Judith Barker

Judith Barker

Judith is an English teacher, educational consultant. She attributes Dr Seuss’ fantastical tales about faraway places to her love of writing children’s books. After teaching phonics and phonemic awareness to children in Europe, the Middle East, India and China, Judith saw a growing need to support diversity in schools. With 44 sounds in the English language and hundreds of ways to spell them, how do you explain the words rough, cough and plough are different?  While researching a master in phonological awareness, Judith began to use visual language in stories, so that children could make a wholistic sense of the different spelling patterns - in a meaningful way.

After returning to Melbourne for the launch of her first children’s book The OO in Uluru, Judith has since won the Speech Pathology (Australia) Children’s Book of the Year (2019) and was recently featured at the Prom. Coast Festival Children’s Literature Day, in March.

Another four books in the series about phonemes will have been published by Woodslane by the end of 2022:

  • The O in the Snow
  • The A in Rainforest
  • The EE in the Deep Blue Sea
  • The I in Island

 Judith’s series about diagraphs or long vowels support the teaching and learning in language arts, balanced literacy, phonemic awareness, phonics, science, geography and across the primary school curriculum. Topics may include: Indigenous Animals and Habitats, Aboriginal Heritage, National Parks, World Heritage Sites, The Great Barrier Reef, Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park, endangered species, threats to birds and wildlife; crown of thorns starfish and responsible practices in nature. 

Teaching Notes and resources for each publication are available at: https://judithbarkerauthor.com/books/


Visual Literacy FRONT PAGE

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



Session Times 

I usually deliver 1 - 3 x 45 minute presentations, according to the grades and literacy levels of the students – but I am flexible. Each presentation can be customised, to suit the needs of the teachers, principals, librarians, and speech therapists with the session times scheduled within the regular school timetable.


My presentations are for primary grades 1 – 4, but depending on the school’s requirements children of similar ages, or mixed groups may be combined into the same sessions (P-1, 2-3 or 4) and I always differentiate the presentation for learners with special needs, or those at risk.

Group sizes

A standard session size is about 18 - 25 students, but class sizes will vary, based on the needs of the teachers, librarians and speech therapists. Please let me know your preference for the grades, group sizes, literacy levels – and special needs requirements.


I prefer to present in the classroom or the library if possible, so that teachers and students have enough space to participate in fun and interactive activities with easy access to materials, such as colouring pencils, scissors and whiteboards – but it depends on the availability.

Requirements – Students

Every student should arrive with:

  • coloured pencils
  • small whiteboard and blue/black pen (I use this a lot) and eraser.
  • a pair of scissors
  • something to lean the paper on (eg. book, folder, clipboard)

Equipment for Presentation:

  • a whiteboard
  • table/desk to put things on out the front
  • data projector (I bring my presentations on USB or laptop as backup)
  • cables for laptop overhead projector and laptop
  • speakers for music
  • space for students to move freely

 Do teachers need to stay?

Teachers, principals, librarians, special needs assistants, and everyone else who inspires young readers are encouraged to attend for quality outcomes, feedback – and best practices.  

Aim of Presentation

Judith Barker’s, Visual Sounds in Stories aims to support the teaching and learning of phonics and phonemic awareness, through a range of multi-sensory activities, with a focus on vowel digraphs, or long vowels - and the graphemes and spelling patterns of the phoneme from each book.   

The presentation is designed to support achievement of the Grades 1-3: Victorian Primary Curriculum Standards (in Language).

Overview of Presentation:

Each presentation invites children to explore the sounds, graphemes and spelling patterns of a particular vowel digraph (long vowel) - in a unique and exciting way.

Please select one book(s) for the reading:

  • The OO in Uluru
  • The EE in the Deep, Blue Sea
  • The O in the Snow (August, 2021)
  • The Ai in the Rainforest (October, 2021)

Set the scene with music, colourful visuals, and an acknowledgement to the indigenous region.

  • Introduction: Q & A. Demonstrate how you are feeling. Children get in touch with their feelings, by using sign language, gestures and movement.
  • Participate in a short, guided meditation or relaxation – and Q & A.
  • Power-point presentation: Discover the meaning of sounds from a broader perspective - and Q & A.
  • Engage in a fun and interactive quiz – guess a range of common sounds with an interactive audio. Q & A.
  • Explore the phoneme, graphemes and the spelling patterns from the selected book - and Q & A.
  • Read aloud the book of your choice with the overhead projector and identify the different spelling patterns for the phoneme – and Q & A.
  • Discuss the phoneme, the graphemes - and the various spelling patterns from the selected book(s) – and Q & A.
  • Hand-out flyers to write the spelling patterns of the phoneme selected in each book – and Q & A.
  • Fold-Colour a decodable mini-book and take home.
  • Distribute colouring sheets from the pages of the book(s) selected with verses to highlight in red.




Speaker type

  • Author
Judith Barker