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  • Catherine Clark

Reading in the Rockies Conference, Vail, CO

Reading in the Rockies

Annual Literacy Conference 10/12-13, 2018, Vail, Colorado

This month I attended the Reading in the Rockies conference for the 2nd consecutive year for a golden, fall Vail weekend. This conference hosts multiple expert speakers, both national and local, who address the needs of at-risk readers and writers.

As an Executive Function coach, I chose seminars that address some of the areas my students can struggle with: working memory, grammar usage, strategies to support narrative and expository expression, and word and sentence strategies for writing. Over 350 people attended—educators and parents- to get tools and strategies to use with their students and/or families.

One takeaway from the Working Memory session, with Julie Caroleo, is that automaticity/mastery of information frees up a student’s working memory. One method, used in EF skills training, is “chunking,” breaking tasks down into small parts, reducing working memory stress, which enables information to move from working memory to short-term memory, encoding into long-term memory. Information that’s stored in long-term memory can be retrieved when it’s needed for your working memory to solve a problem. For example, having multiplication tables in long-term memory takes stress off working memory—you retrieve that information when you need it. How does information get into long-term memory? Lots of spaced practice until it’s automatic! Driving a car uses lots of working memory when you first begin, but with practice most operations becomes nearly automatic—you don’t have to think of each step intentionally and your working memory is freed up for when you do need to problem solve.

Lionshead, Vail, CO

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