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J Cooney
Grade 2 classroom teacher
, Canada

I recently attended Nancy’s workshop on supporting students reading.  I have struggled with explaining aspects of written English in a way that was engaging and memorable to my students.  Nancy’s book and instruction have given me some amazing ideas to use with my students.   I am excited to get back to my classroom and put it to use.

Tyson Schoeber

Teacher, The THRIVE Program

Nootka Elementary School

Your presentation on the secrets of the code was one of the very best I have ever attended! You not only explained to teachers why reading instruction needs to be structured, but you showed how much fun it can be for kids if they are moving while they learn! If your methods were used in more schools, I think there would be far fewer kids with reading problems out there!

Currently available only online – hoping to be back to offering in-person
in late 2022! (Stay safe, everyone!) 

Presentations (1.5 to 3 hours)

Climbing the Ladder of Reading & Writing:
Some Children Climb More Slowly While Others Leap Up 

Using her globally recognized Ladder of Reading & Writing infographic, Nancy will address the wide range of ease as children learn to read and the instructional implications. She’ll briefly summarize the components underlying skilled reading and writing and delve into the relevance of those components for those for whom learning is more challenging as well as those with advanced skills. Emphasized will be the importance of differentiated instruction to ensure all students continue to move forward in their learning. Briefly addressed will be the needs of students with dyslexia, ADHD, and giftedness – recognizing that some students may have co-occurring exceptionalities.

A Win-win! Weaving in Movement as
Children Master the Secrets of the Code!

Nancy will review (referencing her Ladder of Reading & Writing infographic) the wide range of learning needs as children learn to read and write. She’ll then summarize research on the need for increased physical activity in schools, including research on the benefits of integrating movement into learning tasks. Throughout the session, Nancy will show examples of ways to weave movement into reading and writing instruction and practice. Educators will find out how easy it can be to learn and practice skills using engaging and FUN code-based movements whether in the classroom, in the gym, or at the playground. Disclosure: Some of the examples presented will be from Nancy’s book "Secret Code Actions". 

*Note: Purchase of Nancy Young’s book, “Secret Code Actions” is suggested. See footer for ordering instructions.  

If this presentation is delivered in a longer workshop, all participants are required to have a copy of Nancy’s book (which serves as the “workshop text” referenced throughout the session and then available for teachers to reference and continue learning from after the workshop).  

Twice-exceptional (2e) students who are gifted and have dyslexia.

Students with the exceptionalities of either giftedness or dyslexia are often underserved in today’s schools. At even greater risk of not being identified and effectively supported are students who are intellectually gifted AND have dyslexia. Described as twice-exceptional (2e), these students require programming that addresses both their strengths - intellectual and personal - and their challenges in learning to read/spell/write. In this session, Nancy will summarize the research on 2e (gifted and dyslexia). She'll then provide examples of how to provide differentiated instruction that is intellectually engaging while teaching the components of structured literacy in the regular classroom kindergarten to grade 3. 

Gifted Students with Co-Occurring ADHD in the Early Grades

Within some K to grade 3 classrooms are gifted students with the co-occurring exceptionality of ADHD. Likely to not yet be formally identified, these twice-exceptional students are at risk for academic and emotional struggles if their giftedness, as well as their ADHD needs, are not met. In this session, Nancy will summarize the research on 2e learners generally, and the importance of a strength-based approach that recognizes their above-average or higher cognitive abilities. She’ll then address foundational reading and writing instruction for these students, recognizing that some may be advanced in those skills while others may find mastery more challenging. Nancy will emphasize the need for differentiation that considers both skill development and enrichment while respecting and cultivating personal strengths and interests. Examples provided will include ways to enable children with ADHD to be physically active and to be engaged in novel tasks during the learning process. 

Bridging Research Silos: Looking Beyond to Better Support ALL Students

The huge movement to address the needs of struggling readers is causing changes to happen in more and more classrooms and in teacher training at the university level. Yet, those who research the science of how children learn to read suggest we need to be cautious and recognize that we still need to know more about how to translate that science into effective instruction. As we continue to work towards this important goal, should we not consider other areas within education that may impact the development of improved reading methods and programs? In this session, Nancy will propose that we need to bridge across to other areas of research as we move forward. She’ll address four areas in particular: 1) Differentiation to meet the wide range of skill mastery; 2) Challenging learning opportunities for gifted students; 3) Inclusion of parents as true members of the team (supporting their learning to help them better support their children); and 3) Physical activity and the connection between movement and academic success. As she addresses each of these areas, she will point out how they connect to learning to read and to one another.

(The topics in the above presentations can be combined and delivered in a more interactive workshop format or 3 hours or more. Please contact Nancy to discuss options.) 

Workshops (1/2 or full day)

Learning the English code using Secret Code Actions

This active workshop has teachers up and moving while increasing their knowledge of the “secrets of the code” – the specific concepts that underlie proficiency in reading (decoding) and spelling (encoding). Equipped with a copy of the book Secret Code Actions™ participants will assume the role of Word Detectives as they:

  • Glimpse into the unnatural process of learning to read and spell, and the challenges so many children face as they try to climb the “Ladder of Reading”.

  • Investigate the components of instruction that are crucial for students diagnosed as dyslexic, yet can help build skills and extend learning for all students.

  • Discover how to integrate code-based kinaesthetic mnemonics into reading/spelling instruction.

  • See how using movement enables engaging reading/spelling practice opportunities to take place across the school day (including during mandated DPA – Daily Physical Activity), providing the repetition so many students need.

  • Find out that laughter and fun can be a part of learning to read and spell the fascinating “secrets of the code”!  


Every workshop participant will receive a copy of the book Secret Code Actions™: A Resource to Support Learning to Read and Spell the English Language (Teacher Edition), and leave the workshop set to use it as an instructional tool for all learners.

Teachers rave about Nancy's workshops!

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your presentation on the secrets of the code. It was full of excellent information and was fantastically presented. It was the best ProD I've attended in a long while and I found things immediately coming up and being useful in lessons on Monday morning. I'm really thankful for all your hard work! 

Craig Sheridan
Learning Support Teacher 

Surrey, BC, Canada 

I recently had the pleasure of participating in one of Nancy’s two-day professional development workshops. It was centered on her new book  “Secret Code Actions” and offered a fun, and informative approach to literacy instruction. Nancy is a dynamic and engaging speaker and her workshop presented fascinating information about brain science and reading. She promoted collaboration and connection with other teachers, and presented many hands-on active activities throughout. I left the workshop feeling invigorated and excited to apply my new knowledge in the classroom. I would highly recommend this fantastic learning opportunity!

Lindsay C.

Teacher in in B.C., Canada


Teacher in B.C., Canada

I attended a two-day workshop featuring Nancy and her new book. It was the most informative workshop I have been to about teaching children to read...this workshop was fascinating and explained so much about how the brain has to change in order to learn to read. I can see how teaching the "Secret Code Actions" of the complicated English language will provide my students with a meaningful connection to the phonemes and graphemes involved in learning to read. Thank you again, Nancy, for a great workshop.

Presentations & Handouts

Click the button below to access Nancy's handouts listing presentation references (some also listing additional helpful resources). Depending on the presentation topic, Nancy may provide additional materials. NOTE: Generally, Nancy’s slides are only available to registrants via the hosting organization.

**ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: Would you like to use materials Nancy has created in a presentation, on a website, in course materials or in a publication? Please contact Nancy first.**

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