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Hello! Please call me Nan. I have a bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature and a master's in Creative Writing. My passion is reading. I believe it is the foundation upon which all future success is built. As a special education paraprofessional and as a poet-in-the-schools, I've worked with struggling readers and avid readers. My tool bag includes patience, genuine respect for the student, humor, workbooks, flash cards, and games that engage mind and body. I'm familiar with several different curricula including PCI, Fundations, and Wilson.
I can help you or your child decode the English language, improve comprehension, and brush up on test or study skills. I've also discovered that I'm not bad with math. I can help your child with the basics and with automaticity.
Dyslexic children are often visual and kinesthetic learners. Traditional classrooms place a large emphasis on auditory learning. That's why dyslexic children are often left behind.
As a reading tutor, I work to engage the whole child. I've worked with the Wilson reading system and am familiar with other systems, too. I do put a large emphasis on phonemic awareness (an auditory skill), but I also put a large emphasis on spelling (a visual skill). I'm not averse to playing physical games like sight word hop scotch or short vowel jump rope. Pictures and picture books help me give meaning to words and context to stories. I use all the tools in my toolbox and I'm always on the look out for new tools.
My students are primarily in grades K-3. This is an important age, when lights start going on and good mental habits are established. I enjoy working with special needs kids of this age. When lights go on for them, they burn brighter.
As a special ed paraprofessional in the Denver Public school system, I've been exposed to many different social and intellectual learning tools. I know how to reward attention and focus. I know how to make learning fun.
I would use both a phonetic and a guided reading approach for reluctant readers. My resources for teaching math include Touch Math and Everyday Math.
I respect kids of all abilities and want to do my best to see them excel.
Math is an everyday tool. An adult who can't read a calendar, tell time, give change, or estimate measurements is lost in this world. Some of those basic tools are learned or lost in grades K-3.
As an elementary ed tutor and special ed paraprofessional, I've helped students learn how to use those tools and climb the ladder of math success.
I start with pattern recognition. This helps the earliest learner understand how things are ordered and what's next in the pattern or in a number sequence. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and factors all follow in logical progression. I take the time to make sure my students understand each step in the progression and delight when they see how easy it is to solve a hard problem.
Science is everywhere. The critical skills it teaches can help a child learn how to cook, how to garden, how to use a computer, or how to understand the weather.
As a reading teacher, I have worked to encourage the same sort of curiosity and analysis that is necessary for science. In my job as a special ed paraprofessional, I have produced "spooky science" presentations where kids can meet their fears and examine the world around them in a safe and thoughtful environment.
As a special education paraprofessional, I have used Handwriting Without Tears to help students master holding a pencil, using a pencil, and printing upper and lower case letters. As a reading tutor, I have helped students make the leap from print to cursive. Working on the writing skills of reluctant readers has often helped them become better thinkers and readers. I have also studied and practiced calligraphy.
Good cooks are those who know how to read a recipe. They also know the ingredients well enough to take control of the recipe and make changes or improvise. My approach to phonics is similar to a good cook’s approach to a recipe. A child must know the basic letter sounds, but she must also know how to blend the sounds into whole words and how to read the whole words into context.
My first step with a non-reader would be to introduce the ingredients of language -- the alphabet sounds, consonants first, then short vowels. After the basic sounds are learned, blending the sounds would be the next step. Your child may start recognizing simple three letters after the first lesson. I would not ignore sight words (the tricky monsters that don’t always follow the rules). I would introduce them immediately and build on them as lessons progress.
Too many worksheets and flash card drills can leave a bad taste in a learner’s mouth. Each of my lessons will contain some play time. The play could include sight word checkers or alphabet hopscotch. Reading to and with the child will also be an important component of each lesson. I am adept at picking the right book for the right child. It could be a phonics reader or a monster ABC book. It could be a book that concentrates on language patterns (Ruth Brown’s A Dark, Dark Tale) or one that teaches a child familiar sequences (Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar).
After your child works with me, she’ll be able to read the language recipe. She’ll also learn how to master it, change it, manipulate it, and make it her own.
As a Special Education Paraprofessional, I've worked with a variety of differently abled children. Some have been considered "mild/moderate" and have only needed special time and attention to catch up to their grade level peers. Others have had bigger roadblocks thrown at them. Those roadblocks have included cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, selective mutism, autism, apraxia, and muscular dystrophy. I've learned how to ease some of those roadblocks. My goal is to help each child strive toward autonomy.
I am patient and loving. I capitalize on each child's strengths. I understand that behavior rewarded is behavior repeated. Social stories are important for both Down's Children and children with autism. I try to be consistent with each child and inclusive with the child's family. I have been exposed several different reading systems and know how everyday math can help anyone survive this world.
There are as many different strategies for study as there are people in the world. If you want to understand your perfect strategy, you need to discover your personal learning style. Are you an auditory learner? A visual learner? A kinesthetic learner? A little bit of all of the above?
Visual learners love to see things diagrammed and in color. They work best with notes that are outlined or charted meticulously. Auditory learners are not good with chalkboard pictures and work best when they can record a lecture or use a keyword method when taking notes. They are often good at rote memorization and work well with flashcards. Kinesthetic learners are always on the move and are occasionally diagnosed as ADD. They study in short bursts and need to experience something before they learn from it. Public schools, unfortunately, rarely cater to the kinesthetic learner and mostly use visual methods to get their points across.
As a private tutor, I have helped students discover their learning styles and develop their study strategies. Some of those strategies could include rote memorization, charting, outlining, summarizing, analyzing, and test taking. I have helped them use such knowledge to think more critically, organize more effectively, and succeed.
Very patient and thorough! — "Nan" has been a tremendous help for our son learning to navigate new sounds and words. She makes it fun, brings "word games" and is able to read my son's cues. She has been very helpful. ...
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