Reducing inequality for young learners

Charles Eamon is an Academic Intern at La Trobe’s Science of Language and Reading (SOLAR) Lab

After completing a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) and working as a paediatric speech-language pathologist, Eamon Charles developed a keen interest in reducing inequality for young learners.

“I worked across early childhood, primary and secondary education settings in metro and regional Victoria for six years, including time as a team leader. This experience gave me an interest in how evidence-informed practices in education can support young learners, particularly those in rural and regional areas and those experiencing childhood adversity.”

This interest brought Eamon to La Trobe’s Science of Language and Reading (SOLAR) Lab, which he joined as Academic Intern in 2023.

“We know that up to a third of Australian students are struggling with reading proficiency, which can have devastating lifelong impacts for young people. At SOLAR Lab, we are very focused on translatable research that informs direct practices in classrooms and across school systems,” he explains.

As Academic Intern, Eamon supports key research projects across the team.

“Our research is focused on understanding the factors that contribute to this long-standing problem, and collaborating with researchers, teachers, school leaders and allied health professionals to integrate evidence-based approaches into classroom practice to promote success in reading, writing, and spelling.”

“Some of our current projects are focused on how to best support schools and systems to be guided by this research, and sustainably embed practices that are scientifically proven to be most effective in supporting all learners. As an example, I have really enjoyed working on our current partnership with the Australian Education Research Organisation, where we are working with schools across sectors to explore the impact of professional learning and coaching on implementation.”

Eamon says it is a privilege to support the work of the SOLAR Lab.

“There is already half a century of research that makes up the broader body of knowledge that is the 'science of reading'. This can and should inform the choices we make about how to most effectively teach students to read, write and spell,” he explains.

“Working in this role is an incredible opportunity to help bring this research into the classroom. I am fortunate to work with a dynamic team who are making a genuine upstream impact on many of the challenges I witnessed in my day-to-day work as a speech pathologist.”

Eamon also brings his expertise to teaching, working with undergraduate and postgraduate students across the School of Education.

“I love teaching and helping students translate research into their practice; helping shape their sense of purpose and develop the knowledge base and skill set needed to successfully teach children to read, write and spell from the beginning of their careers.”

“Through my work with both SOLAR Lab and teaching, I hope to make a positive impact on the academic and social emotional outcomes for all young learners.”