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Sheryl N.

Reading/math/writing/spelling: patient, creative, playful instruction

Monticello, IL (61856)

Travel radius
30 miles
Hourly fee
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Sheryl N. passed a background check on 2/15/13. The check was ordered by Sheryl through First Advantage. For more information, please review the background check information page.

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I am an educator with 20+ years of experience and am looking for opportunities to tutor students in language arts, including reading, writing, and spelling, as well as in elementary math. I have training as a literacy intervention specialist and currently tutor students who are struggling to learn to read. Additionally, I also tutor elementary math and writing to both children and adults. I am an Adult Education instructor at Richland Community College, where I teach math and reading foundations to GED and ESL students. I love working one-on-one with students and and have seen exciting progress in students with whom I have worked.

Early in my career, I got my Ph.D. in psychology and taught psychology at the college level. I soon realized that although I enjoy teaching psychology, even more, I enjoy teaching the skills that allow students to become excellent students and communicators: writing, research, and if needed, reading and spelling. I also had the opportunity to teach an inter-disciplinary writing course to first year college students for about a decade, and this further fed my love of helping students become proficient writers and communicators.

When my children were young, 15+ years ago, I left academe to homeschool my children. Being able to work one on one with my students, and teaching to meet their individual needs was very satisfying to me. Those years of homeschooling allowed me to unleash the creativity in teaching that can be done when working with either small groups of students or with individual students. Along the way, I have had a lot of fun helping my students learn to read, write and spell, as well as understand and solve math problems, and have gotten considerable experience working with students who respond best to individualized instruction.

Now my children are all in public school or college, and so I am again able to teach others. Even though I consider myself primarily a language arts instructor and coach, I have more recently found math tutoring to also be very enjoyable.

Since students' learning styles and ways of learning vary a great deal, many different approaches and tools can be useful. When teaching reading and spelling, I find that using techniques including visual, auditory and sensory/hands-on learning work best for many learners. Some struggling readers and spellers, including those who are dyslexic, need very specific and detailed instruction, and I am trained to give such training using multi-sensory techniques. Whenever possible, I also like to use games as a learning tool. When teaching writing, I start out having students work with models of writing rather than start from scratch since getting started is often the hardest aspect of writing. There are many oral tasks which use the same brain cognitive skills as writing, but are frequently more enjoyable for students than writing. I prefer hands-on math and games, but will also use written work once the student understands a concept.

While I have a number of tools that I am comfortable using, I am also accustomed to finding/creating new tools to meet individual needs that don't respond to the tools I have in my toolbox. Most of all, I want students to see the relevance of the skills they are crafting to their own experience and for their educational tasks to meet them where they are in their skill development.

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Sheryl’s subjects

English, ESL/ESOL, Grammar, Reading, SAT Reading, Vocabulary, Writing
Elementary Education:
Elementary (K-6th), Elementary Math, Grammar, Phonics, Reading, Spelling, Study Skills, Vocabulary
Special Needs:
Test Preparation:
GED, SAT Reading
Corporate Training:
ESL/ESOL, Grammar


Besides having a Ph.D. in physiological psychology (one of the neurosciences), I have 80 hours of training by ALTA-certified instructors (ALTA is Academic Language Therapists Association) and am able to teach students the first 1-2 years of phonics, using a Orton-Gillingham multisensory approach (engaging the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic sense modalities) for this instruction. The instruction is comprehensive, in that students are taught to spell and write as they are learning to read. In order to be successful, it is important that instruction be frequent; at a minimum, a student needs one hour of instruction three times a week (five days a week is considered the maximum). Although such instruction is a huge investment, the Alphabetics approach to reading instruction has been highly successful and I would be happy to explore with you whether such instruction would be a good fit for your family member needing instruction.

Elementary (K-6th)

I have a Ph.D. in psychology. After teaching psychology and writing for a decade, I transitioned into homeschooling my own children from Pre-K through grade 9. For all of those grades, I facilitated or taught the various elementary subjects. More recently I have been trained to be a literacy intervention specialist, and am currently trained to teach the first year of multi-sensory phonics to struggling readers. Additional training will train me in teaching the more advanced phonetic concepts. My background in the sciences has proven helpful even in elementary science, and I find it enjoyable to teach elementary math as well.

Elementary Math

Math in the abstract is very difficult for many students, but when it is made concrete through the use of hands-on activities and games, as well as through concrete examples and applied problems, math can become lots of fun and more understandable! My experience is that until math is understood, paper and pencil tasks are usually busy (and frustrating) work. The feedback I get from my students is that my patience and my ability to individualize instruction to meet them where they are in their understanding of a particular math skill serves them well.


I currently teach ESL students in a community college setting.


I have a Ph.D. in psychology. After starting out teaching psychology and writing to college students, I then homeschooled my children for over a decade and had a chance to get started teaching phonics, and am now working on becoming certified as a literacy intervention specialist.


Reading is one of the most complex skills students set out to learn. Many students are natural readers, insomuch that they learn to read regardless of the nature of their reading instruction. There are a significant number of students, however, who need explicit and detailed instruction in decoding words using a phonetic approach which breaks words down into individual sounds. Besides having a Ph.D. in physiological psychology (one of the neurosciences), I am also a literacy intervention specialist working on a certification from the Academic Language Therapy Association. I have had 80 hours of training by ALTA-certified instructors and am qualified to teach students the first 1-2 years of phonics, using a multisensory approach (engaging the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic sense modalities) for this instruction. The instruction is comprehensive in that students are taught to spell and write as they are learning to read. Once a particular sound is learned (for reading) that sound is then also used to spell words as well as to write words. Named Alphabetics, the approach used in this instruction was developed at Scottish Rite Hospital, Dallas, TX, is research based, and has been successfully used to teach many, many students who are dyslexic to read. The instruction is mastery based, and instruction is not considered complete until a student is successfully reading. In order to be successful, it is important that instruction be frequent; at a minimum, a student needs an hour of instruction three times a week.

Study Skills

I got my Ph.D. in psychology and taught psychology at the college level. A student's ability to do well in an academic setting is often more a function of his/her study skills than it is of some natural aptitude in a given subject. Some of these skills are not even exclusively academic skills: time management, goal setting, organization of materials, knowing how to ask questions, and knowing how to break down tasks into manageable parts. Other skills, however, are more academic: critical thinking; reading comprehension; memorization and information retention; writing and research skills. A successful tutor will find ways to break down this rather daunting list of skills into bite-sized chunks to allow a student to build success with the individual components.


After teaching a writing course for first-year college students for about a decade (and loving it!) I then home-schooled my children for the next decade, and had the chance to assist them in cultivating their writing skills. Now I am tutoring various students in their writing skills; in the past year, I have worked with college graduates looking for admission into graduate school, college students, high school students, and elementary students. Additionally, I am teaching a writing class at Richland. I would be happy to see whether my skills could be helpful to you!

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Sterling College

Purdue University (Master's)

Purdue University (PhD)

Great tutor — Sheryl is wonderful. I am so happy that we connected. I am doing home school and I felt I needed a little extra help in teaching my son to read. I can see he is enjoying himself and he is learning. ...

— Mary from Mt Zion, IL on 2/3/14

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $40.00

Cancellation: 3 hours notice required

This rate applies to lessons given at my home or within 15 miles from my home. The rate for distances further than 15 miles will be determined by distance and proximity to other work assignments.

Travel policy

Sheryl will travel within 30 miles of Monticello, IL 61856.

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Usually responds in about 6 hours

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