Specialist Literacy Teacher

With a special interest and expertise in Literacy Teaching including Dyslexia, I provide personalised, one-on-one, specialist Literacy Intervention and Educational Assessments.

I’m thrilled to offer a highly-personalised, collaborative approach and it’s my great privilege to identify, nurture and celebrate the unique and limitless potential of every learner.

I believe you deserve a skilled, experienced teacher who cares deeply about your individual learning needs

Teaching and facilitation is my passion and there’s nothing I enjoy more than connecting with you and inspiring confidence and self-belief.

It’s my great privilege to support Children, Teenagers and Adults who have significant Literacy Difficulties with Reading, Spelling and Writing including Dyslexia .

I also support Parents, Teachers and Schools through Educational Assessments, Professional Development and Advisory Services.

Please contact me to discuss options that will meet your individual needs.


Services for Children and Teens

Services for Adults


One-on-one Specialist Literacy Teaching for students with Dyslexia, Specific Learning Difficulties, and Literacy Needs (Reading, Spelling, Writing).


Educational Assessments, Written Reports, Identification of Individual Learning Needs, and recommendations for Intervention and Support.


Structured, intensive, one-on-one Adult Literacy Instruction to teach decoding and encoding strategies for Reading, Spelling and Writing.


Preparation for IELTS (International English Language Testing System) for Adults who have Dyslexia or significant Literacy Difficulties.

Your Questions Answered

Does your child, teenager, adult partner or someone you love appear to be bright, curious and creative, but have significant difficulties with literacy?  Perhaps they have difficulties:

    • Learning to read, write and spell?
    • Following oral and written instructions?
    • With distractability and staying on task?
    • Confusing the sequence of letters and symbols?
    • With delayed spoken language?
    • Confusing directions in space, time, right and left, up and down, north and south, yesterday and tomorrow?
    • With high levels of frustration with academic work, or anxiety about school attendance?

Or do you already have a diagnosis of Dyslexia, Dysgraphia or a Specific Learning Disability, but don’t know where to go for help?

Is this your situation?

If any of these things sound familiar, then a Specialist Literacy Intervention Program can make a significant difference in building confidence and teaching explicit skills.  My programs are tailored to meet your individual needs and cater for children from as young as 5 years of age through to adults who want to improve their literacy. 

I’m highly motivated to work with children and their families, and I find deep inspiration in identifying and nurturing unique potential.  It’s a great privilege to inspire self-belief and confidence, and create optimism about personal value and future possibilities. 

I also find working with motivated adults extremely rewarding and I know the gift of literacy can be life-changing.

As an experienced Learning Support Teacher, I also offer School Liaison and Advocacy, Differentiated Curriculum Advisory Services, and Professional Development.

The research strongly recommends that a Structured Synthetic Phonics program is the most effective intervention, and I’ve completed Accreditation specifically to teach students using this approach.   My individualised programs use explicit, direct instruction that is carefully sequenced, cumulative, systematic and multisensory.

Structured Synthetic Phonics programs teach students the predictable relationships between the sounds of speech (phonemes) and the alphabet letters (graphemes).  Instruction is carefully planned so that every learner feels a sense of progress and success.

Each personalised intervention program will be:

  • Evidence-based (based on current research)
  • Multisensory (uses all the senses including hearing, seeing, saying and doing to ensure learning is retained)
  • Cumulative (builds on what has already been learned)
  • Sequential (a specific sequence of learning presented in small steps)
  • Systematic (concepts and skills are taught in a step-by-step way)

Regular ongoing assessment of concepts taught will also be integrated to ensure instruction, resources and activities are always provided at the appropriate level.

Understanding Learning Difficulties: A Guide for Parents is a very useful book that can be downloaded or viewed on the website at http://uldforparents.com/.  It provides information to help you select a successful intervention program.

Assessment  >  Report  >  Weekly 1-hour Sessions  >  Homework  >  Re-assessment

We’ll start with an Initial Literacy Assessment.  This will take approximately 60 minutes and will help me understand individual learning strengths and specific areas of difficulty.  It will include:

    • Reading Accuracy (in context)
    • Reading Comprehension
    • Single Word Reading Accuracy (without context), and non-word decoding
    • Spelling, including non-word encoding
    • Phonic Knowledge
    • Auditory Processing and Phonological Awareness (when appropriate)

I’ll then prepare a Written Summary Report with assessment results and recommendations for specialist teaching support.  I’ll discuss this with you so you can make an informed decision about proceeding with a support program.

Weekly Intervention Sessions are 1 hour and are held at the same time each week at my home-based learning space or via Zoom. 

Each session will include one-on-one teaching with students and discussion time with parents, carers or a supportive adult.  It’s important that a parent (or another carer) stays for each session so that new concepts are understood and can be consistently reinforced at home.  Homework tasks will also be demonstrated.  

Homework will be provided to consolidate and reinforce learning.  This needs to be completed in short sessions at home on 3 or 4 days each week.  I believe practice at home is an integral part of the program, and progress is directly related to this extra home support. 

Every support program is customised but will usually include the following interlinking components:

    • Key Word and Picture.  This includes explicit teaching of Phonemes (sound units e.g. /ay/) and the associated Graphemes (common ways of writing each sound (e.g. a-e, ay, ai)
    • Vocabulary Development (vocabulary words using graphemes in context)
    • Reading Comprehension (including cloze and definitions)
    • Oral Reading (to develop fluency through rapid, accurate decoding with time targets)
    • Extension Words (using graphemes in context)
    • Syllabification (nonsense and real words)
    • Multi-sensory Spelling – usually starting with the 300 High Frequency Words and Spelling Rules

Repetition and meeting time goals is integral to each program so that information is retained in long-term memory and to develop fluency.  The ability to instantly recognize the common graphemes will enable rapid decoding of familiar and unfamiliar words so that mental energy can be focused on understanding the text (comprehension).

For many students, I find the Cracking the ABC Code program an excellent approach.  See http://crackingtheabccode.com for details.  This will be enhanced with a range of Decodable Reading Books, Games and Activities.  I integrate Phonics Books (see https://www.phonicbooks.co.uk/) and elements of Sounds-Write (see https://www.sounds-write.co.uk/).

You might want to read a little more about my experience in my LinkedIn profile at https://www.linkedin.com/in/debbiebassingthwaighte, or see my Optimise Learning Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OptimiseLearningCentre I’m an accredited Cracking the ABC Code Teacher and also a Speld Specialist TeacherSo, you can feel confident knowing that I have the professional teaching experience and expertise to best support you.

Download the 2020 Fee Schedule 

My Specialist Teaching fees are $80 per lesson.  Lessons are 1 hour per week and held at my home-based Learning Centre, or via Zoom online video conferencing.  This includes:

    • Individualised specialist teaching with students
    • Demonstration of homework tasks to consolidate and reinforce learning
    • Discussions with parents
    • Planning and preparation for each session including personalised resources, spelling words, worksheets, games, etc.
    • Loan of Reading Books and Games for home support

The Initial Assessment fee is $150 and includes the preparation of a Written Summary Report with assessment results and recommendations for specialist teaching support.

The initial establishment and Resource Fee is $55.  This is a once only fee charged at the commencement of the first support program to cover all initial set-up, preparation and student resources, including:

    • Student Folder / Carry Case
    • Parent Information
    • Word Cards
    • Rule Cards

Cost of individual student Workbooks for a 12 or 24-week program will vary depending on the program level required, but are usually $55 or $77.

If you have Dyslexia or significant Literacy Difficulties, the thought of sitting IELTS (International English Language Testing System) can be daunting.  You may have already sat the test on several occasions without success.

Did you know that IELTS makes provisions to ensure the language ability of all test takers is assessed fairly and objectively and provides a comprehensive service for people who have special requirements?

If  you have a diagnosis of a Specific Learning Difficulty (Dyslexia), you’ll meet the criteria to have special administrative arrangements.  If so, it’s recommended that you contact the IELTS Test Centre to discuss your special needs.  Test modifications will be provided so that you’re assessed fairly and can demonstrate your full English Language abilities without these being masked by a Specific Learning Difficulty.

Modifications should include:

    • Extra time for Listening, Reading and Writing Tests to read the questions and texts, and to write answers.
    • A Special Version of the Listening Test where the supervisor can stop the recording to give you time to read the questions and write and check your answers.
    • Help filling in the Answer Sheets for listening and reading tests where you’re required to copy (transfer) your answers to an answer sheet which is then scanned by a computer.

I can also support your preparation for IELTS in a number of ways:

    • Literacy Assessment and a Written Report that can be used to support your application for special administrative arrangements.
    • Structured, intensive, one-on-one Adult Literacy Instruction to teach decoding and encoding strategies for Reading, Spelling and Writing.
    • Specific Practice for the Writing Test, and general recommendations.

Experience and Qualifications

You can feel confident knowing that I have the professional teaching experience and expertise to best support you. 

I’ve worked for more than 30 years as a Learning Support Teacher, University Lecturer and Advisory Visiting Teacher with children who have Learning Difficulties, Dyslexia and various Disabilities.

I’ve also completed Accreditation specifically to teach students using a Structured Synthetic Phonics approach.  The current research indicates that this is the most effective Intervention.  My programs use explicit, direct instruction that is carefully sequenced, cumulative, systematic and multi-sensory.

I’m a Specialist Literacy Teacher, an Accredited Cracking the ABC Code Teacher, and I’ve completed Sounds-Write Phonics Training.  I also have full Teacher Registration and a current Working with Children Blue Card.


Specialist Teacher


Academic Qualifications

Teaching Recommendations