What Are Learning Pods? Here’s What You Need to Know.

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Learning pods have risen in popularity among parents in light of the Covid-19 crisis.

With coronavirus cases still rising in the country and many places across the globe, schools and parents turn to alternative learning methods for the coming school year. Over the past months, parents have taken the role of educators following school closures. And as we head into the new school year, parents now have several learning options for their children. This includes traditional homeschooling, remote classrooms, blended learning, and recently, learning pods or pod learning.

However, this presents another problem. Most schools are not prepared to welcome students back in the fall under the varied current options. Meanwhile, parents continue to be overwhelmed as the new school year approaches, which is why many of them have turned to pod learning as one way to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on education.


What Are Learning Pods? 


Simply put, learning pods are small groups of families whose children gather in a shared space or online for supplementary learning. Homeschool families traditionally use pods so children can socialize and interact with other homeschooled students.

Learning pods are typically conducted in one of the participating family’s homes. Instruction often comes in the form of a private tutor or teacher. But sometimes, parents themselves take turns in teaching the children.

While learning pods are not entirely new, it has become one of the solutions adopted by parents who want to make sure the current health crisis does not hurt their children’s academic growth even further.


Why Parents Are Opting for Learning Pods 


With school closures forcing students to finish this past school year at home, many families were thrust into remote learning for the first time. And the consensus over this drastic change has not been favorable.

Last spring, many families voiced their struggle with online or remote learning. Apart from the challenge of having to overhaul work and daily schedules, parents often reported this transition to be stressful.

We have seen parents grapple with the challenge of keeping their children engaged in schoolwork while ensuring mental and emotional support. Initial studies have also shown us that even with efforts to beef up remote learning, students still face higher learning loss risks. And although some schools have drawn-up measures to facilitate blended and in-person classes in the fall, safety remains a concern.

But pulling children out of schools entirely also comes with its own set of concerns. For starters, some parents are not confident with their ability to provide adequate academic instruction to their children. And then, there is the issue of socialization, which is crucial in child growth and development. And for most parents, online-based education will not be able to provide enough interaction or replace hands-on instruction. Child care is also another major problem, especially for working parents whose schedules rely on their children’s time at school.

Now that families have to prepare for a full school year during an ongoing pandemic, it is, understandably, making parents worry. As such, the sudden popularity of learning pods comes as no surprise. If the numbers of students are low in each pod, this will be a great solution. And if safety is still a concern, online pods will become increasingly popular.


Learning pods conduct classes online or in-person. Parents share the responsibility of teaching the children, but most of the time, a private tutor or experienced teacher is hired to conduct the instruction.


The Rise of “Pandemic Pods”


With most schools opting to either go fully remote or implement a blended learning system in the fall, learning pods (or “pandemic pods,” in light of the worldwide health crisis) offer students a semblance of what school used to be, all while alleviating parents’ concerns over safety, child care, and academic progress.

Parents rallying for learning pods see it as the best option to limit their children’s exposure to possible health risks. It also allows kids to have the chance to foster friendships and build social skills. And most importantly, learn and have fun in an intimate, more controlled setting.

Learning pods offer an effective way to stem learning loss, guarantee safety, and even a break from parenting responsibilities. However, not all families are as privileged.

Some argue that learning pods widen the educational gap and cause students from lower-income families to fall further behind. And while these concerns are undoubtedly valid, it is also easy to see why pod parents find pod learning appealing.

In this article by Jessica Calarco, associate professor of Sociology at Indiana University-Bloomington, she mentions how learning pods address three critical problems when classes move online. These include:

Ensuring hands-on or in-person instruction and support, which is critical for some students
Giving working parents necessary childcare support during the day
Providing social interaction for children

Calarco presented several suggestions to help level the playing field for all students. But until school and government authorities can implement a more equitable learning method, learning pods will continue to be the most viable option for families who have the means and resources to organize one. Parents will have to rely on themselves.


Pandemic pods are becoming popular among parents who want to stem learning loss and guarantee their kids' safety during the current pandemic.


How Learning Pods Work


One of the advantages of learning pods is that there are no set rules on how it should operate. Everything is determined by the parents who organize it and the common goals they want to achieve. Some learning pods have students enrolled in the same school and attend online or video-based classes together. In other cases, parents take their children out of school and opt for full-time pod learning instead.

Learning pods may have in-person sessions while others limit their classes to online instruction. In some groups, parents hire a tutor or experienced teacher to teach and oversee students. This is arguably one of the best ways to conduct pod learning. Having a teaching professional ensures that your children receive proper guidance and adequate hands-on instruction.

Whether your learning pod aims to supplement school-based curriculum or provide full-time instruction, it is crucial to provide your children with the best support to ensure optimum academic growth.

Fortunately, Themba Tutors and Brooklyn Letters are prepared to offer you tutoring services for all your pod learning needs. We provide in-home and live online pods as well as one-on-one in-home and online tutoring sessions.

Themba Tutors is a New York-based private tutoring company that offers fun, individualized, and dynamic tutoring and coaching services for children and teens. We work one-on-one with students of all ages and provide multidisciplinary, personalized services. 

Composed of traveling learning specialists, academic tutors, and executive functioning coaches, Themba Tutors provides in-home and online services in New York City, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Long Island, Westchester County, Fairfield County, Connecticut, and sections of New Jersey. 

Brooklyn Letters offers in-home and online literacy (Orton-Gillingham Approach) and math tutoring services and speech, language, and feeding therapies in the New York City metro area seven days a week.

Our private-pay online and doorstep speech-language feeding therapy, reading services (Orton Gillingham, Wilson, etc.), and math tutoring for all ages and for all skills are individualized and adapted based on your child’s and peers’ needs.

We offer the following services:

  • Online Services
  • Orton Gillingham Approach
  • Writing and Speaking Intervention
  • Writing Intervention
  • Comprehension – Listening and Reading Intervention
  • Reading Comprehension Tutoring
  • Decoding and Encoding
  • Reading Fluency Services
  • Spelling Intervention
  • Vocabulary Intervention
  • Math Tutoring


Get in touch with us today at:

Themba Tutors

(917) 382-8641 / (201) 831-9848


Brooklyn Letters

(347) 394-3485

(917) 426-8880

Text: (201) 899-4399

Brooklyn Letters

How to Teach Children the Alphabet? We Asked One of the Top Experts Dr. Jan Wasowicz

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How to teach young children the alphabetLearning the alphabet or letter recognition is your child’s first step towards mastering reading and writing. But sometimes, teaching such an important skill can be a confusing process for parents. Do you start with the letter names or letter sounds first? Is there a particular way children should learn their ABCs? And how do you make sure you are laying down the right literacy foundation for your little one? Dr. Jan Wasowicz, a speech language pathologist, gives us her insight on how to teach young children the alphabet.


When teaching young children the letters of the alphabet, do we teach them first to say the letter names or the letter sounds?


Dr. Wasowicz: “It depends,” applies here.

“Students need to learn how to form letters and need to know letter names. If that is our objective in a lesson, we use letter names, and the student says the letter name as they form the letter.

Students also need to learn and make connections between sounds and letters -phoneme (sound)-grapheme (print) mapping- to read and spell words. If alphabetic principle, letter-sound relationships, encoding (spelling) and decoding of words, and development of robust lexical (vocabulary) representations of words and word parts is our objective in a lesson, we have the students say sounds as they write (or read) the letters.

With a student who already knows her letter names, can form all the letters but needs to improve letter formation/handwriting skills, and also needs to improve phonological awareness (when listening to words or sounds), phonics (print-sound relationship), and reading and spelling skills, having the student say the sounds as she writes the letters allows us to simultaneously address multiple learning objectives at once.

As Dr. Virgnia Berninger says, the teaching of reading and writing is a very, very complex process. She writes, “Literacy instruction drawing on integrated reading-writing is like fine cuisine, which is made from multiple ingredients.”

When working with students, I often feel like an orchestra conductor leading an assembly of musical instruments (some of those instruments are not so well-tuned!). The processes of reading and writing—and the literacy instruction itself—are a dynamic interplay of multiple linguistic, cognitive, and sensorimotor elements that need to be called upon at just the right moment, in synchrony and fully integrated with each other for a masterful performance.

What we teach at a given point in time and how we teach something depends on many factors. Not the least of which is our instructional learning objective.

Effective teaching of reading and writing requires us to know what the individual student brings to the table. It also requires us to understand the WHY we do what we do.

When we understand the who (the individual student) and understand the why, we know what to do when.”


Dr. Jan Wasowicz has 35+ years of experience as a language, literacy, and learning specialist working with students who have language-based reading, writing, and spelling disorders in a variety of educational settings, including public schools, Head Start programs, and private practice.

Dr. Wasowicz has taught numerous university-level courses and is frequently invited to speak about best practices in literacy assessment and instruction at professional conferences.

She is the inventor of the Earobics® software, author of SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing, and lead moderator of the SPELLTalk professional listserv — the FREE professional discussion group dedicated to improving literacy through discussion of research and evidence-based best practices.

Dr. Wasowicz is an ASHA-certified, IL-licensed, and FL-licensed speech-language pathologist, and she holds a professional educator license with multiple endorsements from the State Teacher Certification Board of Illinois. She is also the founder and CEO of Learning By Design, Inc.

What is Executive Functioning? Here’s What You Need to Know

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Download our Free What is Executive Functioning Pamphlet here!

Does your child struggle with executive functioning skills?When you read discussions in parenting groups and forums online, you often see parents looking for tips on how to help their child or children be more focused and organized with their school work, or asking for advice on how to help their child and children better manage their emotions and prevent meltdowns. These are examples of executive functioning skills, a hot topic among parents and tutoring companies! 

Explicitly learning how to maximize one’s executive functioning processing is crucial for a child’s success in school and later in their home and adult life. Executive functioning is not taught in school and is also misunderstood in education. 


What is Executive Functioning? 


According to the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, executive functioning refers to the skills and mental processes that allow individuals to plan and execute tasks, focus attention, and follow and remember instructions within the context of achieving a goal. In other words, executive functioning acts as our brain’s management system, and it plays a huge role in our behavior and in learning across the ages. 

Executive functioning involves three major types of brain functions or core skills. These are:

  • Working memory, or the ability to hold and process information over short periods. It can also include drawing from past learning experiences and applying them to current or future projects and situations. It allows an individual to hold information while actively processing information without losing track of a bigger task.
  • Mental or cognitive flexibility, which enables an individual to adapt to changing conditions, respond to different demands, and analyze situations in several ways. This plays a key role in solving problems, whether in school or daily life.
  • Inhibition or self-control allows an individual to set priorities and curb impulsive behavior.

In their book Smart But Scattered Kids, Dr. Peg Dawson and Dr. Richard Guare further expand these skills. Aside from the three main areas of executive functioning mentioned above, Dr. Dawson and Dr. Guare also include the following:

  • Emotional Control – the ability to manage emotions while finishing a task or goal; controlling and directing behavior
  • Sustained Attention – the ability to focus and complete tasks despite fatigue or boredom
  • Response Inhibition – thinking before acting; ability to assess and evaluate a situation before responding to it
  • Task Initiation – starting projects without procrastination
  • Planning and Prioritization – making decisions and mapping out plans towards achieving a goal or completing a task while identifying irrelevant information
  • Organization – creating and maintaining a system that helps keep track of information, materials, personal possessions
  • Time Management – the ability to estimate and allocate the time needed to complete a task or meet deadlines
  • Goal-Directed Persistence – ability to not lose sight of a goal and seeing it to the end without getting swayed by distractions or competing interests
  • Flexibility – adapting to obstacles, new information, or changing situations
  • Metacognition – ability to step back to assess and observe oneself in situations; involves self-monitoring and self-evaluative skills 

While children are not born with these skills, they start to develop them from infancy and strengthen them over time. Like other learned skills, such as language, executive functioning skills can also be improved in children who struggle with it.


A child with executive dysfunction will struggle with planning, organizing, and starting and completing goals.


What are the Signs of Executive Dysfunction?


In an interview with Dr. Lisa Jacobson, head of the Executive Function Clinic at Kennedy Krieger Institute, she defines executive dysfunction as “difficulty in getting the job done” and regulating behavior. Individuals with executive dysfunction will often have trouble with planning, organization, time management, and solving problems.

Without well-developed executive functioning skills, a child struggles with organization and managing behavior. This can, later on, affect his or her ability to set and accomplish long-term goals.

So what are the signs to look for if you suspect your child is struggling with executive functioning? Here are some of them, as listed in the Executive Function 101 ebook by The National Center for Learning Disabilities (click the link to download the book):

  • Easily distracted and requires plenty of reminders or prompts to stay on task
  • Struggles with setting goals
  • Has trouble identifying a starting point in tasks and often procrastinates
  • Struggles to understand the amount of time required to complete a task or project
  • Has difficulty focusing on both details and the big picture
  • Takes longer than peers to finish tasks or homework
  • Has problem checking and assessing their own work
  • Has trouble following multi-step directions

Additionally, it is important to note that executive dysfunction is not a diagnosis, nor is it a learning disability. However, it is one of the hallmarks of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. Specifically, most of the symptoms of executive dysfunction are similar to the inattentive subtype of ADHD. And like ADHD, issues with executive functioning are part of the brain’s physiology and cannot be “fixed.” They can, however, be improved and managed.


What Causes Executive Dysfunction?


The jury is still out as to what exactly causes executive dysfunction, but some studies suggest it may be hereditary. A child who has trouble with executive functioning skills is likely to have a parent with the same problem.

study also revealed that executive dysfunction could be the result of diseases, disorders, and injuries that affect and damage the prefrontal cortex. 

Differences in brain development is also another factor, as found by researchers who have studied the causes of executive dysfunction and ADHD. Results show that the brain’s areas responsible for working memory and emotional control develop more slowly in people who have trouble with executive functioning skills.


Studies show that executive functioning skills and speech language development are closely linked.

What is the Link Between Executive Functioning and Language? 


Executive functioning plays an essential role in language development and reading. Working memory and flexibility, for example, are crucial to improving a child’s reading comprehension skills.

This article further explains how various executive functioning skills affect other aspects of literacy, which include:

  • Letter recognition
  • Decoding or sounding out words 
  • Words with multiple meanings (vocabulary)
  • Passive voice (understanding more complex grammar)
  • Focus while engaged in literacy

The same connection is true when it comes to the early years of speech and language development. For starters, this study found that a caregiving environment is a must for executive functioning skills and early language development. The following findings further support this connection:

  • Joint attention skills (sharing attention with others by showing, pointing, and coordinated looking between object and people) are crucial for language development (Kasari et al., 2006)
  • Preschool children use metacognitive strategies (involving working memory, planning), cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control for storytelling and expressive language (Trainor, 2010). Children at this age also rely on “self-talk” for problem-solving tasks.
  • Executive functioning skills are crucial when it comes to tasks that involve verbal reasoning, making inferences, and discourse.
  • Metalinguistic awareness or the ability to reflect on language requires executive functioning skills and facilitates language development in children (Morgan, 2015).


Steps you can take to boost your child's executive functioning skills

How to Boost Executive Functioning Skills


Struggling with executive functioning can have a significant impact on a child during his early years and later in life. Here are some steps you can take to help improve your child’s executive functioning:

  • Explicitly teach the skill and motivate your child with positive statements. Teaching children to push themselves with positive self-talk will help them get through the steps to achieve their goals.
  • Respect the child’s developmental status. Be mindful of expectations and look for ways to help them learn continually.
  • Set up routines and systems to boost organizational skills. 
  • Use pictures, charts, sticky notes, and other visual or tactile cues to help manage schedules and tasks.
  • Start a daily report card or rewards system to keep track of goals and encourage accomplishing tasks.
  • Use clocks, counters, or timers to address “time blindness” and help them understand the concept of time (how much time has passed, is left, and how quickly it is passing).
  • Seek the help of an executive functioning coach or tutor to help your child improve organization, time management, and studying skills.

Providing your child with the best support to improve executive functioning skills starts with finding the right professionals with a custom approach to coaching and tutoring. Themba Tutors is a New York-based private tutoring company that offers fun, individualized, and dynamic tutoring and coaching for children and teens.

Themba Tutors provides in-home and online services in New York City, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Long Island, Westchester County, Fairfield County, Connecticut, and sections of New Jersey. They aim to foster educational success by providing accessible tutoring for all learners in their homes and schools. 

Themba Tutors is composed of traveling learning specialists, academic tutors, and executive functioning coaches. They work one-on-one with students of all ages and provide multidisciplinary, personalized services. Executive functioning is an area of our expertise. 


Get in touch with us today at:


Themba Tutors
(917) 382-8641 / (201) 831-9848


Brooklyn Letters
(347) 394-3485
(917) 426-8880
Text: (201) 899-4399



Here is a short video to recap everything you need to know about executive functioning skills!


How to Get a Dyslexia Diagnosis for Your Child

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Download our Free How to Get a Dyslexia Diagnosis for Your Child pamphlet here.

Read on to know more about how to get a dyslexia diagnosis for your child.Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities in children and adults. It affects 20 percent of the population and accounts for 80 to 90 percent of those with learning disabilities. As with all learning disabilities, early detection and intervention are crucial. Particularly in stemming further learning difficulties in later life. If you’re worried that your child may have dyslexia, below is a guide on what signs to look out for and how to get a dyslexia diagnosis.


What is Dyslexia?


The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as a specific and unexpected learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. Individuals with dyslexia primarily have difficulty in phonological processing. Phonology is an underlying skill that facilitates both learning how to decode and spell. Students with dyslexia struggle with isolating the sounds in words, matching sounds with letters, and blending sounds into words. 

In other words, these students have problems “cracking the code.” This means arbitrary written symbols (called orthography) are not automatically processed as well as their peers who have cracked the code with more automaticity do. As a result, an individual with dyslexia will find it difficult to sound out words and show poor spelling and decoding abilities. 

When left unaddressed, dyslexia can also lead to problems in reading fluency. If you aren’t reading fluently, you will be at risk for having reading comprehension difficulties and will most likely avoid reading since it’s an unpleasant experience. Lack of practice reading means less exposure to vocabulary and reduced learning background knowledge. In short, without proper intervention, dyslexia leads to a foundational literacy issue, which then causes downstream issues. 

For the most part, however, what exactly causes dyslexia is still unknown. We do know there is a genetic link; studies show that children with a family history of dyslexia or other learning disabilities are more susceptible. There are also other risk factors to consider, such as low birth weight, premature birth, and exposure to harmful substances (drugs, nicotine, alcohol) during pregnancy. 


Common Signs of Dyslexia


Dyslexia can occur at all levels of intelligence. Children who struggle with dyslexia can often excel in other areas of learning and creative thinking. This is arguably one of the reasons why early signs of dyslexia are easy to overlook, especially in bright students. These students can easily compensate for this sometimes “invisible” learning disability, which makes knowing when and how to get a dyslexia diagnosis all the more necessary. 

Typically, dyslexia is detected once a child enters school and starts learning to read. But younger children may also show symptoms that hint at a learning problem. Here are some early signs of dyslexia in children and teens to watch out for from The Mayo Clinic:

Early/Pre-School Years

  • Late talking
  • Slow to learn new words
  • Often reverses and confuses word sounds, especially those that sound alike
  • Difficulty naming letters, numbers, colors, and even recognizing letters in their own name
  • Struggles to learn nursery rhymes, understand rhyming patterns, or play rhyming games

Elementary Years

  • Reads below the expected level for their age (slow or inaccurate reading)
  • Struggles with understanding and processing what they hear
  • Struggles to find the right words or form answers and often opts to substitute words 
  • Difficulty in remembering the sequence of events or things
  • Difficulty in distinguishing similarities and differences in letters and words
  • Unable to sound out the pronunciation of new words and struggles with spelling
  • Takes a long time to complete reading or writing exercises and shies away from reading tasks

Teens and Adults

  • Problems with reading, often leaving out short words or parts of longer words
  • Struggles with spelling and writing
  • Difficulty pronouncing expected or familiar words or names
  • Takes a long time to complete tasks that involve reading and writing or avoids reading activities
  • Struggles with “getting” jokes, puns, or expressions with meanings that are not readily obvious
  • Difficulty grasping a second language and telling or summarizing a story
  • Struggles with memorizing or doing math problems

Dyslexia becomes easier to recognize as a child enters school and starts learning how to read.


When and How to Get a Dyslexia Diagnosis


Dyslexia becomes easier to spot once a child enters kindergarten or first grade. This is because children with dyslexia often struggle with understanding basic reading skills, so they will noticeably fall behind their peers. 

Your child’s primary teacher will hopefully notify you if he or she is falling behind reading benchmarks. They may suggest an assessment and offer assistance on how to get a dyslexia diagnosis for your child. However, school districts and schools use their own metrics to determine what’s expected in terms of learning literacy. What parents don’t know is that many of these popular metrics are not researched-backed (This is another topic to be discussed at a later point).  

A licensed clinical psychologist (ideally, a neuropsychologist) performs the testing for dyslexia on a child. Likewise, a licensed clinical psychologist can also work with a licensed speech language therapist, who can also collect necessary and relevant data (see below).  Meanwhile, an occupational therapist can evaluate fine motor and visual spatial skills.

According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia evaluation should consider the following factors:

  • Background information from parents and teachers
  • Oral language skills
  • Word recognition
  • Decoding
  • Spelling
  • Phonological processing
  • Fluency skills
  • Reading comprehension
  • Vocabulary
  • Graphomotor skills

Moreover, a child or adult should undergo a neuropsychological evaluation to get a closer look at brain functions. This type of test can measure attention span, memory, and language skills. It can help determine the reasons a child is struggling in school and help you plan an intervention. And like any type of learning issue, clinical psychologists can also rule in or out co-morbity since many learning issues are not “pure” in nature. 


Why Diagnosing Dyslexia is Important 


When left unchecked, dyslexia and other learning disabilities can persist well into adulthood. Without any support, children with dyslexia can experience frustration and learning blocks that may ultimately hamper their learning growth and development.

In many cases, not knowing how to get a dyslexia diagnosis and ignoring the signs of learning disabilities can lead to moodiness and chronic stress, expose children as targets for bullying, and take a toll on the child’s self-esteem. These outcomes may worsen as a child gets older and cause further mental, academic, and career-related problems.

Having a formal evaluation and diagnosis also allows your child to qualify for their school’s special services and Individualized Education Program or IEP. In the United States, all students are eligible for IEPs.  Entering your child into a specialized program gives you access to accommodations and modifications in your child’s academic path and goals.

Modifications make changes to what your child is taught in school and adjust expectations in what he is supposed to achieve. An example of this would be giving a different set of homework or grading using a different standard. Modifications are made on the child’s IEP. 

Meanwhile, accommodations are steps taken by the school to allow children with dyslexia to keep pace with their peers. This may include:

  • Access to taped lectures and audio versions of learning materials
  • Use of text-to-speech software to help with writing
  • Extra time on tests and writing and reading exercises
  • No foreign language requirement
  • Access to vocabulary lists and new concepts ahead of time
  • Alternative books with similar content in the student’s reading level
  • Read-aloud exemptions\
  • Grading students on mastery of content instead of spelling or reading fluency

How to Best Teach a Child with Dyslexia


Finding out how to get a dyslexia diagnosis is only the first step in providing support for your child. Hence, your next goal should focus on finding out the best and most effective way for your child to learn.

But before anything else, it is important to understand that dyslexia is neither a disease nor a physical condition. It is a lifelong learning disability, which a timely diagnosis and the right intervention and teaching approach can successfully manage and correct. 

Because dyslexia affects not only a child’s ability to read but also write and spell, it requires a multisensory structured language education (MSLE) approach. 

One of the pioneers of this type of teaching method is the Orton-Gillingham approach. Its goal is to create a multisensory learning environment for individuals struggling with reading, writing, spelling, or a combination of all three. The Orton-Gillingham Approach uses sight, hearing, touch, and awareness of motion to assist the child in improving reading and other literacy skills.

Reading together often and consistently is crucial in bolstering a child with dyslexia's confidence and reading skills.


How to Support a Child with Dyslexia at Home


While schools play a big role in a child’s success over dyslexia, at-home learning and support are just as important. Some of the most important steps you can take as a parent are:

Staying on top of your child’s IEP. Knowing how to get a dyslexia diagnosis and making sure your child receives a school’s IEP is crucial. But your job doesn’t stop there. It is just as important to keep communication lines open with your child’s educators. This is key to ensure the student is making progress and to figure out how you may be able to provide more help.

Reading with your child as often and as consistently as possible. It may be a challenge to get children to hunker down and finish a book, so pick fun reading materials like comic books, graphic novels, or choose-your-own-adventure books that make reading less of a chore. Emphasize on teaching phonics, and allow your child to practice reading without the pressure of being criticized or graded.

Taking advantage of technology. These days, there is an app or software for everything. Including dyslexia learning needs. Think text-to-speech, reading assistant apps, and spell-checkers.

Seeking the help of professionals. Finding a professional with Orton-Gillingham training (at least 40 hours worth), or even a speech-language pathologist with training in literacy, is the best way to provide further support for your child. For your child to succeed, it’s crucial to work with a professional that has a keen understanding of his or her needs and delivers a custom teaching approach. 

Brooklyn Letters is a New York-based private speech-language therapy and tutoring company fully committed to providing fun, individualized, and dynamic tutoring, coaching, and therapy sessions for children and teens. We treat all kinds of speech and language delays and learning difficulties, specializing in evaluating and treating babies through adolescents.

Our services include:

  • Online Services
  • Orton Gillingham Approach
  • Writing and Speaking Intervention
  • Writing Intervention
  • Comprehension – Listening and Reading Intervention
  • Reading Comprehension Tutoring
  • Decoding and Encoding
  • Reading Fluency Services
  • Spelling Intervention
  • Vocabulary Intervention
  • Math Tutoring

Brooklyn Letters offers in-home and online literacy (Orton-Gillingham Approach), math tutoring services, and speech, language, and feeding therapies in the New York City metro area seven days a week.

Get in touch with Brooklyn Letters at:

(347) 394-3485

(917) 426-8880

Text: (201) 899-4399

Brooklyn Letters


Do you want to learn more about dyslexia? 

Here is a roundtable NYC discussion on dyslexia presented by a neuropsychologist, an educational attorney, a special needs advocate, and a head of a school specializing in teaching dyslexia. 


Everything You Need to Know if You Have a Toddler Who is a Late Talker

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Download our Free Everything You Need to Know About Late Talking pamphlet here. 

A late talker child is a toddler between 18 and 30 months with limited vocabulary for their age.

Hearing your child talk for the first time is one of the most magical moments of parenthood. It is also a significant milestone in your child’s growth and development. But when a toddler shows signs of limited or delayed speech and vocabulary, it naturally becomes a concern for parents. So what can you do when you notice that you have a late talker? That is where a speech-language pathologist comes in.

A speech-language pathologist’s (SLP) job is to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat communication and swallowing disorders in children and adults. These problems include:

  • Speech sounds (enunciation)
  • Language (expressive, receptive (auditory))
  • Literacy and its connection to Language
  • Social communication
  • Voice
  • Fluency
  • Cognitive communication
  • Feeding and swallowing

While late talking is more common than we think, early intervention is critical to ensure a child does not fall behind his peers. Below, we answer the most common questions about late talking or speech delay to help you check for warning signs and find the best support for a late talker.


How to Tell If Your Child is a Late Talker


According to The Hanen Centre, a late talker is a child between 18 and 30 months with a good understanding of language and typical development in other areas (hearing, vision, motor, and cognitive skills) but has a limited spoken vocabulary compared to peers for their age. While some children manage to catch up on their own, others are not able to.

For some parents, this may not be that great of a concern. Especially since one of the things we often hear when it comes to child development is how children develop at their own pace. And while this is true to some extent, there are benchmarks that a child must meet at a specific age.

It is important to take note of your child’s communication milestones as these can help you make an informed decision if you should consult with a speech-language pathologist.

These milestones are:

  • 18 months – Using at least 5-10 words, such as nouns (“baby,” “cookie,”), verbs (“eat,” “go,”), prepositions (“up,” “down,”), adjectives (“hot,” “sleepy,”), and social words (“hi,” “bye,”).
  • 24 months – Using at least 50 spontaneous words and combining two words generated by the child instead of “memorized” chunks or phrases (“thank you,” “bye-bye,” “all gone,”). True word combinations include “doggie gone,” “eat cookie,” or “dirty hands.”

Additionally, most experts agree that at 12 months, toddlers should already be saying at least a few single words with meaning such as  “mama” and “dada” and can understand and follow simple commands such as picking up a toy.

For a more in-depth understanding of your child’s speech, language, and hearing development, check out this development chart (hearing/understanding and talking) by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Here are my personal favorite comprehensive speech-language developmental charts (hard to come by…).

If you want to learn more if your child’s late talking might be a problem or if she’s a late bloomer, read this article (ASHA). 



What Causes Late Talking in Children?


While developmental and physical delays (such as cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, autism, or childhood apraxia) are factors in communication disorders, the cause of late talking in children developing normally in other areas is yet to be agreed upon by experts. It is neurodevelopmental in nature, which means their linguistic neural connections are less sophisticated than peers. It is not a visible problem until it becomes an issue.

However, studies do show that a late talker is more likely to:

  • Have a family history of early language delay
  • Be male and have been born at less than 85 percent of their optimal birth weight or less than 37 weeks gestation

Research has also found that approximately 13 percent of two-year-olds are late talkers.


While a late talker child may eventually outgrow the condition when they reach school age, studies suggest that certain risk factors may indicate that literacy and language problems may persist into adolescence.


What are the Outcomes of Late Talking in Children?


An ASHA study on Late Language Emergence mentions that by late preschool and school-age, about 50 to 70 percent of late talkers are able to catch up and show normal language development. However, the study also reports that a late talker is more prone to develop language and literacy difficulties later on.

Some of the outcomes listed by the study include:

  • At age 5, children identified as late talkers showed lower scores on complex language skills, such as narrating a simple story.
  • At age seven, children identified as late talkers had reduced performance when it came to general language ability and grammar.
  • At ages eight and nine, children identified as late talkers show poorer performance in reading and spelling.
  • At age 13, children identified as late talkers had lower scores on aggregate measures on vocabulary, grammar, verbal memory, and reading comprehension.
  • At age 17, children who were late talkers showed poorer scores on vocabulary/grammar and verbal memory factors.

These outcomes are further supported by studies mentioned in another article published by The Hanen Centre. According to researchers, late talkers who eventually “grow out of it” have been found to show weaknesses in:

  • Some language and literacy skills, including vocabulary, grammar, phonology, reading, creating stories, writing, reading, and listening comprehension, which can prevail until adolescence.
  • Skills that rely on language such as social, behavioral, and executive function skills (planning, organizing, paying attention, and controlling impulsive behavior).
  • Processing speech. In a study on children ages three to five years old, researchers found that those identified as late talkers do not process the speech they hear as easily as their peers do. It implies an immature or less developed speech/language processing skills, which can affect language and literacy development.


When to Seek Help for a Late Talker?


Given the amount of parenting information accessible today, it is not surprising to see varying opinions on late talking. Some parents opt to go the wait-and-see route, but experts agree this might not be what is best for the child.

Early awareness and intervention are crucial to prevent late talking from affecting a child’s socialization skills and school-readiness. Not to mention, in preventing any continuing language disabilities. This is even more important when your child exhibits the following risk factors:

  • Quiet or little babbling as an infant
  • Has a history of ear infections
  • Limited consonant sounds
  • Does not link pretend ideas and actions together during play
  • Does not imitate words or sounds
  • Uses mostly nouns and few verbs
  • Difficulty interacting or playing with peers
  • A family history of communication, learning, and academic difficulties
  • Mild comprehension delay for their age
  • Uses few gestures to communicate

According to experts, children with a limited vocabulary for their age and show any of the above risk factors should seek the help of a speech-language pathologist. In particular, studies suggest that the last three risk factors listed are indicators that a child could have continuing language delay.

Your child can be at risk for showing signs of a language disorder (expressive or expressive/receptive language) also known as a Developmental Language Disorder (DLD), or as the research calls it Language Impairment. Read this article to learn more about the relationship between language and learning disabilities. 


A speech-language pathologist can assess your child's communication problems and identify the best treatment.


How Can Speech-Language Therapy Help a Late Talker?


The first step in seeking help for late talkers is having their hearing evaluated. This is to make sure they are able to hear sounds at different volumes and pitches. Pediatricians typically perform screens. Audiologists fully evaluate your child’s hearing, even if you believe your child hears everything. You do not know if your child is detecting differences in sounds.

You can then consult a speech-language pathologist to address your concerns about your child. During your session, the SLP will:

  •  Begin by discussing your concerns
  • Assess your child’s ability to understand, speak, and use gestures
  • Identify the type of communication disorder (if there is one) and the best way to treat your child

Providing your child with the best support starts with finding the right professionals that can create a custom program for your child.

Brooklyn Letters is a New York-based private speech-language therapy and tutoring company fully committed to providing fun, individualized, and dynamic tutoring, coaching, and therapy sessions for children and teens. We are Late Talking experts.

Brooklyn Letters treats all kinds of speech and language delays and learning difficulties, specializing in evaluating and treating babies through adolescents.

Our services include:

  • Online Services
  • Pronunciation (all ages)
  • Early Childhood Expressive Language
  • School Age Expressive Language
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (PDD, Aspergers, etc.)
  • Social Skills
  • Stuttering
  • Listening Difficulties (auditory and language processing)
  • Picky Eaters and Early Childhood Feeding Delays
  • Adult Speech Therapy
  • Bilingual Services

Brooklyn Letters offers in-home and online literacy (Orton-Gillingham Approach), math tutoring services, and speech, language, and feeding therapies in the New York City metro area seven days a week.

Get in touch with Brooklyn Letters at:

(347) 394-3485

(917) 426-8880

Text: (201) 899-4399

Brooklyn Letters


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Watch this short video for a quick rundown of all the important things you need to know about late talking!



Want to know what the experts say about late talking? Watch our interview with Dr. Michelle to find out more about late talking diagnosis, therapy, and tips!