Chit Chat with Betsy Sewell

Join Carla and Betsy as they discuss what might we see if our older students or kids are struggling, the diehard habits of these students who struggle and how can we rectify these, plus tips for classroom teachers and intervention specialists who are supporting older struggling readers. 

Betsy Sewell Bio:

Betsy’s working career began as a social researcher working on a pacific atoll, she then trained as a teacher, and taught for a few years before beginning her own parenting journey. Her children were immersed in literature as pre-schoolers, but then struggled with reading and writing at school. Betsy wanted to know why? She followed the research on reading and reading difficulties (then in its infancy). After home-schooling her children for a period, she sent them back to school as readers.

Betsy enrolled at Massey University, in their Post-graduate literacy education programme and then began tutoring, mostly older students with years of failure under their belt. The question of why persisted. Why, exactly, is this student not getting this basic concept? What is the thinking that underlies this student’s struggle?

Betsy began to create resources for one child, and then found them appropriate for the next, and the next. Decodable, age appropriate text did not seem to exist, so Betsy started writing her own.

She left tutoring to focus on producing resources for older students, for use in schools. Resources that work in a mixed ability classroom, are age-appropriate, and deliver the many hours of practice older kids need. The result is four – almost five – Wordchain apps, 136 decodable readers, and quite a bit more


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