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Paraprofessionals Supporting Reading Instruction

On-Demand Webinar

Empowering Paraprofessionals with
Learning Letters and Making Words

Presented by: 
Karen Starr, M.Ed, Special Education Coordinator

Live webinar was held on June 7, 2024 

Hear from a special education coordinator on how her school district empowered paraprofessionals supporting reading instruction in classrooms using Readtopia literacy instruction.

Strategies for Empowering Paras: One District's Approach

Karen Starr will share how several years ago, paras in her school district had the role of supporting behavior in our classrooms, keeping  students on task and redirecting students to the teacher.  Fast forward to the present day and their classrooms have a whole new vibe! Paras are now preparing materials, supporting instruction, gathering data, and having an impact on reading instruction daily! 

As a result of empowering paras, teachers feel less pressure, paras feel included and most of all  students are making huge gains in becoming readers.

Photo of Karen Starr, M.Ed and the title of her Building Wings Webinar: Empowering Paraprofessionals with Learning Letters and Making Words.

This 30-minute webinar will provide

  • Resources for school administrators to help  paraprofessionals support instruction with Readtopia.
  • A timeline and supporting materials to train paraprofessionals.
  • Review necessary materials for implementation.
  • Data collection techniques paras use to monitor student progress in the program.

This webinar is designed for Special Education Administrators and Directors as well as classroom teachers interested in expanding the role and empowering paraprofessionals supporting reading instruction. It is geared toward schools and districts using Readtopia for students in grades 3-12+ with complex learning profiles,  and may also be of interest for educators evaluating the use of this  literacy instruction curricula in their district, or interested in empowering paraprofessionals.

Interested in other free webinars for special educators? The Building Wings Webinar webpage includes information on  other upcoming live webinars and access to on-demand recordings of previously held live webinars.


About the Presenter

Headshot of Karen Star
Karen Starr, M.Ed

Karen Starr earned her Bachelor’s in Special Education and her Masters in Educational Leadership at Northern Illinois University. Additionally, she holds her Special Education Director’s Endorsement and has served in roles such as Learning Behavior Specialist, Director of Special Education, and Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. Ms. Starr has spent the last several years leading a team of teachers/paraprofessionals in D59 to increase inclusion opportunities for students. As a mother of three boys, one with an IEP, Karen also enjoys golfing and has a passion for health and wellness.

Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D.​

Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D. is Director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill. Her focus is on understanding the best ways to assess and teach reading and writing to children with the most severe disabilities. As a special education teacher, Dr. Erickson has worked to support students with a range of disabilities in a variety of classroom settings, particularly students who do not use speech as their primary means of communication.


Author Profile:,Ph.D.

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