Offering expert one-on-one reading instruction for students of all ages
If you are visiting my website, you likely have concerns about your child's literacy development. Read on to learn more about the Orton Gillingham method, my services, and how I can help.
I moved to Manhattan in 2015 after many years in the Portland, Maine area where I was a K-2 public classroom teacher, a private school academic support specialist, reading tutor, and educational consultant. During the pandemic, I returned to the mountains of Western Maine to a little town called Denmark. I now divide my time between Maine and NYC, offering hybrid virtual/in-person tutoring services to children in the NYC area as well as across the country.
I achieved initial certification as an Orton Gillingham practitioner through the Scottish Rite Masons Program/Children's Dyslexia Center in Portland, Maine. I am certified in the Orton Gillingham methodology through IMSLEC and the International Dyslexia Association. I am also a member of Learning Ally's Tutor Referral Network.
As a professional educator dedicated to improving the lives of my students by helping them learn to read and write effectively, I consider myself to be a life long learner in the field. I regularly attend the latest workshops and courses to stay abreast of current developments and refine the Orton Gillingham foundation of my practice through related methodologies. Teaching children to read and write is actually a highly complex task -- just as these skills don't come naturally or magically to most children, teachers must study continuously in order to be able to provide their students with the most effective instruction.
In 2017, I studied Dr. David Kilpatrick's critically important phonemic awareness work, designed to help children develop orthographic mapping skills. Until a child has a solid facility with each of the individual speech sounds embedded within a word, she will have a very difficult time remembering the letters and sequence of letters reflected in the word for both reading and spelling. I now assess all of my students in this foundational skill and add critical drills from Dr. Kilpatrick's methodology as needed.
In June 2018, I trained in Judith Hochman's Writing Revolution methodology through the Windward School's Teacher Training Institute. This enhanced my abilities as a writing instructor and provided me with new insights into how your child's writing informs her reading comprehension.
For over fifteen years, I have worked with dozens of dyslexic children and struggling readers of all ages, helping them to build both their literacy skills and self esteem. I believe that my successes with my students stem from the neuroscience underlying the Orton Gillingham method, along with my students' hard work and tenacity, the support of their families, and the fun and creativity I build into our work. No two students are the same, so I tailor lessons for the individual while still maintaining the core components of this underlying methodology.
Dyslexics and other struggling readers benefit from instruction that engages more than one sensory pathway. Teachers traditionally over-rely on visual input only when offering instruction. The OG method uses techniques that provide students with auditory and kinesthetic feedback to enhance memory.
Dyslexics and other struggling readers benefit from a scientifically grounded scope and sequence for instruction. Concepts are taught in a particular order, building on prior understanding of foundational concepts, rather than teaching to a particular piece of text.
Dyslexics and other struggling readers benefit from repetition to enhance memory. An OG lesson targets a particular concept or concepts using a number of different engaging fast paced activities all carefully designed to maximize retention and understanding.
Many parents struggle with this question, wondering about adding to the length and demands of their child's day. Here are some questions to consider: Does your child express that he "hates" reading? Does he struggle in class? Have difficulty with spelling? Confuse or misunderstand words? Mispronounce words? Have difficulty putting his thoughts into words? Does he struggle to understand what he's reading? Does he read slowly or laboriously? Does he seem frustrated or upset about reading/writing assignments in school? The answers to these questions are your first guide. Also consider what kind of help and instruction he receives during the school day. What are the limitations of that help? What kinds of interventions does the school have the ability to offer and how effective are those interventions?
One hour sessions are typically $150. There is generally no charge for time spent in brief on-going communication with parents and/or teachers.
Sessions are generally one hour long, and it is typical for me to see a student two times each week.
Over the past two years, I have adapted all of the elements of traditional OG work for use in a zoom format, through the use of google slides as well as hands on activities that I arrange for my students to have on their "side" of the screen.
In addition to getting background information from parents, I typically conduct informal assessments of my own during my first one to two sessions with a student. Those assessments give me an accurate idea of where we need to jump in with OG work, and what foundational concepts may be shaky for a student regardless of age or grade.
Some families come to me with a "formal" diagnosis of dyslexia following a formal comprehensive neuropsychologist's assessment of their child. Others have never had any assessments performed but sense that their child is struggling. I can offer guidance and support for families seeking more formal assessments and "diagnoses" through referrals to neuropsychologists. The good news is that OG instruction is highly effective for many different types of struggling readers: you needn't wait for a formal "diagnosis" to get the best help possible for your child. And we know that, actually, the earlier we help a struggling reader, the better the chances of a really successful outcome.
While all students are different, it is typical for me to work with a child for about two years, with occasional breaks for holidays and vacations. Dyslexia is like many other cognitive differences in that it appears on a spectrum. A severely dyslexic child is going to require support and interventions for a longer period of time than a child with very mild dyslexia. OG work is divided into a five layered scope and sequence. It is typical to find that a child will struggle reading conventional trade books until she has really mastered the content in at least the first three layers of that scope and sequence. That being said, many students come to me with phonemic awareness deficits that are holding them back. We can often target and strengthen these skills in a relatively short period of time depending on the student's profile.
In my experience, the answer to this question depends on two things. First, how old is your child? If you have a struggling kindergartener, I think in person sessions are preferable. I personally don't find on line platforms to be the best modality for very young students. Second, is your child comfortable with technology and do you have a strong, reliable internet connection and a relatively quiet distraction free setting for sessions? If so, I have found virtual sessions to be both highly effective and very convenient for students and families alike. I offer in person sessions to a limited number of students on the Upper East Side.