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I believe all students can learn. We just need to find the right ways to teach them. Not every student learns in the same way, so it is up to teachers and tutors to help students discover how they learn best. It is often hard to find this out in a classroom of 25 or more students, but with a tutor, students can often find out how they can become lifelong learners and enrich their lives in the process.

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Shannon’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Colorado State University - Bachelors, English

Graduate Degree: Grand Canyon University - Masters, Elementary Education


Scrapbooking, watching the Denver Broncos, camping, reading, writing, watching Netflix

Tutoring Subjects

American Literature

College English

College Level American Literature

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing


ISEE- Lower Level


Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing


Public Speaking

Spelling Bee


SSAT- Elementary Level

Test Prep


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that all students have the ability to learn, and with a growth mindset, all students can be successful at whatever they choose to do. I believe that differentiated learning is the key to helping students succeed in school, which is why I enjoy tutoring. I am able to provide 1:1 instruction, thereby giving each student exactly what he or she needs to excel.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

I would first get to know the student a little bit, asking about his or her interests and goals. I would find out what the student hopes to get out of our tutoring sessions so I can tailor my instruction toward what he or she needs and wants. I would also do some quick assessments to find deficiencies and gaps that need to be addressed in future sessions.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I use scaffolding to help students become independent learners. I start with providing students with structures that have been successful for students in the past, and then slowly remove those structures as students find out what works best for them. I also provide lessons that are of interest to students so they are motivated to learn on their own as much as possible. Finally, I provide many opportunities for students to show what they know so their confidence in learning is boosted.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

When students have difficulties with concepts, it is usually because they need a different instructional strategy. I would try a variety of instructional strategies until the concept clicked with the student. I would also provide scaffolding to help a student grasp a skill that would eventually be removed as the student is able to demonstrate the skill on his or her own.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

There are many ways to help students who struggle with reading comprehension. One of my favorite ways is to focus on visualization. I try to help the student "see" the text in their mind as they are reading. I also use questioning, previewing, inferring, readers' theater, and other proven comprehension strategies to help students understand what they are reading.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

The strategy that seems to work well when starting to work with a student is to build a relationship before jumping into content. This is because students need to feel comfortable with their teacher before they will work for him or her. Relationship building is the key to successful tutor-student sessions.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

When students are struggling in a subject, it's usually because they aren't engaged enough to want to learn it. I would find a real-life application for the skills they need to learn and engage them in solving a real-life problem that uses the skills they need to learn.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I use both informal and formal assessments to determine whether or not a student understands the material. I will ask the student to rate him or herself on how well he or she is understanding the material. I will use questions to find out for sure if they get it, and I will give quizzes and writing assignments to give them an opportunity to explain their thinking. I might also use unconventional assessments like video blogs, posters, presentations, or other performance based assessments to show understanding.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

I build a student's confidence in a subject by showing them what they already know. This helps him or her realize that he or she already has a lot of skills. From that point, I celebrate all achievements, no matter how small, to show students they are making progress. I also like using graphs that the students create to track their progress so they can see it in a visual format as well.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I am constantly evaluating a student's needs, because they change on a consistent basis. I start by giving both informal and formal assessments that help me identify the gaps. I also ask a student to evaluate what he or she is strong and weak in. This helps the student be more accountable for his or her own learning. When authorized, I also speak with the student's teachers to find out what are some identified needs.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I don't just use one style of tutoring. I find out what the student's learning styles are and I start there. If my tutoring style does not seem to be meeting the student's needs, I will change to something else. Students aren't all going to learn the same, and I need to adjust to them, not the other way around.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

I use a variety of materials, depending on what subject I am tutoring. I use tablets, computer, manipulatives, games, brain teasers, and worksheets for all types of skills. I try to limit worksheets, though, because the students I tutor typically don't learn well from them. I like hands-on activities better, as do most of my students.

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