This article was produced in partnership with PAA Education, an online resource that enables specialist teachers and other learning specialists to help children reach their full potential.
PAA Education founder, Wally Howe, is a Sydney based Educational and Developmental Psychologist with more than 25 years of experience in psychological and educational assessment. Howe managed the Australian standardisation of the UK published York Assessment of Reading for Comprehension (YARC), the most popular individual reading test used in Australian schools.
There has been a worrying slump in students’ reading and writing outcomes in recent years. The latest PISA 2019 results show that since 2000, Australia’s mean score has declined by the equivalent of around three-quarters of a year of schooling.
While there has been some encouraging progress in Australian students’ reading habits and outcomes since the PISA report was released, many young people continue to struggle with learning how to read and write, which is especially true for children with learning disabilities.
PAA Education, founded by a Sydney based Educational and Developmental Psychologist, Wally Howe, provides specialist teachers and other learning specialists with online education tools to help children reach their full potential.
One of these tools is Mindplay, a ‘Virtual Reading Coach’ which enables students with diverse skills and instructional needs to read fluently and accurately. It also provides teachers with class and student-level reporting that simplifies the implementation of Response to Intervention (RTI), Multi-Tiered Systems of Instruction (MTSS) and Individualised Education Plans (IEP).
“We have seen great success with MindPlay, and studies show that when MindPlay’s Virtual Reading Coach was used for an average of 10 hours, students increased their grade level nearly five times, from 9 to 44 per cent,” Howe told The Educator.
“The solution is used across the world and is especially popular in the United States.”
The company is also helping students better grasp language itself through its Speechlink and Language link products. These two resources empower Learning and Support Teachers, Teachers and Teaching Assistants in their work with students with language and communication needs (SLCN) and indicate the need for further support for the child.
“It’s easy to use. The children love all the games. It’s very colourful and visual. Many teachers use the speech games as an end-of-week treat which the kids love and allow teachers to capture data,” Howe said.
“We recently introduced Speechlink into Australia from the UK, where thousands of schools use it.”