Grand Canyon2

Judith Barker

Judith attributes Dr Seuss’ fantastical tales about faraway places to her love of writing children’s books. She’s an English teacher, a voracious reader and a modern wordsmith. After teaching phonemic awareness to children in Europe, the Middle East, India and China, Judith saw a growing need to support diversity in schools. The children would recall the sounds and manipulate the letters to make different words, but while attempting to master the many vagaries of spelling––it became much more of a challenge.

While researching a Master thesis in Phonemic Awareness, Judith began to use visual language in stories, so that children could make a wholistic sense of the various spelling patterns. The repetition of the sounds and the coloured letters seemed to fully resonate with fun and meaningful stories.

After returning to Melbourne for the launch of her first children’s book, The Oo in Uluru, Judith won the 2019 Speech Pathology Children’s Book of the Year. She followed up her debut picture book with The Ee in the Deep Blue Sea, which was shortlisted for the 2021 Speech Pathology Australia Children’s Book Award. Woodslane Press has just released The O in the Snow and is publishing her forthcoming books—part of the long-vowel series—The A in the Rainforest and The I in Island.

When Judith is not writing children’s stories or plays, she teaches meditation and mindfulness. She lives in Melbourne with her adorable Australian terriers, Nellie and Dusty.

Enhancing multisensory literacy in young readers with diverse needs