Watch episode 4 on YouTube
Dr Sandra Marshall realized that there was a problem with how reading is taught in Australia when her own sons started to struggle in primary school. After trying to get help for her sons, Sandra found perhaps her most important calling and knew that the journey ahead wouldn’t only mean advocating for her own boys but for kids and their parents all over Australia who were on the same journey. Sandra, a GP by day, donned her superhero cape, and by night became (at least in our opinion) the most influential figure in dyslexia and evidence-based teaching of reading advocacy in Australia.
With unerring humility, patience and grit, Sandra and her muse and mentor, ex-principal Ophie Renner, rallied the troops – parents, teachers, principals, specialists in the area of reading (and the odd politician along the way) and set out on a remarkable journey.
Fast forward a decade and a bit, and there has been a tectonic shift in how we teach reading in Australia. The earth shook when South Australia implemented the Phonics Screening Check (PSC), despite opposition from all of the expected places, but also from some surprising corners! The good doctor and her band of merry followers were instrumental in this, and now, South Australia is considered worldwide to be a leading light in the adoption of evidence-based teaching of literacy.
In this interview, Michael and Bill talk with Sandra about the road behind, the long road ahead and importantly, how Sandra has been so incredibly successful at getting people on board and keeping them on board. Sandra has the special sauce in working with people to make change and has much to teach us all about how we can successfully advocate for our own children and also other vulnerable kids living with the Ds.
Links from Episode
Sandra is the Chair of Code Read – see the links below
Code Read is reliant on continued fundraising to operate. Please register for the 2022 Equal Right to Read Virtual Run to support Sandra and others to continue advocating.
So many parents don’t know where to go, and as Sandra says, there’s plenty of snake oil out there. This webpage gives guidance on where to go to get help:
or for incredible resources, go to:
If you are in SA, you can also go to www.fullartonhouse.com.au, or if you are looking for a specialist tutor/teacher, you can find one at https://dyslexicstrengths.com.au/south-australian-literacy-specialists-tutor-register/
David Pescud’s ABC’ Conversations’ Interview
David’s was the impetus behind the formation of Code Read and financially backed the formation of this national body (as long as Sandra agreed to be the Chairperson!) David is interviewed by the amazing Richard Fielder on ABC’s ‘Conversations.’
South Australian Evidence-Based Teaching of Literacy Study Tour:
Salisbury Primary School
Sandra discusses the need for teachers to be able to go into other schools doing great things in the teaching literacy space. We do something like this, and we’re pretty good at it! Email Bill firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest in this professional learning opportunity.
A shout to everyone involved over the journey – all DAGBAGS, Dyslexia SA, Code Read, DAGBAGS/Dyslexia SA members/admins/and helpers along the way:
Dr Bartek Rajkowski
Dr Jennifer Buckingham
Dr Judy Gould
Dr Kerry Hempenstall
Dr Kevin Wheldall
Dr Lorraine Hammond
Dr Marie Gould
Dr Tanya Serry
Janice James- Valentine
Jen Cross OAM
John Gardner MP
Mark Le Messurier
Nick Champion MP
Prof Anne Castles
Professor Pam Snow
Simon Birmingham MP
Stephanie Le Fievre
Sue de Biasi
Susan Close MP
Tony Piccolo MP