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How to prove you can teach better than many teachers

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I’ll start with a little of my history. I started tutoring with phonics in 1994. My 3rd student was reading at the 3rd grade level the summer before he started 6th grade. After 6 hours of phonics tutoring over the summer (eight 45 minute lessons), he was reading at the 6th grade level, but with only a bit of help could read more advanced things—like Scientific American. His parents did no phonics work with him during this time. The school would not switch to phonics, even for remedial students, even after discussions with this boy’s dad and seeing his amazing results. They also used some poor math programs. The dad moved to a rural school district, increasing his commute time by 30 minutes, so his son could be in a school that listened to parent input and used proven, effective methods of teaching.


Prior to this student, I had thought homeschoolers were crazy and had never considered homeschooling for my future children. But, this boy got me to thinking…why would I want to put my child in a school when I had just taught this boy more in 6 hours than he had learned in 6 years of school. How much of your other subjects can you really learn when you read poorly? Math you can mostly get by, but even math has word problems and written explanations of each new concept.


Several students later, I was determined to homeschool. After becoming a Christian in 1997, I had another reason to homeschool, and would have considered homeschooling even if the academics were not an issue.


So, when my daughter comes to me and says, the neighbor girl said I should be going to school, the teachers know more than you, I can tell her truthfully, “Actually, that’s not true. I have taught many children to read that the schools were not able to teach to read.”


When adults ask, I am more circumspect, but I do try to eventually bring up my remedial tutoring, how easy it makes teaching my daughter, and how many students I have taught that the schools have failed.


It’s really easy to do, I have 2 threads I have just written explaining how to teach remedial reading, one for profit thread and one volunteer thread. From my testing of hundreds of children from several different schools and school districts (I move a lot, my military friends move a lot), I have found that approximately 30 to 40% of public school students have some degree of problem with reading. I’ve never found a problem with a Catholic school student (I thought I did, but she transferred in from a school that used sight words), and have not yet found any from a Protestant or secular private school, but I only have tested a few children from these schools, and I know that some of them use sight words.


With the help of volunteers from my church, I taught a class of nine 3rd to 6th grade students who were having problems reading. The students’ reading improved, on average, 1.8 grade levels after only 2 months of teaching.


We taught them a shortened version of my phonics lessons, then we worked with them in small groups, playing my phonics concentration game, working out of Don Potter’s Blend Phonics Reader and Webster’s Speller. Most of the students also watched my online phonics lessons on their own outside of class. The class was normally 90 minutes of instruction time after school, 2 days a week for 2 months, less when they had been denied outdoor recess due to bad weather. (The school has no gym, so in rainy and cold weather when they didn’t get outdoor recess, we got a lot less accomplished.)


Most of the volunteers who helped had no experience teaching phonics, and all had learned to read with some degree of whole word methods. They did great! With good methods to use and a little instruction about the specific challenges of remedial students and how to overcome them, anyone can teach a remedial student to read.


So, there is a huge need for this teaching, it’s easy to do and easy to find students, and then you’ll be sure that you are able to teach not only your own children, but those that the schools fail.


Here’s how:


As a volunteer:


Giving back—a whole family ministry, volunteer remedial reading tutoring


For Profit:


Earning $ while helping people—remedial reading tutoring for pay

Edited by ElizabethB
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I'm glad you were able to help so many children who would have floundered for who-knows-how-long in schools that could not adjust to meet their needs (simple ones, like Learning To Read).


Thank you, on behalf of the society we share.


You're welcome. While I've helped a lot of children and a few adults, it does get discouraging to see the schools making students who need help faster than I can remediate them on my own.


So, this is my attempt to get more and more people out there remediating with me!


At least 2 of the 3 volunteers at my church are going to continue remediating students after I move this summer.


Also, as remediated students and their parents and those who teach them become aware of the dangers of sight words and whole word teaching methods, hopefully, eventually, some of the teaching methods that produce all these future remedial students will stop.

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