Welcome to the September 2013 edition.

In 2005 I wrote a submission, along with 452 others to the federal government’s National Enquiry into the Teaching of Literacy.

After seeing very little action come from any recommendations of the expert panel to that Enquiry, and politics around the “Gonski” education funding proposals, I have decided to launch a private initiative to help Australian students lift their literacy.

The Gift of Literacy has been created to provide free and subsidised literacy development to those who need it.  See What’s New in this newsletter for more details.

Warm regards,
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Whats New

The Gift of Literacy

Gift card.408.264The Gift of Literacy has launched a gift program to help more Australians improve their literacy skills.

The Gift of Literacy is distributing 10,000 gift cards that provide $200 towards online literacy development programs to each individual card holders.  Currently the cards can be redeemed for Fast ForWord reading programs and brain training programs. In future, other qualifying literacy development and support services will be included.

Ask your local bookstore for your Gift of Literacy card or call 02 8467 4890.  Learn more at The Gift of Literacy website.

Latest Research

‘Exploration first’ boosts classroom learning

A new study suggests that students learn better when exposed to a practical aspect of a subject before they learn about it from reading or watching videos.

The study focuses on the teaching of neuroscience and underscores the effectiveness of an interactive tabletop learning environment, called BrainExplorer.  Read more.

Free Download

Observational Survey for Adults

Have you ever wondered if you could benefit from the Fast ForWord Program?  Download our free observational survey for adults.

Book of Month

WorkingmemoryWorking Memory and Learning – A Practical Guide for Teachers

A good working memory is crucial to becoming a successful learner, yet there is very little material available in an easy-to-use format that explains the concept and offers practitioners ways to support children with poor working memory in the classroom.

This book provides a coherent overview of the role played by working memory in learning during the school years, and uses theory to inform good practice.

Topics covered include:
•    The relationship between working memory and children with developmental disorders
•    Assessment of children for working memory deficits
•    Strategies for supporting working memory in under-performing children
•    The link between working memory skills and key areas of learning (such as literacy & numeracy).  Read More.

App of Month
Whats On

Webinar by Dr Norman Doidge

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The Neuroplasticity Revolution: New Ways to Improve Learning – October 2013

For 400 years, the brain was thought to be a more-or-less fixed piece of machinery after infancy. Dr. Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself, will talk about the recent discovery that the brain retains the ability to change its own structure and function in response to experience through the latest years of our lives.

Learn how this discovery was made, how it turns our understanding of learning on its head, and how it radically alters the way we think about student potential—especially for students with learning challenges or disorders. And, discover the online interventions that have grown out of the science and learn how they work to help students overcome reading and language difficulties.

Register now to get a link to the recorded webinar. Refer this article to a friend.


Do you have questions about your child or students? Email us

Question: My child has difficulty writing and the teacher says he doesn’t write enough, is there something wrong?

Answer: There are several different aspects of writing.

Firstly, there are the mechanics of writing, maintaining correct pencil grip and forming the letters correctly. Sometimes these difficulties are due to poor fine motor skills or a motor co-ordination problem.  These issues are best addressed by an occupational therapist.

The second issue with writing is the understanding and formulation of language.  Children who have had a history of delayed or disordered language can find it hard to formulate what they want to say and this impacts written expression.  They can also have difficulty understanding sentence structure.

The third issue can result from a problem with executive functions where the student has difficulty with planning and organising their thoughts in a logical order for writing.  Graphic organisers and scaffolds are very useful to help students plan writing tasks.