Do We Qualify for 2 Free Sessions?

sad boy doesn't know how to read words

This offer is for people who are looking for a reading tutor and are willing to consider online lessons. Most parents want to find out how my reading lessons work,  to see if they feel their child can work happily with me, before making a decision to proceed.

I offer prospective parents two free lessons to try it out and draw their own conclusions about whether they think I can help their child or not.

Unfortunately, using the free lessons are of little help to a child if the parent has no plans to hire a tutor, because there will be no follow-up, and the short time spent won’t add to the child’s skills. It’s not a good use of your time or your child’s emotions. On occasion it has even upset the child that they won’t be continuing to receive the help they need and often desperately want.

In the first lesson I evaluate your child, though it is completely unlike testing at school. It’s non-threatening, and often kids rather enjoy the attention. I will tell them that their only job is to tell me if they can or can’t read a word, and that it’s no problem if they can’t. All they need to do is tell me, so that I can find out what they know how to do and don’t know how to do. If they can read a few words I show, then we move on to a beginning reader book. If they can’t, we’ll talk about letters. If they can’t talk about letters, we’ll talk about a picture.

In the second lesson, I begin work on the issues I discovered in the previous lesson.

For more details, see my FAQ. You also might like to see what other parents have said about the work I’ve done with their child.

If you are interested in tutoring, please let me know about your child, and what your concerns are. I hope I can be of help.

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13 Ways to Raise a Reluctant Reader

boy has soccer violin school and more
To make sure that your child will never want to read, enjoy books, or love to learn, do follow all these tips! (I can’t claim credit—I’ve seen this several places on the internet and wasn’t able to find out where it originated. If you know, let me know, and I’ll be sure to attribute it.)

These make me laugh out loud. ;)

  1.  Never read where your children can see you.
  2.  Put a TV or computer in every room. Don’t neglect the bedrooms and kitchen.
  3.  Correct your child every time she mispronounces a word.
  4.  Schedule activities every day after school so your child will never  be bored.
  5.  Once your child can read independently, throw out the picture books. They’re for babies.
  6.  Don’t play board games together. Too dull.
  7.  Give little rewards for reading. Stickers and plastic toys are nice. Money is even better.
  8.  Don’t expect your children to enjoy reading.  Kids’ books are for teaching  vocabulary, proper study habits, and  good morals.
  9.  Buy only 40-watt bulbs for your lamps.
  10. Under no circumstances read your child the same book over and over.  She heard it once, she should remember it.
  11. Never allow your child to listen to  books on tape; that’s cheating.
  12. Make sure your kids only read books that  are “challenging.” Easy books are a  complete waste of time. That  goes double for comic books and Mad  magazine.
  13. Absolutely, positively no reading in bed.

Can Kids Actually Learn to Read or Improve Their Reading ONLINE?

smiling boy age 9 reads on laptop near garden

You bet they can!

Most of my students enjoy lessons on the computer much more than in-person tutoring. They don’t have to spend time in the car going to and fro, they are in the comfort of their own home, and in general we enjoy the work together.

Another reason it works is because I don’t teach reading the way most schools do! That has already failed your child. Over the years, I’ve created special ways to explain the small details about reading that confuse your child. Every child has different bits that he simply missed in the past. My job is to give them a coping skill to handle each of these.

We use online books. Music, including (clean) rap. Mnemonics. Silly sentences as reminders of the sounds of vowels. We read 1-on-1 and I show them a way to think it through at the very second trouble begins. Tutoring goes very quickly for both of us most of the time!

This stuff can’t be cloned. It can’t be done with a group who learn at different speeds and in different ways. It’s me and your child doing what works for him, tackling the small things, then eventually the larger issues.

Most kids who struggle have already failed or done poorly using the same old methods. They’ve had enough. They’re sick of it. Often they’ve shut down completely, and are sullen, unhappy, and refuse to read anything. I do all I can to change those feelings, both about themselves and about reading.

Why my work matters so much to me

I care because it’s a terrible situation for the child and the family. It breaks parents’ hearts, and it crushes the souls of children. I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to. I have worked wonders, and hope to work many more. At the very least, I want to help YOU find ways to make a difference for your precious child.

Maybe it would help you decide if you read some letters from actual parents whose kids worked with me.

Parents of Struggling Readers: Don’t Give Up!

a blue alien with popping-out eyes tries to start a campfire on an asteroid

Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s former prime minister once said, “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”

And this is especially true with struggling readers. But hang in there—we can get them through it!

Remember that rereading a book, a poem, or even a note or list is the best way to build automaticity, or reading without thinking about it. Reading something again helps kids get the words and concepts into long term memory. This then leads to better fluency, or reading smoothly and quickly.

Automaticity is key to good reading, and it is achievable by kids with reading problems. They may require more frequent rereading of books they try and like (or don’t like, in many cases!), and they may need more time to gain the automatic recall of the words involved, but they can get there.

The important thing is to keep reading front and center. Read menus with your child. Read recipes. Read cereal boxes. Read bits from the newspaper. Read  the lyrics to favorite songs. (You can find the lyrics to almost anything these days by typing lyrics + “song title.”) Write them notes about things that are important to them—an upcoming birthday party, or something special that they are looking forward to.

Most important of all, of course: read books. Remember that just because your child can’t read something at their grade level, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t understand it if read by you or a friend or sibling. With kids who are behind, it’s so important to keep building their vocabulary and undertanding of ideas in other areas so that once we do get them reading, they won’t have so much new material to learn that they give up.

If possible, once your child has mastered a book, however short, however easy, find ways for him to read it to others: grandparents, a friend of yours, a younger child across the street. Reading something he knows well again and again will build confidence, and yes, build automaticity. 

It can be done, moms and dads. I know how hard it is to continue to hope, to try to help, and to constantly run into closed doors and see your child put up walls against reading.

Try to get help for your child. Reading problems don’t solve themselves, as you’ve already learned. Too often the child won’t cooperate with help from a parent. For some, assistance may come from the school, but you’ve probably relied on the school already and haven’t gotten an answer. For others, homeschooling may seem doable, and it may help. For some children, though, professional help is needed.

For my students, our 1-on-1 intensive time is the thing that finally turns them around. That is why I teach online. That is the the service I provide. That is why I would like to work with your child.

Sadly, I know that many, many families can’t afford tutoring. It breaks my heart to think of so very many kids out there hurting, and the pain their parents are feeling as well. I can only encourage you, if it is humanly possible, to save money and find a quality tutor.

I’m willing to take students on a part-time basis if you can only afford a lesson once in a while. We use the time slots that come up when kids are sick. It isn’t the best thing to do, and it won’t be the solution, but it could help. Let me know if you are in this situation. I don’t provide the free lessons, but I will give you the 25% off for the first two weeks. I wish I could do more. Please mention in your note that you are only interested in part-time lessons.

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Tips for Struggling Readers from the Online Reading Tutor

 laughing young girl reading with feet up and head down

  • Did you know that the amount of talk and discussion that goes on in a home is directly related to a child’s vocabulary and reading ability? And to discuss books you read with the child (often!) can DOUBLE the chances for success. COOL!
  • Give your child time to think about a story, and then ask him or her about it again a few days later. This exercises their “long term memory” (or long term recall) and helps them learn and retain knowledge in any subject as they come across it.
  • Make connections. When you’ve read about something in a story and later see something that reminds you of it, mention it to your child and make the connection between them. This shows your child how to make connections too, and gets those neural pathways forged and reinforced in the brain. Result? A kid who can find connections all around him, which helps build knowledge and understanding.