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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 Details

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.
  • 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.

View the full schedule. 

Day 1 • Friday, April 5th

  • 10:00 - 11:00  •  Check-in, meet & greet, product sales
  • 11:00 - 11:15 •  Welcome & Orientation (Karen Taylor, ELTS)
  • 11:25 - 12:10 •  Keynote Speaker (Gemma Archer, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland)
  • 12:250 - 1:10 •  Presentation sessions
  • 1:10 - 2:25  •  Lunch
  • 2:25 - 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 - 10:20  •  Check-in (1-day ticket holders only) , meet & greet, product sales
  • 10:20 - 10:50  •  Plenary Speaker (Karen Taylor, ELTS)
  • 11:10 - 12:45  •  Presentation sessions
  • 12:45 - 1:45  •  Lunch
  • 1:45 - 4:20  • Presentation sessions
  • 4:30 - 5:00 • Closing Ceremonies




Keynote: Not just another 'ism': Moving from accentism to accent equality

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


Plenary: Vowel Yoga: Movement for Language Awareness, Understanding, and Fun

Karen circle

Karen Taylor is co-author of the Color Vowel® Chart and co-founder and Director of ELTS. 



Spotlight Sessions:


Blame It on the French!: Why English Spelling Drives Us Crazy (and what you can do about it) (Robin Barr, Lead Phonologist, English Language Training Solutions)



Frameworks that Work: Streamline Your Lesson Planning Process (Shannon Felt, Founder & Teacher Trainer, TEFL Horizons)


Laura circle

Unleash Your Color Vowel® Creativity in the Classroom (Laura McIndoo, ESL Faculty and Chair, Central New Mexico Community College)


Shirley circle

Don't stress about stress! Ways to teach and practice it 
Shirley Thompson (Co-author of the Color Vowel® Chart & co-founder of ELTS.


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® Friday Night Dinner

An evening of good food, great conversation, and Color Vowel® entertainment

Friday, April 5th • 6-9 pm

Busboys and Poets, Takoma Park, DC

Dinner tickets are no longer available for this event. 


Order Your Conference "Merch" at

We won't be selling t-shirts at 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

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

Thank you to all who have volunteered to staff the conference!

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