Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, Governor of Tasmania, visiting a school to observe Educator-Speech Pathologist shared literacy sessions in November 2018.


Q: What’s the difference between “almost-a-jug” and “definitely-a-drench”?

A: Four weeks; the enriched, trusting and unfettered collaboration between a teacher and a speech pathologist; and a deep mutual respect for the offerings of each.


Let us explain. In 2018 Chatter Matters was working in a local school with students on a pilot language and literacy program. It’s the #HeartOfLiteracy that interests us. The work was good work. With the blessing of the Principal, we invited our patron, Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, Governor of Tasmania, to bear witness to some of the work in a classroom.

She sat down next to a young student who had previously struggled with all forms of language and literacy and hadn’t been afforded the exact tools with which to develop those skills. The student, pen in hand, was writing a word while making the speech sounds. The Principal was looking on.

d…r…e…n…ch… drench

This is a very complex word if your phonemic awareness (awareness of the speech sounds) is under-developed. The skills required to analyse the phonemes are complex. And the student managed that complexity and wrote the word, sitting next to the Governor, who was very impressed. And the Principal nearly fell over. You see, just four weeks earlier, when the work began in the school, this student could not write the word j… u… g.

The speech pathologist and the educator worked together, each honouring and valuing the specific skill set of the other. And within a few weeks, the literacy skills of all the students in the program improved. Really improved.

Literacy and language learning is NOT simple. It is COMPLEX. It requires skill and expertise. The combination of the knowledge and practices lying within each profession has catalytic potential for rapid, practical implementation of solutions to Australia’s literacy challenges. When we simplify it, or pick from it certain parts because they appear simple, the learning of it is lessened. When we get it right, Principals nearly fall over.

Colleagues @ The Heart of Literacy”, a ¾ day seminar to be held on 21 June, explores the potential for language and literacy advancement that lies within these collaborations between educators and speech pathologists. It is for principals, other educators, speech pathologists, parents, learners, policy makers and all who have an interest in actively supporting increased literacy levels in Tasmania and Australia. #100PercentLiteracy

Registration is excellent value at only $45 – accessible for parents, learners, everyone!