The Reading Clinic operates as part of Talkshop Speech Pathology. This is a dedicated stream of our speech pathology services supporting children and adolescents with reading and writing support.
What Does The Reading Clinic Provide?
- Literacy-focused Speech Pathology sessions
- Literacy Power-Up sessions
- Tutoring for Literacy
What Are Literacy-Focused Speech Pathology Sessions?
Not all speech pathology practices provide specific literacy services. To adequately assess and treat literacy difficulties requires further professional training. A key difference at Talkshop Speech Pathology is that all our Speech Pathologists undertake further accreditation courses, seminars and workshops and on-going internal training on literacy assessment and therapy approaches. These include but are not limited to:
- Spalding Method of language and literacy instruction because it is research-based, explicit systematic and multisensory.
- Dyslexia Speld Foundation NSW: Sounds Write – An evidence-based highly structured synthetic phonics program utilizing an exciting and highly successful approach to the teaching of reading, spelling and writing.
- Macquarie University Reading Clinic Assessment and treatment approaches for children with reading and spelling difficulties.
- Macquarie University Reading Clinic methodologies for teaching vocabulary to improve reading comprehension.
How Is Speech Pathology Different From Tutoring?
A speech pathology approach allows us to delve into the complex processes needed for good reading, writing, spelling, and discover how the organisation of language has broken down. This is done through a comprehensive assessment. We complete a battery of formal assessments which include standardized tests with multiple sub tests. This means we seek to understand the ‘pathology’ (root cause) of the literacy breakdown.
The assessments mean we know how your child or adolescent’s skills compare to their peers of the same age across Australia. These assessments look at every layer of processing involved in developing the skills required for literacy, so far as research is currently able to tell us.
We look at the fundamental pre-literacy skills to check on phonological awareness. We look at coding, decoding and letter substitution.
We assess related areas such as oral language. We know that if you can’t say it, you can’t write it. Poorer vocabulary leads to poorer comprehension.
Once assessments are complete, we can formulate a targeted therapy approach to strengthen those areas, to bring about change in the whole of a person’s literacy system. Therapy sessions are always one-to-one.
Our tutoring approach is based on the knowledge that we have from speech pathology. This means that there are some initial tests to look at levels and function of reading, writing and spelling skills. We do mostly one-to-one sessions. Our tutors are teachers or university students studying speech pathology who have an understanding of key concepts required to tutor reading, writing, and spelling skills.
How Do I Choose Between Speech Pathology Or Tutoring?
Tutoring at Talkshop is the right choice if your child is struggling slightly and needs a hand catching up, or you feel that your child would respond better to someone else providing reading writing, spelling instruction.
If after one term of tutoring, your child has obviously deeper literacy needs, we will discuss with you whether they need the more in-depth services of speech pathology. You can transfer directly to this within Talkshop Speech Pathology.
If your child attends speech pathology at Talkshop Speech Pathology for literacy concerns, we will always recommend on-going support with a tutoring service to help them keep pace with their peers. This is because we know that children who have literacy difficulties are often vulnerable to on-going literacy concerns.
It is time to see a Talkshop Speech Pathologist for speech pathology if your child is experiencing two or more of the following:
- You have supported your child for 6 months or more with extra focused help either at home or with tutoring and they are still struggling.
- Your child’s teacher has talked to you about your child’s literacy difficulties. This means they have been monitoring it and providing extra support for it for at least 1-2 terms.
- Your child has been identified as having difficulty at school with reading/writing and is receiving additional support in school (attending Multi-lit, or Reading Recovery programs or additional reading with volunteers).
- There is a family history of literacy concerns diagnosed or undiagnosed (older siblings with literacy problems, family history of dyslexia)
- Your child had or, still has residual speech sound difficulties
- Your child has a suspected or diagnosed language difficulty
- You have older children, and they did not struggle this much with literacy learning
- In Kindergarten, your child needs multiple repetitions to learn sight words, has difficulties recalling them, takes at least 2 weeks to learn 1 set of new words, or learns new words but forgets previously learned words.
- In Kindergarten and Year 1, your child learns a new word on a home reader, but promptly forgets it and has to decode it again in the next sentence or on the same page.
- If their academic progress is slowing or their gap is widening as they progress through from Kindergarten to Year 2, as children move from learning to read to reading to learn. Your child is struggling with decoding, reading fluency and subsequently comprehension. This is impacting learning all subjects as literacy and language is needed together.
- Your child has suspected or diagnosed attention, sensory or processing difficulties.
- There is a gap between their intellect and their demonstrated ability, ie you know that they are more capable than they are able to demonstrate in their literacy skills.
- They are struggling or failing in tests/ exams, Naplan
- Your child is developing a negative attitude towards reading or writing (e.g. avoids or actively dislikes reading)
What Does The Reading Clinic provide?
Speech Pathology literacy-focused therapy sessions.
These are suitable for primary aged children to adolescents. These focus on teaching and familiarizing core skills necessary to make deep changes and fill in the gaps with literacy learning.
Speech Pathology Power-Up Sessions
‘Power-Up’ sessions in addition to speech pathology therapy sessions.
These are high intensity, high impact booster sessions which target rapid processing and recall of phonics, phonological awareness skills, reading fluency. These sessions are only 25 minutes but they pack a punch. The sessions are designed around speed, flexing the processing and recall system to push learning new words from short-term memory storage to long-term memory.
Power-up sessions focus on:
- Phonogram knowledge
- Decoding skills
- Reading Fluency Skills
- Reading Comprehension
- Writing – text types
These sessions are only accessible to current speech pathology clients. These sessions may be claimed through private health insurance.
These sessions are conducted by a Speech Pathology Assistant who has been trained by a Speech Pathologist in the protocols of how to support therapeutic targets appropriately, with systematized step-ups and step-downs and cueing hierarchies. *On occasion some sessions may be provided by student speech pathologists on placement.
The Reading Clinic also provides tutoring for literacy skills. This is separate from speech pathology sessions or Power-Up sessions.
Access to the tutoring service is through a screening process. This tests fundamental skills in the areas identified to have concerns. The focus of literacy tutoring is based on the NESA (NSW Educational Standards Authority) curriculum.
Typical areas taught in tutoring include:
- Reading comprehension strategies e.g. Super Six Reading Comprehension Strategies
- Developing familiarity with text types
- (Recount, Transaction, Report, Procedure, Persuasive text, Explanation, Biography, Narrative, Information narrative, Poetry)
- Language conventions
- (Grammar, Tense, Sentence Structure, Spelling, Vocabulary)
- Assignment writing strategies, e.g. PEEL/ PETAL
- Test/exam preparation, e.g. Naplan/HSC
- Understanding and interpreting exam questions
- How to plan, organised and structure written work/ exam answers
Tutoring sessions are 30 or 45 mins long and must be booked for a whole term at a time.
You can read more about our therapy approaches to Literacy in our How We Help pages.