Helping students do school and navigate life

  • Executive
    functions
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Math
  • Personal
    accountability
  • Self-regulation

If your child struggles with any of these skills, we can help.

  • Study skills
  • Homework
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Motor
  • Task
    completion

Developing essential skills, strategies, and habits

We’ve pioneered proven methods that help kids succeed in school, college, and beyond.

Our Vision

Our vision is that 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 catered to students' individual needs, 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 students of all ages. The most widely known are:

EmPOWER Brain Frames©

We are always developing and testing new strategies for a whole range of important skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, note taking, studying, managing homework, and self-regulated learning.

We routinely blend other proven teaching methods with methods we’ve developed in our work with students.

Our Team

Bonnie Singer, Ph.D., CCC

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

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

Dr. Singer has long been passionate about working with school-age students of all ages, especially those who struggle with executive functions, reading, and written expression.

She began her career working as a speech-language pathologist in pediatric hospitals in the Boston area, and then became an instructor and clinical supervisor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Emerson College.

Dr. Singer’s doctoral studies focused on the development of reading and writing and the unique challenges children with language disorders have with written communication. Along with Dr. Anthony Bashir, she 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. In partnership with Angela Tamborella, M.S., CCC, her most recent project is Unlocking Sentences, an approach to teaching sentence structure and reading comprehension.  Her research interests and numerous publications lie in the relationship between spoken and written language, cognition, executive functions, and learning.

Dr. Singer founded Architects For Learning in 1996. In addition to directing the staff in their Needham and Beverly offices, she provides consultation and professional development to teachers and schools world-wide.

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Kristen Mallett, M.S., CCC

Director of Programs and Services, Beverly Office
Speech-Language Pathologist

B.A. in English: Douglass College
M.S. in Speech: Emerson College

Kristen is a certified speech-language pathologist whose many years of experience have been dedicated to evaluating and designing interventions for students of all ages who exhibit language, learning, and literacy challenges.  She has worked in both public and private school settings as well as private practice, and she has served as an Admissions Counselor at the Landmark School as well as Coordinator of Specialized Instruction in a public school.

As Director of Programs and Services in our Newburyport office, Kristen oversees and coordinates all of our programs, and she works closely with families to help identify and prioritize appropriate supports for students.

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Lauren Buckley, M.S., CCC

Speech-Language Pathologist

B.A. in Psychology: Bucknell University
M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology: Boston University

Lauren is a speech-language pathologist whose experience spans working in public schools, outpatient hospital clinics, and private clinic settings.  She also supported research in the Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Enhancement at Boston’s Children’s Hospital.

“I believe it is so important for every student to recognize his or her many strengths and successes while also feeling supported in areas that are challenging. Giving students the tools to problem-solve and adopt a growth mindset in the face of setbacks is often just as crucial as the language skills and strategies that we teach.”

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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 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 and 5th grade public school teacher. She is a co-author of EmPOWER: Classroom Materials.

In addition to providing individual and small group instruction to students, Jess provides professional development and consultation to educators in EmPOWER, Brain Frames, and other instructional methods developed by Architects For Learning.

“The methods and strategies we use here at Architects for Learning not only help make language stand still so that I can help my students organize and understand things they need to learn, but those same strategies help make language stand still so my students can organize and present the things they want to say.”

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Shana Krell, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist

B.S. in Occupational Therapy: Boston University

Shana is a licensed and registered occupational therapist with over 30 years of experience working in public and private schools and private practice. She also has lectured and provided consultation to the Child Development Lab at Framingham State College.

“I value encouraging kids to acknowledge their developing strengths and level of independence. By gradually fading the amount of assistance I provide with tasks they need to do every day – from handwriting, to balance and coordination, to planning how to organize their backpack—students learn to rely on their own “mind’s eye,” which helps them succeed with the tasks they encounter in and outside the classroom.”

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Kate La Croix, M.S., CCC

Speech-Language Pathologist

B.S. in French Language and Literature: Amherst College
M.S. in Communication Disorders: Emerson College

Kate is a certified speech-language pathologist with many years of experience providing comprehensive evaluations and school program observations as well as designing language and literacy interventions in public school and private practice settings.  Kate is a fluent speaker of French.

“When I evaluate a student and write a report for his or her parents and school team, I become engrossed by the challenge of describing the student’s language and learning profile in such a way that it can be easily understood and quickly addressed. I want parents and teachers to comprehend that student’s strengths and weaknesses and know what practical things can be done to support him or her.  When I speak at a team meeting and see other professionals nodding their heads, or when a parent says to me, “You have helped me understand my child better,” then I know I have done my job. I love creating those partnerships.”

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Karen Miles, M.S., CCC

Speech-Language Pathologist/Reading Specialist

B.A. in Linguistics and Philosophy: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology: Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions

Karen is a certified speech-language-pathologist and reading specialist whose clinical experience spans positions in public school and private practice settings. Karen has extensive experience working with children and adults across the lifespan, designing comprehensive assessments as well as comprehensive treatment that includes parents and other educators.

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Jennifer Mogensen, M.S., CCC

Speech-Language Pathologist/Reading Specialist

B.S. in Psychology and Religious Studies: College of the Holy Cross
M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology; Certificate of Advanced Study in Literacy and Language for Reading Specialist Licensure: Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions

Jen is a certified speech-language pathologist working with children and adults in public school, rehabilitation hospital, and private practice settings.  She has extensive experience providing comprehensive speech-language, reading, and writing assessments as well as designing language and literacy interventions.

“I love how Architects For Learning brings kids together who otherwise wouldn’t have connected. The two high school students I’ve been seeing this summer in the morning are going to lunch on Friday with each other and their moms. It’s so wonderful for them to have this new friendship – and for their moms to connect too!!”

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Reem Mohamad, M.S., CCC

Speech-Language Pathologist/Reading Specialist

B.S. in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences: Dar Al-Hekma University
M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology: Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions

Reem is a speech-language pathologist who began her career overseas, where she completed her initial clinical training, worked at the HOPE Center for Exceptional Needs, and was a research assistant at the Jeddah Institute for Speech and Hearing Research Center.  Her deep interests in language and literacy brought her to Boston, where she continued her studies.  Reem’s experience includes providing comprehensive speech-language, reading, and writing assessments as well as language and reading interventions in school, outpatient rehabilitation, private literacy clinic, and hospital settings.

“My role as an educator is to give students a set of skills that they can add to their “tool belt” and utilize when they face adversity inside and outside of the classroom. I adopt a strength model that focuses on improving students’ awareness of their strengths and using those strengths as stepping stones to overcome challenges. When students are mindful of their learning process, they can reflect, evaluate, plan, and problem solve in a strategic and efficient manner. True growth starts to flourish so that eventually students become the champions of their own fate.”

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Dalya Umans, M.S., CCC

Speech-Language Pathologist/Reading Specialist

B.A. in Pychology: Oberlin College
M.A. in Child Development: Tufts University
M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology; Certificate of Advanced Study in Literacy and Language for Reading Specialist Licensure: Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions

Dalya is a speech-language pathologist whose clinical and teaching experience spans private practice, university programs, public schools, and private school settings.  She has expertise with providing reading and spelling tutorials as well as comprehensive language and literacy assessments and interventions.

“I am always thinking about how to best structure my lessons so that my students are challenged but not overwhelmed. I feel that it is my job to give students the tools they need to independently apply what they have learned to all aspects of their lives.”

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Emily Wessendarp, M.S., CCC

Speech-Language Pathologist

B.A. in Speech-Language Pathology: University of Toledo
M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology: University of Toledo

Emily is a certified speech-language-pathologist whose clinical and teaching experience spans public, charter, and independently schools across New York City. Emily has experience with children ranging from preschool, early intervention, through high school. She has also worked in private clinic and home health settings.

“I have always found that students learn best when they can see that their educators are invested in their individual success, that guiding their growth as a person is as important as mastering skills. I appreciate so much that Architects For Learning gives me the opportunity to partner with my students’ families and classrooms teachers so that we can share in this learning experience together.”

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Our Students

Students who come to Architects For Learning fall into two groups:

Students who have had testing that reveals a learning difficulty that warrants specialized instruction.

These students may be getting some help at school, but they need more individualized teaching to help bridge the gap between their skill levels and the work they’re facing in class, and they need more sophisticated learning strategies.  We provide more specialized instruction in the skills and strategies they need to learn what doesn’t come easily to them.

Students who don’t have a documented learning disability but aren’t as successful academically as they would like to be.

Many have very good basic academic skills, but this alone doesn’t guarantee their success. They need more effective strategies for managing increasingly complex assignments and/or need to develop more effective habits around learning.  They come here for support that’s customized to their learning style and learning needs.

Our Story

Building a structure to give students an experience of successBonnie Singer, Ph.D., Founder/CEO

My first job as a speech-language pathologist was at North Shore Children’s Hospital in Salem, Massachusetts. It was a magical place for me — one that offered intensive training and the opportunity to work alongside professionals from a variety of different disciplines.

My interests in spoken language sparked so many questions about written language, so I went on to study reading and writing as a doctoral student at Emerson College. I studied with some of the leading researchers in language and literacy and joined them as a faculty member, teaching graduate courses and supervising the clinical training of graduate students while completing my own research on writing. I loved my years in academia; research, teaching and mentoring new clinicians was deeply stimulating and satisfying work.

At the end of my time at Emerson, I had a tough decision to make: stay in the collegiate “ivory tower” or go back to work where the kids are. I chose the latter and established a private practice alongside a clinical psychologist and a neuropsychologist. Working closely with these highly experienced colleagues allowed me to see children’s language and academic skills within larger frameworks — ones that accounted for their cognitive abilities, emotions, and learning styles — and that fueled my interest in working with a broader range of students than was typical for a speech-language pathologist at the time.

My office soon was filled with children whose academic difficulties were rooted in language disorders, dyslexia, dysgraphia, attention disorders, executive function weaknesses, and non-verbal/spatial disabilities. I also saw children who had no diagnosed learning disabilities at all; they simply were not doing as well as they wanted to be in school, and they needed more effective strategies for learning.

Many of these children worked hard, but after experiencing failure in school, they felt dejected, defective, and downright broken. Sometimes they were labeled “unmotivated,” which added insult to injury and left them feeling blamed for their struggles. The more I worked with them, the more I doubted that motivation was the problem. What seven year-old (or 17 year-old for that matter) wants to fail? I believe that motivation is fueled by success, and these children weren’t experiencing enough of it to stick with things that didn’t come easily to them. This motivated ME to develop teaching methods that made sense to them and helped them achieve the success they so desired.

I built Architects For Learning with one vision: that children are able to tackle what comes their way in school and in life to the best of their abilities. That vision has always gotten me out of bed with a sense of purpose. In 2004, I began to expand my solo practice in Metro-West by hand picking a staff whose vision, passion, professionalism, and expertise align with mine. They are superb clinicians and educators who, like me, believe that students need teachers, mentors, and cheerleaders — people who will believe in them when they falter, celebrate with them when they succeed, and stick with them through their journey.

In late 2017, that same vision inspired us to expand to the North Shore and open a second office in Beverly. We are excited for the new partnerships with children, families, educational professionals that we will forge there.  All of us at Architects For Learning firmly believe that by working together with the students and families that walk through our doors, we can change children’s lives.