Learn how to use the What’s Different? materials to provide professional development to educators who teach reading in classes with English language learners.

Learn effective strategies and activities to develop English learners’ literacy skills as they develop greater language proficiency.

Please join us at this three-day virtual Direct Strategies Institute based on CAL's widely used What’s Different About Teaching Reading to Students Learning English? professional development program. The training will provide participants with an understanding of the methodology and strategies for teaching English learners how to decode and gain meaning from reading as they strengthen their language skills in English.  

This research-based curriculum incorporates key findings from the National Literacy Panel (2006) on teaching reading comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, phonemic awareness and phonics to English learners with key research-based updates. Connections will be made to college and career readiness standards (such as CCSS) including reading and writing in the content areas.

The engaging three-day institute is designed for classroom, ESL, and literacy teachers as well as school administrators who want to ensure reading progress on the part of English learners. High school teachers working with newcomers or students acquiring early literacy skills will also benefit. CAL encourages teams of ESL, reading, and classroom teachers to attend. Facilitators will model classroom and online learning strategies that can be used directly with students to improve literacy outcomes for language learners.

To find out how we can customize this workshop for your school or district, including online options, please contact solutions@cal.org.

What you will receive:

  • The What's Different? Study Guide
  • An understanding of the similarities and differences between teaching reading to English learners and teaching reading to native English speakers.
  • Effective practical strategies for teaching reading to English learners in the areas of oral language development, vocabulary development, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency and comprehension strategies.
  • Implications of college and career readiness standards and the science of reading on literacy instruction for English learners.
  • Step-by-step guidance on how to use and adapt effective reading strategies for English learners in your classroom.

Institute Agenda

Self-Paced Content

  • On April 28, May 5, and 12, 2022 participants will be expected to complete approximately 7 hours of self-paced work in CAL’s asynchronous Moodle platform.

April 28, 2022, 9:30 am -12:30 pm & 2:00 pm - 3:30pm EST.

Introductions, the Nature of Reading, Comprehension

  • Principles of effective instruction for English Learners
  • Defining literacy and the components of literacy
  • Models of literacy
  • What makes a skilled reader?
  • Reading comprehension and oral language development
  • Language functions

May 5, 2022, 9:30 am -12:30 pm & 2:00 pm - 3:30pm EST.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Foundations of Literacy

  • Vocabulary acquisition
  • The three tiers of vocabulary for English learners
  • Selecting and analyzing the characteristics of vocabulary terms
  • Phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and phonics—in a second language
  • Centering meaning in the Foundations of Literacy

May 12, 2022, 9:30 am -12:30 pm & 2:00 pm - 3:30pm EST.

Fluency, Content Area Reading & Putting it all Together

  • Defining fluency
  • Developing reading fluency in a second language
  • Literacy assessments and English learners
  • Disciplinary language
  • Reading in content area classrooms
  • Wrap-Up


  • Early bird registration by April 1, 2022: $855/person
  • After April 1, 2022: $1,030/person. Send 2 people or more and pay $855/person.
  • Cost includes all training materials.


Graduate Credit Option
An option for two graduate credits from Trinity Washington University is available for this CAL Institute. The cost is $495. Participants must attend all workshop days and complete an assignment to be distributed during the institute. If you have questions about requirements and registration for the CAL Institute graduate credits, please contact CAL Solutions.

Questions? Email CAL with any questions you may have about our offerings.

Certificate of Completion

Participants will receive a CAL Certificate of Completion which may be used for continuing education credit.


To reserve your seat for this institute, please complete the online registration process. Please be aware that your seat at the workshop will only be confirmed once payment is received. If you are registering multiple participants, please have the name, title, school, and email addresses available before you begin the registration process. We encourage you to register as soon as possible as many workshops fill up quickly.

Before beginning the registration process, please determine your preferred method of payment (credit card, check, or purchase order). When paying by credit card using the online registration system, your seat will be immediately confirmed and you will receive a confirmation email upon successful completion of the transaction. CAL accepts American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and VISA. For registrations to be paid by purchase order or check, please note that your seat will be tentatively reserved until payment is received. Once the payment is received, you will receive a confirmation email. There will be a fee of $15.00 for each check returned as uncollectible. Purchase orders should be uploaded directly to the registration system or emailed to payables@cal.org. For payment by check, or to pay for purchase orders, please make the check payable to the Center for Applied Linguistics and mail to: Accounts Receivable, Center for Applied Linguistics, 4646 40th Street NW, Washington, DC 20016.

Cancellation Policy
Registrants: We encourage participants to let CAL know as soon as possible if you do not plan to attend the session. Participants may cancel their registration and receive a full refund up to three (3) weeks prior to the institute start date by sending an email to solutions@cal.org. After that date, no refunds will be available. However, registrants may choose to receive the institute materials by mail, postpone their attendance to a future CAL Institute, or transfer the registration to another individual up to three (3) days prior to the course start date. Contact us to discuss your options.
CAL: CAL reserves the right to cancel an event due to low enrollment or for reasons beyond our control. If we exercise this right, we will refund any registration fees which you have paid in advance. In some instances, registrants may have the option to transfer their registration to the another event. CAL is not responsible for transportation and/or hotel costs incurred by registrant.

Fair Use of Materials
Individuals who have completed CAL trainings and workshops have permission from CAL to use materials in the course of providing professional development to educators in their school or school districts. These materials cannot be used to deliver fee-based services. Email CAL if you have questions about the use of CAL materials.

COVID-19 Contingencies Language for Additional to Professional Development (PD) Contracts
CAL’s travel policy states that there will no business travel through December 31, 2020. This policy will be reviewed for the 2021 calendar year with a decision by October 1, 2020. In the event of school closures, travel restrictions and/or a high incidence of COVID-19, the district/school will make every attempt to reschedule the equivalent hours of hours of PD in a combination of synchronous and asynchronous online sessions on dates/times that are mutually agreeable. CAL attests that the PD content will be the equivalent to the face-to-face sessions and also align to best practices for virtual instruction.
In the event that the PD cannot be rescheduled to a virtual delivery model, CAL’s cancellation policy applies.

If you have questions, please contact us via email at solutions@cal.org or call 202-362-0700, Monday-Friday, 9 am - 5 pm Eastern Time.