The Science of Reading: Practical Tips for School Psychologists


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Reading difficulty will likely be one of the most frequent referral concerns a school psychologist is faced with. Being a fluent reader is an extremely important skill that allows our students to more fully access their education and not learning to read has a profound functional impact on a person’s daily life. Despite this, many school psychologists do not themselves understand the basic components of reading and what good reading instruction should look like. This presentation provides a basic overview of the science behind learning to read, describes a practitioner’s journey to gain more information on assessment and intervention, and provides functional tips for expanding your practice to best help students and support your district in evidence based practices. Presented by Rachael Donnelly, MA, AC, NCSP in April of 2020. This individual webinar can be purchased for $25 (scroll down to purchase). The content in this webinar is intertwined with Domains 1, 2, 3, and 5 of the NASP Practice Model.’s recorded webinars are non-refundable. Attendees who complete this 1.5-hour webinar will receive 1.5 NASP-Approved CPD credit.

Speaker Bio:

Rachael Donnelly, MA, AC, NCSP is a practicing school psychologist in Anne Arundel County, MD, having earned her undergraduate degree at Binghamton University and completed her graduate training through University at Buffalo. Rachael has worked in districts across four different states and loves to compare/contrast different practices/perspectives. She is founder and co-host of the successful School Psyched Podcast and manages its associated Resources Drive. Rachael is involved in supporting the field of school psychology through her work on the NASP Communications Committee as well as supervising university students. She is passionate about professional development, psychological measurement, reading instruction, and skill-based supports. Rachael works to ensure that all students’ needs are addressed through accurate assessment and evidence-based interventions.

Participants Will Learn:

1. To express a basic understanding of the essential components of reading

2. to identify practical methods for identifying a student’s strengths/weaknesses to inform instruction and intervention.

3. To identify methods of moving schools towards improved practices in reading

Attendee Feedback:

“I learned so much about assessment of SLD! Amazing presentation.” -Ashley

“This was very practical for school psychologists. More practitioners and stakeholders need to see this type of information.” -Megan

“This was a great presentation! A lot of helpful and practical information was delivered. I also appreciate the additional resources on where to go to explore concepts further.” -Carrie

“I liked how there were two areas for the presentation to use visual modalities – the speaker and the notes. I also liked the practical places to search for more information. Lastly, I appreciated the information about the cognitive assessments.” -Kate

“Very practical information. Presenter is very informed and was able to relay that information during this webinar. The webinar gave me pause to consider what I am doing in my own practice of school psychology.” -Ted

“Great webinar. I really appreciated the strategies provided for each of the Big 5 areas of reading. I also appreciated all of the resources provided with links listed in the handouts.” -Margaret

“This was one of the best webinars I’ve ever seen! It was jam-packed with information based on research in the area of reading, but also included practical tips and strategies we can use for assessing students’ strengths and weaknesses in the big 5 areas of reading. The many recommended resources for additional PD will definitely come in handy. Thank you!” -Laura

“Rachael’s webinar was extraordinarily practical. She provided a plethora of information that I will consult when discussing my districts reading interventions, as well as my district’s standard testing procedures.” -Natalie

“I thought it was an excellent presentation with a lot of wonderful information and resources. Thank you!” -Tracy

“The presentation really gave information that was practical to my daily work as a school psychologist. I feel it has given me a better understanding of the research behind reading instruction and has prepared me to better assess students’ reading skills, as well as help teachers and parents.” -Kelsey

Course Information

Course Instructor Author

Recorded Webinar

1 year of access

You can access this individual webinar for $25 or you can access all the webinars for just $99 through our Back to School sale.