Enriching language.
Enriching life!

On 3rd July 2018 the eloquent, elegant Governor of Tasmania, Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC, our patron, launched a wonderful collection of writings for us. The Communicating: The Heart of Literacy collection is available to download for free. Share it around! It’s full of treasure. And if you would like to purchase a print copy, just reach out here.

This collection was brought into the world to help us understand the diversity of views, hopes, insights and opinions the community holds about the complicated problems of communication and literacy challenges. The writings are warm, frank, inspiring and varied. They are filled with yearning and hope. You might not completely agree with them but that is the very point. You might learn something about your unconscious biases. We did. The writings will help you see the size of the cloth we must hold and stitch and embroider, to feel the tension we must bear, if we are to collectively make a difference to Tasmania’s and Australia’s literacy woes.

The point of it all is to share meaning with respect and non-judgment. To listen.

We value listening. Listening heals.

The Collection helps us listen to the voices of others. So it helps us understand. And if we are to simultaneously resolve wicked problems and be respectful, we need to calmly understand much more than we do.

We’ve been astounded at the diverse beauty, wisdom, insight and passions expressed by those who have written for this initiative. We are sure you will learn something new through them too.

At the launch, our founder, Rosie, shared an extraordinary poem about listening: Finding What You Didn’t Lose by John Fox. Read it. Your creativity will begin to glow in your mind’s eye!

Also at the launch, the audience shared some of their reflections after Her Excellency and others spoke. We will soon publish these insightful writings on our blog – keeping the dialogue going!

Communicating: The Heart of Literacy is a public dialogue about communication, literacy, enablement, collaboration, and relational trust.

In the joyful fuss of the launch of a project, however, we do not wish to stray from our core messages – that positive communication is the key to healthy and successful lives; it is the doorway to positive relationships, education, and employment. Chatter Matters Tasmania transforms lives through positive communication skills. It transforms learning to read, for those who have struggled with the process, into an experience which is honouring, joyful, hope-filled and successful. That people may then read to learn, according to their choice. The skills of communication are the foundations of literacy.

Our enormous thanks to our fine supporters:

Healthy Literacy

I’ve got a job for you. I’ll be honest, it’s a big job. Not big in time, big in impact. I’ll outline the job description in a moment but first I want to tell you a few stories. A man and a bed pan. A local man, who we’ll call Ian, walked into his local neighbourhood...

The Intentional Mindset

In his thought-provoking little book On Dialogue, David Bohm suggests that when people engage in productive dialogue, they are not taking instruction, but working together to create something in common. Defined as a process of frank and open discussion around an issue...

Reading Is A Miracle

Reading is a miracle. What you are doing right now is seriously wonderful. How can we scan the single letters so quickly, making words, sentences and paragraphs, and, in an instant, sew them together into something that opens up the world? Our scientists are still...

On Digital Literacy

The Australian Curriculum measures student literacy as the development of knowledge, skills and dispositions to interpret and use language confidently for learning, communicating and participating effectively in society. It would be reasonable to accept that we are...


I learnt to read soon after I learnt to walk. My mum was a teacher and she took the time to sit with me and gently ease me into a world of books and reading. This forged me personally and professionally. When those around me did not know answers, books did. In primary...

The Latest from Chatter Matters

Reading to Children

Helen and I talked about reading to children on 29th August. Honestly, there is hardly a better way to build everything that is worth living for! When we read and share story we are bringing language, connected relationship, practice of emotional regulation, the...

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The biggest problem with listening in communication is that we think we are doing it. But often we are not. Well… not really.

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See ABCs 7.30 report on Chatter Matters’ work in prison and community. It’s worthy work toward a safer, fairer, more compassionate society.

Just Sentences

Just sentences are about human rights, dignity, amelioration, restoration and redemption – to create safe, fair, just society,

This paper, Just Sentences: Human rights to enable participation and equity for prisoners and all, published in a special edition of the International Journal of Speech Language Pathology by Taylor & Francis Online, discusses our project, Just Sentences, and links language and literacy to human rights and equity.

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this year, 2018, speech pathologists are lifting their voices to call for communication to be recognised as a basic human right. Communication skills are the pillars which fundamentally enable the UDHR’s Article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

Chatter Matters Tasmania’s Just Sentences project is honoured to contribute to this call.

“A paradigm shift is needed: use of liberty-deprived time for restoration, healing and equipping of skills for a better life.” Rosie Martin.

Chatter Matters changes lives by building skills for positive communication.

We teach how kind connection with trust and shared language enable positive communication.

We assist with the important attachment between incarcerated parents and their children.

We teach reading and communication skills to men and women in prison and in community.

We show it’s never too early or too late for people to discover the joy of reading and writing.

We build awareness of the power contained within communication skills.

Positive communication is the key to healthy and successful lives.

Communication allows us to share our minds.

It provides us the way to join in.

It is the voice in ‘having a voice’.

And the freedom in ‘freedom of speech’.

And most importantly, communication is the doorway to positive relationships, education, and employment.

“Many members of our community cannot read and write well enough to navigate the activities of daily life.  They cannot read the street signs or fill in forms at the doctor’s surgery. They don’t understand the information on the electoral enrolment form, and are unable to complete the census. They don’t know which bottle is shampoo and which is conditioner; cannot read the menu in a café or the labels on pill bottles; don’t understand the bus timetable; and ignore important letters.

Too often they feel “stupid”; self-esteem around their ankles. Their vocabularies are weak and they can’t express themselves. They often get frustrated and end up taking an oppositional stance toward authority. Or they passively withdraw and make themselves small. They might wear themselves out in hard-labour jobs, which are the only jobs they can get. If they get a job at all. Or they drift into a life of crime.

The consequences of poor communication skills are grave for them. And for society.”

Rosalie Martin, Speech Pathologist, Criminologist and Tasmanian Australian of the Year 2017.

Together we can make a significant difference through communication and literacy

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Chatter Matters Tasmania acknowledges the traditional owners of country and their continuing connection to land, sea and community throughout lutruwita (Tasmania) and Australia. We give our respect to the muwinina people upon whose land our offices stand.