When it comes to choosing help for reading difficulties, knowledge is power
There are lots of options out there for people looking for help with reading. We want to help you to make informed choices about reading support options – even if you don’t choose us.
To help you get up to speed on the latest research about what works, we’ve written a free eBook outlining the key things we think people should know about how to teach a child to read:
It’s free to download. No strings attached. We hope you find it useful!
Pressed for time? We recommend you read these two articles:
- Is your child struggling to read? Here’s what works
- How to find out if your child has a reading problem and how to choose the right treatment approach
Why choose us to help with reading?
- We know what we’re doing: we are speech-language pathologists with special post-graduate training in literacy. We know what works. (You can read more about our reading professionals here.)
- All of our reading professionals are University graduated, speech pathologists (not students or tutors).
- We’re a fad-free zone. We’re passionate about applying the latest peer-reviewed research to help people with reading difficulties. We do not want families wasting time or money on ‘treatments’ that are not supported by evidence.
- We’re not affiliated with any particular program, research group, or commercial publisher. Our independence leaves us free to recommend the best program (or combination of programs) for each client based on their needs and assessment results.
- We use Australian norm-referenced, standardised tests and explain results in plain English.
- When assessing clients, we don’t just look at the surface problems: we look closely at each client’s strengths and weaknesses in each of the skill areas proven to linked to successful reading outcomes, including:
- We develop reading program for each client based on their assessment results.
- For clients who are school-aged children, we listen to the real experts first: their parents and the child.
How we’re different to other providers
How do Banter reading programs work?
Our reading sessions go for 45 minutes.
Sessions are usually scheduled once or twice a week, in 8-to-10 week blocks.
We’re flexible: we don’t lock clients into contracts or never-ending blocks. (We think regular breaks between blocks can do wonders for motivation.)
What does a Banter reading session look like?
From the moment you enter the reading room, we get straight down to work. Depending on assessment results, we might work to:
- develop sound awareness skills known to boost reading;
- distinguish clearly between different speech sounds (e.g. “a” versus “u”; “f” v “th”);
- turn written words into spoken words by linking letters to sounds and blending them together (without guessing from pictures or the first letter);
- learn new words for school, work or life;
- improve knowledge of the building blocks of words;
- spell and write; and
- improve reading fluency: rate, accuracy and expression.
Which programs and resources do Banter use?
We don’t think reading programs should be “patent protected” or mysterious. We do think they should be evidence-based. We have yet to find a perfect program that suits everyone: with reading, one size does not fit all.
We use a range of evidence-based programs and resources, including:
- Sounds-Write resources. You can read more about the Sounds-Write here;
- Spelfabet spelling and writing resources. You can read more about Spelfabet here.
- Toe by Toe, an evidence-based multi-sensory reading program, which you can read about here;
- MultiLit, Amber Guardians, Moon Dogs, Talisman and Spalding decodable books;
- DIBELS for fluency work;
- Dialogic (shared) reading of award-winning books and classics;
- PreLit phonological awareness, Phonological Awareness Training for Reading and Gillon resources;
- Reading Doctor apps and programs. You can read more about these great apps here; and
- “Old school” reading primers such as “Why can’t Johnny read: And what you can do about it” by Rudolf Flesch.
Some frequently asked questions
1. Do we need a diagnosis, e.g. of dyslexia, to get started?
As we explain in detail here, evidence-based reading intervention is warranted for anyone with reading difficulties, regardless of whether you or your child has a formal diagnosis, e.g. of dyslexia, ADHD, developmental language disorder or a developmental speech sound disorder. Our assessment will reveal whether you or your child have a clinically significant reading disorder compared to the general population, and whether speech sound or developmental language comprehension issues are contributing to it.
2. Do you have programs for preschoolers?
We offer PreLit to small groups of children. PreLit is an evidence-based program developed by MultiLit. You can read more about PreLit here.
3. Do you currently offer MultiLit for school-aged children?
MultiLit is a great program based on the “Big 5” skills known to support literacy. MultiLit is evidence-based, with explicit, systemic phonics at its core. At present, MultiLit is only available through schools by teachers and parent volunteers, or by trained tutors at MultiLit reading centres which are, understandably, tied to the program. We believe that providers need to have more than one evidence-based tool in their toolbox to support different clients appropriately; and that’s a cornerstone of our approach.
4. Is your program the same for every client?
We don’t think reading can be taught to every child with a single “system” or “program”. Different clients have different strengths and weaknesses. For example, for some children, the key issue is decoding. For others, decoding isn’t the only issue affecting reading: there are underlying deficits in oral language processing (e.g. with vocabulary, syntax, morphology, or inferencing skills), which feed into reading problems – particularly when it comes to reading comprehension. That’s why our assessment battery covers both reading and oral language skills. (You can see more about our assessment approach here.)
There’s been some wonderful research just published on different factors that can affect reading outcomes. You can read about some of this research here.
- Is your child struggling to read? Here’s what works
- How to find out if your child has a reading problem (and how to choose the right treatment approach)
- Reading Problems and What to do About Them: free eBook
- Kick-start your child’s reading with speech sound knowledge (phonological awareness)
- 6 strategies to improve your child’s reading comprehension and how to put them into practice
- 5 resources you can use at home to help your child to read
- How to help your school-age child to learn new words – the nuts and bolts of how I actually do it in therapy
- The forgotten reading skill: fluency, and why it matters
- “I don’t understand what I’m reading” – reading comprehension problems (and what to do about them)
- 15 practical ways to help your son discover a passion for reading
- Teaching the alphabet to your child? Here’s what you need to know
- Are reading comprehension problems caused by oral language deficits?
- Helping older students with their reading comprehension. What should we teach and how?
- Reading heroes: the fantastic Mr Flesch: phonics warrior and plain English pioneer
Hi there, I’m David Kinnane.
Principal Speech Pathologist, Banter Speech & Language
Our talented team of certified practising speech pathologists provide unhurried, personalised and evidence-based speech pathology care to children and adults in the Inner West of Sydney and beyond, both in our clinic and via telehealth.