How to find out if your child has a reading problem (and how to choose the right treatment approach)

There’s so much nonsense out there about kids’ reading problems and treatments. Unfortunately, lots of education, technology, and health businesses cash in on parents’ concerns by selling them expensive products and services unsupported by research evidence. We get lots of...

/ 8 April 2017

What else helps struggling readers? The evidence for “morphological awareness” training

We’ve talked a lot about the “Big 5” essential skills kids need to master to learn to read. But phonological awareness, vocabulary, synthetic phonics, comprehension and fluency skills are not the only things that can help struggling readers – especially for children...

/ 29 March 2017

Kick-start your child’s reading with speech sound knowledge (phonological awareness)

To learn to read properly, phonological awareness is: one of the Big Five skills kids need to know; and one of the three so-called “cognitive foundations” of literacy, (Hulme & Snowling, 2013). Compared to other necessary skills – like phonics and reading...

/ 23 March 2017

Breaking the vicious cycle for older kids with reading problems: how to help

Older kids with reading problems get trapped in a vicious cycle: because these students don’t read well, they generally don’t read much. They miss out on countless opportunities for reading practice and for learning from what they have read (Anderson...

/ 13 March 2017

More verb-charged books to ignite your child’s language development

Dear readers: I have a confession to make. I’m a monomaniac: I have an obsessive preoccupation with one thing: Verbs. As a parent and speech pathologist, I just can’t get enough of them. If I get through a single language...

/ 8 March 2017

The forgotten reading skill: fluency, and why it matters

Without Google or Wikipedia, can you name all the members of the Jackson 5? Everyone knows Michael. Most of us over the age of 35 know Jermaine. After a bit of effort, some of us will remember Tito and Marlon....

/ 27 February 2017

Teaching the alphabet to your child? Here’s what you need to know

1. Letter names are not the same as speech sounds  In English: writing takes the form of a sound-based, alphabetic code. The letters we use are to a large extent determined by how words sound; letters of the alphabet have names...

/ 19 February 2017

Is your child struggling to read? Here’s what works

On reflection, I’m incredibly lucky. Both my parents were teachers. Growing up, my house was full of chatter, stories and books. My early state school education in regional Victoria was long on “old school” phonics and short on fads. I learned...

/ 8 February 2017

Hyperlexia: FAQs

1. Hyperlexia*: what is it? Hyperlexia is a condition where a person – often a young child – has word-reading skills that are far above his or her reading comprehension skills, verbal functioning level, or general cognitive functioning (Grigorenko et...

/ 30 January 2017

Off the cuff: How to give an impromptu speech without embarrassing yourself

“And now I’d like to invite him up here to say a few words. David, take it away.” Words that to this day fill me with dread. Impromptu speaking When prepared, I’m a decent public speaker. As a speech pathologist...

/ 24 January 2017