Balanced Bites Podcast #426: How NOT to teach kids how to read with Moira Chrzanowski

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Episode 426: “How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read…if they can’t even fit inside the Whole Language Approach” -Derek Zoolander

We’re calling out the Whole Language Approach (? ?), plus giving the real scoop on promoting literacy.

Moira is a certified speech-language pathologist and reading & writing specialist. She primarily works with school-aged students who struggle with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and developmental language disorders. At Rooted in Language, Moira teaches online educator training classes, collaborates to create language arts curricula, and supports the Rooted Community of parents and educators through social media. Moira lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two daughters.

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Finland Reel: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CryQXlExZFj/?igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

Finland reel part 2: https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cr0umSJOFDm/?igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==

Balanced Bites Podcast #426 with Moira Chrzanowski

Welcome to the new Balanced Bites Podcast! I’m your host, Liz, a nutritional therapy practitioner and best selling author bringing you candid, up-front, myth-busting and thought-provoking conversations about food, fitness, and life. Remember:  The information in this podcast should not be considered personal, individual, or medical advice.

I have spent YEARS researching whether a good multivitamin is truly necessary for overall health. But the truth is, there are a LOT of opinions out there, including from people like me, who love to ask lots of obnoxious, overly detailed questions. But the truth is, if I’m paying attention to how I FEEL, my answer was clear: I will be taking my multivitamin. And it will be from the brand Needed. Needed third-party tests EVERY batch for performance and quality, which is incredibly rare in the supplement industry and also incredibly important to me! To get started with Needed, head to thisisneeded.com. Use code balanced for 20% off your one-time order or your first three months’ subscription. While you’re at it, add Stress Support to your cart. I’m loving that one, too.

Let’s talk about today’s show.We talk about a lot of things here, mostly related to physical and mental wellness, but today’s podcast is episode one of two over the next 2 weeks that is devoted to a topic a LOT of us have thought about – obsessed about – and that is EDUCATION. and I would argue that our kids’ educational well-being is part of our own mental and physical wellness! So we’re going for it. We’re going to talk about it, and we are going to talk about it with two experts over the next 2 weeks who are number one, brilliant and number two, perhaps in opposition on a few things – Both with each other, and certainly with a lot of what many of us have thought and pursued in the educational world. And guess what? This is where the good work gets done – When we have the juicy conversations and pull out what, to our unique lenses, sounds right, what makes the most sense, what serves our family and our own kids. I wholeheartedly believe that MORE information is better WHEN that information enlightens, cracks open an issue, brings a new lens to an old topic, and/or overall demands of us that we re-evaluate our preconceived notions in ways we never even considered… just as the next 2 podcasts’ guests have done for me. 

So, more about today’s episode. A lot of us had little kids during the pandemic and with school closures and everything else disrupting kids’ education, we know that kids on the whole lost or simply failed to gain massive amounts of reading proficiency. 

During the school closures, this type of thing was probably on more people’s minds than ever. I was no exception. I had a little one who was just turning 5, just starting her school-readiness journey, in 2020. And in planning to homeschool, I ran the gamut trying to figure out the best way to support her in learning to read. Which curriculum do we use? Do we use any curriculum? Should I delay reading instruction until she’s 7? Should I do it slow and soft like Waldorf using the Oak Meadow curriculum? Should I do it more systematically using Blackbird and company? Should I spend thousands of hours and dollars trying to figure this out and then just give up? I’ll let you guess what I ended up doing.

Curricula notwithstanding, As you’ll hear me talk about in this podcast, I was really stuck in some very black and white thinking on the topic of education. In fact, to sort of satisfy my own bias, the bias that wanted to opt out of anything traditional or conventional and just be contrarian quite frankly, I eclipsed maybe just seeking a more enriched educational environment for my kid that sort of represented the best of homeschool – that is to say, being able to take the best of everything and make it flexible – and I crossed over into everything-Modern-is-bad territory. If an expert thinks it, it must be toxic. Right?

I went so far as to even contemplate an outdoor school that I later found out was actually teaching Kids, how to skin animals. Talk about extremes, right? I did not know about the animal-skinning at the time. But my point is, in nurturing those very negative feelings about modern educational systems, I totally threw the baby out with the bath water. 

Did I believe everything we do in the modern education system is right? No. Was I right to simply assume that we could glean absolutely NO useful information from the body of literature on language and learning? No! Truth be told, I was simply not educated enough about the nuances of education and language. In taking such deep offense to the sort of way education is DELIVERED within the traditional system today, I actually decided that the whole foundation of the system was ignorant and corrupt. When, really, maybe the problems AND the solutions are more nuanced. 

You’ll hear more as we talk through this episode, but in short, one of the things I’ve realized is that given the complexities of the language *I* speak and read and write –  that I want my kids to speak and read and write, ENGLISH, – there is certainly good reason to at least UNDERSTAND the arguments around how we introduce these concepts and when. 

Maybe the hard core delay slash not-too-soon slash no-formal-education-everrrr types are operating from a pool of information or experience that is just a slice of the whole, and maybe that’s just as misguided as what the Whole language types and even the common core types are doing. 

Now, I understand the instinct to want to approach reading and writing in that gentle Waldorf way or to delay. This is actually something that my next podcast guest and I got into a bit, although it might not have made it into the podcast, I can’t remember – And maybe in some circumstances you CAN delay formal instruction. I’m not saying a kid will never pick up reading if you wait until they’re 7 or 8. I’m saying that you CAN deliver joyful reading instruction from an earlier age that is preferable scientifically to, at the very least and what we talk about in this podcast, whole language learning. You CAN impart knowledge that excites and inspires your kid rather than beats their interest in reading right out of them. 

My point is, I think I, for myself, set up this false dichotomy between a sweet childhood and blissfully delayed reading instruction and chaining my child to a desk drilling phonics into her head. That’s not how it works. You’d think after dismantling so many false dichotomies in nutrition and wellness I’d be smarter than that, right? Apparently not.

Okay, so that’s where rooted in language and Mora Krizanowski come in. And in particular, the reel that shattered a million illusions for me, the illiterate children of Finland reel, parts one and two, which I link in the show notes.

Let me tell you a bit about Mora, before I forget. Mora is a certified speech language pathologist and reading and writing specialist. She primarily works with school aged students who struggle with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and developmental language disorders. 

And the company Mora represents here is called rooted in language and Maura’s work there is to teach Online educator training classes, to collaborate on the creation of  language arts curricula, and to support the rooted community of parents and educators through social media, (which is where I found her and knew I just HAD to interview her.)

The rooted in language mission is to show educators, both home and traditional educators, how to move struggling students toward reading and writing independence. 

They’re a small team of five women, who are dedicated to providing strategy-based curricula, hands-onapproaches, and flexible learning activities that can be easily adapted to the individual. And some personal details. Mora works and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two daughters. 

So Maura is just incredible at explaining and unpacking the questions around children and literacy through the rooted in language Instagram account, And I reached out to her after I listened to the sold a story podcast. if you haven’t listened to The Sold A Story podcast – just search that in your podcast player, You must listen to it. It is all about, Among other things, the very questionable whole language approach to reading that still pervades a lot of reading education in traditional school environments today. It’s an approach that I thought sounded so good for a homeschool context, but that I managed to avoid just by sheer luck, which I talk about in the podcast. It still has so many devotees and, to hear the sold a story podcast, the leadership within that school of thought is almost bordering on demagoguery, but the bottom line is there is an overwhelming amount of evidence and experts that call the whole language approach into question and Even that show it to be potentially damaging. 

Now that doesn’t mean that nobody has ever learned to read with this whole language approach. Someone I actually respect deeply actually says that he learned to read in this way. But honestly, he’s a genius and he probably would have learned to read no matter what approach was used. So I just don’t know. And what about every other kid? What about using an approach that was built on a falsified theory? Is that a good idea? Again, doesn’t mean it doesn’t or can’t work for some kids. But the scientific evidence, or lack thereof, is alarming, and these questions are things we need to address for the sake of our kids.

I have to wonder. Are kids struggling because reading is starting too early, as I had thought? Or is it because of the delivery of reading education? Do we realize how many options we have in introducing literacy from a young age? Do we realize how CAPABLE children are of absorbing information that is presented to them in a way that is not drill-and-fill the brain with information, but that lights a fire of curiosity in them? As Mora says – early literacy can still be Play based, patient, imaginative, multi-sensory and interactive. 

I know one thing. If we don’t light a fire of curiosity, whether in a homeschooled kid whose parents are waiting for him or her to “show interest” in something or in a child starting traditional public school at barely 5 years old, we’re misaligned.. A kid who is never exposed to all these possibilities won’t have the scaffolding to show interest in the first place. It doesn’t matter where the learning is supposed to happen.

Now, I’ll be honest. there are moments in this podcast and the  next when I didn’t even know what questions to ask, but I thought this was too important a conversation not to have. And once you hear this, look at the sold a story podcast, follow Mora and rooted in language, and stay tuned for the next episode that bites off a whole other chunk of educational meat.

again, the questions that these next 2 podcasts inspire are as rich as the discussions within the podcasts themselves. And that’s a good thing.

Before we get to the interview, Real quick – in order to see this wonderful Finland reel, parts 1 and 2, that I reference in the podcast, you’ll want to go to the podcast show notes to tap and watch. I will put links there. It’s probably pretty far down the rooted in language Instagram feed by now and I don’t want you to have to scroll forever. So I’m linking it for you, right in your podcast player for you to watch and enjoy. 

And phenomenal news –  rooted in language is offering our listeners 10% off site-wide on classes and instructional materials. So you go to rooted in language.com. And use code R I L 4 – the number four – L I Z. 

R I L 4 L I Z, for 10% off, you can also find those links to the store and details on the discount code In the show notes. Here we go.  

Liz Wolfe: Oh my gosh, I have ,so many questions

Moira: for you. I know. I was like, I’m kind of trying to prepare, but I, I feel like she could really ask anything.

Liz Wolfe: So, and it’s changed since I first, well basically for the people listening or who will be listening, I pretty much cold called you Yeah.

Basically showed up your Instagram doorstep and I was like, well, you come talk to me, and you’re like, yeah, that’s, who is this weirdo?

Moira: That wasn’t weird to me. This, it’s the day and age, you know, it’s kind of how. There’s a lot less barrier between professionals, right?

You can sort of reach out in these seemingly informal ways. And it works.

Liz Wolfe: And it works. Yes. I’m so glad that I co-star this podcast eight years ago so that I could reach out to you and have you be like, okay, she seems legit enough. I’m like, we’ll

Moira: do it. You know? Yeah. That’s the thing is it’s kind of like basically, , my only criteria is, , you know, I wanna make sure I’m speaking on things that your audience cares about, and, and saying truth that I know to be true from research.

And, , and then also making sure sometimes you get people who reach out who wanna try to do that kind of gotcha thing. Like mm-hmm talk about this, and then, and then, you know, here’s all the reasons why you’re wrong. So that’s really my only criteria is to kind of make sure. That may not be the case when someone reaches

Liz Wolfe: up.

Well, if I had paid more attention to the names of the people who were. Who I was actually sort of falling, not falling in with, When I found Rooted in language, I was on that. That track of thinking about homeschooling but the ideas around reading and reading development and whatnot that I was sort of falling into.

I would’ve totally made a little gotcha joke just now, like I am an acolyte of so and so, and this is why I think you must be, I should probably back up. One of the things that I’ve learned from you is that, and I, I can’t remember what the word is, you used it in the real, I watched today the Finland, Finland reel.

The, the word for languages that are very easy to

Moira: decipher and decode. Oh, transparent versus opaque. Yes.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. Transparent versus opaque. It’s just, it’s the real world, man.

Moira: Oh man. I know. And it’s actually, it seems kind of unfair, right? That like your reading journey might, might just have a lot more challenges and missteps.

Purely due to the language in which you were born, you know? Yes. Um, and you may have not had, uh, the reading journey you had, were you speaking a different language, you know, yes. Um, yeah. English is, uh, dare I say, the hardest. I probably, you know, I think I safely say one of the hardest. It definitely always ranks in the top like three most difficult languages to, to learn to read at regarding literacy.

Liz Wolfe: Well, I’m gonna end up coming at you with a bunch of disparate things, and you might have to end up tying them together. Cause I’ll try, I’m sort of new to this, but I’ll tell you, well, I’ll tell you how I found you and then I’ll tell you what I want you to know about me if I remember that part. Okay. That sounds great.

So how I found you is I was an almost homeschool reading mom. So my daughter would’ve entered kindergarten in 2020, but when my mom, who’s actually a reading specialist, was like, you know, she doesn’t have to go to kindergarten. Kindergarten’s not required. So we ended up doing this wilderness school for kindergarten, and this is where I fell into this idea that has been repeated in many of the homeschool groups.

Groups, groups. Not homeschool groups. Groups. There were no, there was no groping in the groups that I was in. This idea that children do not need to learn how to read until they’re like past seven years old, like before seven, before first grade. It’s just like play. You just wanna play, you wanna explore.

And all of that. And that was very compelling to me because there’s this false dichotomy between, I think the way you put it was being chained to a desk versus not learning any reading at all. And I kind of dabbled in a lot of different places. I looked into Oak Meadow homeschool curriculum. I looked at Waldorf schools.

Yeah, I looked at Montessori, Reggio. Yep, yep. All of that. And I was really kind of drowning. There was, there was just way too much information and I didn’t know where to go with it. So what I did was I sent my kid to Nature school and I let my mom teach her how to read. So I ended up sort of opting out, like of ever having to make a decision.

I just figured, you know, we’ll do reading and that will satisfy the, the man, the mainstream expectations and then I’ll figure out what to do, you know, after that later. And I think I was really Hmm. Fortunate in having made that decision because I was this close to not even teaching her a single letter until she was seven because that’s what some people were, were telling me.

Yeah. And I wanna have, you know, great compassion and respect for homeschoolers. And I’m not saying this doesn’t work for some kids, but I have also seen the other side of it where people who chose to homeschool, mostly friends of mine that were homeschooling out of like a pandemic situation, right. Chose sort of different tracks around learning, reading.

And I have seen. Both sides of it. And I started to get really interested in deconstructing or having someone like you deconstruct for me the meaning of some of the literature that is put forth as a reason to do one thing or the other, and to bring it all around to the real you just did about Finland.

Something that absolutely blew my mind and traces back to the purpose that I have felt in my professional life for 10 years since I wrote my book about food was to look at what has, what we have been told and to find out what information we are missing. And I think so many, well-meaning homeschool types are missing some of the context around the scientific literature on reading.

Yeah. Am

Moira: I making sense? Yeah, you absolutely are. Oh my gosh, you said so many good things. And I, I didn’t wanna interrupt you. I am sort of a chronic interrupter. You interrupt me all day long. I come from an Italian family and it’s just really bad and it makes it very hard to edit things when you interrupt.

Um, yeah, so I, I didn’t, I, I mentioned at the start of the reel, I just did this, , idea of, of being this, consumer culture. And I was recently, , following the work of, of someone named Steven Dykstra, his name is hard to pronounce. He’s like a statistician, , psychologist. I think that he’s sort of been kind of indoctrinated into this field of the science of reading, um, to help.

Followers understand, , how it is that we even approach the research that’s out there because, , you know, the reason in that reel I did, I, I made that comparison to jumping on the bandwagon for various philosophies and ideologies that are out there. Uh you know, that being a phrase that almost kind of speaks to how easy it is, right.

To mm-hmm. To hear these things and be like, that sounds like something I align with. And I’m just kind of, kind of go that way as opposed to really looking into what replicated that’s an important, that’s an important term, , in, in research that replicated studies, , where there’s this convergence of evidence, not a study here or there that finds mm-hmm a positive result, but just multitudes of studies doing the same thing.

Making sure that they’re fixing any errors in however previous studies were done that are all converging on the same, uh, conclusion that that is really where we can then say, Okay, this is significant. This can really inform something about, uh, what we believe or what we know or how we teach or, or how we’re creating materials.

, and, and one of the things he, , he really cautions against is just this, this idea of, , reading kind of one thing and thinking that that is, you know, that, that, that’s necessarily significant just because someone did a study and got some positive result. Particularly because even across, broad.

Fields of study that are all converging in the science. Uh, so you’ve got like psychology and education and, and neuroscience and all of these areas are doing studies and they can all do studies on something similar like literacy. And actually it’s better if we have this in interdisciplinary, , you know, scope that we’re looking at.

 You can, it, it can, even when you’re looking at research, you can get deceived because,, Studies that get positive results are much more likely to be published mm-hmm. Than, than ones that do not, however, a a negative result. Is a significant finding that we need to know so what you can have is, is, you know, a, a study’s done and, and something’s found to be ineffective and a study’s done and something’s found to be ineffective and a study’s done and it’s found to be ineffective.

It’s found to be ineffective. It’s found to be ineffective. Oh, someone did it and they got a positive result. Well, that one got published and then everyone reads that n n no one knows about the hundred studies that came before that showed something to be ineffective. And, and that is one reason why we end up with things like the, the whole language approach.

Or even, some ideologies , that are saying, Hey, maybe we should, you know, Never teach reading until children say they want to, you know, because look at this one study that showed that, you know, this tiny sample size of 12 children, you know, benefited from that or whatever.

Um, so waiting through the research is, is hard and it’s honestly, it’s really even hard to get your hands on. I had someone reach out to me not too long ago saying, Hey, can you send some research my way that helps answer this question of blah, blah, blah? And I was like, I’m gonna try, but you hit paywalls everywhere and I can send you a study or two.

And I am aware that that almost makes it look like I don’t have research to back this up, because I can only send you a few things that I can get for free. It’s, it’s like illegal for me to be. You know, trying to like, download stuff that I’ve paid for and then send it out, or, or often I just like can’t get to it unless I wanna pay 50 bucks for mm-hmm.

A certain article if it’s not something I already am subscribed to. Um, and so that’s why I said it’s like trying to follow the research is like chasing a runaway train and then when you finally get onto the runaway train, everything’s locked. You can’t get in. So I have to say, , and I don’t know that you can really blame the scientists doing the research.

It’s really more the pub, the, , the journals in which they’re being published are kind of crappy about sharing what we know. Like they’re not getting it out there because they’re not making it accessible. And yeah, once you make it accessible, then you have to be someone who’s willing to read, you know, A hundred page document, you know?

Yes. Um, and try to wade through the statistical, blah, blah, uh, to figure out what things mean. But, , that’s why we do have to kind of find places that we can, we have, we have done our due diligence in researching those places that are bringing us the information. Is this a source I can trust? Because they’re helping bring things together for me, , because I can’t always get to it myself.

I’m trying to be that somewhat for some of you, but I do realize that, you know, you guys are gonna need to like dig into me and where am I getting my information? So I try to put as many citations as I can. It’s just, it’s like a circle,

Liz Wolfe: basically. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, we need to dig into you. We need to find out who you voted for.

I’m just

Moira: kidding. Yeah, no, no. But I, yeah. Yeah. And then personal stuff always comes into it as well.

Liz Wolfe: And there’s always, you know, you’re talking about studies, but there’s also the guru thing, right? Where it’s like, well, this person who I looks legit is telling me this thing. You know, you, you joked and you’re real about wearing, , I almost scholarly looking glasses.

Yeah,

Moira: Yeah. And you know, just saying, Anymore. Just, I don’t know, maybe this was never true, but just being like, Hey, I am, I’m an S L P, I have, you know, these credentials behind my name and, and x y, z extra trainings, and I’ve been doing this for so many years and years or whatever. It’s like, that’s great.

That definitely elevates my word, but does it really, I mean, because like I could be someone who’s not at all basing any claims I make in the research, and it’s just based on what I think is, you know, looks nice and is a pretty package, , versus someone else who does so.

Mm-hmm. Yeah. You just gotta, you can’t always just go, well wait, I just thought I could trust this person because they came from such and such university. I mean, that goes back to the soul to story podcasts. Teachers were like, I just assumed that someone who wrote this curriculum knew what the heck they were doing.

Yeah. And that I could trust that because it was like a published work that had research behind it, you know? So yeah. A muddy world out there.

Liz Wolfe: Oh, I’m trying to figure out where I wanna go with you first. Cuz this is all so good. And again, I wanna emphasize, I, I don’t think I’m alone in this, in feeling like my heart was really wanting some type of alternative approach to education.

Because again, I think a lot of us think about traditional school versus homeschool. Not all of us, but some of us think about traditional school as kind of this place where kids are chained to a desk and homeschool is this place where we really respect the nature of the child and Yeah. You know, follow their interests and provide them with options and see where they, where they wanna go.

And it feels so much more, uh, authentic and reflective of what a childhood should look like. And again, you’ve talked about they’re not, it’s not mutual exclusive news, truly exclusive learning, reading and having a beautiful childhood experience. Right, right. But it feels that way sometimes. So in sort of trying to find this third way, or in realizing that neither of my perspectives were entirely accurate, this is where I came across rooted in language.

And it was a little bit of a rude awakening cuz I was like, whoa. Like I accidentally made the right choice, but it could have gone way in another direction.

Moira: Yeah. And isn’t that scary that now Yes. You come to a place where it seems like you’re l you lucked out. Yes. You happen to find a literacy path that resulted in success, right?

Yes.

Liz Wolfe: And just being so fortunate to have a mom who was a decade in a reading specialist who Yeah. Retired right. And wanted to teach my kid how to read and it was time. Yeah. They got to spend together. It wasn’t you, it was just such a good situation

Moira: You know, my mom is also an s l P and especially when the Sold a Story podcast came out, which by the way was just saying stuff that we’ve been sort of shouting into the void for, for decades, um, with a little bit more traction every year. But, you know, it’s one of those things that’s made a big splash and it was like, yeah, I know the, the research has, we have five decades of accumulated research that’s been saying this.

Yeah. Um, but anyway, I said to her, I said, oh my gosh. I mean, I just feel like when the statistics are showing that literally 54% of citizens in the United States do not read above a sixth grade reading level, that’s a shocking statistic. And it makes me realize that I’m literally just lucky that I had a mother who was a A S L P, a literacy specialist.

She taught us all to read before school. I mean, like, Before sending us to the schools. And in fact, just so you know, I’m, I’m, I’m a hybrid. I, I have many years of homeschooling. I was homeschooled for many years I should say. And, um, and then actually I like started off kindergarten, first and second in traditional school, preschool I guess you could include as well.

And then, uh, homeschooled third grade, I’m sorry, third grade through like seventh grade. And then I basically went back for high school. Um, so I’ve had the whole experience and one of the thing reasons she pulled us out to homeschool was for all of the things you just said, you know, needing, needing some alternative things to be happening, seeing a lot of the stuff you don’t get.

And, and, and I hesitate to use words like holistic, but a holistic, uh, comprehensive education that involves more than sitting at a desk, right? Like. Whatever happened to field trips, they just don’t even like do those anymore, you know? But like we had days where, you know, we spent half the day in a library or, you know, we were at a park doing nature walks and, and we did so much writing.

She, she’s a literacy specialist, so it was like, based exactly what you said, like I’ll do, I’ll do play and exploration and then also literacy. And basically if you have strong foundations in literacy your kids will do well academically. It permeates every other academic subject.

Give your child strong reading and writing skills and they will be successful. You know what? I got a pretty crappy education on geography. I can’t tell you where like anything is, and all I know is from the places I’ve been.

Right. But, but I have the tools to learn anything I need about the world in geography because of being strongly literate. Right. So, right. I just, I, everything you just said, I feel, I feel in my soul how, how heartbroken I feel that it’s, it’s supposed to be a human right to reading and writing and it doesn’t feel that way anymore.

Yeah. It feels like either you luck into a situation in which someone knows what they’re doing for you, you know? Yeah. Or you don’t, and unfortunately, even if you’re not a struggling learner, undoing poor reading instruction is, is very difficult. Add struggling learning on top of that, and it’s like, it’s really rough.

Liz Wolfe: Okay. I wanna make sure that we talk about the difference between transparent and opaque languages. Sure. With reference to what you said in the real, but I also, I, I don’t wanna forget, I feel like maybe a foundation of this podcast should be potentially you articulating maybe the pitfalls of a traditional education in literacy and maybe the pitfalls of a homeschool education and where you’re trying to apply a little self or bridge that gap or change the way people look at things.

Is that a valid question for you,

Moira: I’m gonna tweak it a bit, you know, because I, uh, I feel like you’re referring to, when you say traditional versus homeschool, like what you receive in school versus what you might receive at home. Um,

Liz Wolfe: yeah. And it doesn’t have to be directly related to.

Decoding or literacy. It could just be the environment, you know, it could be either one. So maybe traditional schools do a better job of actually teaching kids to decode words or, or maybe they don’t, I don’t know. Whatever it is that you see, I wanna hear it cuz I want, I have such a, a depth and breadth of people that listen to this podcast, but I know most of them would benefit from this information on either side of the coin.

Okay.

Moira: So it’s hard for me not to focus on literacy because that is sort of my area of expertise and I do think it’s, it, it, as I said, have said before, you know, the cornerstone really of all education.

But, , when it comes to those two, When it comes to those two in terms of literacy, basically what you’re looking at is, , depends on the teacher, and I mean that for, , both traditional school and homeschool parent, you know, your educators, teachers as well. , so what are you doing when it comes to literacy?

Because there are schools out there that are doing whole language instruction. These are the terms we wanna get away from, right? Whole language, balanced literacy, sometimes called guided reading. Uh, we don’t like these, right? We don’t like these, okay? They’re, they all stem from this whole language approach.

And you often hear, basically the main tenant of that is this three queuing strategy, which is basically saying to a child, , you know, here’s a word. And, and in order to. Determine what that word is. You have to, , use these three strategies. One is, , visual cues. You look at the word and, , and maybe take a cue from like the first letter and, and then yes, based on context, based on whether or not that word fits within the grammar of that sentence, based on pictures that may or may not be there.

So you have these like cues, these basically guessing cues, , that kids are. Instructed in doing and, and, and this kind of all hailed from, you know, people observing, kids reading and saying, I think this is what they’re doing. I think this is what good readers are doing without actually, , any neuroscience behind it.

Which is really the only way we can know what’s happening in the reading brain with good readers is if you hook them up to F M R I machines, have them do reading tasks and then look at what areas of their brain are being activated. I mean, that’s how we’ve discovered what actually happens in, in the reading brain.

, so looking at a kid reading and saying, I think this is what’s happening. That’s bad science. That’s where this came from. And the reality is they thought that those three cuing methods, that that’s kind of what good readers do. When in actuality it’s exactly what neurosciences has showed us that poor readers do.

They squirrel around, they’re looking for other cues, basically anything but sound to letter connections because they don’t have any of that. Knowledge that correspondence knowledge or, or any automaticity with that knowledge. Um, and therefore their, their reading accuracy rates and fluency are just abysmal and they can only kind of read to these trained tasks.

These, um, if you’ve heard of leveled literacy instruction, these leveled readers, right. And like, I’ve read this book before. I’ve seen this book before. This is my literacy level and, and I do okay within these texts and then throw me out some random book I’ve never seen that’s supposedly at my reading level and I, I can’t read it because they don’t actually have reading skills.

So, , if that’s happening in the school, yikes. If that’s happening at home also. Yikes. So it’s about sort of the curriculum and, and where you’re going. Unfortunately, there’s really no place now where I can say, Hey, uh, this environment is always gonna result in better reading than this environment. I might be able to broadly say that but honor, I hesitate to make a statement like that without actually mm-hmm. Any statistics to back that up? That would be more of a clinical anecdotal statement. Based on what I’ve seen within my own clients and, and people that, that come to me, what I will say about the environment is that homeschooling tends to be a, a better paced environment for what I think literacy, strong literacy skills require.

And what does that mean? Well, what I mean by that is, um, school life is, is just very, it’s very structured and there’s a lot. To be said for structure and learning how to function within structure. And I’m actually one of those super type A structured people myself, you know, so it’s funny to even hear these words come outta my mouth, but, , when it, when it comes to literacy, it’s just, it’s this vast bundle of skills.

It’s not one skill. We talk about it like it’s one skill, like, like reading, writing, literacy, which actually means reading and writing, right? But like, reading is a skill and writing is a skill. It’s not, I mean, there’s 18 gajillion discreet skills that build up reading and writing and it just takes so much time.

And really applied practice, applied practice, applied practice, applied practice, applied practice. And what happens in the school is because they’re on this, like, you know, and it’s not necessarily the fault of the teachers, but you gotta get this, these things done by the end of the semester, you gotta cover these topics.

Kids have to write this many papers and read, you know, this many, these, these three books or whatever. And so, because there’s these like. Check marks that, that they had these benchmarks that they have to hit. Um, they don’t give the time for actual consolidation of these skills. And I am, I’m really speaking to writing.

Writing is like the cuda GRA literacy skill, and we are just doing a disservice in the schools when it comes to kids writing skills. And I see this day in and day out of my own clients, they bring me these like nothing writing tasks. They basically don’t do any, , composition type writing and then suddenly have to write a huge seven page research paper, and they just don’t even know how, like they’ve not done any of the continual practice of writing this habitual practice that really is required in order to really have any idea how to tackle something like that.

Um, and then it’s just thrown at ’em, and then they, you know, fail miserably. Oh, and by the way, here I am trying to help them in our one hour session that I get with them per week, but it’s due before the next time I see ’em, because they don’t even give it the time it takes for something that big, that has so many organizational pieces, et cetera, let alone I’m working with a student who needs, you know, extra because they’re, they’re a struggling learner.

So if I have a homeschooler come to me and I’m working with them, we can just really go, you know, that, that, , Mile deep inch wide as opposed to the mile wide inch deep. Right. And they just, they learn so much more from really being able to dig into the, the skills. Let’s work on the skills. Let’s not just like get to the end of result.

Right? Yeah. I’m working on your skill and I don’t really actually care if we end up with a fully polished, perfect seven page paper at the end of this. What I really, what we really improved is your ability to, you know, write, write grammatically, you know, and sentences that are concise and coherent, and that will now apply to the next writing thing that we do.

Whereas , if you just had to turn in a paper by such and such due date and I had to help edit the crap out of it so that you didn’t get , an f you didn’t learn anything, I barely, you know what I mean? I was just sort of keeping you afloat. So that’s, that’s, I will say what happens more in public school.

Maybe private schools are a little bit better at that, but, well, it’s

Liz Wolfe: interesting, it’s just this very interesting, as a writer, as someone who has written a book and been published and who places extremely high value on that, probably because it’s my one talent and I want it to be more important than it actually is.

Who knows? But it is interesting to see how many people that are coming up in their, you know, twenties and even thirties who are really, really unable to communicate fluidly in writing.

Moira: Yeah. Yeah. It’s an epidemic. Mm-hmm. In my opinion, I think there’s a lot of factors that go into that core instruction is one really just not giving writing.

It’s due what writing requires to become a, a good writer or even just an adequate functional writer. Um, it’s just like a, I don’t know. We just keep shaving off more and more of what’s, what’s expected of students regarding writing. And then I think it also falls on the educators as well, who aren’t getting good instruction in their own, um, higher education programs that train them to teach, to teach these kids.

They don’t even know how to teach writing or what writing requires. And mostly they’re so pinched in by all the like, state standards that they gotta like, hit, right? That, you know, they don’t quite even have the time to do things. To high efficacy. Yeah. , ok.

Liz Wolfe: I wanna take a little bit of a detour quickly because this is, this is where, this is where this plugs in.

And I’m gonna go back to your, your finish, your Finland finish, not your finish reel. It wasn’t in finish, it’s a Finland reel. No,

Moira: I tried one finish word and probably butchered the crown. It was

Liz Wolfe: so good. I actually wondered if you spoke the language when you did that. I do not,

Moira: no. I do like languages and I like accents and so I sort of like try those things out, but no, I’m not, oh, I do

Liz Wolfe: too.

Don’t speak Spanish. I do love an accent. So contemplating reading education, Liz from two or three years ago would’ve thought to myself Okay, yes. To everything that you’re saying. Sure. But. Kids are being forced to Do you. Okay. You said applied practice. Applied practice. Applied practice. Liz, several years ago would’ve been like, stop drilling these poor kids.

They don’t need to learn to read yet. Wait until they’re seven. Wait until they’re eight. I wrote, I read a book, an old book probably from the eighties and it was better late than early. And it, you know, it validated all my feelings about kids are getting forced to learn all these things too early. Now what your real clarified for me, and thank God for social media, it’s such a wasteland sometimes, but it was just so good.

What it clarified for me was something that, I’m sorry that you’re not very good at, but it’s geography.

Moira: Oh yeah. No, I’m not.

Liz Wolfe: But it really has to do with, you know, I had read that article that you talked about, and I don’t even remember what it’s called anymore, but it was about the illiterate children.

The

Moira: illiterate kindergartners. Illiterate kindergartners of Finland.

Liz Wolfe: Yes. And it was so, what’s the word when you’re trying to find evidence that proves your preconceived notions? Oh gosh, I don’t remember what it, people are screaming at it into their podcast players right now.

Moira: Uh, to validate. Validate.

Yeah.

Liz Wolfe: That works. Yeah, that works. So I was seeking information to validate myself, I think, over the course of time, because I just couldn’t get validation bias, I

Moira: don’t know. Sorry. Oh, confirmation bias. Yeah, confirmation bias. Thank you. I was like, I’m close. I think. Good.

Liz Wolfe: You were so close. Okay. So I was, I was unable to get out of this loop of my confirmation bias.

And what I learned from you was actually, depending on the transparency and opacity of a language, you may need to start reading education at a different point in time than some, you know, a kid somewhere else. And you pointed out some other mitigating factors that would make potentially the development of literacy in a child in Finland, an entirely different TRA trajectory from a child in England or the United States.

So I would love for you to explore that point because that was the light bulb for me and really understanding where we were going

Moira: with this. Yeah. Yeah. It’s not, you know, it, it’s sort of a, a common pitfall to take an experience in one language and try to, , project it out to being the same case across the world.

And so linguistically, we just, languages are built very differently depending on the language that you speak. And, , I don’t know if you want me to re-explain, but the idea of an opaque language versus a transparent language. Transparent languages are languages where the, , the correspondence between sounds and, or the, the, the words that we say and how we pronounce them, and then how they are spelled, , is, is very consistent.

, so, you know, you don’t really, you end up with this kind of one to one, maybe one to two, , letter to sound correspondence, where you have like, this is a letter and this is the sound that it makes. Right? Or, or maybe sometimes it might also make this second one, but not very many are like that for the most part.

This is the letter, this is the sound. It makes this letter, this is the sound it makes, right. And so kids can learn to read easier. You know, you say that with a grain of salt because there’s still gonna be kids that have, , diagnosis of, of reading struggle in any language. But the incidents of, , you know, the levels at which they might be able to achieve in reading is probably a lot lower in some of these transparent languages than it is in the opaque ones.

, you know, it’s just, it’s a lot easier to figure out the code, what we call the code. You, you kind of don’t have all these exceptions essentially to the code, whereas in these opaque languages, the pronunciation of words we have does not often match the spelling. And, , and, and I would say in English, you know, this is gonna sound better than it feels, but in English, we, we have about 75% consistency across what we say and, and how we spell things.

But you know that 25% is. Significant. It’s, it’s actually big. That’s, that’s a lot of inconsistency. And it be, and it comes from, you know, the fact that we have, we had a spoken language that developed first, and then we mapped onto a spoken language, a written symbol system on a spoken language that already existed.

, and then add in the fact that English is just the, you know, Criminal of languages that, I don’t forget who said this, but you know, I think I said it in a real ones, beats up all the other languages and rifles through their pockets for loose vocabulary. I mean, we’ve just stolen from so many, so many other languages.

But also we ha we hail from a lot of languages. We’re, you know, this kind of mishmash language. And so, you know, mishmash is cool in when it comes to the, looking into the, , you know, etymology of a word and like digging into these cool historical elements of our language. You know, we, we have the biggest vocabulary of all the languages out there and that is awesome, especially if you’re a strong writer.

I mean, it’s just great to write in English. Yes. ,

Liz Wolfe: That’s such a nerdy thing to say, but it is. Yes. It’s so some, some, there are times I’m putting together a paragraph and I’m like, yes, that’s

Moira: so good. Yes, yes. And other languages don’t have that, that depth to the language that English has. So, you know, English gets a bad rap and I do like to defend it here and there, but I will say teaching to read in English, , that’s a bear.

It’s just a bear. It is an opaque language, which means that it is not consistent. This the sound to letter and even at that sound to letter level, not just pronunciation and how we spell a word, but okay, here’s a letter. It says this, most of the time, it sometimes says this. And then if you add this other spelling rule around it, it then says that.

And then if it’s grouped with these other two letters, it sounds like this. And like we have for every letter, there’s just kind of a lot of that going on in, in English. And then, not to mention that we have a lot of multiple letters together. Make a new sound. We have, you know, we just, we have a lot of complexity to the code, however, Still a student’s best pathway is to learn the code so that they can then decode a word.

Like I have a process. When I see a word, I know this code, I can decode it. And then we hit this wall we hit this barrier, you know, where phonics kind of only takes us so far in, in English. So I’m, you know, a big proponent of phonics. It’s where we need to start.

It’s the foundation that sound to letter correspondence, but it’s not everything, which is why we do actually have to do a lot of work, , within what we call word study. But , That, that idea of how words are built, word structure might be a good way to say it, right? We have, we have word structure as well as a sound to letter correspondence.

There are prefixes and suffixes that are consistent. There are base words that carry most of the meaning. Um, the prefixes and suffixes have grammatical implications, right? But I can, I can make connections in my spelling if I can see a base word that, , is, you know, the same across all these words. And they differ by these different word forming elements, prefaces and substances that go on top of that.

So you have to layer these other elements to English. Orthography, which means spelling, , in order to, to be successful in, in reading and writing English, more so perhaps than other languages where they, if they’re just very phonetic, you know, you can pretty much decode any word after you learn that initial code.

We have a lot more layers to conquer before we can become proficient readers and writers. I don’t even know if I answered your initial question. Oh my gosh. You, you

Liz Wolfe: did. And, and what, what pops into my mind to, not to summarize it, but dealing in reality sort of dictates the timeline that I needed to be open to, to ensure my child was a successful reader, writer.

Literate, I guess is potentially the right way to say it. And that was, that was painful for me. I’m not gonna lie, because I wanted to think, we don’t need to learn anything until she’s seven or eight. Like, just have your childhood a beautiful thought. It is. It is. Yeah. But learning this idea between, you know, transparency and opacity, transparent versus opaque, and acknowledging the complexity of the language that I want my child to speak, write, read really was a moment for me and, and realizing how glad I am that we didn’t wait and I don’t know how to make the idea of early year learning more, less offensive.

Moira:  It, it’s not meant to be chained to a desk doing worksheets. , it would look like a lot of play exploration, getting out, learning from the world, all of the wonderful hands-on things being in nature.

Like as much of that as possible because yeah, you know, kind of once you enter school, you don’t get, or traditional school, you don’t get as much of that. That’s, that is the beauty of homeschooling while really. Having a strong emphasis on literacy and by strong emphasis at those, at the start, though, I don’t strong emphasis when you’re five or six is not, is not what it is when you’re 10, 12, 14.

By strong emphasis, I mean, I’m introducing these things. Here are symbols, here are sounds, let’s learn this patiently. If I start at five, I’ve got time to be patient, to be multisensory, to introduce just a little at a time. You do like 20 minutes or less a day of this kind of formal instruction. And by formal I mean you’re, you’re, you’re being as hands-on as you can be.

I have, I have, you know, things I have kids throw kosh balls at while we say the sound and we’re trying to match letters and we’re doing different building with tiles and we use all kinds of stuff. I mean, kids like it. They’re not, I think we have this kind of false sense that like if I start to do.

Formal, and I put that in quotes, literacy instruction, that that means I’m suddenly like killing all the joy within my child’s day and. First of all, kids crave this. They understand. They see mom and dad doing this thing called reading. Especially if you’re a family where you read to them a lot and you’ve been kind of pointing out, Hey, do you see this?

That that’s a word and it says whatever. Right? Or you know, you start to recognize even that a word in a book we read all the time must say this cuz mom always points at it and says the same thing. Or my daughter, she’s two and a half and she already is so excited. Every time she finds an L, cuz that’s the first letter of her name, she’s already craving making those connections because it’s meaningful.

And they can tell that there’s an enormity behind this ability to pick up a book and know what it says. And so when kids crack that code, when they, when the first time they’re able to look at a word that they previously didn’t know, but now can sound out and read. I mean, oh my gosh, talk about bliss.

It’s, it’s big. And they’re excited because little kids, they love to learn how to be independent. They love to learn how to. Gain autonomy. It makes us parents sad. But you know, that’s like what they want at as, as soon as they can speak in full sentences, they’re saying things like, I wanna do it myself.

You know, like, I mean, we we’re honestly almost sort of not building into that by being like, I’m, I’m withhold, I’m withholding this until a certain age because I have this fear that it’s going to ruin things for you. It’s just not the case. If you’re doing good patient multisensory, you know, instruction, like I said, I wouldn’t expect a five year old to be sitting at a desk for hours a day.

It’s like a little at a time. You introduce a letter or two, you talk about the sounds, you work on it, both in reading and writing. You do some tactile stuff, and then that’s like your day for, for the reading instruction, you know? And it grows as they grow. So when I said the applied practice, applied practice, applied practice, I didn’t mean that as like a drill and a drill and kill.

I meant that more, well, first of all, I was more talking about. , consolidated writing skills at higher. At higher grades. In higher grades. How much applied practice you need. But also, I need this kind of like I do it, we do it, you do it. Philosophy, you know, like first I model and then the we do it is where we really need to dig in.

It’s like I do it, we do it, we do it, we do it, we do it, we do it, we do it, we do it, we do it, we do it, we do it. We do it together. So much so that you’re experiencing that successful learning and then you do it and then you feel so empowered because you had all that patient practice alongside me. Being supportive and supporting, but also asking you to do a little more each time on your own and now you can do it on your own.

That’s more what I meant. I didn’t necessarily mean like flashcards all

Liz Wolfe: day long for five year, I think. I think that’s an important distinction because we are conditioned to interpret. Things a certain way. Yeah. Oh, you bet. You know, particularly if you’re coming from, I don’t know, my, my corner of the internet of podcast world is a lot of people who love to question everything.

So

Moira: I don’t think that’s just your corner. I think that’s the world we live in. I hope

Liz Wolfe: so. I mean, to, to a point. To a point. Not, don’t love it so much when my eight year old does it, my two year old, but I do, yeah. I, it is, it is a passion of mine. Okay. This, gosh, this hour went so fast and I’m trying, I’m sorry to figure out.

No, it’s good. I’m trying to figure out the most important question to ask right now based on the flow of this conversation. And I think what I’d like to ask you is for those who have children in traditional full day school, I do, although our school is a little bit, it’s a little bit alternative. There’s a different flow to the day.

Um, but for parents who feel like there’s something missing or their kid is not learning what they need to learn, and yet they don’t have the flexibility around homeschool or Yeah. You know, that approach, they’re kind of stuck in some ways. What can they do

Moira: oof? Well, my, my advice would be to assess the reading in, in whatever way you can.

Uh, because that’s, that’s at the heart of everything your child can achieve. So what, what are the, your child’s actual reading and writing skills if you follow in language, we provide a lot of information that should help you get a sense of that. I’ve been trying to create reels to help parents get a sense of what’s important.

So if you go back and watch through and read through some of our content, you’ll, you’ll get the gist of the kinds of things that your child should know how to do. Um, If you sense that there’s a real lack of literacy, then I would begin doing some home tutoring that is going to be the biggest bang for your book.

Or you could seek out, or you could seek out a tutor that is following the science of reading. , if you’re like, wow, I just don’t feel qualified. One of the reasons we started rooted in language is because I couldn’t see every kid, my and my mom, who’s also an S L P, she started the business, couldn’t see every child.

You have caseload caps, you know, so I’d be full up and then there’s, you know, a million people knocking on your door with these cute little kids who need your help, and and that’s just heartbreaking. So, , so we created educator training classes or, or par parent trainer classes or teacher training classes, whoever you are, if you’re trying to help, , child gain skills that they do not.

Currently have that will help them be successful. We teach you what to do so that you can then go do it. Because I often say to parents, they say, well, I don’t feel qualified, or I don’t feel like I, I’m the best person to help them. And I’m like, yeah, but you, you are though, like you are the most qualified to help them.

First of all, you know your kid better than anyone and you see them more than anyone and you probably have a better sense even than some of their teachers of the, their strengths and weaknesses and where there are gaps or holes that you might need to be filling in. And we try to help parents across all age and stage levels of school, figure out where those holes are and how to help them fill.

, if you have a struggling learner, it’s, it’s more of a. It’s, yeah, it’s a longer road. , if you have a child who I just, I, I often colloquially say is a victim ofia who, like, they don’t, they don’t have any underlying issues, but they’ve just never been taught, , actually how to read and write. Then, , hopefully once you get some really good instruction underway and you show them, Hey, there’s actually a method to this.

I can be explicit and show you what to do. It’s not grasping at cirs every time you open a book. This can be something that really, yeah, you can like apply these things and figure out, which is like a huge weight off of kids’ shoulders. Then they tend to make pretty fast proce progress. So, I mean, yeah, you gotta tackle the literacy.

Kids are struggling in school and almost always has something to do with literacy, maybe behavior, but almost always has something to do with literacy. And so, , we have tools for you to help, , to help train you up so that you can. You can help your own child, you know, and it’s not an easy answer.

That’s the problem. Everyone wants this kind of band-aid solution and I’m like, take this pill and it’ll all get better. But it’s a complex process. So there’s learning that you, as the educator would need to have, and then there’s learning that in practice that your child would need to do. Yeah,

Liz Wolfe: the my motto is, let’s go deep and, and there’s context and there’s nuance and there’s, there’s a, there’s a bigger backstory to almost everything.

And we have to talk about that. And people have to get comfortable with the fact that there is so much gray area. So there’s so much. Yeah, but well then when, that type of thing to almost everything, we have to be willing to talk about that without feeling like we’ve done something wrong. Like I said, I’m so grateful that we ended up on the path we did.

I would’ve been really, really hard on myself had we chosen to do something different. Oh

Moira: my gosh. But you know, you only know what you know, and then when you know better, you do better. That’s what I always like to say, because like, you know, I’m a parent now too of two kids and the number of times already in two and a half years that I’ve been a parent, that I’ve been like, well dang, I totally screwed that up.

And it was just cause I didn’t know that. And now I do and I’m gonna try to make this change. Right. I mean, you can’t know everything. You can’t be an expert in everything, but you certainly can try to determine when there’s something missing and then seek out the path

Liz Wolfe: forward. That’s what I found rooted in language to be, because you get to that point where you’re so overwhelmed, you have this paralysis by analysis. Yeah. So you just pick away and then if that doesn’t work out, oh my gosh, it’s even that much harder. It’s like all of the analysis I did amounted to a problem, for lack of a better term, and now I have to find something else.

So part of the reason I wanted to have you here is because I really felt like rooted in language. Even just the materials that you’re putting out on Instagram was such a lightning bolt for me. And I just felt like I wanted my people to know about it and , I’m grateful for the work you’re doing.

And by the way, I’ve asked you all the things I wanted to know. Before you go, can you just tell people what you want them to know? I mean, not all of it, obviously, but there’s probably a lot of stuff that I haven’t even acknowledged or brought to people’s attention.

Moira: I guess what I would say, I don’t know, I’m gonna probably talk too much here, but,

to, to the parent or teacher of an assumed, typical learner. I would say literacy is the foundation upon which like, lives are made. So don’t. Risk. It don’t take a gamble. There are answers to what the most successful ways to teach reading and writing.

They’re out there. The research is in like for literally five decades of accumulated research. We know how to teach a child to be a successful reader and writer, assuming that they don’t have a lot, a lot of underlying struggle. And that doesn’t mean that kids who have diagnoses or whatever, dyslexia, dysgraphia can’t also be successful.

They can, um, But like, don’t, don’t risk it. It’s, I it’s never up for grabs in, in my view. And if you can give your child a solid foundation in that, particularly if you’re a listener here who has a child coming into the, those, you know, pre-literacy, early literacy ages, like, this is your time, this is, this is whoever, higher power you might subscribe to telling you, wait a second, I have the chance to get this right.

, and I’m gonna follow what is called the science of reading, what is sometimes called the structured literacy approach. There are other people putting out good materials too, , rooted in language has stuff for you. , so we’re, I’m, we’re happy to, to be that. But that’s what I would say to the people listening.

Um, With, you know, your, your average kiddo who’s, who’s looking to enter the world of, of reading and writing what I say to the parents of the struggling learner, which is also, that’s really actually at the heart of rooted in language. We are a company of speech and language pathologists, pathology. We work with kids who, , are struggling learners for the most part.

And literacy is our specialty. So primarily we see kiddos who have dyslexia, dysgraphia. We also see kids who have what might be called a developmental language disorder, meaning they struggle with verbal, , expression and, , and, and receptive language, you know, listening comprehension, things like that.

, if that’s you, , it feels like if someone is telling you that your child is never gonna X, Y, and Z because of X, Y, and Z, that’s just not true. There are ways forward. If you’re feeling stuck, , we can help get you unstuck. When in the path of a struggling learner, there are, you know, the pathway is different.

It’s not just this kind of exponential growth. You can expect some regression, you can expect plateau periods, that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you’re not progressing. But if you are stuck, let us help you get unstuck. Literacy is probably what’s holding you back in any area of academics, , whether you’re in traditional school or you’re homeschooling or whatever.

And, , and I mean, oh gosh, you can make progress at any age and with any diagnosis. I’ve seen it, I’ve done it so. Let us help you. If, if that’s what you’re looking for. There’s my pitch.

Liz Wolfe: I love it. That was an excellent elevator pitch, and I am so glad that you were willing to come on the podcast with me today.

Even though I did not give you any type a structured outline to what we were gonna talk about,

Moira: that was totally fine. I’m, I’m fine. ,

Liz Wolfe: I’ll point people toward all of your social media and all of your resources as well. I think you, , gave us a discount code as well for some of the resources.

Moira: Yeah. Do you want me to like say it or

Liz Wolfe: You can, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Say it and I’ll put it in the show notes as well. Okay. I believe it’s bites. ,

Moira: bites for r i l, which is rooted in language and that’ll get you 10% off sitewide.

And, and what we have for, you know, for your listeners. So what we have on there is we have, um, instructional materials. We have a curriculum that we wrote that’s an early literacy curriculum. Mm-hmm. So if you’re at the start and you’re like, how do I teach my child to read? Good Lord, you’d think it would be easy cause you’d think it would be something that if you know how to do it, you can then teach it.

But that is so not how literacy works. , so that was a bear. We’ve, we’ve created a, an amazing program for if you’re teaching your child to read and then really. The biggest bang for your buck, in my opinion, are the online classes we provide that, that are educator trainings in every area of literacy that you might be struggling.

We have, you know, we tackle phonics and spelling. We tackle that word, study word structure. We tackle grammar and mechanics. We ta tackle handwriting. We tackle, , the applied writing practice and editing. , we have a class that really focuses on kind of every element and, , and they’re big and you get a lot for your money.

You get instructional plans. We guide you through, , through strategies, videos, literally show you how to do it, how to get it in there and do it. What I would be doing in a session is what we give you. , so those are, yeah, those are great for tools for you and you can use that code to get 10% off any of those things.

Liz Wolfe: That’s fantastic. I think it’s so great that you’ve scaled your impact in that way. And you know, I like never

Moira: enough even,

Liz Wolfe: you know, it’s never, yeah, it’s never gonna be enough. But again, with how much I have learned just from your Instagram, I can’t imagine how much is waiting for people within the rooted in language material. So thank you a lot for all of it, for what you do on Instagram, for what you’ve done within Rooted in Language and for coming on the podcast. I appreciate it, Maura. Thank you for having me.

Thanks for listening to the new Balanced Bites Podcast! Before you shut down your podcast app, PLEASE take a moment to subscribe and leave a review! It’s a small thing you can do that I appreciate more than you can imagine! And speaking of what we can do for each other, if YOU have a question you’d like to have tackled on this podcast or an interview you’d like to hear, submit the details at balancedwithliz.com. Let’s keep unpacking, unraveling, contextualizing and nuance-ing the important questions together so we can be empowered, informed, active participants in our own health and happiness.

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