Based in Clifton Hill, Melbourne, I can provide:

  • Assessments: of phonemic awareness, decoding (real words and pseudowords), spelling, auditory memory and Rapid Automatised Naming, as well as the usual range of speech, language and pragmatics assessments offered by Speech Pathologists.
  • Goal-setting and programming: if you need help with interpreting assessment reports, devising a program and locating relevant resources to buildĀ  a learner’s phonemic awareness and spelling pattern knowledge and skills, or language skills generally.
  • Workshops: about the sounds, spellings and word parts of English, or the Spelfabet materials.

As of 2017, I am so busy with clients that I will struggle to offer school visits beyond my local area. But perhaps you can come to me if you would like to talk about implementing synthetic phonics in your setting, and I can show you the resources I’d suggest suit you best, or we can talk by Skype.

My background information is here and contact details are here.


If your learner is struggling with literacy but hasn’t yet had an assessment of their underlying language skills, it’s essential to clarify what their main difficulties are before devising goals and a program to achieve them.

As a Speech Pathologist I can assess a wide range of language and literacy skills, including phonemic awareness, phoneme-grapheme correspondences, articulation, listening, expressive language, rapid automatic naming, short-term auditory memory and reading comprehension. Tests I use include the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals, the York Assessment of Language Comprehension, the Martin and Pratt Non-word Reading Test, the RAN/RAS test and the MOTIF tests.

To keep the assessment phase focussed and affordable, I don’t routinely assess skills in areas in which no difficulties have been reported or observed, unless you request a comprehensive assessment covering all language areas. Formal, typed reports kept succinct, unless you specifically request something more comprehensive. The aim of the assessment is to quickly identify the most likely cause or causes of your learner’s difficulties, so that you can focus your time and resources on helping them.

Goal-setting and programming

Many school-aged children, teenagers and adults with reading and spelling difficulties have already had quite comprehensive, recent assessments, but their teams are struggling to interpret very long and detailed reports. These reports often say the learner is struggling with phonemic awareness and spelling pattern knowledge/decoding, as well as related memory and naming skills, but this information is often buried among multiple recommendations and options, and it’s a little overwhelming and difficult to know where to start.

I am available to help with setting achievable goals and timelines from such reports, and showing you a range of teaching materials, aiming to help you find resources and strategies which meet your learner’s needs, are practical to use in your setting, and which fit your budget.

The aim of one of these sessions is to send you away confident and able to immediately start work, with a clear idea of what you’re aiming to achieve, how, and by when.


Understanding English spelling well enough to explain demonstrate it to kids

This 90-minute workshop is for anyone who thinks English spelling is baffling and highly irregular, wants an overview of what the sounds of spoken English are, how each one is spelt, and how syllable and word structure, grammar and vocabulary influence spelling.

The emphasis is on being able to demonstrate and provide organised practice with spelling patterns, rather than giving learners a lot of rules and exceptions framed in complicated language, which young and/or language-impaired children often can’t understand anyway.

Using Spelfabet materials with slow-progress readers/spellers

This 90-minute workshop is for anyone who wants affordable resources to teach a learner with weak phonemic awareness and/or poor decoding how to “hear” the sounds in words, blend and segment them, and learn their spelling patterns.

The Spelfabet materials work in very small, phonetically accurate steps, from easy to hard spellings, and from short to long words. They help learners manage tricky things like the unstressed vowel, special spellings for grammatical morphemes, and identifying syllable boundaries. They incorporate pictures to assist with learning vocabulary, and games for a change of pace.

8 thoughts on “Consulting

  1. Martina Bernard

    Dear Alison,

    we have a 5.5 year old son. Can you please let me know if you could see him for individual assessment for dyslexia and early intervention guidence. A complex medical history. Thanks you. Martina


    1. alison Post author

      Yes, of course, I will email you re details. He’s too young to get a dyslexia diagnosis and anyway it probably wouldn’t be very informative, but I can take a look at his basic skills and needs and suggest how to help him get going with reading and spelling.

    2. alison Post author

      Martina, I replied to your inquiry on my website via email months ago but didn’t hear back from you. Perhaps you missed the email? I am very happy to see your son if he still needs help. Alison

  2. Lucas

    I’m a phonics fan too but now teaching numeracy to adults for a change. Phonics always worked wonders when we taught literacy. So exciting when adults begin to read at last.

  3. Sarah

    Hi Alison
    I am a teacher and want to know if there is an assessment that the school could purchase and then it could direct a teacher where to start with helping a struggling reader. What could I purchase it the school would not.

    1. alison Post author

      Hi Sarah, I think you should sign up for the Motif assessments, which are free online at Try the Castles and Coltheart 2 for reading word attack assessment, and some of the others will be useful depending on what you need to know about. Only start looking at commercial resources once you’ve made the most of the free ones, especially if the school won’t pay for tests and you’re having to use your own money! The Rosner TAAS is also quite a useful very basic screener of phonemic awareness All the best, Alison


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