How my friend’s learning resource can really help you choose the right words

I caught up with my friend Melissa Karydas who is a remarkable woman.

I am in OAR of her!   OR should that be ORE . OR should that be AWE? So many sound-a-like words to choose from!

Melissa can come across as modest and quiet – but she is a determined little dynamo – a mum on a mission.


Melissa’s husband, my law school buddy Terry, told me about Melissa’s labor of love. – lookinglearning.

This idea of lookinglearning was something I was very, very interested in – given

  1. my profession in helping executives choose the right words for business, and
  2. my commitment as a dad to help my kids (especially my son) with school work.

Melissa and Terry have three wonderful children (now in their late teens and early twenties).

Their first-born, Georgie, had a language impairment. Melissa  became a “mum on a mission”  doing her own “research” and  developing her own method of teaching Georgie what different words meant.

Mel + G

Melissa is a physiotherapist by training and  she started a 10-year-quest to  study  helping kids with language impairment and how to use images to teach Georgie language – and it worked.

Melissa is also a keen and talented photographer (just like her kids and her husband) and she either took photos or created images to illustrate the meaning of different words. Her system is called lookinglearning.


It started out as a personal mission to hep her daughter – and Melissa later saw how it could help other people –

1.people with kids with language or learning difficulties

2. people wanting to fast-track their kids at school

3. people from ESL backgrounds (English as a Second Language)

English can be such a confusing  and inconsistent language with so many sound-a-like words that are spelled differently!

For example: words like awe, or, oar and ore.


My 9-year-old awesome son Orlando takes extra time to focus and remember how to spell different words – so I was so interested in learning about Melissa’s system.

I’ve been using all sorts of techniques like scrabble squares and superheroes to make learning more fun and meaningful for my son . Just trying to learn words by rote doesn’t work for many kids.

Kids learn better by seeing  what words mean – especially abstract concepts.

Melissa and I chatted about how nouns for concrete things are easier to show than abstract things and adjectives, adverbs and verbs.

She shared how she links something abstract to a concrete thing like a volcano and what it looks like. Fore example, what it looks like to be in awe when you see a volcano.

(Melissa enlisted her family to model for some shots!)


I plan to use Melissa’s system to help my son and to fast-track my clever 6-year-old daughter Cleo.


I can also see how a modified version can help many of the senior executives I train (especially those from ESL backgrounds –English as a Second Language)

In a previous post I wrote about how choosing the wrong word can derail important business presentations.

Of course, the vocabulary would be different for kids and the corporate world – but I can definitely see the value of her system to help ESL.

Anyway, if you are interested, here’s a link to Melissa’s Looking Learning.

Please pass this on if you know anyone else who can benefit –

1. people with kids they want to help with school work, or

2. people with language impairments or learning challenges, or even

3.  people from ESL who want a fast way to learn English.

You can connect with Melissa and follow her on twitter: @MelissaKarydas.

I plan to get her help in explaining how to choose the right words in other situations.

I often help execs remember – by using real stories of embarrassing word confusion or inappropriate use. Melissa had plenty of these funny/but dangerous stories too that I will share in future posts.

Melissa, her husband Terry and I go back a long way – playing in bands at uni.

It’s only recently, I found out she is such word nerd too!

I admit I’m biased about my friend – I think she is AWESOME!


If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.

I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips.



Linked In – under Tony Biancotti


2 thoughts on “How my friend’s learning resource can really help you choose the right words

  1. Pingback: For parents with kids with language learning challenges – important clarification | Choose the Right Words

  2. Pingback: Learning word meanings – how seeing is better than just hearing | Choose the Right Words

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