Over 1000 tutoring hours

Malea B.

Surprise, AZ


ESL and Language Arts Expert, Patient K-6 Tutor, Homeschooling Guide

Background check passed as of 12/5/13
4.9 average from 228 ratings
— Laura, Peoria, AZ on 12/4/13

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Portland State University
BS Arts and Letters
Sarah Lawrence College


Portland State University (BS Arts and Letters)

Sarah Lawrence College (Master's)

About Malea

Everyone has different needs when it comes to learning and I believe in assessment followed by an overview of what we can achieve together. In order to best serve you, I must have an opportunity to assess your learning style and needs. I make every effort to adjust my teaching and tutoring style to your learning style.

I have been tutoring since the mid-80's when I was a fifth grader tutoring a first grader in basic alphabet sounds and sight word recognition. Since that time, I have continued to tutor students in a variety of subjects and utilizing a wide range of approaches.

Most recently I tutored a group high school aged siblings. The eldest child needed assistance with study skills, literature, writing, SAT prep, and SAT subject test prep. The other two primarily needed assistance with their history and English courses.

I also have extensive experience tutoring and teaching adult ESL students and developmental English students, including conversation and pronunciation.

I have tutored a community college student in English Composition and helped her achieve an A in her course. Over a five year span I tutored a grade school student in all subjects and have helped her bring grades up from F's, D's and C's to B's and A's.

Over the past 15+ years I have volunteered in elementary school classrooms ranging from kindergarten through sixth grade. I have tutored students from age 4 up to college level. I also have ten years of experience as a homeschooling parent.

I hold an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a BS in Arts and Letters (writing, philosophy, art, humanities/classics, world religions) from Portland State University. While studying for both, I also tutored fellow classmates and organized study groups.

First session information:
I offer half-price for our first session as an introductory rate. This applies to our first session only. Also, I require that our first meeting take place in a public setting such as a library, community center, coffee shop, etc. This is so that we can become accustomed to one another and be comfortable before considering a private location.

Cancellation Policy:
Cancellation with more than 24 hours notice will not result in any fees. Cancellation with 12 to 24 hours notice will result in 50% of the hourly fee being charged. Cancellations with less than 12 hours notice will result in the full hourly fee being charged.

Additional training:
Working with Students with Special Education Needs, Continuing Education completed 10/5/2013.

Math is Language Too! Reading Comprehension in the Math Classroom, Continuing Education completed 4/4/2013.

I taught Public Speaking at Concordia College in Bronxville, New York.

I taught Developmental English, Contemporary Short Story, and College English I at Long Island Business Institute in Queens, New York. I also worked in the school's writing and tutoring lab.

I taught ninth grade creative writing at the Baccalaureate School for Global Education in Queens, NY during the 2010-2011 school year.

First Year Teacher training from Reading Rockets (teaching reading to young children).

Responding When Students Don't Get It (online seminar component of the 2011 ASCD Annual Conference; ASCD = Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development).

"From Times Square to Grand Central" - a poem, appeared in the August 2013 issue of Blue Lake Review.
"Departing" - a poem, appeared in the 2012 issue of The Westchester Review.
Sacramento Bee. "I'm Just Saying...It's Hard to Resist the Charms of a 2-year old." 29 July 2007.
Literacy Heads, Visual Vocabulary. Vol 1, Issue 10. Altered Book Art - Interference. June 23rd-June 29th, 2010.

For adult learners, I offer tutoring for most subjects online, phone, or email. The method of interaction would depend on your needs, and the particular coursework or project.
Everyone has different needs when it comes to learning and I believe in assessment followed by an overview of what we can achieve together. In order to best serve you, I must have an opportunity to assess your learning style and needs. I make every effort to adjust my teaching and tutoring style to your learning style.

I have been
Read more

24 hours notice required

Group lessons, homeschoolers, and classes: Please inquire.

Travel Radius
Travels within 15 miles of Surprise, AZ 85374
Background Check: Passed


- Laura, Peoria, AZ on 12/4/13

"Excellent Reading Tutor!!"

- Laura, Roseville, CA on 6/7/10
Art History
English, ESL/ESOL, Grammar, Literature,
Public Speaking,
Reading, Vocabulary, Writing
Test Preparation:
Career Development
American History, Classics,
European History, Social Studies
Special Needs:
Elementary Education:
Elementary (K-6th),
Elementary Science, Grammar, Handwriting,
Reading, Study Skills,

Approved subjects are in bold.

Approved subjects

In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.


I love anatomy and physiology. I worked at a major hospital for 7 1/2 years and loved every minute of it. Those years greatly increased my understanding of, and appreciation for human anatomy. Our bodies are amazingly complex and wonderful machines.

In high school, and college, I received the highest marks possible in my biology courses for the anatomy units. To teach anatomy, I use a variety of materials, and methods, ranging from standard flashcards and question-answer drills, to 3D models, computer programs, and more. I tailor the approach to the needs of the student.


I recently tutored one student through high school biology, and another through middle school biology. Both did very well, bringing their grades up from C/D level at the beginning of the year to an A and a B by the end of the year. I also worked in a busy hospital for 7 1/2 years, during which time I gained a deeper understanding for biological processes related to anatomy and physiology. I am a bit of a science junkie and just love biology in general.

Career Development

Career development in the current economy can be tough. Whether you are changing jobs, working on getting your first job, or want to improve your general abilities in job searching or getting a promotion, I wan to work with you.

I have helped several people to create results driven cover letters and resumes. With my help, these people have immediately increased their requests for interviews.

I have conducted interview preparation sessions for numerous people as well, helping them to improve their confidence and success in their interviews.

Through both teaching and working with individuals on their public speaking, I have helped several people to improve interviewing and presentation skills, both allowing them to land jobs and to advance in their current jobs.

We will work on everything from resume formats to interviewing skills to how to how to dress and present yourself on the job, and whatever else your career development goals might be.

For resumes, we will create a minimum of three resume formats so that you have flexibility in matching your resume to the job announcement. We will work together to be sure you know your resume inside and out, and that the resume includes keywords and industry buzz words to get you noticed.

For interviewing skills, we will go over typical interview questions as well as the oddball questions that come up every now and then. We will work on polishing your answers, and turning possible negatives into shining positives. I will help you come up with answers that show forethought and anticipate the needs of the company where you are interviewing. We can work on general interview skills, or if you have a job interview already booked, we can specifically address that particular interview. We will cover everything from what to say to what to wear and how to behave.

If you are just starting out, and need help finding your first job, we'll go over your strengths and weaknesses, your interests, likes and dislikes, and much more. We will narrow down a profile of possible job titles and companies, and then I will help you through the application process.

For those already in the workforce who want to brush up on general people skills and the soft skills that go along with having a job, we'll assess your strengths and weaknesses. Then, we will work on making sure your strengths come through while working on improving those weaknesses.

I also have extensive experience with public speaking and presentations. Maybe you need to speak at a meeting or seminar, or have to present at your next department meeting. I can give you the tools to pull it off, even if you are a nervous wreck - you'll be able to hide your nerves and handle the presentation.


With an undergraduate major in Arts and Letters, and a graduate degree in Writing, I am well versed in many aspects of the area called classics.

I am especially well versed in classical literature such as Homer ("The Odyssey" by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles, is a masterpiece!) and Sophocles, as well as Greek mythology. My classics background also includes ancient and modern philosophy, art history and architectural history, and archaeology. In particular, I am interested in how all of these areas intersect to create the idea of culture and society.

I have taught and tutored the classics primarily to middle school, high school, and undergraduate college students.

I believe in studying materials together, discussing significant ideas, and then helping my student apply their own theories and understanding. However, I also strive to support my students' individual learning styles and thus may use auditory, visual, or kinesthetic materials and methods to build understanding.

Elementary (K-6th)

I began tutoring elementary school students when I was one myself. In the fifth grade I tutored second grade students in alphabet recognition and sight word recognition. I am now long out of elementary school but have continued to work with students in grades K through 6th on all elementary subjects.

I have spent the last five years tutoring a single student in language arts and math, helping her to bring her grades up from F's, D's, and C's to B's and A's. I have spent hours in classrooms in all elementary grades helping with subjects such as letter and sound recognition, reading skills, math from the most basic skills up to pre-algebra, composition/writing, literary analysis, project planning and implementation, and more.

I am able to tutor in single subject areas or across the board in all elementary subjects. However, all elementary students must have a firm grasp of basic math and language arts skills in order to succeed in their other subjects.

I also have helped many students with organizational skills such as how to study, how to keep a notebook, note-taking, test prep, and more.

In addition to holding an MFA in writing and BS in arts and letters, I have also completed several continuing education workshops and classes. These include:

Working with Students with Special Education Needs, Continuing Education completed 10/5/2013.

Math is Language Too! Reading Comprehension in the Math Classroom, Continuing Education completed 4/4/2013.

First Year Teacher training from Reading Rockets (teaching reading to young children)

Responding When Students Don't Get It (online seminar component of the 2011 ASCD Annual Conference; ASCD = Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development)


In elementary school, I loved handwriting lessons. I would practice everyday after school in an effort to receive the weekly handwriting prize in first and second grades. My love of good penmanship has continued into adulthood, and I enjoy helping others overcome their penmanship struggles.

For many younger students, handwriting is a challenge because the fine motor skills are still developing. Holding a pencil or pen correctly may be painful or tiring.

With my handwriting students in the past, I have combined several approaches to help them overcome their writing challenges.

With most students, I have helped them with hand exercises to help prepare for writing. These typically include learning a few basic stretches for the fingers and hands, and these exercises may be used before, during, or after a writing session.

After teaching my students some basic physical hand exercises, I have them write a few sentences so that I can study their grip and approach to writing.

Once I know how a student approaches writing, I develop a plan. I usually will model good handwriting habits, help the student adjust his or her grip, and will have the student do tracing exercises. If a student's writing is particularly poor, I have him or her begin with simply tracing straight lines, curves, circles, and squares. We might also focus on one or two specific letters at first. As the student becomes more and more accustomed to this, we graduate to other letters, words, and sentences, as well as more complex shapes.

Frequently students simply don't know where to start a letter which causes poor penmanship. Other times, the student struggles with pacing - they try to write too quickly, particularly those students with ADD or ADHD.

Regardless, I always start where the student already is, and we work from there.


Literature is a window into other worlds and experiences. Through a good book, a student will gain insight not only into the mindset of the author, characters, and setting, but will also be transformed as a reader.

I seek to help my students understand their texts at all levels, from the most basic understanding of plot, setting, and characters to deeper aspects of symbolism, implied meanings, and more.

I also specialize in textual analysis for the purposes of writing literature-based analytical essays. Even if I have read a book before, I always read it again, following my student's reading schedule in order to have the material fresh in my mind, and thus give focused attention to my student as he or she grapples with the book.

I read widely, and devour books. A small sampling of the texts I tutor includes:

* poetry (especially Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, William Carlos Williams)
* The Catcher in the Rye
* The Lord of the Flies
* Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath
* To Kill a Mockingbird
* A Raisin in the Sun
* Black Boy
* Shakespeare's plays
* The Odyssey and The Iliad
* the work of Sophocles, Aristotle, and Plato
* the works of Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson
* the works of Amy Tan
* the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald
* the works of Sandra Cisneros
* the works of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg
* and many, many more


While phonics is a key element in learning to read, I first work with a student to determine if they need help with phonics, sight words or a combination. Most students learn to read using a combination of both phonics and sight words. I utilize a variety of methods in teaching phonics including a letter chart, refrigerator magnet letters, sand trays for kinesthetic learners (students who need to feel things to comprehend them), and more.

My very first tutoring student, years ago, was a second grade boy that was unable to recognize most letters of the alphabet, had no knowledge of the sounds associated with the letters and could not put them together to form words. I tutored him twice weekly and by the end of the school year he was reading on grade level.

Since then I have tutored students ranging from kindergarten through sixth grade in phonics, sight words and reading readiness. Most recently I helped a 13 year old girl who had learned to read using sight words exclusively. As a result she missed many of the nuances of the English language and was often confused by what she read. After just two months of one-on-one tutoring, she has learned to not only sound out words but to use other cues to gather word meanings. She is now confident in using phonics skills to supplement her sight word recognition and her reading has become more fluid.


All good writing has undergone proofreading and editing. I have many years of experience with both.

My proofreading experience includes standard school essays from elementary school through college level. I also have helped many college applicants to strengthen their applications by proofreading their college application essays, and offering suggestions to improve those essays. Most recently, I helped a college graduate who wants to apply to Physician Assistant programs. We worked hard to tell her story, express her interest in PA school, and to show that she is a three dimensional person with the drive to succeed in PA school.

My experience also includes both medical and legal proofreading.

Public Speaking

The fear of public speaking can be paralyzing. It doesn't need to be that way! Like many things, public speaking is a skill which can be mastered, and the fear that comes with it can also be mastered.

I have years of public speaking experience in front of groups ranging from five to over 100 people. My experience includes speaking at student conferences while in college at Portland State University, as a professor at Long Island Business Institute in Queens, NY, and as a professor at Concordia College in Bronxville, NY.

At Concordia College, I taught a public speaking course in which every student was a in their first year of college, and all of them were terrified of taking this class. By the end of the term, each one was more confident, had mastered different aspects of public speaking, and had a guide for skills to continue working on. Two of my students gained so much confidence that they joined Toastmasters, a public speaking club. Another one told me a few weeks later that he gave a presentation at his office, and for the first time ever, he wasn't nervous in the public speaking role.

I can help you with nervousness, volume projection and voice modulation, practice speeches, developing and using visuals during public speaking, and more.

Study Skills

Without a strong understanding of how to study many students are moved on from grade to grade and come to a point where they begin to feel lost. As subjects become more complex, it is imperative that students know how to study. This involves more than simply opening a book and reading.

When I teach study skills, I first determine *how* a student learns. Some students do well with visual cues while others best retain information in other ways (auditory, kinesthetic, or a combination). Once I have determined a students learning style we can move on from there and put in place a system for studying.

For some students study skills are lacking because the student does not understand the basics of organization. This may mean that we work on daily skills such as writing down assignments in a planner, or that we work on how to put together a notebook, or we may work on how to take notes in the first place.

By learning how to most effectively study, a student will be more likely to have success later in their academic career, and even in the workplace.

Portland State University
BS Arts and Letters
Sarah Lawrence College


Portland State University (BS Arts and Letters)

Sarah Lawrence College (Master's)

Wonderful! — Malea is working very well with our daughter. Our daughter is making wonderful progress with her. Malea is able to motivate our daughter to work hard and is finding a love for learning and reading! I am very impressed with all she has done in a short amount of time. ...

— Laura, Peoria, AZ on 12/4/13

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $29.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Group lessons, homeschoolers, and classes: Please inquire.

Travel policy

Malea will travel within 15 miles of Surprise, AZ 85374.