Park Slope Communication & Learning Center
Expert help in Speech Therapy, Language Therapy Reading Intervention & Enrichment
Helping Children & Adults Since 1984 718.768.3526

Reading Intervention & Enrichment

Laura Reisler discusses our highly successful Phonic Engine® Reading Method, and the advantage it imparts to our clientele.

"When my daughter Tamara first started coming here, she was struggling with reading and not meeting the criteria required at school. Although a creative, enthusiastic and bright little girl, reading was a “no go” area for her. She knew the sounds in words, but she would flip them around, like writing "ro" for "or." We were told to work on it at home, but she would cry. She hated reading. She wanted people to do it for her. I had to read homework questions for her because she couldn't really do it. I asked the director of the Rivendell School, where my son attends, for a recommendation and she recommended Park Slope Communication Center. What a difference! Not only is she doing fine in school, but she now loves to read, always carries a book with her, goes to bed with books, and calls herself a reader. And although she no longer really needs the help, and has cut out other activities, she loves coming here so we continue to bring her, even though we live in Bay Ridge, a half hour away. It’s quite a transformation. She’s gone from self-doubt to self-belief and the label that she's given herself, “I'm a reader,” that's everything to me." Z.A.

"Hi Laura, I can’t wait until next week to tell you this! Today Gus’s teacher came dashing out of school to tell me that she had done the mid-year reading assessments and Gus has jumped to an ‘N’ level in reading from a J/K at the first report card in November. She was so excited and proud of him (as am I). He’s been working so hard he really deserves this! I have been seeing him making progress at home for so long but it is really wonderful that it is showing so clearly at school. It shows that his confidence is coming which is what I have been so concerned about. Thanks again for all you have been doing for him and see you on Monday! All the best, Amy"

L. Parks discusses how her son's reading issues impacted his self confidence.

We have been helping children with substantial reading deficits since 1984. Our reading intervention and enrichment services are recommended by by pediatricians and schools alike, as well as by our clients. Many, if not most, children who come here initially hate to read. That is a typical and understandable response to to the struggle they are experiencing. As speech pathologists, we understand struggle. We understand how struggling with speech, language, or reading can affect a child's self image. We provide a warm, welcoming environment, where your child is appreciated and understood. We have had countless experiences where children who have previously articulated "I hate to read," actually say the words "I love to read," after attending our reading program, and in many cases, only after a short time. Our services are not what one would typically refer to as ordinary tutoring. We impart deep understandings of the underlying structure of written language. We work with your child on word study, to impart a knowledge of how words are formed, and to enhance the recognition of the relationship of sound to spelling in an orderly fashion. We work with your child to listen for and isolate letter and word sounds. We show them explicitly how the sounds they hear relate to the letters they see, and how the letters they see form the words they hear, and how those words combine to form stories and narratives. We work with your child to intentionally identify phonemes within words and, combining pencil and paper with the highly engaging multi-modal multi-sensory technology which we have developed (and presented at at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association 2010 Conference), we teach them how to form words relating to topics of interest to them using those phonemes, and then select and eventually create stories and narratives of interest to them based on those words. If your child is fascinated by spiders, we work with spiders (not real ones!). If your child is interested in outer space, we work with that. Your child will feel appreciated and cared for, and most kids experience their time here as a special time. With our advanced techniques, we have helped children of all ages, and with all problems. And, as speech-language pathologists, we observe, identify, and work on any underlying speech or language issues which may be impacting your child's reading, which is not an uncommon occurrence. If your child has a reading problem, mild or severe — or wishes enrichment — our center is really the place you want to be. Call 718.768.3526, and ask for Laura, or email us at

We provide treatment for:

  • Dyslexia
  • Phonological disorders
  • Auditory processing disorders
We work with students to correct mild/moderate to severe difficulties with:
  • Phonemic awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency issues
  • Reading comprehjension issues
  • Spelliing and volabularly

We utilize a multi-sensory approach with multiple modalities, as this has been shown to be the most effective means to treat reading issues, particulary severe ones. Our program in general, and specifically our technology, includes visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile interaction. This approach has fostered large gains over a relatively short period oftime in decoding and other areas as well

No other center provides what we provide:

  1. Experienced specialists to work with your child
  2. Use of advanced technology (watch video above)
  3. Engaging multi-sensory software
  4. Ongoing standardized reading assessments to help track your child's progress
  5. Pragmatic skills
  6. Help for your child with underlying speech or language issues that may contribute to reading problems
  7. Topics-of-interest based help to provide real motivation and encourage learning
  8. Kids love coming — and make steep gains in the process.
Circular arrow vector with the words communication continuumm, indicating the interdependency of speech, language, and literacy

We have developed highly successful techniques that have helped children attain substantial gains where others had not been able to help.

How Does Our Program Work? Children receive immediate help as soon as they begin attending our sessions. After their first session, in which we isolate areas of difficulty, we talk with them, discuss their interests, get to know them, and make them feel at home. Speech pathologists are highly skilled at this. Virtually all children with reading difficulties also have difficulty with schoolwork. Therefore, if desired, we incorporate schoolwork, into our reading sessions, so children make gains necessary to advance in academic areas while, at the same time, their reading skills improve. This creates a highly motivating cycle.

"The way my child feels about himself is to me the most important thing...and I don't live in the neighborhood, like I said...but for my child, and to insure that my child stays at reading level, and that I see him...maintaining his self esteem and confidence, it doesn't matter where Park Slope ends up being...I will take him wherever he needs to go." M. Hernandez, excerpted from video below.

"It's a very comforting place to come. Your kids will want to come." W. Solesky, video, home page

M. Hernandez, from Queens, NY, an educator and mother of one of our clients, discusses her son's reading difficulties, the process she went through to help him, her disappointment with the educational system, how she helps him cope, and her experience with us.

Reading and language arts are that part of the communication continuum that deal with the decoding, encoding, and comprehension of written communication. We work on all areas of reading, including underlying language, if necessary, which may be contributing to reading problems. Whether your child would like enrichment, or has more a serious problem, we believe that, with our training, techniques, and success, this is where you should bring your child.

Why Some Children Have Difficulty Reading
The specific reasons are as varied as there are children. All of us have strengths and weaknesses. Some children have difficulty paying attention, while others may have difficulty associating a sound with a symbol; that is, the awareness of or ability to remember what sound a letter makes.

In other cases, there may be an underlying language issue. Deficits in auditory processing, phonological processing or even a subtle receptive language disorder can also interfere with the ability to learn to read, write and spell.

We have been helping children in the Park Slope and surrounding area since 1984, with virtually every type of language and/or literacy problem. By 2006, we had finished development on, and began integrating our Phonic Engine® Reading Method into our program and increased our focus on reading and language arts.

What Makes Us Different?
What makes us different from other learning/literacy centers? In a nutshell, our methodology and our attitude. If you listened to the video at the top of this page, you heard Laura talk about our Phonic Engine® Reading Method. This method is a technologically advanced, multisensory, assistive technology means for the teaching of reading and writing.

It contains novel techniques which allow children to phonemically encode virtually any words they can think of; use those words to understand and write about anything of their choosing, exploring written language from every angle. And, during this process, they increase their understanding of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, reading fluency, as well as expression.

Developmental Milestones For Literacy

It is important to understand that the milestones below are broad guidelines, and should not be interpreted as something you child must be able to do at a precise time, as all children develop differently, and many variations are absolutely, completely normal. We can't emphasize this enough, as many parents tend to become concerned if their child seems months behind another child, or has not "met" a particular milestone, as listed below. However, if you see substantial variation in a few things, or moderate variation in many things, or your instinct tells you "something seems wrong," that may be cause for concern, and you should probably seek professional guidance.

12-18 Months

  • Points at pictures with one finger
  • Makes the same sound for a particular picture (for example, the hard "c" sound, or a "moo" sound for a cow)
  • Points when asked where is…?
  • Turns a book right side up
  • Gives a book to you to read

18-24 Months

  • Relates books to children's experiences
  • Uses books as part of a routine
  • Asks simple 'wh' questions
  • Completes your sentences when reading

24-36 Months

  • Recites familiar text from memory
  • Coordinates text with pictures
  • Notices or protests when adult uses wrong word in a frequently read book
  • Reads familiar book to self

36-48 Months

  • Listens to longer stories
  • Can retell a familiar story
  • Understands what text is
  • Moves finger along text
  • Starts to recognize some letters
  • May know some alphabet sounds
  • Tries to "write" ideas or notes by scribbling


  • Knows that text moves from left to right and top to bottom
  • Knows that print carries meaning
  • Recognizes most letters of the alphabet and corresponding sounds
  • Can tell a story using characters and settings
  • Can produce rhyming words
  • Pretends to read a book, using pictures as clues to the text
  • May begin to recognize frequently seen words
  • Can tell what sound is at the beginning of the word
  • Starts to read signs, food packages, and other commonly seen items

First Grade

  • Uses variety of strategies to read unknown words
  • Using context, can self-correct while reading
  • Can retell a story describing characters, setting, problem, outcome — can also predict outcomes based on title and pictures
  • Can read and understand simple books
  • Can tap out syllables and break up a word into its sounds
  • Can change, take away or add sounds to make new words
  • Can read approximately 100 words by sight

Second Grade

  • Uses encoding skills to sound out words
  • Recognizes sight words
  • Is more attentive and can understand some punctuation
  • Monitors their own reading for meaning
  • Self-corrects as needed
  • Applies phonics and word analysis skills

Third Grade

  • Reads more independently
  • Focuses more on meaning
  • Reading becomes a way to learn new vocabulary and concepts
  • Demonstrates more skilled, efficient and fluent reading
  • Uses many strategies to understand stories