Helping students do school and navigate life

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

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

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

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-SLP

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. Her research interests and numerous publications lie in the relationship between language, cognition, and learning.

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

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Carly Soare, M.S., CCC

Director of Programs and Services
Speech-Language Pathologist/Reading Specialist

B.S. in Communication Disorders: Emerson College
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

Carly is a certified speech-language pathologist and reading specialist. Her experience includes evaluating and designing interventions for students with a wide variety of language, learning, and literacy challenges in both private practice and public schools in Seattle and Boston.

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

“Mindfulness and bringing awareness to the self in a non-judging, compassionate way are at the core of my work with students. My intention is to help students build self-awareness in a safe environment where they can explore their strengths and challenges while feeling fully supported.  Whether it’s fostering awareness of how language works, helping students develop a richer understanding of their unique learning profiles, or encouraging self-advocacy skills, guiding students in their own practice of self-awareness is a central focus of each session.”

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Angela Tamborella, M.S., CCC

Director of Clinical Operations
Speech-Language Pathologist/Reading Specialist

B.S. in Communication Disorders: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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

Angi is a certified speech-language pathologist whose experience spans working with school age students within both public and international schools and providing early intervention services to toddlers and preschool children.

“I enjoy consulting with classroom teachers and other professionals.  I believe that the key to designing effective intervention is understanding how the strengths and challenges of each student are evident in a classroom setting.  By partnering with teachers, I can help them understand why a student might be struggling, and we can identify what types of supports will maximize that student’s learning.“

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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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Shirley Huang, M.S., CCC

Speech-Language Pathologist

B.A. in Psychology and French: Rutgers University
M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology: Boston University

Shirley is a certified speech-language pathologist.  Her experience spans working in public schools, rehabilitation centers, and multi-disciplinary teams within an outpatient hospital setting.  Shirley completed the Advanced Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Fellowship program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is a fluent speaker of Cantonese.

“Complex and intricate learning challenges demand careful coordination among families, specialists, and educators, and I am passionate about building strong communication bridges between all of the people working with my students.”

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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., CCCC

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.

“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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Grace Little, M.S., CCC

Speech-Language Pathologist

B.A. in Psychology (concentration in Neuroscience), minor in Mathematics: Boston College
M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology: Boston University

Grace is a speech-language pathologist whose clinical experience spans public and private schools as well as outpatient rehabilitation clinics. She also has a background as a counselor within both hospital inpatient wards and residential programs.

“I’m passionate about translating what we know from research about language and learning into concrete “aha!” moments for students so learning is accessible to them. With a background in counseling psychology and neuroscience, I love forging new pathways that allow students to know and trust themselves more deeply.”

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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 with extensive experience providing comprehensive assessments and designing language and literacy interventions with children and adults in public school, rehabilitation hospital, and private practice settings.

“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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Meghann Ridley, M.S., CCC

Speech-Language Pathologist/Reading Specialist

B.A. in English, with a concentration in Creative Writing
M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders; Certificate of Advanced Study in Reading: Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions

Meghann is a certified speech-language pathologist whose clinical experience spans working in private school, hospital, private practice, and public school settings, providing comprehensive assessments and designing language and literacy interventions.

“I enjoy using research-proven strategies and helping students learn to apply them independently to a variety of situations. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is watching students’ self-confidence and interests in learning grow as they experience success on their own.”

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Anya Shvartsman, M.S., CCC

Speech-Language Pathologist/Reading Specialist

B.S. in Communication Disorders: University of Massachusetts, Amherst
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

Anya is a certified speech-language pathologist whose experience spans working in hospital, private practice, and public, charter, and international schools, providing comprehensive assessments and designs language and literacy interventions.

“A little bit of structure goes a long way! I love helping my students develop their own routines and discover new methods for planning, organizing, and completing challenging tasks successfully. What I find most rewarding is showing students patterns of language and ways in which communication is structured. This provides them with the frameworks they need for organizing their conversations, class discussions, and academic activities.”

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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

In my earliest years as a speech-language pathologist, I worked at the North Shore Children’s Hospital in Salem, Massachusetts. I learned much about the intricacies of oral language and its development from working with children, families, and professionals from a variety of disciplines. As a doctoral student, my interests turned to reading and writing. I joined the faculty at Emerson College while I was completing my research and loved everything about academia; research, teaching, and mentoring budding clinicians were stimulating and satisfying. I was graced with rare opportunities to study with some of the leading researchers in language and literacy, and I loved every minute of it.

Instead of joining the “ivory tower” and exploring how to help children from afar, I chose to go where the kids are and established a private practice, collaborating with highly trained neuropsychologists, clinical psychologists, and learning specialists. These experiences taught me to see children’s language and academic skills within the framework of their cognition and overall learning style. Moreover, they cultivated a keen interest in working with a broader range of students than is typical for a speech-language pathologist. I initially saw students with Language-Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia for evaluations and intervention. Soon, students with weaknesses in attention, executive functions, and non-verbal/spatial abilities began to flock to my office. Then came students who had no diagnosed learning disabilities at all; they simply were not doing as well as they should have been in school. While the learning needs of all of these students were diverse, all of them were struggling in some way.

For years, I met countless children whose struggle to read, write, and “do school” left them feeling dejected and defective. It didn’t take much failure for them to give up in the classroom, convinced that they were “stupid” and somehow broken. Too often, their teachers branded them “unmotivated,” which left them feeling blamed for their failure. In my view, motivation wasn’t the problem. What seven year-old wants to fail? Or 17 year-old, for that matter? Motivation is fueled by success, and these children were not experiencing enough of it to stick with things that didn’t come easily to them. They needed to taste some success and get hungry for more of it if their self-concepts were going to change.

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. It gets me out of bed every morning with a sense of purpose and passion. I have always said that if I won the lottery, I’d keep doing what I do because the look on a student’s face when he or she understands or can do something for the first time is worth more than anything money can buy. (I admit, though, that I would spend some time in Italy as well.) I feel incredibly lucky to love what I do.

In 2004, I began to expand my solo practice and handpick a staff whose vision, passion, professionalism, and expertise align with mine. They are superb clinicians and educators. All of them believe that students need teachers, mentors, and cheerleaders — people who will believe in them when they struggle and celebrate with them when they succeed. All of us at Architects For Learning want the parents who come through our door to know that we care as much as they do about the success of their children. By working together, we can change children’s lives.