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Deborah K.

Highly Successful Tutor with Multi-sensory, Strategic Approach

Wellesley Hills, MA (02481)

Travel radius
10 miles
Hourly fee
$60.00
Email Deborah K.

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For 6 years I have been tutoring students in key areas of English Language Arts and mathematics.

Initially I taught children with autism, helping them catch up academically and communicate more effectively with their families. My interest grew from preparing after-school lessons for tutors to my son with autism over an 8-year period.

My practice has now broadened beyond autism and specific learning disabilities. I can use my talents and methods to help mainstream students who are struggling in a subject to gain mastery of it.

As a tutor I employ a highly effective multi-sensory, strategic approach. With my students, I customize lessons to their needs and interests and to the expectations of their parents; rely on clear, engaging and memorable PC-generated visuals to supplement any text book or related academic materials; teach underlying concepts and strategic approaches for development of "sense" as well as skills; use the everyday to teach the abstract; and employ various methods to overcome learning hurdles.

For elementary students who need to catch up, my program offers English language arts (phonemic awareness, phonetic reading, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and composition)and mathematics (the 5 strands: numeric sense and operation, measurement, geometry, algebra and statistics). The curriculum corresponds with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Specific content is drawn from many excellent resources, both on-line and in texts.

Most of my hourly fee reflects my extensive preparation to ensure the customized lesson is the most engaging and effective that it can be.

Tutoring is typically conducted in my home in the western suburbs, just 5 minutes from 128, Rte. 9 and the Pike. I do, however, travel to a student's home, if needed.

I am available at specific times on weekends and after school.

References are furnished upon request.

Having worked in a variety of professions, I find tutoring students and watching them succeed has been the most rewarding job of all.

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Deborah’s subjects

Corporate Training:
ESL/ESOL, Grammar, Statistics
Test Preparation:
Homeschool:
Algebra 1, Elementary (K-6th), English, ESL/ESOL, Prealgebra, Reading, SAT Math, SAT Reading, Statistics, Writing
Special Needs:
Language:
ESL/ESOL
Math:
Algebra 1, Prealgebra, SAT Math, Statistics

ACT English

ACT English tests a student’s knowledge of the standards of English, both the mechanics, e.g., sentence structure and grammar, as well as rhetoric, e.g., style and organization. The student answers the questions in the context of both fictional and non-fictional reading passages.

As a high school student I took ACT English as part of the college application process. In the ACT and the other standardized tests, I performed extremely well. As a result, I was admitted to the highly-selective Honors College of Ohio State University, and pursued a demanding course of study in 500- and 600-level courses in my major, English and American literature, as well as in a wide variety of liberal arts courses including the social sciences, philosophy and art.

My strong essay writing was a key factor in my earning a final overall GPA of 3.65 and becoming a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

I don’t just have a talent for test taking. I feel I have a gift for helping students face tests with knowledge and confidence and demonstrate their very best performance.

For the ACT English, I will work to hone the student’s skills in both mechanics as well as the more challenging area of rhetoric.

As a tutor I employ a highly effective multi-sensory, conceptual approach. With my test-prep students, I will:

** Customize lessons to their needs and to the expectations of their parents;

** Rely on clear, engaging and memorable PC-generated visuals to supplement prep book materials;

** Teach underlying concepts and strategic approaches for development of "sense" as well as skills;

** Use the everyday to teach the abstract; and

** Use various methods to overcome learning hurdles.

Having worked in a variety of professions, I find tutoring students and watching them succeed has been the most rewarding job of all.

Algebra 1

I continue to be amazed at how often I use algebra to solve everyday math problems. What seems tricky becomes clear as I express the components as an equation.

As a tutor, I want to teach students not just algebraic operation, but how to use it to solve word problems, ones that reflect math they will encounter in their daily lives.

Though I rely on texts for lesson content, I find I can convey the subject matter more clearly and engagingly by creating my own materials. I keep formats simple and often enhance pages with meaningful clip art images.

Most importantly, I customize content and presentation to meet the needs and interests of my students

Art History

Appreciation of art started early for me. I was lucky that my parents frequented an art museum whose mission was to teach patrons about artists, their subjects and their techniques.

In college I spent a full year in art courses that began with cave painting and ended with contemporary art and architecture.

Later, I took upper-level courses in Medieval and Renaissance art, 19th century European painting, and 19th century American art.

My strongest skills in these courses were connoisseurship (being able to identify an unknown reproduction by its artist and to date it within 10 years), and to compare and contrast works of art in terms of subject matter, and the artists’ use of light, space, color, brushstroke, etc.

My knowledge has been greatly enhanced over the years by visiting art museums and buildings of architectural interest in the U.S. and many countries in Europe.

I would hope to bring to a student the knowledge and passion that I have for the visual arts.

Since my education has been both broad and in-depth, I am able to teach art history and appreciation as a survey course as well as a concentrated study.

Autism

For the past six years, I have successfully tutored students with autism.

Initially I received certification in Rapid Prompting Method training, a multi-sensory technique used to teach students with ASD.

Since certification, I have expanded my offerings to include programs, materials, visuals and manipulatives that are particularly engaging and memorable.

I teach English language arts (phonemic awareness, decoding, reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary and grammar) and math (numeric sense and operation, measurement, geometry, algebra, data analysis) with an emphasis on underlying concepts, as well as logical thinking.

I pride myself in teaching students with autism not to learn by rote, but to do so logically and strategically.

Elementary (K-6th)

I use a multi-sensory, strategic approach to teach elementary subjects including phonics, decoding, vocabulary, spelling, reading comprehension, and the five strands of math: numeric operation and sense, pre-algebra, geometry, measurement, and statistics.

I also enjoy teaching elementary geography, history, science and art appreciation.

I rely on Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, MCAS standardized tests and What Your (Kindergartner, First Grader...Sixth Grader) Should Know series, as well as many other excellent Internet and textbook resources for content.

I specialize in teaching abstract concepts using everyday examples, mnemonics and visuals; showing the relationship between what the student already knows and needs to learn; and offering a mix of easy and more challenging material -- all the while providing a positive attitude about the student's potential and performance.

I consider myself a lifelong learner. If I stumble on something new, I seek out a full understanding of it. If my student encounters a hurdle, I try a variety of methods, customized to that student, to enable him/her to overcome that obstacle.

I have worked with very disabled students and yet have had amazing success in teaching them material they would learn if they had access to a mainstream elementary classroom.

Elementary Math

My son entered our well-respected middle school this year to discover that he lacked basic math understanding and skills. When he was an elementary student, I recall overhearing unusual terms such as “string math” and “landmark math” in homework discussions between him and his dad. These new models were supposed to teach him numeric sense. For whatever reason, they didn’t.

Fortunately for my older son, I found math programs that were straightforward, taught underlying concepts, used manipulatives, and provided lots of practice. Though he is autistic, he was able to learn all four arithmetic operations, fractions and decimals, measurement and basic geometry.

Now when I tutor in elementary math, I teach underlying concepts and strategies in concrete ways. Students get lots of practice with both operations as well as word problems that reflect math they encounter in their daily lives.

Though I rely on programs and texts for lesson content, I find I can convey the subject matter more clearly and engagingly by creating my own materials. I keep formats simple, and often enhance pages with meaningful clip art images.

Most importantly, I customize content and presentation to meet the needs and interests of my students.

English

English is a broad subject. Typically referred to as English Language Arts (ELA), it comprises all skills relating to reading and writing. I have successfully tutored in ELA for over 5 years.

My reading instruction encompasses phonics, phonemic awareness, reading comprehension, vocabulary building and fluency development.

My writing instruction includes strategies for organization, the topic sentence, support, and conclusion, as well as editing to correct rhetoric (e.g., word choice, style) and mechanics (e.g., sentence structure, spelling, grammar, punctuation).

For both reading and writing, I rely on Internet educational sites, Hooked on Phonics, Scholastic-published teachers’ manuals, and other excellent sources. All my lessons are customized to students’ needs and interests.

I ask that you read my qualifications under the classifications of grammar, phonics, reading, spelling, vocabulary, and writing on this WyzAnt web site to get a full picture of how I help students become proficient in English Language Arts.

Grammar

I credit my late mother, a high school Business English teacher, with my strong grasp of grammar, and the writing skills that developed from it.

My effective writing as an English major in college and as a business student in graduate school earned me top grades and honors. Later, I depended on my knowledge of grammar and usage in various professional positions, producing clear, succinct and influential reports for many dozens of clients.

Now I bring my knowledge and my passion for clear written expression to my students.

As a tutor, I rely on various Internet sites and teachers’ manuals to determine lesson content for students of various grade levels.

I have discovered that most sources for grammar instruction and activities, however, lack visual appeal. As a result, I create my own materials using simple formats and clip art, and ensuring they meet the needs and interests of my students.

Literature

My love of literature started when I first learned to read at age 6 and continues to this day. I am a reader of literary fiction, both contemporary works as well as the classics.

As a member of the highly selective Honors College at my undergraduate university, I majored in English literature.

Since as an Honors student I was entitled to a waiver of prerequisites, I took only upper-level literature courses. These included courses in medieval, Renaissance, 18th, 19th and 20th century literature, as well as studies of Chaucer, Milton and Shakespeare.

I was an A student and considered by my professors to have strong analytical and writing skills.

As a mother I have been able to share my avid interest in literature with my sons. As a result, I am familiar with many authors who write for elementary and middle school students.

As a tutor I can select appropriate works for study or read school-required books along with students.

I help students gain a thorough sense of the book’s meaning: its themes, its conflicts and resolutions, the development of its characters, the narrator's perspective, and the way its settings, descriptions and dialogue enhance the story’s significance.

I also help students write clear, persuasive essays to show their knowledge of these story elements.

Phonics

I have successfully taught reading using phonics for over 5 years.

For beginners and for readers really struggling with decoding, I use a multi-pronged approach, simultaneously teaching...
1.) identification of upper- and lower-case letters;
2.) matching letter with sound using visual and auditory mnemonics;
3.) teaching phonemic awareness within words; and
4.) using fundamental spelling for reinforcement.

I use Didax's The Complete Phonics Handbook with grapho-phonic and spelling references to teach decoding of letters, vowel and consonant teams, compound words, etc.

I employ the Dolch 500 for teaching the most common words which are irregularly spelled.

I use Hooked on Phonics Pre-K to Grade 2, not for its instruction, but for its early-reading material, and I create simple tests for reading comprehension.

If the student has continued trouble with decoding, I employ methods from LindamoodBell's Seeing Stars to promote symbol imagery.

As decoding improves, I create phonetically-controlled sentences and short passages, using morewords.com and Didax's phonics handbook as sources for the nouns, verbs and descriptors.

As the student progresses further, I rely on a wide variety of sources for grade-appropriate reading material including Internet educational sites, leveled books and past MCAS reading passages.

Regardless of student age or reading level, I customize all lessons to my students' needs and interests.

Reading

In my estimation, there are 5 key components to reading education: phonics, phonemic awareness, reading comprehension, vocabulary building and fluency development. These components are the building blocks of my reading instruction.

I believe reading education needs to be systematic and its components inter-related:

**Phonetic decoding skills should be applied to high-interest text with an emphasis on basic comprehension early on.

**Vocabulary and fluency are added to the mix as soon as possible to maximize comprehension of longer, more difficult reading material.

Using these principles I have successfully taught reading for over 5 years.

For beginners and those really struggling with decoding I use a multi-pronged approach, simultaneously teaching letter identification, letter sounds, phonemic awareness within words, and fundamental spelling for reinforcement.

The Complete Phonics Handbook by Didax is my go-to reference for decoding material. For students with continued decoding difficulties, I employ methods from LindamoodBell's Seeing Stars to promote symbol imagery. I use Hooked on Phonics Pre-K to Grade 2, not for its instruction, but for its early-reading material, and from the get-go I create simple tests of comprehension.

As decoding improves, I build vocabulary of phonetically similar words, testing for comprehension with visuals and creating short, phonetically-controlled passages for the purposes of practice. As the student progresses, I rely on grade-appropriate reading material from a wide variety of sources, including Internet educational sites, leveled books, and past MCAS reading passages.

I develop fluency skills in students early on, modeling how to read meaningful “chunks” of words smoothly to better grasp their significance.

Thus, in my tutoring, vocabulary and fluency combine to enhance comprehending reading material of greater length and difficulty.
Simple “WH” questions give way to higher-ordered ones relating to main idea, and later inference, prediction, evaluation, etc.

The student, ultimately, becomes highly proficient in all areas of reading.

SAT Reading

SAT Reading tests a student’s ability to answer what are called higher-ordered comprehension questions after reading text. These question areas include main idea, inference, tone, and understanding the meaning of words and expressions in their context.

As a high school student I took SAT Reading as part of the college application process. In the SAT Reading and the other standardized tests, I performed extremely well.

As a result, I was admitted to the highly-selective Honors College of Ohio State University, and pursued a demanding course of study in 500- and 600-level courses in my major, English and American literature, as well as in a wide variety of liberal arts and sciences courses including the social sciences, the hard sciences, philosophy and art.

My ability to comprehend reading material at the higher-ordered level was a key factor in my earning a final overall GPA of 3.65 and becoming a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

I don’t just have a talent for test taking. I feel I have a gift for helping students face tests with knowledge and confidence and demonstrate their very best performance.

For the SAT Reading, I will work to hone the student’s skills in all areas of higher-ordered comprehension areas. Truly, learning these skills is not nearly as hard as someone might expect.

As a tutor I employ a highly effective multi-sensory, strategic approach. With my test-prep students, I will:

** Customize lessons to their needs and to the expectations of their parents;

** Rely on clear, engaging and memorable PC-generated visuals to supplement prep book materials;

** Teach underlying concepts and strategic approaches for development of "sense" as well as skills;

** Use the everyday to teach the abstract; and

** Use various methods to overcome learning hurdles.

Having worked in a variety of professions, I find tutoring students and watching them succeed has been the most rewarding job of all.

SAT Writing

The timed SAT Writing tests your writing skills in two ways.

The easier area of testing is SAT Grammar. After reading a fictional or non-fictional passage, the student is asked questions relating to grammar and usage, as well as to sentence structure, organization and style.

In SAT Essay, a student is given a topic and an assignment for writing an essay. These days many students learn to write essays using graphic organizers in school. In a real sense, the best approach to writing an SAT essay is to use an organizing structure.

As a high school student I took not the SAT but another standardized writing test as part of the college application process. In the writing and the other areas of standardized testing, I performed extremely well.

As a result, I was admitted to the highly-selective Honors College of Ohio State University, and pursued a demanding course of study in 500- and 600-level courses in my major, English and American literature, as well as in a wide variety of liberal arts and sciences courses including the social sciences, the hard sciences, philosophy and art.

My ability to write timed essays reflecting tight structure, logical step-by-step thinking, and excellent standards of English mechanics and rhetoric was a key factor in my earning a final overall GPA of 3.65 and becoming a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

I don’t just have a talent for test taking. I feel I have a gift for helping students face tests with knowledge and confidence and demonstrate their very best performance. For the SAT Writing, I will work to hone the student’s skills in all areas of English standards and essay writing.

As a tutor I employ a highly effective multi-sensory, conceptual approach. With my test-prep students, I will:

** Customize lessons to their needs and to the expectations of their parents;

** Rely on clear, engaging and memorable PC-generated visuals to supplement prep book materials;

** Teach underlying concepts for development of "sense";

** Teach well-respected test-taking strategies to ensure the student shows what s/he knows;

** Use various methods to overcome learning hurdles.

Having worked in a variety of professions, I find tutoring students and watching them succeed has been the most rewarding job of all.

Special Needs

For over six years I have tutored students with special needs, including autism, ADD, slow auditory processing and weak executive functioning.

Typically I tutor to help students catch up academically in subjects that require many skills such as English language arts and math.

As a tutor I employ a highly effective multi-sensory, conceptual approach.

I rely on clear, engaging and memorable PC-generated visuals to supplement any academic materials.

I teach underlying concepts and strategic approaches for development of "sense" as well as skills.

I use the everyday to teach the abstract.

I employ various methods to overcome learning hurdles.

Most importantly, I customize lessons to meet the unique needs and interests of my students and the expectations of their parents.

Spelling

Despite the popularity of texting with its abbreviations, correct spelling is crucial for success in school and on the job.

Just as I have been very successful in teaching reading using a phonetic approach, I find the same is true for spelling.

I actually teach beginning readers the fundamentals of spelling as they link letters and sounds together, and identify beginning, medial and ending sounds in spoken words. If students can hear that bat, not cat, starts with the bbb sound, then they can see that b-a-t, not c-a-t, must spell bat.

Regardless of grade level, my typical spelling lesson comprises words that are phonetically related. For younger students the words would be simple, e.g., words ending in/ck/. For older students they would be more challenging, e.g., words containing /oo/ and its various sounds.

Then there are the tricky words; I work on those too. They include homophones (see and sea; raise and rays), double letters, silent letters, and similar-sounding endings (el and le).

I find most sources for spelling activities lack imagination and student appeal. Typically, I create my own materials using mnemonics, simple formats and meaningful clip art images, and ensuring they meet the needs and interests of my students.

Statistics

Believe it or not, data analysis is taught in Massachusetts beginning in preschool!

In accordance with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, our school district’s pre-K students participate in an apple-tasting survey and then graph and discuss the results.

Statistics are taught to elementary students to help them describe their data (percentage, mean, median, mode, range).

Later on, they learn about sampling (random, systematic, stratified, bias), how to determine the spread of data (variance, standard deviation), the association of data (correlation and regression, including slope and y-intercept) and the significance of the data (Chi square, t-tests and analysis of variance).

These and other basic statistical measures help students organize numerical information, understand and describe it, and make informed decisions using it.

As a tutor, I teach students not just textbook statistics, but how to describe and evaluate data they encounter in their daily lives.

Though I rely on the Internet and teachers’ manuals for basic lesson content, I find I can convey the subject matter more clearly and engagingly by creating my own materials. I keep formats simple, and often enhance pages with meaningful clip art images.

Most importantly, I customize content and presentation to meet the needs and interests of my students.

Vocabulary

Building vocabulary is essential to strong reading comprehension and engaging, persuasive writing.

There are lots of programs for teachers in mainstream classrooms; often they entail gradual learning of vocabulary as it is encountered in text.

I find as a tutor that, if students have fallen behind in vocabulary, they need intensive instruction in related words with meaning in a simple context.

The key words here are related and meaning in a simple context.

For early readers or somewhat older students still struggling with decoding, I use the following approach:
1.) Show words that are phonetically related, e.g., words containing /st/.
2.) Supply images that depict meaning in context, e.g., for “last” an image of people waiting in a line to buy movie tickets, and
3.) Provide reinforcement through discussion of the word within the image.
4.) Check learning in the next lesson with: decoding, search-and-find of images, phonetically-controlled sentences or short passages, and comprehension questions.

For older students who need more challenging vocabulary, I use an approach that I modified from a terrific book, Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction. In this method, I use the following method:
1.) Supply synonyms of simple words often used in conversation, e.g., for “little” I might choose “minute,” “slight,” “petite,”
“diminutive” and “paltry.”
2.) Discuss sentences that show the connotative differences among these words.
3.) Ask students to write original sentences to show understanding.

This method can be used in other word relationships, e.g., opposites, degree (whisper, mumble, shout, screech), common aspects (boat, hull, beam, bow, stern, port, starboard), etc.

I find teaching words in relationship and their meanings in simple context can quickly build vocabulary that is nuanced and easily accessible to students as they read and write.

Writing

Strong writing skills help students express their thoughts in clear, persuasive ways. Despite the popularity of talking and texting by phone, solid written communication is still essential to success in school and on the job.

My effective writing as an English major in college and as a marketing research and strategies student in business school earned me top grades and honors. Later, I relied on and enhanced my skills in various professional positions, producing clear, succinct and influential reports for many dozens of clients.

I believe good writing begins with pre-writing strategies. For students, one highly useful step is to show main and supporting ideas on a graphic organizer. Writing students should be encouraged to stretch beyond top-of-mind thoughts even in this earliest stage, by brainstorming, examples, and modeling.

Next steps for writing even a simple essay are learning to:

1. Produce a topic sentence that orients and engages the reader
2. Generate clear, concise middle sentences or paragraphs that provide satisfactory support, including, if needed, clarifying examples.
3. Write a final sentence that brings the reader full circle, creating a strong link between introduction and conclusion.

One habit that has always held me in good stead, even when writing emails, is to re-read my draft and make any needed edits. Good editing, especially for student writers, includes both changes in rhetoric (e.g., organization, style, word choice) as well as corrections in mechanics (e.g., sentence structure, grammar, punctuation).

In designing lessons for writing, I will use a variety of sources, including Internet educational sites and Scholastic-published teachers’ manuals.

I customize all lessons to the needs and interests of my students, and the expectations of their parents. I strongly believe that students learn best in a challenging but supportive environment. That is the environment I create as a tutor.

Read all subject qualifications »

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Education

Honors College, Ohio State University

Boston University Graduate School of Management (MBA)

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $60.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Travel policy

Deborah will travel within 10 miles of Wellesley Hills, MA 02481.

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Usually responds in about 21 hours

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