Giving teachers methods to teach what’s challenging

  • Literacy
  • Executive
    functions
  • Learning

If your students struggle with any of these skills, we can help.

  • Language
  • Homework
  • Metacognition

Fostering effective learning skills, strategies, and habits

Architects For Learning has pioneered methods that educators can use – across the curriculum, and in all settings – to develop the skills and strategies that students need in school and beyond.

Our Vision

Our vision is that educators use effective teaching methods so students know how to tackle what comes their way in school and in life to the best of their abilities.

Our Methods

We design instruction based on what research says works

Our founder and CEO, Dr. Bonnie Singer, and her long-time research partner, Dr. Anthony Bashir, have dedicated years to developing innovative teaching methods and learning strategies that can be used by teachers and students in all grades.

All of our instructional methods and strategies

  • Are grounded by theory and research
  • Align with Common Core State Standards
  • Can be used in general education classrooms as well as more specialized settings
  • Get proven results

We are always developing and testing new instructional strategies that are designed to meet the needs of ALL learners.

Our Team

Bonnie Singer, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Communication Disorders: Emerson College

Dr. Singer works with schools world-wide to develop sound practices for literacy instruction. She also directs a staff that provides academic intervention, assessment, and consultation services in Architects For Learning’s Boston area office.

For her entire career, Dr. Singer has been interested in the ways in which language and cognition interrelate to support and constrain language, learning, reading, and writing. She is particularly passionate about working with students who struggle academically, especially with written expression.

In partnership with Dr. Anthony Bashir, Dr. Singer developed EmPOWER™, a method for teaching expository writing, Brain Frames®, graphic scaffolds for language, literacy, teaching, and learning, as well as the Qualitative Writing Inventory and Me & My Writing/My Students’ Writing assessment scales. Her primary research and numerous publications focus on the relationship between spoken and written language, cognition, spatial processing, and self-regulated learning.

Dr. Singer received her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Emerson College, where she also was an instructor and clinical supervisor. She currently holds an adjunct teaching position in graduate and professional studies at Endicott College.

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Jessica Curtin, M.Ed.

Educational Consultant/Instructional Specialist

B.S. in Elementary Education, Special Education, and Psychology: Fitchburg State College
M.Ed. in Creative Arts Across the Curriculum: Lesley University

Jess earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, special education, and psychology, and a master’s degree in Creative Art and Learning Across the Curriculum from Lesley University. She holds certification in education (grades 1-5) and special education (grades K-8). Her experience spans working as a 4th grade teacher, literacy coach, and special educator in Ansbach, Germany; special educator at a private school; and special educator as well as 5th grade classroom teacher in a public school.

Jess is a co-author of EmPOWER: Classroom Materials. She provides professional development and consultation to educators in EmPOWER, Brain Frames, and other instructional methods developed by Architects For Learning. Jess is particularly passionate about giving teachers practical and easy-to-use teaching methods that help them get the best out of their students.

“Helping students become effective readers, writers, and communicators is every teachers’ dream. Training teachers in order to help their students is my dream come true. When teachers have the language and tools to “make the invisible visible” for their students, then just about anything can be written, taught, talked about, and/or learned. In using the strategies we’ve developed, not only do I have an explicit way of teaching  teachers, but they then have an explicit and effective way of reaching their students.”

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Anthony Bashir, Ph.D., CCC

Educational Consultant

Ph.D. Communication Disorders: Northwestern University

Dr. Bashir has spent a lifetime dedicated to language and learning. He was the director of the speech-language pathology department at Children’s Hospital in Boston for 25 years; Coordinator for Academic and Disability Services for 14 years, the Director of the Freshman Academic Studies Program for 15 years as well as Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Emerson College. In addition, he has taught in Boston College’s Lynch School of Teacher Education for over 40 years. Dr. Bashir is an honored Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. His many years in clinical practice and teaching have led to research interests in the natural history of language disorders as well as the literacy and self-advocacy needs of students who struggle with language and learning.

Along with Dr. Bonnie Singer, he developed the EmPOWER™ method for teaching expository writing, the Brain Frames® graphics for supporting language, literacy, teaching, and learning, and the Qualitative Writing Inventory, and Me & My Writing/My Students’ Writing scales for assessing writing.

“I’ve been teaching for nearly 50 years, and I enjoy few things more than talking with teachers – hearing their stories, helping them adapt to the shifts in pedagogy and policy that come their way, and guiding them with understanding how powerful mindful listening and talking with their students can be. That partnership is so powerful.”

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Our Story

Developing methods that guide teaching and learningBy Bonnie Singer, Ph.D., Founder/CEO

When I first established a private practice, I had a steady stream of students who struggled with listening, speaking, reading, writing, or some aspect of “doing school.” What really struck me in working with students was how fractured and inconsistent their teaching was. Every teacher used different language about writing, different strategies, and different materials. Too often, if students received help outside of the classroom, that instruction introduced different language, strategies, and materials than their classroom teachers were using.

The more I talked to teachers, the more I appreciated why this was so. Few had received any training in how to teach writing in their teacher preparation programs. Even fewer worked in schools that had developed a scope and sequence for writing instruction. Teachers had neither proven theory nor frameworks to guide their instruction, so they did the best they could and used what they could get their hands on. The result: eclectic and often creative instruction, but instruction that didn’t “follow” students horizontally across the curriculum or vertically from grade to grade.

In the late 1990s, Dr. Anthony Bashir and I began collaborating. My K-12 students and his college students were not able to tackle their writing assignments and manage the critical thinking, reading, and spoken language demands of school, and we were desperate to help them.

We knew there was a need for a comprehensive approach to teaching writing that would provide students with a more explicit roadmap of the writing process, and this prompted us to begin developing EmPOWER. Around the year 2000, after seeing positive results from early versions of EmPOWER in my office, we teamed up with a classroom teacher, special education teacher, and SLP to explore how the method worked in a school setting. The feedback we got from them and their students was invaluable.

We continued to refine EmPOWER over a span of about eight years. Along the way, we developed several other strategies to support various aspects of language, literacy, and learning. In doing so, we’ve always looked to educators and students for guidance, for they rarely hold back if they find something cumbersome or impractical. All of our work is anchored by research and theory and shaped by educators and students. It is through these partnerships that we aim to change children’s lives.