All children have the capacity to learn. My task as a teacher/tutor is to find the method that will help a child succeed no matter the challenge. Using a child’s strengths and weaknesses, we will set goals and objectives to be achieved. Once goals are established, we will determine the knowledge the child currently has and what needs to be learned. Working together, we will determine the steps necessary to reach the set goals.
I recently completed my degree in Early Childhood Education at Arizona State University. Over the past 20 years, I have been involved in my children’s classrooms as a room mom as well as providing reading support to many of their teachers. In recent years, I volunteered and interned in a Head Start program, first and second grade combined English Language Learner classrooms, and several first through third grade diverse classrooms. I am considered a Highly Qualified Early Childhood Educator.
I have always enjoyed teaching English. Over the past 20 years, I have read and helped many individuals write and rewrite letters, manuscripts, proposals and advertisement copy using correct grammar. Understanding grammar or how words are used in language is vital to a student’s reading and comprehension in school. There are so many tricky words in the English language, such as there, their and they’re or site and sight. Helping students determine which word to use in a particular instance can be challenging yet achievable. I still have issues with using good and well appropriately as my daughter continues to point out!
Phonics is a method to teach children how to read and write. As children develop phonemic awareness, they will begin to make connections between letters and the spoken sounds (phonemes) each letter makes. Children are then able to construct or deconstruct words as letter sounds are blended together to form words. When children begin to read, they decode words into phonemes. If the sounds produced are familiar and in their spoken vocabulary, they will quickly comprehend meaning. If the word is not familiar, they will use contextual clues, such as pictures to help determine the meaning.
Over the past two years, my education has focused on the social/emotional and language development of children from pre-k through third grade. I have learned new ways to engage students in learning phonics and am anxious to put my new found knowledge into practice. During my internships, I have worked individually with many students to build upon their prior knowledge and guide them to understand more of the English language.
Reading is the most important skill a student can master. I am an avid reader and encourage everyone to read a variety of genres. During my studies in Early Childhood Education, I have learned various techniques that will help me break down the process with my students so that they easily comprehend texts.
I have read thousands of books including children’s picture books, various leveled readers, poetry, academic texts, magazines, literary articles, graphic novels, comics and fairy tales. My current library boasts almost 1,000 books and I visit the library regularly to see what is new and revisit old favorites.
In today’s world, spelling is becoming a lost art to some! Using online spell or grammar checkers is leaving many students with an inability to spell. These tools did not exist when I was growing up so I learned how to spell the old fashioned way and used a dictionary to check spelling. As with grammar, there are many tricky words in the English language. Common spelling mistakes include using “recieve” instead of “receive” or using “it’s” instead of “its” to show possession. I can teach students tricks such as “I” before “E” except after “C”.
Study skills are unique to each child. There are many different methods to use with children, including, using flash cards, visual imagery, acronyms, communication skills and rote learning. When first meeting with a child, we will discuss the lessons to be learned and determine which method will work for that child and the particular lesson. We will discuss time management and how it pertains to studying. We will devise a strategy to complete the assigned tasks in the time allotted. As we work the plan, we will make adjustments as necessary to ensure the child achieves his or her goals and objectives.
Working with my own children, we have developed each of their own study skill personalities. Our daughter is a highly motivated student who needed to adjust her study habits to include some fun time to keep her life balanced. Our son is the complete opposite, I work with him constantly to help him focus on school work and projects. He has learned to break down larger projects and avoid procrastination. Working in the classroom has provided opportunities for me to encounter many types of children with unique needs. Using the child’s strengths and weaknesses, we will work together to develop necessary lessons for our sessions.
In addition to grammar and spelling, vocabulary is important to reading. If students are constantly tripping over words while reading, their comprehension of text is diminished. During my studies, I have learned that one of the best ways to learn vocabulary is in context. I can help students learn new terminology by providing meaningful lessons incorporating the targeted words.