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Color Vowel Conference for English Language Educators

Two days of English language teaching innovation.

April 5th and 6th, 2024

Planet Word Museum • Washington, DC


The Color Vowel® Conference for English Language Educators is an international gathering of approximately 145 teachers and trainers who share an interest in spoken English, pronunciation, phonological awareness, effective teaching, and learner-centered instruction. Whether you are Color Vowel® Trained or Color Vowel® curious, we've got great things in store for you!

K-12 ESOL • Adult ESL • Literacy Volunteers • Higher Ed. ESL/EFL • Instructional Coaches
Language Tutors • Pronunciation Coaches • TESOL Graduate Students • Teacher Educators

This unique two-day event will take place in a beautifully restored 1870's school house that is now the home of Planet Word, a first-of-its-kind language museum located just blocks from the White House. With the conference set for early April, we are optimistic that attendees will have an opportunity to enjoy Washington DC's legendary cherry blossoms-- yet another reason to join us! 

Conference Pricing

Here are the conference ticket options, dates, and pricing.

Click on the button below to register.

Ticket Type Cost Sales Begin Sales End
Friday Evening Dinner $49 October 15, 2023 March 29, 2024
Early Registration (2-day attendance only) $215 October 15, 2023 November 26, 2023
Presenters / Conference Volunteers $175 January 20, 2024 February 15, 2024
Graduate Student (2-day attendance only) $115 November 27, 2023 March 27, 2024
Regular 2-day Registration $245 November 27, 2023 February 29, 2024
Regular 1-day Registration $180 November 27, 2023 February 29, 2024
Late Registration (2-day attendance) $300 March 1, 2024 March 27, 2024
Late Registration (1-day attendance) $230 March 1, 2024 March 27, 2024


Register Here!

Quick Conference Facts

Conference Dates:
April 5-6, 2024

Planet Word Museum
925 13th St. NW
Washington, DC 20005

This unique venue is a DC landmark and a perfect location for our in-person conference. Just blocks from the White House, the Franklin school was built as a free public school in 1869.  

  • Our venue space can accommodate up to 145 attendees, so get your tickets as soon as possible.
  • A limited number of 1-day tickets is available for both Friday and Saturday.
  • There are also limited discount tickets for graduate students.
  • Early registration ends on November 20th.
  • If you purchase an early registration ticket and then are selected as a Presenter or Volunteer, we will refund you the difference in ticket prices.
  • Attendance at the dinner at Busboys and Poets on Friday night is limited to 75 people. The dinner ticket is in addition to your conference registration.  Choice of entrée includes fried chicken, blackened salmon, or vegan "bolognese" pasta. All dishes are gluten-free friendly.

Click on the green button above to register for the conference and/or dinner.

Day 1 • Friday, April 5th

  • 10:00 - 11:00  •  Check-in, meet & greet, product sales
  • 11:00 - 11:35 •  Keynote Speaker (Gemma Archer, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland)
  • 11:40 - 1:00 •  Presentation sessions
  • 1:00 - 2:15  •  Lunch
  • 2:15 - 5:00  • Presentation sessions
  • 6:00 - 9:00  •  Dinner at Busboys and Poets  •  ticket holders only (spaces limited)

Day 2 • Saturday, April 6th

  • 10:00 - 10:30  •  Check-in (1-day ticket holders only) , meet & greet, product sales
  • 10:30 - 11:05  •  Opening Speaker (TBA)
  • 11:10 - 1:00  •  Presentation sessions
  • 1:00 - 2:15  •  Lunch
  • 2:15 - 4:15  • Presentation sessions
  • 4:20 - 5:00 • Closing Speaker (TBA), Raffle, & Closing Ceremonies



Keynote Speaker: Gemma Archer

Gemmar Archer circle

  • Gemma Archer is an EAP teacher and programme co-ordinator in the ELT unit at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. Gemma is also the joint-coordinator of IATEFL Pronunciation special interest group (PronSIG), a Color Vowel Level 3 apprentice trainer, and co-author of the forthcoming book Teaching English Pronunciation for a Global World (OUP, 2024). Her research interests lie in the field of pronunciation pedagogy and accent, and the issues which can arise when students and teachers of English are confronted with diverse regional and global varieties of English. This led to her creation of The Scottish Sound School a resource to help new arrivals to Scotland acclimate to the unfamiliar sounds of Scottish speech.   









The Planet Word Museum is situated on Franklin Square in the heart of Washington, DC -- just blocks from the White House.

You can stay at hotels in the District, Virginia, or Maryland and be within a 30-minute metro ride of this historic venue for our conference.

Conference attendees get a discounted rate of 20% at the Eaton DC Hotel -- literally across K Street from Planet Word. 

Go to our Accommodations and Transportation page for more information about convenient and affordable accommodations when attending the conference--including maps and links.




The Color Vowel® Conference for English Language Educators is being held at the Planet Word Museum which is housed in the historic Franklin School building at 925 13th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005.

The Franklin School is located on the northeast corner of Franklin Square, which is also home to the Washington Post and just blocks from the White House.

The easiest way to get around DC is by Metrorail. The closest metro station to Planet Word is McPherson Square. The closest metro station to Busboys and Poets is Takoma Station.

If you choose to drive to the conference, attendees can get a discounted rate of $10/day for parking at ParkAmerica just around the corner from the museum.

For more information about parking, Metrorail, links to Metro's Trip Planner, and walking maps to the museum and restaurant, please go to our Accommodations and Transportation page.




We invite you to support this unique visionary event by becoming a sponsor. Sponsorship donations will help us pay for the venue, general conference expenses, and speaker fees.

ELTS offers three levels of sponsorship: GREEN TEA for $1000, PURPLE SHIRT for $750, and BLUE MOON for $500. Your support will be acknowledged in conference materials and throughout the conference in a variety of ways. We also have opportunities for sponsoring specific events and individual donations.

Please see our sponsorship webpage for details.






Color Vowel® EnCHANTment 

An evening of good food, great conversation, and Color Vowel® entertainment that will nourish your inner word nerd

Friday, April 5th • 6-9 pm

Busboys and Poets, Takoma Park, DC

When you purchase your conference ticket, don't forget to add a dinner ticket for Friday night!

For just $49, you'll get a delicious 3-course meal and non-alcoholic beverage at the famous Busboys and Poets on Carroll Street in the Takoma Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

Seats are limited, so don't wait to get your ticket.

The menu will be:

  • Choice of salad or soup
  • Choice of entrée (specify when purchasing your ticket)
    • Fried Chicken (Gluten-Free Friendly) - herb cornmeal-encrusted chicken breast with herb mushroom cream sauce; served with mashed potatoes and collard greens
    • Blackened Salmon (Gluten-Free Friendly) - with lemon-butter sauce and served with wild rice and asparagus, topped with tomato corn shallots salsa
    • Vegan “Bolognese” Pasta - penne pasta, vegan Italian “sausage,” asparagus, mushrooms, carrots, celery, onions, shallots, garlic, herbs, vegan “bolognese” sauce, garlic bread   
  • Dessert of assorted cookies and brownies

The deadline for proposal  submissions is 11:59 pm, U.S. Eastern Standard Time on December 31, 2023.

Call for Proposals

ELTS invites teachers, trainers, language coaches, tutors, volunteers, and anyone who works with English language learners or adjacent populations to submit a proposal touching on one ore more of the following areas:
  • innovative and/or highly effective uses of the Color Vowel® Approach and Blue Canoe in English language instruction
  • Color Vowel® infused activities, materials, games, and/or curricula developed for specific learner populations
  • action research and/or case studies exploring the impact of Color Vowel® instruction on learner outcomes, teacher development, and/or program success
  • pronunciation assessment activities, strategies and tools
  • English accent diversity, mutual comprehensibility and equity for native and non-native English-speaking teachers
NOTE:  It is not required that Color Vowel® be mentioned in your proposal or presentation. We welcome submissions from English language educators of all backgrounds, including those who are not (yet!!) familiar with the Color Vowel® tools and strategies.

Proposals accepted through December 31, 2023

Session Types

We're accepting proposals for these session types:

  • workshops/interactive presentations (35 mins +10 mins for Q&A) 
  • panel discussions (35 mins +10 mins for Q&A) 
  • presentations (20 mins +10 mins for Q&A)
  • teaching tips or activity/materials to share - "swap shop" (5 mins + 3 mins for Q&A)

Presenters, please note:

  • Lead presenters are eligible for a discounted registration. Co-presenters pay the full conference registration price. If you are a lead presenter whose proposal is accepted and you have already purchased a ticket to attend the conference, we will issue the appropriate refund.
  • Teaching tips/swap shop participants are not eligible for discounted registration.
  • Presenters should provide their own laptops, adaptors, and any special media required to deliver the presentation. The conference venue includes access to a digital projector with HDMI cable. 

Proposals are due at 11:59 pm ET on December 31, 2023. Selected presentations will be announced by mid-January, 2024. 

   Click here to submit a proposal.   

We're Looking for Conference Volunteers

There are lots of ways to help! 

We have opportunities for attendees to volunteer about 3 to 4 hours during the conference. In return for providing assistance, volunteers receive the following benefits:

  • Purchase a discounted ticket to the conference
  • Receive a free conference t-shirt and a discount on additional conference merch
  • Be recognized at the conference and in conference communications
  • Have access to the conference staff "green room" during the conference

If you're interested in volunteering, please fill out the volunteer application form by January 13th. You will be contacted by January 20, 2024 regarding the role, if any, that has been assigned to you. If you have already purchased a conference ticket that is more expensive than the volunteer ticket, we will refund you the difference!

Volunteer Job Descriptions

1-day Roles
  • Food Supervisor (2 people needed) - arrive early (9:30am) to assist caterer with setting up, monitor food & beverages occasionally throughout the day, assist caterer with afternoon set-up, and help clean up before lunch and at the end of the day
  • Conference Runner (4 people needed) - arrive early (9:30am), assist with set-up as necessary, work w/ Conference Coordinator with assisting and directing attendees and answering their conference-related questions -- mostly between sessions
  • Color Vowel® Ambassador (4 people needed; Color Vowel® training required) - introduce presenters, monitor presentations, answer Color Vowel-specific questions if presenter needs assistance
2-day Roles
  • Registration Staff - arrive early (9am), assist with set-up, register attendees as they arrive (2 people needed)
  • Registration Assistant (1 person needed) - assist with Friday morning registration as necessary, and assist Conference Coordinator with checking tickets of attendees at Friday evening dinner at Busboys and Poets 
  • Product Sales (2 people needed) - arrive early (9:30am), assist attendees with purchase of Color Vowel® materials during morning meet and greet times
  • Set-up and Tear-down (1 person needed; local to DC/MD/VA preferred) - assist with conference setup from 3-5pm on Thursday and pack up on Saturday after 5pm

Indicate  your interest in volunteering by completing the volunteer form.

New to Color Vowel?

Get the Basics before you come!

You'll get so much more out of the conference if you're familiar with the Color Vowel® Approach. Take our Basics on-demand video course before you come.

Training Basics Miami group cropped 2

Get Your Conference "Merch" at

Why wait until the conference to get a t-shirt?

We won't be selling t-shirts for pick-up at the conference. Instead you can order your t-shirt beforehand and wear it TO the conference!  Get a shirt in the size, style, and color of your choice! 

Visit the Conference Collections on our RedBubble shop today!

  • Four different designs to choose from!
  • Dozens of shirt styles and colors!
  • Other products available such as hats, mugs, and socks!
  • Screen Shot 2023-10-18 at 3.14.30 PM
    Tri-blend t-shirt in purple
  • Screen Shot 2023-10-18 at 3.29.20 PM
    "Dad" hat - available in 7 colors
  • Screen Shot 2023-10-18 at 3.15.15 PM
    Classic t-shirt
  • Screen Shot 2023-10-18 at 4.33.13 PM
    Sticker - available in glossy and transparent
  • Screen Shot 2023-10-18 at 4.29.10 PM
    Active t-shirt in black
  • Screen Shot 2023-10-18 at 3.29.10 PM
    Tall mug
  • Screen Shot 2023-10-18 at 3.22.19 PM
    Lightweight hoodie
  • Screen Shot 2023-10-18 at 4.27.33 PM
  • Screen Shot 2023-10-18 at 3.16.48 PM
    Fitted t-shirt in light blue

When we met at a conference in 1999, we had no idea we’d spend the next 25 years developing this Chart... this way of teaching now known as Color Vowel®.

This conference represents something much bigger than us -- it's a collective recognition that we are revolutionizing English language teaching and learning.

We can't wait to see you-- old friends and new! 

Karen and Shirley-2
Stylized K & S

      Karen Taylor and Shirley Thompson      Co-authors of The Color Vowel® Approach