Some of the best and most endearing cards I have received in my life are the hand written Thank You cards from happy pupils who have got into the school they have set their heart on aged 10 or 11. These wonderful children have worked incredibly hard in a very determined manner because they have to put in twice as much effort as their peers to achieve the same results. All I do is channel their energy in a focused way, so they make steady, secure progress.
Not all the children I tutor are aiming for independent schools or grammar schools, they just want to be helped to process words so that they can enjoy their time at school and to be able to sit down with a book and turn the pages because they can read the text like everyone else.
I assess all new pupils initially so I know precisely where to start from. I have developed my own set of worksheets and flashcards over the years. Each pupil is given an A4 file for them to keep their work sheets in, in individual plastic pockets. The files fill up very quickly. All the sessions include a taught spelling rule or letter group, self-read comprehension using the taught spellings, free writing using the taught spellings and writing from dictation. We may use flashcards of the spelt words in various ways to enhance multi-sensory uptake and/or the pupil may select actual letters from a placed alphabet, to make the words.
We discuss and I teach the use of grammar, and punctuation and I try to encourage the use of cursive script as early as possible to ease fluid processing.
I do not use assistive technology in our sessions. The best way for a physically able child to assimilate words is through hand writing the individual letters not tapping keys. And understanding where words come from by breaking up spellings into: stem words, prefixes and suffixes, leads not only to accurate spelling but also to the development of a wider vocabulary which enhances free writing and comprehension.
We usually laugh quite a lot for one reason or another, but a lot gets done! I don’t push children I only tutor children who are happy to come.