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Amazing Apps for Struggling Readers!

Being a struggling reader can affect a child's entire school experience. Everyday functioning in the content areas as well as confidence levels and enthusiasm towards school take a big hit for many students who experience reading difficulties. Part of my practice as a special education teacher and tutor who works with struggling readers is to turn reading into something that can be fun and rewarding, rather than laborious and confidence-killing. I've found that one of the biggest motivators for my struggling readers is to incorporate technology into acquiring and practicing reading skills.   I've recently experienced great success through a new federally funded program for individual's with print disabilities called Book Share. Through this program, students can download hundreds of thousands of texts for free. I have all of my eligible students signed up for this program. Then we open the downloaded books on the iPad through an app called Voice Dream. There is... read more

All About Dyslexia

  Dear readers,   Many times I have been asked about dyslexia by concerned parents, parents who see their child struggling at school or even as early as Pre -K, but don't know what to do or if they panic over nothing.   As a certified dyslexia tutor with a lot of experience, I can identify the warning signs right away. I would like you, parents, to be able to see these warning signs too, and early enough to be able to help your child before they experience difficulties and frustration.   Please watch this informative video, which also tells a personal story that will touch your hearts.  (It also endorses the Orton Gillingham Approach which I use when working with my dyslexic students). You will do yourselves and your child a huge favor, and you will become their best  advocates.   Below is the link to this video that I highly recommend watching:   http://www... read more

Children with handwriting difficulties.

Handwriting difficulty can be caused by poor fine motor skills, sensory difficulty or a learning disability such as dyslexia or dysgraphia. Here are a few suggestions for helping those children. Strengthen hand muscles • Touch the thumb of each hand to each finger in turn, index finger to pinkie, and back. • Touch the tip of each finger in progression to the palm. The thumb is the easiest. • Open and close a tight fist. • Do chair hand pushups by sitting on a chair with your palms on the chair fingers forward then pushing down lifting the body slightly. • Play with clay to strengthen the hand muscles. • Punch holes with a hand held hole-puncher. Practice hand-eye coordination • Play with Lagos, fitting the blocks together. • Color inside the lines in coloring books. • Draw a line from the entrance to the center of a paper maze • Fill-in missing sections of pictures following dotted lines and later with no lines. Form letters... read more

Dyslexia Trailer

Parents,   If you can't understand why "working harder" at reading with your child is NOT WORKING then watch this trailer and subsequent film to learn how your child may need to learn how to "work smarter" rather than "work harder."  Children with Dyslexia need a different type of reading strategy than what is taught in most schools.  Understanding and embracing Dyslexia releases the guilt students and parents feel on a regular basis.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vy5WxLf-r6g&feature=player_detailpage ; Then go to embracingdyslexia.com to see the full documentary.

Is your child or student yawning a lot?

Did you ever wonder why your student sometimes yawns all throughout your session or when doing homework?  He is not being disrespectful and I trust you are not being terribly boring!  The reason why he is  yawning (especially those with Dyslexia) is because his  brain is working so hard to process this new information you are giving him.  And, it is hard work!  The human brain requires more oxygen when being mentally taxed and yawning is the body's reaction to get more oxygen.  So, next time your student yawns through hisr session or homework time just know he is trying really hard.

Meds or No Meds -- Improved Academic Performance for ADD ADHD Students

Over the past two years, I have discovered some very effective methods for helping ADD/ADHD students improve their concentration levels and ultimately their, academic performance. When my ADD/ADHD students struggle to concentrate, my job as a tutor is to find a solution. Tutoring one-on-one gives me the opportunity to make what a student believes is difficult extremely easy. Many times, students do not understand because they are not processing the information correctly. As a special needs educator, I make learning much easier. While many classroom teachers advocate ADD/ADHD medication, I believe that medication should be used: (1) as a last resort and (2) as a temporary fix while a long term solution is being sought and (3) in conjunction with other therapy and teaching that fosters good academic skills, reduces anxiety and tension at home and at school. As an experienced teacher, I have proven methods for treating ADD/ADHD students and improving their ability to concentrate... read more

Suggestions for finding the BEST tutor for your child or student.

When interviewing a prospective tutor, parents should ask about the tutor's skills and experience, and find out if the tutor truly enjoys teaching. When the tutor feels enthusiastic about the subject, and communicates well, the student has an opportunity to learn to enjoy the subject too. I recommend for parents to observe the first lesson to see the tutor's skills in action, and watch/listen carefully to future lessons when possible, to make sure the tutor has an encouraging, supportive attitude at all times. (Tutors should welcome and respond positively to the child's questions, and NEVER make the child feel "stupid," no matter what.) It is most important to have a safe and quiet place for studying, without distractions. I like to find a quiet table at a library, and work with students there. I welcome suggestions from parents, and I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching skills.

My guidelines

Give positive feedback, use encouraging vocabulary Find success, and reinforce effort, in even minor accomplishment ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ A tutor provides expertise, experience, and encouragement. They do not provide "answers," but rather assist in problem solving, in getting answers. The challenge is to focus on assignments within the context they are assigned. Tutors should not be expected to diagnose learning disabilities. Diagnosis should take place outside of the tutoring process by a professional academic counselor. If a larger problem becomes apparent, referral is the best strategy. Tutoring strategies: Seek out training to be a more effective tutor: This includes subject matter as well as the tutoring procedures Clearly establish expectations for your learner What are the expectations of the learner? of the teacher? and of those close to the learner (classmates,... read more

Tutoring for Special Education Students

Parents of students living with learning difficulties qualify for various academic accommodations. These include things that classroom teachers can incorporate into daily lesson plans, like extra time to complete homework and ability to take tests in a quiet location, to things that state education laws delegate to specially trained teachers, aides, and nurses, such as care for students with feeding tubes. This article summarizes the kinds of learning differences that most tutors can handle and when parents should seek a qualified Special Education tutor. What most tutors can handle Many tutors are current or former teachers, college professors, or substitute teachers. State teacher licensing laws require teaching candidates to receive Special Education instruction and experience before granted a teaching license. They also have practical experience helping students who are living with a variety of learning differences. Licensed teachers have experience accommodating... read more

Special Education Resources for Parents

Massachusetts Specific Resources: · http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/ · http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/iep/proguide.pdf · http://www.doe.mass.edu/sped/prb/pnps.pdf · http://www.masspac.org/ · http://www.mcpap.com/pdf/NavigatingTheSpecialEducationSystemInMassachusetts.pdf Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: · http://idea.ed.gov/ · http://nichcy.org/laws/idea · http://www.help4adhd.org/education/rights/idea General Learning Disabilities Information: · http://www.ncld.org/ · http://www.ldonline.org/ · http://www.ldanatl.org/ · http://nichcy.org/disability/specific/ld · http://www.cldinternational.org/ · http://www.cec.sped.org/am/template.cfm?section=Home ADHD/ADD: · http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/default.htm · http://www.add.org/ · http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml · http://www.chadd.org/ Dyslexia: · www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov · www... read more

"Dyslexia"

I shared my WyzAnt profile with a friend the other day. She asked me why I included the term dyslexia in quotes. "Its not like you don't think it exists," she went on, "you've been working with dyslexic kids for so many years now! Isn't that a little bit dismissive?" I answered her as best I could, "Of course, I don't mean it dismissively, but the term "dyslexia" is over-used." I continued to ramble, "Some people describe themselves as dyslexic without having a formal diagnosis. For many people, the label "dyslexia" helps lessen feelings of insecurity they may have." Without going too much deeper, we moved on to a different conversation. In my mind, I have recently been going over that discussion, and I feel it is worth sharing my thinking in a little more depth. "Dyslexia" is a term that means many things to many people, even within a clinical setting. Reading is a complex cognitive process, one... read more

The Measurement of Success

Sharing success stories can be a little bit heady – I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I am so very proud of my students and their accomplishments, it’s hard not to share! The following excerpt is taken from a student’s letter to the International Dyslexia Association in response to their “Honor A Teacher” campaign. Through mail and email, members, friends and supporters of IDA were invited to submit information about a special teacher, and “Unsung Hero” who has made significant contribution to their life or their child’s life. In my student’s letter to IDA she stated, “Kim is very patient, explains a lot, and never misses a day. She is kind, nice and friendly with a very warm personality. At first I was very nervous because I didn’t know the place or the people, but I was very comfortable with Kim. Kim is a very good teacher. I am thankful to have her versus any other teacher. I understand things the first time she explains them, my reading is much better now and I... read more

A Quick Primer on the Orton-Gillingham Methodology

The Orton-Gillingham methodology is a method of reading instruction that focuses on multi-sensory learning. The basic idea is that some students, particularly students with learning issues like dyslexia, benefit from using their senses to activate and retrain parts of the brain that are used in reading. As a result, Orton-Gillingham based instruction features a lot of interesting hands-on activities. From my own experience as a teacher and tutor, Orton-Gillingham methodologies work very well when they are used as intended and when instruction is not rushed. Reading issues often develop over years and sometimes take years to successfully address. Students must be receive systematic instruction in phonics where they do not move onto the next step until they demonstrate mastery of the current step. Some students move through the levels in days while others can take months. Some tutors will be less than forthcoming about how long reading instruction can take, but I prefer... read more

Last-Minute Tutoring for Students Falling Behind Poll

The above-referenced subjects include different-aged PreK-College student needs I have experienced at the beginning of each school year since Fall 2010, when I first began tutoring in earnest via WyzAnt, instead of substituting daily for lesser pay in 18 area elementaries in our school district. I am not including higher math (Grade 7 and above) in my math tutoring experience. I also have helped adults with ESL/ESOL, general and academic reading/writing/comprehension/test preparation as well as public speaking for different-sized audiences, sometimes at-the-last-minute before "the big presentation day".

Updated Summer Availability

Updated Summer Availability: Mon: No Available Sessions Tues: No Available Sessions Wed: After 3:30 pm Thurs: After 3:30 pm Fri: After 1pm Weekends: 10am-5pm (Some flexibility required for recurring weekend sessions due to prescheduled out of town obligations) Please message me to inquire about setting up a tutoring session! Having your payment information on file will allow us to begin more quickly.

SPED and Regular Education K-12

I am so excited that I found WyzAnt!! It has been wonderful! I have met so many new people and love helping work with my students to see them advance! I worked in the public schools for 7 years and loved every minute of it when I had my SPED Resource Room for Learning Disabled, Dyslexic, and ADD/ADHD students. I got to see so many young people better themselves and get passed that learning barrier to advance and become great students that even went on to college. That is what I am about!! I want my students to have the best opportunities that are out there! Just because your child may need a tutor, that does not mean that they will not surpass your ideas or their ideas for their future!! I have very HIGH expectations for my students and love to challenge them to surpass those goals to go on to new heights. Looking forward to working with more students! WyzAnt is terrific!

How nice when people let you know they appreciated the work you did.

What nice things were said today about my teaching. This by a former Principal. "Rosemary was a very dedicated teacher with good moral values and a passion for teaching. She was always prepared for class, punctual, responsible and was able to motivate children to learn. She was also very creative in her approach and the children were drawn to her. I was very fortunate to have her ... in both programs I have supervised. The students and their parents respected her and learned a lot under her leadership. I would highly recommend Rosemary ... She is a team player who sets high standards for herself and is a hard worker. She would be a valuable addition to your program."

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