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Rosemary Ruthven

Reading and Dyslexia Specialist, Accredited MSL Therapist, Senior Trainer and Course Designer 

Rosemary has been working in the field of Education since 1980. She has vast experience in developing and remediating the literacy skills of Students (Pre-school to Year 6) and in providing professional development for teachers both in Australia and internationally. Rosemary had her own practice in Pearl Beach on the Central Coast of NSW until 2021 where she screened for Dyslexia and Visual Stress/Irlen Syndrome, and provided therapeutic MSL instruction for students with Dyslexia/Reading difficulties. Rosemary is a published educational author, course designer and senior trainer, providing professional development for teachers and educational seminars for parents and the community.   


Early Training and work in Australia

Rosemary completed her Bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics at Macquarie University and began her teaching career in 1980. She was initially posted to three different public schools in the Hunter Region and later worked in Public and Independent schools in Sydney. After working with large numbers of migrant children, Rosemary became increasingly interested in the acquisition of first and second languages and sought out training to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) which she did from 1983-85 at St Charles Primary School in Ryde. 


Post-Graduate Studies and Work in the United States

In 1985 Rosemary moved to the US and taught in the bilingual districts of Paramount and Santa Ana, California. She did further studies in order to learn and teach in Spanish and became accredited as a Language Development Specialist (LDS) and a Bilingual Language Development specialist (BCLAD). Committed to exploring further, the area of language and literacy acquisition, Rosemary completed her Masters in the Science of Reading in 1998 at California State University Fullerton and proceeded to work as a Reading Resource Teacher at Washington Elementary School. Her responsibilities included designing literacy assessments, assessing each student’s literacy proficiency at the beginning of year one, designing reading intervention programmes for after-school and Summer holidays, teacher training, facilitating Family Literacy initiatives and presenting at National Conferences


From 2001 to 2003, Rosemary was employed as a Curriculum Specialist, Consultant and Trainer by one of the largest school Districts in the United States. At that time Santa Ana was servicing 60,000 students. Rosemary was responsible for coordinating and delivering professional development and training for Santa Ana’s teachers, writing curriculum and scoring guides/rubrics and coordinating committees to maintain the integrity of literacy assessment, instruction and intervention. In 2002, Rosemary was asked to teach the Literacy in the 21st Century (EDUC500 and EDUC500B) courses at Chapman University. This involved lectures, tutorials and guided supervision of students as they each tutored a child with severe reading difficulties for a full semester at the Chapman Reading Clinic.


Published Educational Author

In her role as Curriculum Specialist, Rosemary received excellent training with Doug Reeves, Education Expert on Assessment and School Reform, which greatly lifted her ability to train teachers to be critical thinkers as they learned about and implemented research-based teaching methods including Understanding by Design (UBD), Backwards Planning using Essential Questions, and integrating writing across the curriculum.  
In 2003, Rosemary was commissioned by Advanced Learning Press to author and co-author a series of 17 teacher’s reference books called “Write to Know” which gave teachers standards based writing prompts to encourage more writing across the curriculum. The books included a rubric/scoring guide to assess children’s writing proficiency. These are still being sold in the US and online today. 

Research overwhelmingly indicates that nonfiction writing with feedback and revision leads to higher student achievement in all content areas. The Write to Know series provides writing prompts aligned to US curriculum standards and includes detailed information on how to use writing prompts to improve student performance. Each book includes scoring guides and guidelines for creating your own prompts. These prompts can be used immediately in the classroom with students. Purchase online by going to:

Observing Shifts in Pedagogy

Rosemary lived and worked in California for 18 years. During that time, she watched the teaching of reading, writing and spelling slowly transition from a Whole-Language approach to a Comprehensive and Prescriptive approach wherein phonology, phonemic awareness and phonics were taught explicitly and systematically while also developing vocabulary and comprehension.  
Having taught and trained teachers in both approaches over the years, Rosemary could see the advantageous of retaining the strengths of some whole language techniques, especially with regard to developing student writing skills (Collaborative Writing, Interactive Journaling and Writer’s Workshop assisted children communicate their ideas with increasing skill and precision). However, for reading and spelling develop
ment, it was vital that initial instruction included a strong grounding in phonemic awareness, followed by explicit synthetic phonics instruction so that children could systematically learn the code and structures of the English language



Return to Australia

In 2003, Rosemary returned to Australia and settled into Pearl Beach on the Central Coast of NSW. Rosemary became a member of the START Reading Committee operating from the Schools as Community Centres (SACCs) on the grounds of Umina Public School. The Committee was aimed at 0-4 year olds and their parents. Rosemary saw the need for a Preschool literacy programme that specifically developed pre-schoolers’ phonological and phonemic awareness. From this, the Fun with Sounds programme emerged and was subsequently delivered monthly at the Mingaletta Aboriginal Centre and later at the Woy Woy SACCs Centre. This program has been replicated in other SACCs centres as well as in many private and government-funded  pre-schools on the Central Coast.  
To get a better feel for what was happening in Australian schools after 18 years away, Rosemary did some casual teaching in local primary schools and supervised students from Sydney University and Newcastle University doing their final practicums in Central Coast Schools.  Rosemary also supervised Tutorials for the English K-6 Curriculum course (EDST2200) at the Ourimbah campus of Newcastle University, in 2005. These frontline experiences helped Rosemary get a clearer picture of how reading was being taught in Australia.   
In 2006, Rosemary was employed by an Independent Literacy Company, Total Literacy, who provided initial reading instruction, reading intervention and English language instruction at its Centres in Singapore, China, Thailand and Australia. Rosemary trained teachers in Singapore and Australia and wrote Integrated units of study that developed reading comprehension, writing composition, grammar and punctuation, speech and drama. Rosemary also wrote exam preparation programs for the PSLE. 

In 2008, Rosemary was subcontracted to work for Active Learning Centre International and elected to be formally trained in the Play of Life® coaching methodology, under the supervision of psychiatrist and corporate coach Dr. Carlos A. Raimundo. Rosemary designed coursework and co-facilitated workshops with Dr. Raimundo for corporate institutions and at various TAFE Institutes across NSW. One of the topics she created, “Strategies for Engaging Young Learners” was been delivered more than 40 times.  During this period, Rosemary developed her love for the neuro-science of the reading brain and the implications that has for instruction.


Further Studies and Private Practise

Knowing that some students’ reading problems were exacerbated by Visual Stress/Scotopic Sensitivity, Rosemary did training to become an accredited Irlen Screener. By 2014, Rosemary had also completed extensive coursework, summaries of research and supervised practise in the Multisensory Structured Language (MSL) approach to teach children with reading difficulties and/or dyslexia. This enabled her to become an Associate Member of the Australian Dyslexia Association (AMADA).  
Since returning to Australia, Rosemary has continued to connect with like-minded professionals. Rosemary enjoyed her time as a committee member of the Central Coast Dyslexia Association; serving as Vice President 2013-2015. Through the Association, Rosemary provided free professional development for Central Coast teachers and provided subsidised tuition for disadvantaged students. In 2018, Rosemary launched her Structured Literacy courses A, B & C, designed to make it easier for Educators, Tutors and Home-Schooling Parents to provide research-based instruction and intervention for Australian children. Upon completion of each course, Participants are supplied with PDF’s and Power Points of all teaching resources needed to implement the scope and sequence of instruction, either whole class or with individual students as targeted intervention. 

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