The Practitioners: Alison Clarke

Feb 26, 2017 | Effective Practice, Teaching Struggling Readers

This is the first in an occasional series highlighting the work of people doing good things in the world of reading, language development, and research.

Alison Clarke, Melbourne, Australia

Alison has been a Speech Pathologist since 1988, has a Masters in Applied Linguistics and an ESL teaching certificate. She has been in private practice since 2000, addressing school-aged children’s reading/spelling and speech, language and/or social interaction difficulties.



Website and blog: Spelfabet

I am a great fan of Alison’s blog and always look forward to receiving email notifications of her new posts. Her posts bridge the gap between research and practice in clear, accessible language. She writes succinctly and with compassion, demonstrating her thorough grasp of the knowledge and methodology around language, reading and writing using well-chosen examples. Alison is a strong supporter of evidence-based practice, but I also appreciate the respectful and positive approach she takes to debate.

Alison has a wide range of useful resources available on her website, some of them for free.

Here is a selection of her blogposts – I could have chosen many others. Do take a look:

Filling the gaps in teacher knowledge and skills. The title of this talk makes it sound like teacher knowledge and skills are like a neat jigsaw puzzle with just a few pieces missing. All we have to do is find the missing bits, put them in to create a Beautiful Picture in which everyone learns to read and spell to the best of their ability, and the average age of diagnosis of dyslexia is five or six, not nine. Read more . . .

Dr Louisa Moats: We need to be outraged about the remarkable persistence of bad ideas, like the ‘three-cueing system’, in education. Read more . . . 

DIY Disorders such as optilexia, which I prefer to call dyspedagogia. Read more …

Helping children hear sound differences. Children starting school often have immature articulation, and still can’t get their little mouths around sounds like “z”, “r”, “v” and “th”. Many children still can’t produce the difference between “fin” and “thin” or “vat” and “that” at age eight or even later. Read more . . .

What kind of knowledge is needed for good spelling? A lot has been written by philosophers and in Dilbert cartoons about different types of knowledge. Often these are described using terms like “explicit” versus “tacit” or “declarative” versus “procedural” knowledge. What matters most for spelling? Read more . . .



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