Since 2000, Dr. Ash has presented professional development workshops across the United States and Canada, at schools, school districts, state regional service centers, and state Departments of Education. 

Dr. Ash prides herself in her return customers.  Many people have used her as a professional development presenter over and over again, in response to very positive feedback from attendees and even more importantly, changes in classroom literacy instruction and achievement.

“You were a hit!
We had phone calls and emails before we could get back in the office!”

Too often teachers are told what to do, rather than treated as educated professionals who are experts in their field and capable of making effective and informed decisions about the instruction that they conduct in their classrooms.  Professional development should be education and not training.

In The Muddle™ regards teachers as knowledgeable professionals and supports them in creating localized recipes that capitalize on their strengths and fit the needs of their students and school community, grounded in research-based, theoretically-sound practices.

WE offer a menu of workshops for your convenience.

Or you may choose to have a workshop created especially for you, using customized texts and based on your school's or district's individual needs. 

Workshops are available in one-half day, full day, and multiple day formats.


All workshops share research-supported methods that are effective with young adolescents and include hands-on work with the content.

Taking the Threefold Path: Effective Vocabulary Instruction for Equity
for ELAR teachers, grades 4-12   half day

Focuses on strategies for independent word learning from texts.  Layered on top of our everyday Anglo-Saxon English are words of Latin and Greek origin. These words share roots and affixes with other similar words. Their shared morphology allows students to use known word parts to decipher the meaning of previously unknown words. In this session, participants will learn not only what roots and affixes might be appropriate to teach but also how to include definitional and contextual strategies into their vocabulary instruction to support students in their literacy development. (Ash & Baumann, 2017)

Who Can You Trust? Engaging Critical Media Lessons in the Middle and High School
for all teachers, grades 4-12           half day

Introduces critical media skills using real-life texts.  What is fake news?  How do you identify misleading information on the internet?  What should you look for?  The workshop includes hands-on practice evaluating online information, shares algorithms for evaluation, and scaffolds the development of your own algorithms in student-centered language. (Saunders, Ash, et al. 2017)

In the Muddle™: Teaching Literacy with Real Adolescents in Real Classrooms 
for ELAR  teachers, grades 4-8        one, two, or three full days

Focuses on using a pragmatic framework for planning effective literacy instruction in the middle grades.  The workshop includes information on differentiated instruction, word level strategies, vocabulary instruction, fluency development, comprehension strategy instruction, the use of student-led discussion, effective text selection, assessment to guide instruction, and organizations for instruction in the middle grades.  The workshop can also be modified for content area teachers. (Ash, 2002)

Guided Reading: Managing the Three Ring Circus*
for ELAR teachers, grades 4-8         half day or full day

Demonstrates how to use reciprocal teaching and  literature circles as frameworks for small group guided reading instruction as well as peer–led discussion.  The full day workshop also includes examples of how to develop and to use centers and other student-driven assignments to facilitate small group instruction with young adolescents. (Ash, 2002)

Developing Fluency: Making Reading Sing!*
for ELAR teachers, grades 4-8         half day or full day          

Provides effective substitutes for the damaging use of round robin reading.  The workshop shares information on effective cooperative strategies for reading content area material; assessing  reading rate, automaticity, and prosody; and improving fluency through fun, meaningful activities, including Karaoke Club© (Ash & Hagood, 1999; Ash & Kuhn, 2006; Ash et al., 2009).

Expanding What Good Readers Do: Focusing on the Four Reader Roles in New Times*
for all teachers, grades 4-12     half day or full day           

Expands traditional comprehension instruction to include critical reading tasks.  The workshop describes the four reader roles (code breaker, meaning maker, text user, text analyst) and how reading across the curriculum can help students become proficient and critical readers inside and outside of school.  Includes instruction in Reciprocal Teaching Plus (Ash, 2002, 2005).

Why Words Really Matter: Teaching Vocabulary to Improve Comprehension*
for all teachers, grades 4-12         half day or full day                                       

Introduces the role of vocabulary in comprehension of texts.  The workshop shares effective techniques for teaching vocabulary to improve comprehension of narrative and expository texts: before, during, and after reading. (Ash & Baumann, 2017)

Creating Word Addicts: Using Effective Word Study Assessment and Instruction*
for ELAR teachers, grades 4-12          half day or full day                                   

Describes the development of young adolescents’  understanding of how words work (orthographic knowledge) as well how multisyllabic words are built (morphemic knowledge).  The workshop includes how to assess students' orthographic and morphemic knowledge and how to use that assessment to provide differentiated instruction in word identification, spelling, and vocabulary.  (Ash, 2002)


ALL STARRed* half-day sessions are, to some degree, a part of the two-day and three-day In the Muddle™ Workshops.