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Madison Area Technical College (COTA)
I graduated from Madison Area Technical College as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. After working several years in rehab, I retired to homeschool my six children for 27 years, which I am still doing. For the past ten years I have worked as an educational consultant to parents and professionals of learning disabled students. Although I can work with students of any age in major subject areas, my greatest desire is to help the non-reader gain access to the written word.
My background as a COTA, with its emphasis on developmental stages, sensory integration, and cognitive development, brings a unique perspective to the tutoring community. Rather than simply helping a student pass his courses, my specialty area of cognitive (brain) training helps get to the root of a student’s learning struggles and sets him on the path to future success.
For ten years I worked as an educational consultant to parents, teachers, therapists, and doctors around the world before retiring to serve local students and parents directly. During that time, I perfected dozens of techniques to aid the struggling student. My techniques are often the breakthrough that a student needs to unlock his mind. It isn’t uncommon for me to hear from parents and teachers alike saying, “Why hasn’t anyone explained these things to me before? This makes so much sense.”
During my homeschooling years, I developed a homeschool curriculum that integrated all subjects, into various historical themes. This curriculum was named as one of the Top 100 Picks for Homeschooling by Cathy Duffy in 2006 and published as a top choice in her book by the same name. Periodically I have been featured as a guest speaker at homeschool conventions, most notably the National Association of Catholic Home Educators in 2002 in Washington DC, where I spoke on how to teach to a child’s learning style while building up the student’s weaker modalities. I also gave workshops on how to teach learning disabled students.
I have a passion to help the non-reader gain access to the written word. For most students this can happen in 10-20 lessons and I will even work with the parent to implement some of the strategies themselves, saving $100s, if desired. Why let your student struggle any longer? I graduated from Madison Area Technical College as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. After working several years in rehab, I retired to homeschool my six children for 27 years, which I am still doing. For the past ten years I have worked as an educational consultant to… Read more
Group rates: It is sometimes possible for more than one student to be tutored together if the students have similar abilities and needs. The cost is $20/hour/student.
Ms Barb has been an excellent tutor to our son. Her reputation has proven to be spot on. Our son is in first grade and was at a reading level of 1.5 and a bit over a month progressed to a level 2.6. There is an ease about her that provided our son to feel comfortable and engage with the style techniques she showed him. His confidence grew and he wanted to see how far he could go each week. She also returns calls/emails very promptly and communicates to the parents on progress and/or areas of concern.
Thank you so much Ms Barb!
Barbara is patient and engaging with Noah. It is clear her desire is really to help him read. She makes the work seem like a game so he is not really bored. Even when he does not want to engage, she pulls him in.
I truly cannot thank Mrs. Barb enough for all that she has done for my daughter! We started with Mrs. Barb in May and I am still in disbelief with how much my daughter has improved within the past 2 1/2 months! Thank you Mrs. Barb for being such a wonderful tutor!
My son has been undergoing tutoring with Barbara for a month now and I have see great improvement in his confidence and ability to read! I am very impressed with her tutoring skills!
Our daughter was struggling in school after a not so good 1st grade year (she didn't learn much). She has been struggling with reading so we decided to look into tutoring. I am so glad we did!!! We have been meeting with Ms. Barb for the past month and I have already noticed the changes in our daughter. She has gained some confidence back and her listening and learning skills are developing wonderfully. I was looking for a tutor who could start at the foundation for our child and build her up, instead of just putting a band aid over the situation. While we are still a work in progress, I can honestly say today that I have chosen the right tutor for my child!!! Ms. Barb's unique ways of teaching have made such a big difference already, after only a month, and her techniques keep my child interested!!!
**Update** We have been going to Barb for a few months and have seen tremendous growth in our daughter. Our daughter was one that was put into the halls of the local public school and left at a table with other students to learn by themselves because they were classified as "lower" level readers. Barb helped build my child's confidence, reading skills and concentration. Over the holidays we decided to take her out of the public school she was at and place her in a charter school. She has done wonderfully - she no longer sits in the hallways and is considered at the mark for reading in her grade level, it is amazing what happens when a teacher wants to teach, the family supports the learning and a tutor that has built the child back up!! I know that Barb has helped us out tremendously - both us as parents giving advice how to teach at home and our daughter. This has set her up for success in her new school as we have already seen!!
If you are a parent frustrated with trying to figure out how to teach your child please give Barb consideration. Her techniques build concentration which in turn builds the skills necessary for reading, math, ect and the kids find it fun!!! As we have learned, we can no longer count on the schools - all we continued to hear is "This is not my choice or fault, the state is making us teach this way" - Interesting that two hours a week with Barb along with support from home brought my daughter to where she needs to be as far as testing but the school had 8+ hours a day and couldn't figure it out.
I give my highest recommendation for Barb!!!!
Barbara is awesome. She is patient, knowledgeable, dependable, and kind. Been going to her for a month so far and have noticed great improvement in reading, writing, and spelling. My daughter looks forward to tutoring days. Thank you!
Barb was able to test my son and see where he is struggling. She was then able to design a program for him to do at home. We have done a lot of tutoring and testing and therapy over the years and I feel Barb was really able to help find the missing piece to help him succeed. I wish I would have been able to have him tested with Barb when he was three or four. He is now eleven and I am so glad we were able to find Barb. Thank you.
I just don't see how words could express my gratitude for the experience we had working with Barbara. She has such a gifted nature for this work! She is patient but firm. Kind and knowledgeable. She inspires me to be a better student, teacher, and mother. Barbara stays current in awareness of programs available, gave me the tools to work with my daughter at home and feel successful. She listened, and made great efforts to find solutions for us.
Barbara has been great. She has helped our 6 year old daughter so much in just a couple of weeks. Barbara is patient and kind and changes her lessons based on the needs and personality of the student at that time. Very easy to work with and with huge success!!
Even though it is early in the process, I am very impressed with Barb's ability to identify the challenge and focus on the solution. I am confident Barb will be able to improve my daughters ability to comprehend math! The life long impact of this is amazing, when you really put it in perspective. I must also note, Barb was honest and frank. If she didn't feel she could help, she was willing to direct me in another direction. I highly recommend Barb and we are blessed to have found her.
My 6 year old son has been working with Miss Barb for the past five months and we are really pleased with his progress. Last school year as a Kindergartener he struggled with reading and we had a very difficult time doing homework with him because he couldn’t focus for every long. Miss Barb has been working with him on focusing and building his memory through sequencing so that he will be able to start reading at the level that he should be at. When we first started our son couldn’t remember the sequencing order of 4 colored blocks, now he is up to 17 blocks, which is incredible. We have seen a great improvement on his focusing and concentration over the past few months. We work on sight words several times a week and in the past when we introduced a new sight word it would take him 4-6 weeks to finally remember it consistently, now he can remember the new words within 1-2 days. The best way that we can measure his progress since we started tutoring with Miss Barb is by the unbelievable improvement on his bench top testing scores that he just completed for the first quarter of first grade. Last year he was consistently below the student curve, and when we met with this first grade teacher a few days ago, we were shocked to receive the news that not only was he meeting the first quarter testing expectations, but he was above the curve. We were so surprised and elated by the news. We are so grateful for all the hard work, patience and dedication that Miss Barb has shown our son. We would highly recommend Miss Barb as tutor for anyone looking to help their child establish the essential building blocks to be a successful reader.
Our daughter was having a hard time grasping the school taught phonics based reading program. We decided to go the tutoring route outside of the school program. We found wyzant on the internet and searched thru a bunch of profiles. Most tutors say they can tutor in reading but we were looking for a tutor that had experience in tutoring students with learning disabilities. We found barb L. and contacted her about our daughter. She responded right away and answered all of our questions. Barb was able to get her setup with tutoring sessions right away. Our daughter has now had several weeks of tutoring sessions and we can honestly say we have seen a big improvement in our daughters reading skills and also her desire to be a better reader. Barb has given us the tools to be better helpers at home. It used to be a struggle to try and practice with her at home but now she is excited to study everyday. We like the fact that we can sit in on the tutoring sessions if we choose. Barb is also very patient tutor and obviously has a lot of experience as a tutor. We would highly recommend Barb to any family that has a struggling reader like us!
In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.
The child with attention issues will only become more agitated the more we demand concentration. He literally can not force himself to stay attentive. We must incrementally teach the child to pay attention. The techniques I use can start with an attention span of only three seconds and incrementally build the focusing skills to an appropriate level. Once the child is able to focus other learning issues can be addressed if necessary.
Another area that many students with ADD or ADHD struggle with is the inability to sort information. We can address this issue by teaching the brain to think more systematically through cognitive training exercises. Then the student will be able to choose what information to store and store it properly. When information is stored properly the student will be able to retrieve information as needed.
Contact me for an assessment that will help to determine if I am the best tutor for your child. If we decide we are a good match for each other, I will choose the best combinations of techniques from Audiblox, Davis and PACE programs for your child.
Dyslexia manifests itself with a variety of symptoms, however, the most common symptom is reversals—reversals in reading, writing, spelling, and math.
Research has shown that a person needs a “digit span” or “working memory” of at least five digits to learn phonics. That means that a student must be able to sequence five items before he has the capacity to learn phonetically. So, if a person is weak sequentially he can study phonics forever but never catch on to reading. Its like the proverbial “beating your head against the wall.” The typical dyslexic struggles because his left brain, which is the side that sequences things, is weak. We must first build the student’s sequencing skills to at least five, preferably seven, before we can begin to teach phonics. I have the tools your child needs to build his sequential skills so he can succeed academically. Once the student’s sequencing skills are at the appropriate level, phonics—and reading—will become easy.
A smaller portion of dyslexics do not struggle with reading. Through simple assessments, I can determine what areas of weakness need to be addressed and develop a customized program for your student. I will draw exercises from Audiblox, Davis and PACE programs as well as my training as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.
I have consulted families from around the world with struggling elementary students for the past ten years. I also homeschooled my own six children from K-12. When I tutor, I try to get to the root of the difficulty. First I will look for learning disabilities that need to be addressed. Once those are addressed, we can get down to tutoring actual subject areas.
If the parent wants, I will assess the foundational skills in specific subject areas to shore up any weaknesses while parallelly addressing the immediate school work in that subject.
For math I am a firm believer in initiating study with manipulatives before moving to the concrete and using visualization to bridge between the two. I will use games to solidify the math facts once the concepts are learned. I also believe that mental math is very important and should be encouraged before paperwork.
In Reading and Spelling, again the foundational skills need to be addressed before actually addressing the reading and spelling themselves. We need to build working memory before teaching phonics. We can also teach some of the common sight words right away to build confidence since many sight words do not follow the phonetic rules.
For writing, I have specific techniques that help the child determine WHAT to write and then techniques for organizing the student's thoughts and finally presenting the material in a way that is interesting and not trite.
Typically I utilize the techniques from the Institute in Excellence in Writing for both composition and spelling and the principles and activities from RightStart Math for mathematics.
Learning the concepts of elementary math requires three steps: concrete, visualization, and abstract. Many times when a student does not understand a concept it is because the student has been expected to go to the abstract without working through the first two stages. Even teachers who understand that elementary math students need manipulatives often overlook the second step of visualization. I have tools that can be used to help the student work through each of the steps.
I also have great games that incrementally teach math drills and concepts, painlessly, so the student hardly realizes that he or she is learning.
And finally, when I work with a student, I also assess whether the student has some underlying foundational skills that are weak. If so, these can be addressed simultaneously with the math concepts and facts. Strengthening these weak skills will help the student catch on more quickly and truly remediate. Tutoring without assessing underlying skills is like using a crutch but never allowing the weak limb to be strengthened so it can work independently.
Teaching struggling students to read is my passion. I use the Barton Reading and Spelling program to teach phonics to my students. However, research has shown that a student can not learn phonics until he has a working memory (digit span) of at least five. Therefore, prior to teaching phonics, I will address working memory. I will also look for visual-spatial hypersensitivity and if found, I will help the student become grounded in their visual perceptions. Finally, I will look for, and address, if necessary, any auditory and language delays the student might have, so that he or she is better able to grasp the phonics training. I look forward to opening up the world of reading to your child through phonics and the underlying skills necessary for success.
When a student struggles with reading, it is usually because he lacks the foundation skills that are necessary to succeed. With a quick assessment, I can usually identify what skills are lacking and hone in on them. For example, many students who struggle with reading, have a very low digit span. A student needs a digit span of at least five to catch on to reading and seven to master phonics. If a student lacks this ability to sequence, they will never succeed at reading. But the good news is that there are simple exercises to address this and other foundational skills that are weak.
Helping kids and adults become great readers is my passion.
Contact me today and I will send you an assessment via email. Once you have filled it out, we can discuss your student's needs to decide if I am the best tutor for your child. There is never any charge for this initial consultation.
As an international consultant to parents, teachers, therapists and doctors, I have had extensive experience in helping students overcome a wide variety of learning issues, such as: dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADD, ADHD, Auditory Processing Disorder, and Visual Processing Disorder.
In my own studio, I have used Audiblox, PACE (now Learning Rx), and the Ron Davis Dyslexia techniques. I use the best of each of these programs along with other exercises I learned as an Occupational Therapy Assistant, to tailor my lessons to meet the needs of your student as efficiently as possible.
Feel free to contact me and I will send you a questionnaire that will help determine if I am the best tutor for your special needs child.
There are a number of different reasons why a person might not be a good speller. I like to assess the student and see what the root cause of the spelling problem is. In just a few minutes, I can usually determine what area or areas need to be worked on to improve spelling.
Surprisingly, it is not usually that the student is weak in phonics that causes the spelling problems but that there is some underlying skill that is weak, such as sequencing or visual memory. This weakness makes the student unable to retain the phonics that he or she has studied. Once we address these foundational skills the student is quickly able to improve his or her spelling.
Barbara L. passed a background check on 12/7/13. The check was ordered by Barbara through First Advantage. For more information, please review the background check information page.
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