Tutoring is…

  • One-on-one, interactive meetings between a tutor and a student
  • Hands-on learning with just the right amount of review and practice to master each new concept
  • Individualized and paced to match your child’s specific learning needs
  • And in the online tutoring situation, it is all accomplished from the comfort and convenience of your home

You can find out more about online tutoring by watching my tutoring demonstration.

My Teaching Methods

I have been tutoring students one-on-one with the Barton Reading and Spelling System tutor since 2005 and am certified at the Masters Level. Recognizing the uniqueness of each student, I seek to quickly establish rapport and work at building a strong relationship and positive learning environment. Using a variety of games and activities, I am able to help each individual student achieve success at their own skill level and pace.


As a teacher, I have seen first-hand that the reading process doesn’t come naturally for all students and that all students do not learn at the same pace. Some students need a different approach and very specific instruction from the most basic level in learning how to break apart the sounds in words (segmenting) to spell – and to put the sounds together (blending) to read words. Some students have a good visual memory and have learned to read, at least to a certain level, because they have memorized many words. Their reading growth suffers or stops, however, because they haven’t learned the strategies and decoding skills necessary to break apart and read words that they haven’t seen before.

The multi-sensory approach that I use to teaching reading and spelling is especially beneficial for students with dyslexia or other learning differences but this approach is helpful for all students. The one-on-one approach offers the student just the right amount of instruction and practice before moving on to another concept. My individualized tutoring services go far beyond what the classroom, small group instruction, or a homework helper is able to offer.

The Barton Reading and Spelling System and Orton Gillingham

The Barton System is one of several Orton Gillingham (OG) based systems. OG based systems are research-proven and continue to be the most widely used approach to effectively teach dyslexic students to read and spell. OG methodology is also known as structured literacy. Each lesson includes direct instruction in a specific sequence to gradually move a student from a basic understanding of letters and sounds to being able to read and spell increasingly more complex multi-syllable words in a variety of texts.

The Barton System, as well as other OG programs includes all the elements of effective reading instruction including:

  • Phonological and phonemic awareness which includes rhyming, clapping syllables, and the ability to break apart words into their individual phonemes (or sounds within the word)
  • Sound and letter association (or phonics) for reading (blending the letter sounds together) and spelling (segmenting the whole word into individual sounds)
  • Syllable instruction that focuses on the 6 basic types of syllables in the English language
  • Morphology which includes the study of base words, roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
  • Basic grammar and punctuation
  • Vocabulary and Comprehension

A Typical Barton Lesson

Within each Barton lesson, whether in person or on-line, the student is actively involved with words and their sounds. The lessons are designed to purposely connect reading and spelling instruction. Whether tutoring in-person or on-line, each lesson begins by teaching a new concept or skill at the word level – first with color-coded letter tiles and then in print on the computer screen (or on paper in an in-person tutoring situation). The lesson continues at a phrase level, moves onto a sentence level, and finally the lesson’s concepts are presented in several short stories. Ongoing review of previously learned skills is incorporated along the way. With each step, the student practices accuracy and fluency of words that contain the new concept.

High frequency sight words are also taught – both for reading and spelling – in a logical sequence that matches their frequency of use in the English language. A variety of multi-sensory techniques are used to help each student attain mastery with these “word tricksters.”

Assessments are used periodically to ensure mastery of concepts and materials and when needed, specific concepts are reviewed or re-taught before moving on to more advanced concepts.

Educational reading and spelling games are added into the lessons as needed, to offer a fun and motivation way to review and reinforce the new concepts being learned.

Time and Financial Commitment for Student Success

I work with my students year-round so that their learning gap can be closed as quickly as possible. Depending on the severity of the students difficulties and their current level of skills, tutoring can take from 2-4 years, or even longer in some cases, before the student has caught up to their grade level.

Tutoring sessions are scheduled a minimum of twice each week in 50 minute sessions.

I prepare a contract that outlines the student’s specific tutoring times each week and the commitments we make to each other. Contracts are signed by the parents and myself for a 3-9 month commitment and then renewed as needed.

My tutoring rate is $50 per 50 minute session and billed on a monthly basis. Payment can be made with cash, check, or via a PayPal payment.

More about the online tutoring option

Changes in technology and a worldwide pandemic have advanced online video meeting capabilities, allowing for an online tutoring option that replicates face-to-face tutoring very closely. Since our move to Iowa, all of my tutoring is now done in an online environment.

I use Zoom.US as my tutoring platform. Zoom allows me to see my student, interact with them, and also share my computer screen, including giving them joint control over the mouse. A combination of tools and software programs are used to create an experience that involves the student as if they were sitting across the table from me.

Minimum technology requirements:

  • A computer, PC or Mac
  • An strong internet connection – broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
    Recommended bandwidth is at least 1.2 Mbps (upload/download). You can run a speed test  at www.speedtest.net to determine your network bandwidth.
  • A webcam – built-into the computer or via USB plug-in  
  • Speakers and a microphone – built-in, USB plug-in, or wireless Bluetooth
  • Earbuds or Headphones – to eliminate possible feedback