“If every classroom could look like this, education would be revolutionised in Australia” Mt Gravatt Education Specialist Says

Teachers, parents, and administrators know that the education system is under stress and the situation does not seem to be getting any better.  Meanwhile, one particular education provider is bringing things back to basics when it comes to the development of Literacy and Numeracy skills in Australia.

Julie Christophers had been a teacher for 25 years. She trained as a literacy and numeracy specialist, which led to a range of roles including support teacher, working with children with special needs, and twice as an Acting Principal.

In 2016, Julie left teaching, disillusioned with a curriculum that had become so overcrowded, that students were no longer afforded the time to consolidate their understandings.

“Even with my years of experience, I didn’t feel I was able to make a positive difference anymore.”

“Later that year, I accepted a position to manage the Ashgrove Centre of a company called NumberWorks’nWords. Within the first week, I was absolutely blown away! Students were engaged, excited and enthusiastic about learning and the results they were achieving in every lesson, confirmed to me that this was what I had been missing!”

I remember thinking, “If every classroom could look like this, education would be revolutionised in Australia.”

Julie Christophers Education specialist

Clayfield and Mount Gravatt

After a few months, Julie was so convinced that she and her husband invested in opening a NumberWorks’nWords in Clayfield which then led to opening another in Mt Gravatt a few years later.

“It’s just been so rewarding because I can see the immediate difference we are making.”

What makes it different?

Whilst the education system, even in the private sector, struggles to get the ratio of students per teacher to less than 1:25, the NumberWorks’nWords ratio is 1:3.

Every child works on their own individualised and tailored lesson plans. The proprietary software is an incredible resource, much like a dynamic textbook of modelled examples and interactive learning opportunities, but the most important difference is that every child has the support of a tutor in the teachable moments.

“The key difference our system offers is that the students need to prove they have mastered what they are working on before they move onto the next concept, skill or level. Schools simply can’t afford the time to do this for every child and in the classroom there are few resources to help individual students catch up.”

Julie’s two centres have produced a long list of great stories, like the Grade 9 boy who had failed Maths and English for many years at school. After one term at NumberWorks’nWords, he passed both subjects. By the second term, he averaged B- and by the third term, he got an A in an assignment, something his parents could not believe.

NumberWorks’nWords specialises in Maths and English tuition for children aged Prep to Year 10. Whether students are requiring intensive catch up, support to keep up or challenging extension, NumberWorks’nWords helps them achieve their goals.

Free Assessment

NumberWorks’nWords Mount Gravatt offers a free assessment for new students. The software is used to compile a baseline report reflecting how the student is tracking against the curriculum.

“The assessment allows us to identify individual needs, which we can then explain in a detailed report for parents during the evaluation session.”

Julie is currently running a monthly competition on Mount Gravatt News where all entrants receive the free assessment plus the first lesson free, with no further obligation. It runs during the last 10 days of each month, look out for it.

Julie also writes a column offering support and advice for parents to help their children get the best educational outcomes.

“It never ceases to amaze me how quickly a child’s confidence returns when they know they have the support they need.”

Julie’s passion and indeed NumberWorks’nWords mission, is to make a positive difference in the lives of children. The results in her Clayfield and Mt Gravatt centres are speaking for themselves.

Julie Christophers Education specialist

NumberWorks’nWords Mount Gravatt is a proud Promotional Partner of Mount Gravatt News.

Greek and Latin Roots in English

Did you know that over 60% of all English words have been borrowed from Greek or Latin roots? In the vocabulary of the sciences and technology, it rises to over 90% because during the Middle Ages, Latin was the language of scholars and educated people.

Julie Christophers byline

Many children and even adults struggle as they are learning English if they are unfamiliar with the Greek and Latin roots that have so greatly influenced the evolution of our words.

Number Works 'n Words Mt Gravatt English competition

I am passionate about supporting students to be well versed in their knowledge and use of the Greek and Latin roots, for they serve 3 key purposes.


Being able to recognise derivational roots within a text allows for a greater depth of understanding. Comprehension is supported when an unknown word can be broken down to its parts.  eg.  In simple terms, if you know that the Greek root ‘psych’ means mind and the Latin root ‘ology’ means study of, then the meaning of the word ‘psychology’ is easy to determine.


Being familiar with Greek and Latin roots, provides the building blocks for accurate spelling. While many roots have been adapted over the years, there are common patterns and recognisable features that support the spelling of many multisyllabic words.

Number Works 'n Words Mt Gravatt English competition


Good writers need to have a mastery of their language in order to articulate and express ideas and emotions, elaborate and describe settings and characters and persuade and encourage their readers to move or question or feel etc.

When a writer has an appreciation for the diverse vocabulary available to them, they can make the most effective word choices. The English language has an unusually large number of synonyms, due to the fact that it has been influenced by several different language groups. English writers should take advantage of this.

Published 21-August-2023

Helping Your Child Get Better At Problem Solving

Over the years, I have met with countless students who at first believed they were ‘no good at maths’.  Imagine their delight when we helped them discover their inner ‘problem solver’.

Many would describe maths as ‘logical, black and white, right or wrong’; for there can only ever be one correct answer. While this may be true, there can often be several ways to solve the same problem, suggesting that mathematics is perhaps a far more creative endeavour than we have previously given it credit for. 

The ability to solve problems, mathematical or otherwise, often requires us to think outside the box, to be original and to identify a way forward that others may not have considered.

It engages a creativity that is often not normally associated with the logic inherent in finding a solution, particularly as it applies to numbers.

However, some would argue that Mathematical problem solving is in the same realm as writing music or playing an instrument, in that while it is bound by laws and limitations, it is also a natural expression of our mind’s unique and infinite capacity to form patterns and ideas.

Everyone of us is a problem solver, in a multitude of ways and in a vast array of daily contexts. 

When children see themselves as problems solvers and see maths as a way to ‘create’ solutions, it can help to break down the barriers that prevent them from trying in the first place.

Problem solving involves three key things:

  1. What is the problem asking for? i.e. be sure to identify the unit of measurement and record this near the bottom of the working out page before you have even done the calculations.
  2. What operation/ operations will be required? i.e. look for language in the text that indicates whether you will be adding, or dividing and think of a reasonable estimate.
  3. What strategy is going to be most efficient?

When it comes to Problem Solving of more complex worded problems, it is important that children are adept at using a range of strategies, as it will enable them to discern what will be the best approach to use for any given problem.

For example, if a problem involves finding the area of a compound shape, ‘drawing a picture’ and writing measurements as described, will allow the child to visually understand the task and keep track of each step.

In another instance, it may be more efficient to ‘work backwards’ and in another, perhaps a ‘guess and check’ approach.

Below is a list of effective Problem Solving strategies that you and your child can explore when presented with a mathematical problem.

1. Read the problem aloud – By reading the problem aloud, they can help to clarify any confusion and better understand what’s being asked. 

2. Summarise the information – Using dot points or a short sentence, list out all the information given in the problem. 

3. Create a picture or diagram – By drawing a picture, can better understand what’s being asked and identify any information that’s missing. 

4. Act it out – It can enable students to see the problem in a different way and develop a more intuitive understanding of it. 

5. Use keyword analysis – Keyword analysis involves asking questions about the words in a problem in order to work out what needs to be done. 

6. Look for a pattern – This could be a number, a shape pattern or even just a general trend that you can see in the information given. 

7. Guess and check – Simply make a guess at the answer and then check to see if it works. If it doesn’t, you make another systematic guess and keep going until you find a solution that works.

8. Working backwards – Regressive reasoning, or working backwards, involves starting with a potential answer and working your way back to figure out how you would get there. 

9. Use a formula – There will be some problems where a specific formula needs to be used in order to solve it. 

10. Use direct reasoning – By breaking the problem down into smaller chunks, you can start to see how the different pieces fit together and eventually work out a solution.

12. Solve a simpler problem – Or if you’re struggling with the addition of algebraic fractions, go back to solving regular fraction addition first. 

Published 22-July-2023

Shared Reading with Your Child – A Hack for All Parents

Julie Christophers
Number Works 'n Words Mt Gravatt English competition

The most common question I am asked by parents of primary school-aged children is, “What can I do at home to help my child with their learning?”

When it comes to a child’s literacy development, the single most powerful tool for parents to understand, is the role they themselves play, in the shared reading experience.

When a child reads out loud to a parent who is listening, interacting and present in the moment, you would be surprised at just how many processes are working at the same time. Reading together is far more valuable than you may have realised and the best part for busy parents is, it takes next to no time to prepare and the only resource you need is a good book.

For younger children, learning to read begins with engaging conversations around pictures, turning pages and making up stories in their own words, identifying characters and recognising settings, taking turns and recalling events, making simple inferences and chatting about their own, perhaps similar, prior experiences.

As a child begins to learn the concepts of letters and sounds and words
and phrases, the text itself begins to offer clues and opportunities for discussion. There develops a conservation of text, whereby the sounds and words are read consistently every time and strategies for decoding and reading accuracy, along with greater word recognition and phrase fluency, become ever more important in the search for meaning.

As a child begins to master the skills of ‘learning to read’, the focus begins to shift to one of ‘reading to learn’. This is where all levels of comprehension develop, from the simplest, literal translation to the deepest analytical interpretation. It is important at every stage, but most critically at this point, that the child is exposed to a wide and rich range of text types.

Reading in itself, is of huge benefit to every child, but it is in the opportunities for lively, fun and contemplative shared reading, that children will develop life-long skills that impact all aspects of their learning. The greatest hack for any parent wanting to help their child at home, is simply to enjoy 10-15 minutes every day, reading together.

The list of benefits is far reaching, but below are just some of the reasons why the shared reading experience is so effective.

 It’s fun!
 Offers regular ‘bonding’ time between parent and child
 Develops letter, sound and word recognition
 Extends vocabulary
 Improves general knowledge
 Lays the foundation for easy communication between child and parent
 Instills a love of reading and learning
 Supports improved sleep patterns
 Stimulates creativity and imagination
 Encourages debate and the development of personal views
 Improves the child’s writing in almost every way! This one is huge!
 Reduces stress
 Develops memory and focus