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Mary Ehrenworth

is Deputy Director at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, a not-for-profit organization at Columbia University that leads research and staff development in literacies, nationally and internationally. She is the co-author and author of over a dozen books, including most recently the national best-selling book in education, Pathways to the Common Core, as well as The Power of Grammar; Looking to Write; Teaching Reading Through Fantasy Novels; Research-based Argument Essays; and the forthcoming Position Papers and Other Argument Writing, plus many volumes co-authored with Lucy Calkins in the Units of Study in Teaching Reading and Units of Study in Teaching Writing Grade by Grade. Dr Ehrenworth works with schools and districts around the globe. She is leading an institute on argument at Teachers College this year, with colleagues from ETS and Columbia University. If you ask her why she does this job, she’ll say that from that day long ago when a beloved teacher gave her The Secret Garden, to the days she now spends with children and teachers helping them become powerful and passionate readers and writers, Dr Ehrenworth has been lucky enough to spend time among three things she loves best: books, kids, and teachers. Follow her on Twitter: @MaryEhrenworth

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Keynote Presentation Sponsored by The College Board
Sunday, October 27, 8:30-9:30am

Title Harnessing the Best of the Common Core to Raise the Level of Achievement, Agency, and Independence in Multiple Literacies

Mary Ehrenworth, will share research and methodologies gathered through work at the Reading and Writing Project in schools and districts around the globe, as well as through several national think tanks, for getting the most out of the best parts of the Common Core as a means of raising the level of writing across a school. She will share tools such as checklists and performance assessment methods that help students develop efficacy in self-assessment, as well as cuing systems to increase transference. She will also share suggestions for whole school systemic approaches to the teaching of writing that increase the likelihood of students transferring high leverage skills across disciplines, and from school to the world that students inhabit now and that they will shape in their future.

NEW!! Click here for the Handouts page.


Three-hour Workshop #1: Friday, October 25

8:30-12:00 (coffee break 10:00-10:30)
Title Evidence-based Argument: Raising the Level of Logic, Critical Thinking, and Argument Writing in Classrooms and Across a School
Description Teaching students to be compelling at evidence-based argument is not only a central focus of the Common Core standards in ELA and Math, as well as the new Science Standards, it is essential to social activism and advocacy, central ethics in global education. Dr Ehrenworth will share teaching methods, writing progressions, units of study, and text sets that will help you imagine how to raise the level of argument work across classrooms and schools.

Dr Ehrenworth has co-led a think tank on argument with classroom teachers, researchers at ETS, and faculty members at Columbia University, and she will share the pedagogical practices, assessment tools, and professional development that transformed students’ logic, critical thinking, and argument writing in grades K-12. It turns out that when you want to raise the level of students’ argument writing, it involves raising the level of their critical thinking and logic skills – and we can do that work with crystal clear instruction and with authentic tasks that engage students in meaningful debate.

In this highly interactive workshop, expect to participate in text-based argument, experiment with argument protocols, practice protocols for analyzing on-demand student writing, and consider methods for designing performance assessments.

Handouts Please check the Handouts page for listing.


Three-hour Workshop #2: Saturday, October 26

10:30-3:00 (lunch 12:00-1:30)

Title Close and Critical Reading of Complex Fiction and Nonfiction Texts: Teaching Children and Adults to See More in the Texts They Read, Respond to Texts Critically in Conversation and in Writing, and to Love Reading More Because They See More
Description Learning to unlock the secrets of complex texts means learning to synthesize detail, analyze language, symbolism, and perspective, understand the implications of structure – it means learning to notice what there is to be noticed. These are not just reading skills for high-stakes exams (although they are crucial for those). They are skills that lead students to be confident with more complex texts, to be equipped to talk back to text, and to develop not only more expert reading practices but also more nuanced perspectives – an essential aspect of global education.

There are explicit teaching methods that increase students’ transference of these critical close reading skills across texts, across curriculum, and across the parts of their lives, and Dr Ehrenworth will model these methods across texts. It turns out, though, that a lot of this reading work begins with elevating the reading practices of adults. When you want to make the reading practices of students more complex, first you want to democratize those practices for adults in a building. This workshop, therefore, is designed to be replicable; it’s one that you could return to your schools and duplicate with colleagues, so that teachers across a school develop shared reading practices and can deepen students’ reading work across disciplines and across grade levels

Dr Ehrenworth has led think tanks on close reading in schools and school districts around the world. She will share complex reading practices as content, teaching methods for teaching close reading, and assessment tools for making this intellectual work more visible. She will also share research on the particular kinds of struggles that students tend to manifest with complex texts, and how that might shape instruction.

This workshop is highly interactive. Expect to practice reading of complex texts, analyze the challenges that particular kinds of fiction and nonfiction texts pose, watch classroom video of students learning to self-assess their reading responses, and study some assessment tools.

Handouts Please check the Handouts page for listing.
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