Category: <span>Reading</span>

In the News

December 2, 2015

“Health Media Now” – Rachel Betzen Radio Talk Show Interview

Our very own Rachel Betzen was the expert guest on the Internet Radio Talk Show “Health Media Now” hosted by award-winning author Denise Messenger.

Rachel discussed how reading and language relate to each other and what parents need to know about their child’s reading and language development.

To listen to the archived radio interview, click the link above.

Holiday Grieving

Rachel’s Reflections

When the Holidays Are Not Happy

By Rachel Betzen, M.A., CCC/SLP

rainy-83136_640Holidays are presented to kids as a time for thankfulness, joy, and excitement. However, for many people, the holidays can be a difficult time – children included. Children who have social language challenges may have anxiety about family gatherings, as well as trouble with the upcoming family interactions. Kids who require structure and routine to function would also benefit from some holiday support, which may include going over schedule changes ahead of time, as a safe place to settle down if the crowd becomes overwhelming.

When children are experiencing a lot of anger, sadness, or grief, they may feel more isolated around the holidays, when everyone else seems so happy.

Holidays are also a time of grieving for those who have experienced loss or family turmoil. Holidays represent anniversaries of grief, and just giving a name to a grief is a start toward recognizing their feelings.

Loss for children isn’t just the loss of a family member or beloved pet. It can be experienced due to loss of security and safety, loss of a home, loss of an important social group or support network, or loss of holiday expectations, when parents can’t pull it off for whatever reasons. Loss is more common than we think, and it touches just about everyone.

The warning signs for teachers and parents that a child is grieving can be:

• withdrawal from family activities or friends
• reluctance to engage in conversations
• increased meltdowns, or
• decreased academic performance.

Our students need supportive environments where they are able to give voice to their feelings and needs in a safe place, and work on gratitude for the blessings we have, and the gifts we receive.

Having an attitude of gratitude has to be learned, but it can be taught and nurtured everyday with the Three Basic Gratitude Questions (see below). We can start small, in fact it can be the smallest thing we notice, to help us appreciate the beauty and goodness all around us. The goal is to teach and accept everyday gratitude, so that we do not let sorrows and grief overwhelm us.

Three Basic Gratitude Questions


  • Who or what inspired me today?
  • When did I feel peace today?
  • What made me happy today?

Further reading:

When the Holidays Aren’t Joyous: 5 Tips for Helping Children Cope With Loss, by Rob Zucker, author of The Journey Through Grief and Loss: Helping Yourself and Your Child When Grief is Shared


Rachel Betzen, M.A., CCC/SLP, is a licensed speech-language therapist and is the founder and owner of Dallas Reading and Language Services.

Improving Reading

Rachel’s Reflections

How Do You Improve Reading with Speech Therapy? 

By Rachel Betzen, M.A./ CCC/SLP

books-clipartThe answer to this question is just as important for speech-language therapists as how we frame our overall message when it comes to our work with reading skills. It is important for speech therapists to highlight how our work is different from general reading instruction or tutoring, and to differentiate ourselves from other education professionals like teachers and tutors.

First, we need to help parents understand the hierarchy of language development. A child’s speech and language skills form the foundation for the development of reading and writing. When children have weaknesses or gaps with their speech and language, this will affect their reading and writing. Read more

Child writing in speech and language therapy

The Downlow on Dyslexia

What is dyslexia? According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is …

Speech therapy sight words

Sight Words and the 4 Alphabetical Phases

Sight words have been used to help young learners begin reading simple words. It is an easy yet effective form of helping …

Family Reading

Children’s books celebrating diversity

“These days, it seems more important than ever for books to show young people how to act with thoughtfulness, civility, …