Our founder and CEO, Dr. Bonnie Singer, and her long-time research partner, Dr. Anthony Bashir, dedicated years to developing innovative teaching methods for students of all ages. The most widely known are:
EmPOWER is a method for teaching academic writing systematically in six steps. With just nine key questions and a set of organization strategies, the EmPOWER steps and strategies can be used with any writing assignment in any grade level and any subject area.
Brain Frames are a set of six visual patterns that show how language is organized for different purposes. With Brain Frames, students have a way to show their ideas, organize them, reflect on them, refine them, remember them, and communicate effectively with others.
Unlocking Sentences is a revolutionary method for teaching sentence-level reading comprehension. By parsing sentences in multi-word chunks rather than one word at a time, students can compensate for memory limitations and understand what they read.
We are always developing and testing new strategies for a whole range of important skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing, note taking, studying, managing homework, self-advocacy, and self-regulated learning.
We routinely blend other proven teaching methods with methods we’ve developed in our work with students.
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 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.
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.
B.A. in English: Douglass College, Rutgers University
M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders: Emerson College
Kristen is a certified speech-language pathologist with many years of experience working in public school, private practice, medical, and university settings. She has worked closely with Dr. Singer for over two decades, overseeing our programs, supervising staff, and providing comprehensive spoken and written language evaluations as well as therapeutic language intervention.
As Director of Clinical Operations, Kristen oversees and coordinates all of our services, consults with schools, and works closely with families to identify and prioritize the instructional needs of students.
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 and works closely with Dr. Singer to provide professional development to educators world-wide.
“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.”
B.A. in English: University of Massachusetts, Boston
M.S.Ed. in Language and Literacy: Simmons College
Maureen is is a certified as a Reading Specialist, English Language Arts Teacher, and Special Educator. She also holds endorsements from the Massachusetts Department of Education in Sheltered English Immersion and Autism. Maureen’s many years of experience teaching reading and composition to middle and high school students in public school and private settings are enhanced by her distinguished roles as an Orton Gillingham Trainer, Instructor, and Supervisor and a Structured Literacy/Dyslexia Specialist and Curriculum Developer for the Harvard Education Innovation Lab. She has provided individualized reading and writing instruction for Architects For Learning since 2007.
“One of my greatest joys is to open the world of literacy to a student. No matter their age, when reading and writing shift from elusive to accessible, a whole new future opens up for them.”
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. At Architects For Learning, Kate’s expertise in literacy and executive functions is focused on upper-level high school and college students. She also provides comprehensive assessments, program observations, and school consultation.
“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.”
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.
“I get so much joy out of seeing students stretch themselves and do things they didn’t think they could do. Small ‘wins’ add up over time, and they have a huge impact on students’ confidence.”
B.S. in General Studies: University of Lafayette
PCEd. in Special Education: Worcester State University
In progress: M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, concentration in Language-Learning Disabilities: Worcester State University
Ashlea holds certification in education grades 1-6 and special education grades pre-K-8. Her experience spans working as a classroom teacher and special educator in public schools as well as a reading specialist and tutor in a private center serving students with dyslexia. Ashlea has extensive training in several approaches for teaching reading and writing. She has a particular passion for designing educational programs and curricula for students with language-learning disabilities and dyslexia.
“Nothing builds a student’s confidence more than being able to do hard things on their own. My goal is to arm students with the skills, support, and resources they need to be successful independently.”
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. With Dr. Singer, she co-authored ASSERT: A framework for teaching self-advocacy skills. Jen shares her time between Architects For Learning and a vocational technical high school.
“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!”
B.S. in Cognitive Science with concentration in Speech-Language Pathology: University of Delaware
M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology: Boston University
Ariel is a speech-language pathologist whose experience spans K-12 public and private school, private practice, and hospital settings. She has a particular passion for school-age students whose challenges with executive functions affect all facets of literacy and school performance. A firm believer in collaborating with teachers and parents, Ariel structures her work with students around the demands they face in the classroom each day.
“I strive to create an environment where students connect with me, feel safe to take learning risks, and develop confidence from within. I am passionate about helping students internalize functional strategies that stimulate growth not only in our sessions, but also in their daily lives.”
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. She has experience with children ranging from preschool, early intervention, through high school. She also has 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.”
B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders: University of New Hampshire
M.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders: University of New Hampshire
Sarah is a certified speech-language-pathologist with extensive experience working in public schools with elementary-age students, private clinics with both children and adults of all ages, and camps serving students with communication and learning challenges. She also served on the research staff in the University of New Hampshire’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Research Lab.
“I’m grateful to be a part of a process that gives these students the tools to express their own ideas and passions without feeling overwhelmed by the complex language demands of reading and writing. Offering support and strategies to navigate these demands helps to eliminate the “hard stuff” so that students can focus on what they’re learning and feel confident about sharing what they know.”