Struggling Pre-Writers & Writers

Pre-K to Grade 3

July 26 & 27, 2016

with Sally Grimes of The Grimes Reading Institute

at the Southeastern Regional Education Service Center (SERESC)

Who Should Attend:

Educators, Grades Pre-K-3

About the Workshop:

Writing involves many factors and is thought to be the most difficult level of language processes. Writing is built upon oral language, listening, background knowledge, sequencing, the executive function skills of planning and organizing, vocabulary, perspective taking, morphology, editing, phonology, spelling, handwriting, knowledge of sentence structure and figurative language. For students who take longer to develop these skills, traditional and even excellent “writing programs” often don’t “go back to the point of breakdown”; thus, there has been a demand for this basic kind of course.

There are many students for whom language development is difficult: Dual Language Learners, Mono lingual children with a paucity of background knowledge and language experience, children at risk for Learning Disabilities or Developmental Issues, Children with Social Emotional barriers to learning, etc. These children benefit from very targeted, direct and explicit instruction and use of scaffolds, such as manipulatives and graphic organizers.

The workshop focuses on methods that are known to help struggling writers and pre-writers at the very basic, foundational part of the writing process…help with writing a sentence. The emphasis is on the established link between spoken and written language.

This workshop takes the participant from the very most basic part of language development through the higher levels of language and provides an overview of why Writing is so difficult for so many with interventions to help teachers know how to go back “to the point of breakdown” using the “speech to print” connection.

Workshop Focus: Embellishing the “Kernel Sentence” Through Oral Language

  • Recognizing the Link Between Speech and Print (Oral and Written Language)
  • Learning to Use Manipulatives in Talking the Sentence First
  • Informal Assessment of Skills in Oral Language
  • Using and Building Upon the “Kernel Sentence” with Expansions
  • The Role of Vocabulary with Activities and “Questioning” Techniques
  • Classroom Applications
  • Using a Variety of Manipulatives and Graphic Organizers and Vocabulary Strategies

*From Joan Sedita, Founding Partner of Keys to Literacy:

“Tools for Struggling Pre-Writers and Writing PK-Grade 3’ course covers foundational methods and instructional practices that are pre-cursors to our Keys to Content Writing Development program. Participants in this course will learn basic language and writing skills that are fundamental and pave the way for learning the content writing skills found in Keys to Content Writing.”

**Presenter Note to Massachusetts Educators: Meets New State Requirements Regarding ELL and Special Education Professional Development Points.


As a result of attending, Participants will be able to:

  • Describe various skills that are essential for PreK-3 writers including Oral Language
  • Assess the presence or absence of essential pre-writing skills
  • Plan targeted interventions for individual direct instruction with the understanding of the speech to print connection
  • Plan and provide instructional intervention for early and struggling writers at any level of proficiency using current research about the Reading/Writing Connection including Vocabulary and Comprehension Strategies
  • Describe several ways that early learners develop talking a sentence before writing a sentence with the use of manipulatives and graphic organizers
  • Describe methods of developing and then expanding “kernel sentences”

About the Presenter

Sally Grimes has provided nation-wide consulting and professional development in the area of Language and Literacy and Learning Disabilities for teachers and administrators Pre K-Grade 4, for the last 18 years. Prior to that, Sally's experience includes teaching (pre-K through graduate school), serving as Landmark School’s first Admissions Director, performing clinical diagnostic work, developing policy, serving on a local school board and performing public service. She is the founding director of The Grimes Reading Institute, one of the three entities awarded the contract for implementing the Massachusetts Reading First Professional Development Plan. She served as a Lead Trainer for this and other grants, some in conjunctions with the Massachusetts Elementary Principals’ Association, for which Sally often does professional development.

Sally has served on the Governor’s Commission on School Readiness and on the MA State Literacy Planning Team. Recently she was chosen to be a trainer of trainers for the country’s first Early Childhood Dual Language Learner initiative that Massachusetts is launching with the Wisconsin-based WIDA and is part of the “Master Cadre” for this initiative. Sally is also an approved Trainer of Trainers for the State’s new standards for domains of Social/Emotional Learning and Approaches to Play and Learning.

Sally received a Master’s Degree in Reading and Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor’s Degree from the Honors Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago in Special Education and Elementary Education.

July 26 & 27, 2016

Check-in and continental breakfast starts at 8:00 am

Presentation starts at 8:30

Lunch at SERESC

Adjourn: 3:00 pm

Participants will receive a certificate of attendance for up to

12 contact hours

Cost: $445.00 for the two day conference.

Early Registration Discounted Cost: $425.00, if registered by, July 12, 2016 ---Enter discount code: early*registration

There are limited seats available for this conference. Early registration is recommended. Registration Ends July 19, 2016.

SERESC member districts are eligible for discounts. Please contact Sabrina Bryant for your discount code if you are an educator from a SERESC district. or (603) 206-6800. SERESC member districts are: Auburn - Bedford - Candia - Hampstead - Hooksett - Londonderry - Merrimack - Timberlane - Windham

Registration closes 7 days before event date. To inquire about available seats after this deadline, contact

To register click here

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This workshop is offered for 1.2 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level; Professional area.)

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Cancellation Policy Professional Development Events

**All received registrations are subject to Cancellation/Refund policy. A full refund will be made for cancellations sent via email 7 days before the event.

**Refunds will not be given if the request is received less than 7 days prior to the event.

**Refunds will not be given for “no shows”.

**SERESC accepts substitution of another person. 24 hour advanced notice is appreciated.

**Registration fee or signed Purchase Order is due on or before the event.

**SERESC reserves the right to postpone or cancel events.


SERESC Conference Center

29 Commerce Drive

Bedford, NH 03110


Our mission is to inspire innovation and excellence in education and professional practice, and our vision is for helping organizations and individuals achieve their greatest potential as they learn, lead and grow. Our core values are innovation, excellence, integrity, and service.

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