Malea B.

Vancouver, WA


Academic coach and tutor providing targeted, individualized mentoring

1000+ Hours
Background check passed as of 12/5/13
4.9 average from 230 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

Please note, I am currently *only* accepting college application assistance (particularly personal statement prep), study skills, ESL conversation, and literature students. I also tutor SAT prep, but please read on for specific criteria.

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.

Although I tutor many subjects, my passions are:
- Study skills and organization for high school students
- All aspects of English and Language Arts, but particularly high school literature
- Adult ESL practice with a focus on conversation skills

I am happy to tutor SAT and ACT students; however, due to the nature of these tests, such tutoring requires at least two to three months of preparation. I only accept SAT and ACT students if your exam is at least two months in the future and you are able to commit to a regular study and tutoring schedule.

All students have the ability to achieve, but it takes a special spark to get them to believe it. Often this requires building a relationship of trust by focusing on the student's strengths and leveraging those strengths to create success in new areas. I do this through individualization of all lessons. I make it clear at the beginning that my students are stakeholders in their own success--I am their guide, mentor, role model, coach, and teacher, but it is up to the student to take what I offer and to utilize the tools and lessons to the best of their ability.

Recent students have included:
- A 6th grade student failing all of her subjects. Within 4 months she went from all Fs to a mix of Cs, Bs, and As.

- A 2nd grade student who qualified for a gifted program, but could not keep up with the reading expectations. Not only did her reading fluency exceed expectations after a few months, but she learned to love reading. She was a shy reader and we worked on overcoming her shyness by having her practice her skills through reading aloud to her dogs.

- One-on-one and group conversation ESL students. Most of these students spoke Mandarin or Spanish. We worked on pronunciation and everyday conversational skills.

- 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. All three became pros at using planners and forecasting their study needs over time when anticipating exams and projects. They all were accepted through early admission to their first choice universities.

Over the past 15+ years, I also have volunteered in classrooms ranging from kindergarten through sixth grade and 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. However, after this first meeting, if we both feel comfortable, I am happy to do lessons in your home.

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 based on our average lesson length (in other words, if we meet for two hours at a time regularly, your cancellation will be based on a two hour lesson).

Tutoring Session Locations:
Although I can do sessions in home, there is significant benefit to having sessions at a coffee shop or library. Many students struggle to maintain focus at school, and tutoring in a setting with background noise and guiding my students to tune out that noise helps them overcome attention deficits. As such, my preferred tutoring locations are:
- Fort Vancouver Regional Library--downtown branch on C Street or Cascade Park branch on NE 136th Ave
- Multnomah County Central Library in downtown Portland
- Starbucks at NW 23rd and Overton in Portland
- Starbucks at Mill Plain near I-205 in Vancouver or Mill Plain just west of S Lieser Road

PLEASE NOTE: I do not accept students under the age of 6 years old.

Professional teaching experience:
-Public Speaking at Concordia College in Bronxville, New York.

-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, and I substitute taught ESL classes.

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

My personal interests include reading, foreign languages (I am a beginner, studying Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish), and travel (most recently to Buenos Aires, Argentina). I also have an 18 year old son (homeschooled from 4th through 12th grade) and two dogs (a boxer-mix and a Cairn terrier). I enjoy good coffee, easy hikes, and the greenery of the Pacific Northwest. While I greatly enjoyed working with students in my teaching career, I loved the 1-on-1 aspects of teaching and class discussion far more than I enjoyed the administrative aspects.
Please note, I am currently *only* accepting college application assistance (particularly personal statement prep), study skills, ESL conversation, and literature students. I also tutor SAT prep, but please read on for specific criteria.

Everyone has different needs when it comes to learning and I believe in assessment followed by an
Read more

24 hours notice required

Group lessons, homeschoolers, and classes: Please inquire.

Travel Radius
Travels within 15 miles of Vancouver, WA 98662
Background Check: Passed


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

"Excellent Reading Tutor!!"

- Laura, Roseville, CA on 6/7/10
Elementary Science
ACT English,
ACT Reading,
Public Speaking,
Reading, SAT Reading, SAT Writing
Test Preparation:
ACT English,
ACT Reading,
Career Development,
SAT Reading, SAT Writing
Special Needs:
Elementary (K-6th),
Elementary Science, Phonics,
Reading, Study Skills
Elementary Education:
Elementary (K-6th),
Elementary Science, 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.

ACT English

English is my specialty area, and I cover literature, reading comprehension, vocabulary (including prefixes, suffixes, roots), grammar, and writing. Standardized tests, whether the ACT, SAT, GRE, or any other general test all are basically the same at their core. Being prepared is as much about understanding the subjects being tested, as it is about understanding how to approach the test itself.

For all standardized tests, I teach both the subject matter, and test taking skills. We also review areas of special concern based on the student's needs, interests, and previous test experiences. For many students, anxiety is a key issue for standardized exams. I definitely will work with you to reduce anxiety.

ACT Reading

Reading is my favorite past-time. I read every day, and I encourage others to read as well. However, reading is about more than simply recognizing the words on the page. Reading is building understanding of groups of words, and how they relate to one another. For standardized tests, reading sections often cover comprehension, vocabulary, and other aspects of fluency. I use a variety of methods to teach reading skills including, but not limited to reading aloud with question-and-answer, practice test passages, discussion of types of reading material, and practice writing. Writing helps to enhance understanding when we read.

Standardized tests, whether the ACT, SAT, GRE, or any other general test all are basically the same at their core. Being prepared is as much about understanding the subjects being tested, as it is about understanding how to approach the test itself. For all standardized tests, I teach both the subject matter, and test taking skills. We also review areas of special concern based on the student's needs, interests, and previous test experiences. For many students, anxiety is a key issue for standardized exams. I definitely will work with you to reduce anxiety.


I have extensive experience working with children of varying ages who must cope with ADD and ADHD. For these children, organization and focus are a challenge that stands between them and learning. I focus not only on making sure that the content of what I am teaching is clear, but that my instructions are also clear. I have found that many children with ADD or ADHD often have difficulty with abstract or broad instructions. For these children, they need tasks broken down into very small and specific steps. Not only does this help clarify what is expected, but it takes advantage of their brief spurts of attention.

Recently, I helped a 13 year old boy with ADD to move up several grade levels in reading. Prior to that, I worked with a girl for several years on all academic subjects, and personal habits of organization (ex: how to organize her bedroom, how to interact socially, how to complete personal projects that involve multiple steps). Currently, I am working with a 10 year old boy who has never received B's and A's on a consistent basis in school. In the past, he was frequently in trouble at school as well. This year, with my help, all of his grades are B or better. His teachers have also commented on his ability to sit still for longer periods, his increased attention span, and his increased positive attitude.

I have completed continuing education credits in working with ADHD children as well.

Tutoring via Skype, phone, or e-mail:
I offer certain tutoring services by Skype, phone, or email. For adult learners, I offer tutoring for most subjects by Skype, phone, or email. The method of interaction would depend on your needs, and the particular coursework or project.

For high school students, I only offer email, Skype, or phone for composition and creative writing. Most recently, I completed a continuing education program called "Working with Students with Special Education Needs" which covered students with ADHD.

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)


Teaching English and all that it encompasses is my passion.

I work with my students to meet them where they are and to build them up or to help them get ahead. With past students this has meant focusing on literary analysis, improving basic writing skills, improving creative thought processes for creative writing, and much more.

Past students have:
* learned to actively engage in their English courses
* become avid readers
* gained several grade levels in writing ability
* mastered the art of written correspondence
* found connections between seemingly disparate reading materials

I hold and MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in New York, as well as a Bachelor's in Arts and Letters (heavy emphasis on English, art, and philosophy) from Portland State University in Oregon. My formal English teaching experience includes teaching:
* Creative Writing at Baccalaureate School for Global Studies in Queens, NY
* English 101 at Long Island Business Institute in Queens, NY
* Short Story (literature course) at Long Island Business Institute in Queens, NY

The bulk of my tutoring hours are built around two subject or category areas: study skills and English.


While teaching at Long Island Business Institute in Queens, NY, over 80% of my students qualified as ESL/ESOL. Most spoke Mandarin or Spanish, but other languages were represented as well. I also have worked with Russian and Ukrainian students.

I work with ESL students primarily in pronunciation, reading in English, and conversational skills.

I am able to work with students one-on-one or in small groups.

Past students seeking conversational tutoring have requested help with, among other things:
* basic greetings
* common social customs in the USA
* business English
* transactional skills (how to return an item at a store, how to talk a bank teller, how to request directions, etc)


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.

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)


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 rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $29.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Group lessons, homeschoolers, and classes: Please inquire.

Travel policy

Malea will travel within 15 miles of Vancouver, WA 98662.