children, adolescents and adults who struggle with literacy and/or academic tasks. Her professional interests involve clinical applications of research to literacy assessment and intervention across the lifespan. She is frequently asked to consult on K-12 literacy matters by schools and organizations, and presents at conferences on similar topics. In her free time, she enjoys maintaining a small private practice working with older adolescents and adults.

Frequently Asked Questions for Teaching Reading to Struggling Students program

1. What are the dates of the program?

The program opens on July 6, 2020 and ends on July 26, 2020. Everyone who has registered will be sent a link to the program one week before the program begins (June 29th).

2. What will be my experience in the program?

There are three modules, each designed to take 6 or 7 hours. In each module, you will view and listen to narrated PowerPoint slides, view video links and other materials, answer questions about the materials, and write brief reflections.

3. Who will see my answers?

You will be posting your answers and reflections on a discussion board. After you submit each post, you will be able to see other students’ posts. This means that all students will be able to see each other’s answers and reflections.

4. What happens after I finish a module?

At the end of each module you will be asked to complete an exit activity to progress to the next module. This activity involves answering some brief questions about the material.

5. What happens when I complete the three modules?

After you complete the three modules and exit activity for each, you will receive a Certificate of Participation from Teachers College, as well as 20 Clock Hours and 20 CTLEs (CTLEs are for NY residents only).

6. Do I have to buy materials?

No. All materials are accessible through the program website at no charge over and above the registration fee.

7. Do I have to be online at any one time?

You must complete the program within the time period July 6 - 26, 2020. You may do the work at any time and do not have to be online at any given time during this period.

8. How long am I expected to be online?

You will be expected to spend at least 20 hours completing activities in the program.

9. How do I receive my Professional Development Hours or CTLEs?

Within one month of completing the program, you will be sent a Clock Hour or CTLE certificate by Teachers College, Columbia University. All participants who complete the course will receive a Certificate of Participation for 20 Clock Hours. Participants who require CTLE certificates must provide the last four digits of their social security number and provide their name exactly as it appears on the TEACH website.

10. What learning management system will be used?

The learning management for all courses at Teachers College, Coulmbia University is Canvas.

11. What should I do if I cannot get into the Canvas website after I am sent the link on July 1st, or if I have problems with Canvas functions once I’m at the website?

If you have any issues with Canvas, you can call the Canvas Support Hotline at 844-906-0594 anytime. Once you are in Canvas, you can click on "Help" on the left of the screen to report a problem through email or LiveChat with a support specialist.

12. Can I take the program for credit?

This is a non-credit Professional Development program.

13. Is the program convertible to credits?

The program is not convertible to credits.

14. Can I pay for this program using a school purchase order, or pay by check?

Yes. If you wish to pay by purchase order or by check, please send an email to cps@tc.columbia.edu with the names, titles and email contacts of the participants. Payment must be received no later than June 29, 2020.

15. Are there any registration discounts?

Yes, we offer a 25% reduction in the registration fee for 5 or more participants from the same organization who register at the same time. Contact cps@tc.columbia.edu for more information.

16. What is your cancellation policy?

Cancellation Policy:
Continuing Professional Studies at Teachers College, Columbia University will provide a full (100%) reduction of charges if the written request to withdraw is received at least 30 days prior to the first scheduled session. Given the demand for this program and the work entailed in its preparation, if the cancellation is reported within 30 days or fewer before the program starts, only 50% of the total charges will be credited. Registrants who wish to withdraw on or after the start date of a program or course will not receive any reduction of charges.

Registrants who fail to attend and do not cancel prior to the event will be liable for full charges for the event.

NOTE: All refund requests must be made in writing to the Continuing Professional Studies<cps@tc.columbia.edu> at Teachers College, Columbia University. Refunds will be made in the payment method received. Please allow 4-6 weeks for check refunds to be processed and 3-5 days for credit card refunds.

Other Offerings

Digital Learning for the K-8 Classroom
Ongoing Enrollment May 1, 2017 - May 1, 2017

Child Abuse Identification & Reporting
June 6, 2020 - August 22, 2020

School Violence Prevention & Intervention
June 6, 2020 - August 22, 2020

Teaching Food and Nutrition for All
June 8 -28, 2020 June 8, 2020 - June 28, 2020

Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)
June 21, 2020 - August 23, 2020

Leading with Evidence in Schools: Data and Research Literacy
July 6 - August 2, 2020 July 6, 2020 - August 2, 2020

Teaching Reading to Struggling Students
July 6 - 26, 2020 July 6, 2020 - July 26, 2020

Make Better Decisions Together:
A Ten-Step Framework for Education Leaders

July 6 - August 7, 2020 July 6, 2020 - August 7, 2020

View the Complete List