The Benefits of Working with Me

  • One-on-one personalized instruction the entire session: Your child will not likely receive this at a learning center. I worked at a local learning center and there were three children at various grade levels working on different subjects with a different teacher each session. At Temple Tutoring your child will not have the distraction of other students at the table or even in the same room.


  • Strong, proven curriculum designed for struggling learners: My reading program is based on the Orton-Gillingham approach and designed for all students, including those with dyslexia. The math curriculum I use has been the standard for over 30 years of excellence and provides a firm foundation for higher math skills.


  • Bite-sized, game-oriented lessons: Learning centers have one set curriculum they use for each child, no matter how they learn. I adapt each lesson to the child’s needs. I present the lesson in incremental steps at their learning pace and style. Since we review through games it doesn’t feel monotonous but gives the repetition struggling students desperately need.


  • The ability to address foundational gaps: Instead of just moving on to the next lesson, I have the freedom to focus on those critical areas, such as phonological awareness and basic math facts, for as long as the child needs.


  • Narrow niche=laser focus: Since I specialize in Kindergarten through third-grade level students I am able to focus on exactly what young children need when they are struggling at these math and reading levels.


  • Over 10 different hands-on activities available: Learning centers use a program on a tablet or a set of worksheets with very few, if any, hands-on learning tools. Most young children do not look forward to sitting at a table after they have been sitting at a desk at school most of the day. I have a room full of activities that engage the child physically while they are learning.


  • Picture-based learning for the right-brained learner: In addition to all of these hands-on activities which are perfect for kids who need to move or have ADHD, I also have over 600 words that use pictures and movements to remember them. The multiplication tables are taught through stories, also.


  • My tutoring comes from a true passion, not just a career choice: I strongly believe that I was created to help young, struggling learners. I have dedicated countless hours to preparing each lesson and adapting it to each of my students, and I will continue to do so as long as I am able.


  • Why should you choose me over another private tutor? With choosing a random tutor online you never know what you might get. It might be possible to find that retired teacher with 25 years of experience or you might end up with a college student who just needs to make extra money. Either person you choose may not have experience working with dyslexic students like I do. If all of the above reasons aren’t enough to convince you, at least schedule a free appointment to come see the tutoring room and meet me. At the same time, I’ll assess your child to see at what level to begin the program.

From Chaos to Calm with ADHD

February 29, 2012, we went from 11 years of a quiet house with just the two of us to foster parenting three children with a background of trauma, neglect, and abuse. From the minute those adorable three, four, and six-year-olds walked in our door it was chaos. There was no honeymoon period at all and no sense of timidness as they came to live with two complete strangers.  The chaos involved choking each other, hurting our Shih-Tzu, punching me in the back, and yelling for whatever they wanted. Welcome to parenthood. The books I read didn’t mention this!

One month later the same caseworker walked into our home in shock. She could not believe the three children sitting at our dining room table making crafts were the same that arrived in our home a month earlier. Even at McDonald’s, people would come up to me and ask how I got them to sit at the table and eat until they were finished before dashing off to the playground.

The answer was simply that that is what we did every time we ate. It was part of our routine. We sat at the table and ate when it was time to eat. They weren’t allowed to run around and play. They were taught that they needed food for energy in order to play, not that they were lacking in that area! They had endless amounts of energy.


I started with taking pictures of the children doing each of the things they did every day, such as brushing their teeth, eating a snack, bedtime story, pajamas. I put them in an order that made sense, printed them out with labels and put them on the wall at their eye level. Instead of constant reminders to brush their teeth, I would just say, “What’s next on your chart?” They loved seeing their pictures and they had a sense of security, knowing what was coming next.

I have no doubt that bedtime routines help with getting better sleep. Our three year old would often wake up and say, “Mama! Mama! I sleep goooood!” Better routines meant better sleep. Better sleep meant better focus for the day. The six-year-old boy was diagnosed with ADHD. However, he went from his Kindergarten teacher saying, “It would be a miracle if he moved onto first grade” (with about two months of school left). The miracle happened. He went on to first grade.

Whether it is for bedtime or for after school, routines are a life-saver.



My Favorite Reading Resource

Does your child avoid that long list of sight words he is supposed to memorize? A long list of unfamiliar words can be very intimidating to a struggling reader. This is why I love using SnapWords as much as possible in my reading program. These colorful cards have words with pictures embedded in them. The picture engages the child’s right brain and the body movement that accompanies the card creates more memory pathways in the brain.

The first step in the Orton-Gillingham method of teaching red words is to show the child the word and use it in a sentence. SnapWords enhances this step with pictures and movement to encourage comprehension! Then, they move on to the fine motor skills and then arm-tapping to learn to spell the word.

Another fun way to practice red words is to put a pocket chart over a sheet of metal. I bought mine from Home Depot in the plumbing section. I’ve also heard of using an oil drip pan for a vehicle. Then, have the child throw a strong magnetic dart at the words. Whichever word they land on, they get to read. Eventually, you’ll turn the words to the non-picture side and see how they have memorized the word! In the picture below I am even using SnapWords to reinforce phonetic words.

Start with SnapWords Assessment List A to see if it’s the right list for your child. Get the entire list of SnapWords on their website. There are 607 words!



Red Words Explained

One of the main goals of the Temple Tutoring Reading Program is for your child to be able to decode any word in the English language. To do this, they must have a solid understanding of each sound and letter combination. There are many details and rules to learn. We stay on each of these concepts before adding another until your child can recognize it in a word and read it fluently.

Because all of this takes so much time, yet is vital to reading, I also teach the most frequently written words in the English language in order of appearance. You might know them as “sight words” or “high-frequency words”. Since some of the words are non-phonetic (cannot be sounded out) or contain word parts that we have not yet learned, we call them “red words”. Red reminds your child to stop and realize these facts about the word.

When I teach a red word I first show the word to your child on a SnapWord card. This will help them see the whole word as a picture. Throughout the entire red word learning procedure, your child is also using his gross motor-concrete and fine motor skills-abstract.

The key to learning red words is reviewing them daily, so commit to making them part of your child’s routine. The procedure is to arm-tap (see video) each word once. The goal is to learn to read and spell each word.


How to Cultivate a Love for Reading

Reading is a struggle for your child. The school year is fast approaching and homework requires a lot of reading, even if it is just to answer mathematical word problems. Your child’s brain is so tired by the time they get home from school where they’ve been reading words on the board and at their desk, why would they want to pick up a book and read it on their own?

Cultivating a love for reading in your home requires purposeful action.

  • Make reading time something they anticipate.

There are plenty of great chapter books at the library downtown. Find one your whole family will enjoy. When your child sees you anticipating what will happen in the next chapter it will change their attitude. I know it can be exhausting trying to pretend you are motivated and excited about a children’s book when you have worked all day, but it is well worth it. When I’m teaching and my student is reading, I express the excitement of opening a Christmas gift in anticipation for the next page. My students catch that excitement and it takes some of the anxiety away from the effort to decode the words. We’re reading for a purpose–to see what will happen next! Your child’s attitude towards reading will affect their attitude toward their education and beyond for the rest of their life.

  • Make reading time part of your family’s routine.

Your child already brushes her teeth and gets ready for bed each night. Pair up reading time with something she already does each day. Read at a meal time or at night before bedtime, whatever works for your family. Talk about what’s happening in the book whenever you can. Children tend to remember what they enjoy. Reading can be such a positive way to connect with your child!

Repeat the First Sound You Hear

Phonological Awareness Activities are vital for beginning or struggling readers. I give the Phonological Awareness Skills Test to each of my students and focus on the areas of struggle in each session.

Here is a very simple one for you to do with your child in the car or at home.

Think of random words and have your child isolate and repeat the first sound in the word.

You: “Repeat the first sound you hear in the word cat.

Child: “/k/” If your child does not say the /k/ sound, say each sound by itself /k/ /a/ /t/ and then ask him to repeat the very first sound he/she heard. These activities take a lot more brain power for dyslexic children. It’s important to show patience with your child.

You: “That’s right! What is the first sound you hear in the word elephant?”

Child: “/e/” (short sound of e)

You: “You got it! Way to go!”

Keep saying other random words as long as your child is interested. Stop if you or your child get frustrated. The idea is to keep them interested in learning. If they enjoy it, they will want to do it again.