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I like to build on student successes. Every student can learn and should feel successful. I find that first developing rapport with students and ensuring that they know that I am there to give them the tools to achieve is critical, and motivates them.

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Virginia’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Kentucky - Bachelors, English

Graduate Degree: University of Louisville - Masters, Master of Arts in Teaching

Tutoring Subjects


Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing


English Grammar and Syntax

GED Prep

GED Math

GED Reasoning Through Language Arts

GED Science

GED Social Studies

High School Level American History



Middle School Math

Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension



Social Studies

Test Prep

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My philosophy is to involve the student in order to relate what we are working on to them. I meet students where they are, and use their strengths to build new skills. I focus on what they are learning and new skills they develop to highlight successes.

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

I get to know the student, his/her interests and hobbies, how he/she feels about school, where they feel they are successful, and where they feel they struggle. I also like to see assignments/tests/quizzes/textbooks to help determine what we need to work on, on an ongoing basis so that what we do can complement the classroom instruction.

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

There are several "Good Reader" strategies I use. The first involves fluency. If students are struggling with fluency, they will struggle with comprehension. This may involve focusing on phonics concepts, practicing reading a passage several times out loud, and rereading the passage focusing on particular vocabulary words that are difficult. Before reading, I like to discuss the general topic (turning the student's brain towards the topic), and how that topic might relate to them-- what experience they might have had that is similar, what background knowledge they bring, etc. During reading, we may often "chunk" the text, reading part of it and then discussing it, drawing story maps or graphic organizers to help keep it clear, and discussing anything that is confusing. After reading, I will have them restate the story elements (and we might create a graphic organizer for those elements), and they may write or in some way display their understanding.

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

I have found the best way is to simply help them feel successful. As they feel they master it, they become more excited and interested in it. I do this by working on skills they are comfortable with and then using those skills to build new ones. Often, if they are not yet ready for the skills being taught in the classroom (or the level of reading), filling in those gaps helps them understand what the classroom teacher is working on. I find that once they begin to feel successful, it becomes self-fulfilling. Relating skills to their lives, and showing them how they can be useful is also a good motivator.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

With simple activities. I begin with the materials the classroom teacher has used and classroom/homework performance. These often provide a lot of information. When dealing with reading, having students read out loud and asking questions can also prove a good evaluation. I also ask the students what they feel confident with and what causes them to feel frustrated.

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

I look for skill gaps that need to be addressed. If a student is struggling with passages at a particular level, I find others with which they feel more comfortable and successful. With math, I look at where they are having difficulty and focus on those specific skills (for instance, deficits in basic fact knowledge may be causing them to have incorrect answers in higher-level math problems, although they know the higher-level concept).

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

It depends on the subject. I do like having the school's materials available as it can guide what I will do. I choose a skill, and I like to have manipulatives for math. I will provide various reading materials as well.

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