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Summer Tutoring in Reading and Math at Windy Row

Summer is a time for fun and the Windy Row Summer Program is set up for fun plus real progress in reading and math.

From our very first summer session, learning became a joyful adventure. The proof? After camp, students eagerly headed home to practice some more!

We have two Summer Programs. Our 4-4-4 program is held for four weeks in early July to early August. It is held four days a week and four hours a day (including lunch). Along with reading and math tutoring, we have lots of group and outdoor activities. We also offer individualized tutoring to fit a family's complicated summer schedule.

Any child who is struggling with reading or math; is a former or current student of Windy Row; or who is falling behind in school because of a reading or math challenge is eligible to apply to the Windy Row Summer Program. Our Summer Program has attracted families who are vacationing in the Monadnock Region and has been recommended by other dyslexia centers in New Hampshire and outside the state. Our goal is to strengthen skills learned over the school year and to add on new skills, as well as continuing the Windy Row tradition of giving students confidence in their ability to succeed.

Windy Row's program is based on the world-renowned Orton-Gillingham method; however, we are not limited to Orton-Gillingham and have other methods at our fingertips. Our primary goal is to give children the help they need, not to box them into a particular method. In the summer, we may offer executive functioning strategies to help with organizing and prioritizing skills; and occupational therapy to help children with the fine motor skills needed for writing.

Do you know a child at home or at school who is struggling with reading or math? Windy Row Learning Center is here to help.

Email or phone us today at 924-7198.

Math and English Tutoring: How Parents Find Windy Row

Here at Windy Row Learning Center, we receive requests for information about our reading and math tutoring from parents who have found us in many different ways:

  1. Many parents have found our website by searching on the internet for local reading tutoring or math tutoring, dyslexia or other keywords.
  2. Teachers often recommend Windy Row if they see a child struggling with reading and math. Most heartwarming, those teachers often attend our tutor-training program so that they can bring Orton-Gillingham teaching skills into their classrooms and help every student.
  3. Other, more remote dyslexia centers in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and other states recommend Windy Row for our school year or summer tutoring programs.
  4. Word of mouth is a great source of referrals to Windy Row. When we have successfully helped one family's child, that family is eager to tell others about our program.
  5. Articles in newspapers and magazines attract queries. Windy Row has been featured many times for the grants we receive, for our innovative One-in-Ten program, and for our achievements in helping children in the Monadnock Region.

We monitor our telephone and email, so that even if no one is at the Windy Row Learning Center to immediately answer your call or email, you will receive a response very soon. We are eager to share information about our program and to settle any concerns you may have. For example, many parents are concerned about whether their child will fit the program (answer: we interview and test to make sure), if they can afford our services (answer: we have a sliding scale and financial aid), if they need a formal diagnosis of dyslexia or dyscalculia (answer: no), and so on. No question is too sensitive or too weird--reading and math challenges affect the whole family and we are here to help.

Did you know that Windy Row has a quarterly newsletter that is filled with information about our tutoring programs and about reading and math challenges? If you or someone you know would benefit from that newsletter, please send us your email address. 

Did you know that Windy Row regularly has a booth at Peterborough's Wellness Festival in the fall? If you have questions about our program or about reading and math challenges in general, please visit us at our booth.

Did you know that Windy Row's One-in-Ten program is helping teachers to understand, recognize and respond appropriately to dyslexia and dyscalculia? If you are a teacher who wants to know more about reading and math challenges and how Windy Row can help, please phone us at 924-7198 or email us for information about the One-in-Ten program.

Windy Row receives referrals for math and reading tutoring from many different sources and answers questions by phone, email or in person. Please feel free to contact us with your questions or concerns.

Reading and Your Child: May 6, 5:30 p.m. at River Center

If a child you know is having trouble with reading, you'll want to attend this talk on reading challenges at the River Center, 44 & 46 Concord Street, Peterborough, New Hampshire, on May 6 at 5:30 p.m. Stephanie Hood, a long-time New Hampshire special education teacher and case manager with a Master's degree in education from Antioch University will discuss the signs of reading challenges like dyslexia and what steps parents and educators can take to help children who are struggling with reading. She will also discuss writing and math challenges.

Stephanie is leading the 1-in-10 program of Windy Row Learning Center, to bring more information to educators, parents and the community about reading challenges like dyslexia. All too often, problems with reading are misdiagnosed as laziness, attention disorder or developmental problems. Sometimes, because children with reading problems are often very bright, the children manage to hide their inability to read from teachers and parents by memorizing or finding other ways to cope.

Stephanie will answer questions and hopefully reassure families. Questions may include:

  • My child seemed to keep up with his class until third grade and then everything fell apart. Why is he suddenly having trouble now?
  • I know my child is smart but she isn’t reading. I don’t want to label her with a learning or reading disability if she doesn’t have one. How do I find out?
  • My daughter always struggled with reading and now my granddaughter says she hates to read. What can I do to help my granddaughter?
  • My son is only in kindergarten. I know he’s behind the other children in reading but don’t boys just naturally read later than girls?

The River Center can be reached at 603-924-0935.

Windy Row Learning Center is dedicated to helping children learn to read; and this presentation is given in that spirit. The Windy Row Learning Center can be reached through this website or at 603-924-7198. 

Top 10 Myths about Dyslexia

1.       Dyslexia is rare. Reality: As many as 1 in 20 children have reaching challenges.

2.       Dyslexia is about turning letters backward. Reality: Reading challenges present in many ways, including an inability to connect the sounds of words with their shapes and an inability to understand the order of words in a sentence

3.       Dyslexia is about not being able to read at all. Reality: Children with dyslexia can usually read at a 1st or 2nd grade level but then they stall, and that level of reading is not sufficient in today’s world. We had one student who could read the word “the” and nothing else.

4.       Dyslexia is easy to spot. Reality: Yes and no. Children have problems saying the alphabet in order, they will spell the same word two different ways in the same sentence, they will pronounce a word two different ways in the same sentence, they have trouble following directions. But children are clever at hiding these problems and some have found their own work-arounds that enable them to disguise their inability to read.

5.       Dyslexia is forever. Reality: Yes and no. Dyslexia is a neurological condition, a glitch in the way the brain processes words. But the brain can be retrained and techniques to get around dyslexia can be learned and that is what Windy Row does through one-on-one tutoring.

6.       Dyslexia is new. Reality: Until a few hundred years ago very few of us could read—there was no such thing as universal education—and the ability to read was not expected. It’s reading that is relatively new.

7.       Dyslexia is rarely misdiagnosed these days. Reality: At Windy Row, we often see students who are misdiagnosed with ADD or a learning disability other than dyslexia. One reason dyslexia is often misdiagnosed as attention deficit disorder is that it’s really hard to pay attention in school when you can’t read.

8.       Dyslexia condemns you to a life of low-income jobs. Reality: A recent study discovered that 30% of all successful entrepreneurs, with multi-million dollar companies, were dyslexic, some of them profoundly dyslexic. Many successful actors, painters and other creative people are dyslexic—the need to find other ways to communicate stimulates creativity and problem solving.

9.       Children with dyslexia have no options in the Monadnock Region. Reality: Windy Row offers specialized afterschool tutoring to help children with dyslexia. In fact, we attract queries from VT and ME and have several summer students from families who vacation in this area from other states.

10.   Windy Row is only for children with dyslexia. Reality: We help any child with a reading (or math) challenge even if the child hasn't been formally diagnosed with dyslexia. We usually see these children when they fall a year or two behind in school work but that is also not a requirement. If you are concerned about your child’s reading or math, contact us.

Bullying and Learning Disabilities

Any child who has challenges in reading, writing, math or other academic areas may be exposed to bullying by other children. Unfortunately, adults may also become bullies by repeatedly accusing the child of not trying hard enough or "goofing off" on purpose, without realizing or respecting the underlying struggle.

One of the cornerstones of Windy Row Learning Center is that we understand and support each and every child in acquiring reading and math skills in whatever way best suits the child. Windy Row is a bullying free zone.

But if your child is being bullied because of learning differences, you may be wondering how to help. An excellent resource is the StopBullying site created by the US Department of Health & Human Services. It contains information for victims and observers of bullying of every age, including how to respond to bullying as the victim or the observer. It guides parents on talking about bullying, whether it occurs online or in person; lists the warning signs that a child is being bullied or is a bully; suggests courses of action; and explains why children may not ask for help.

With all the news about bullying, it is also important to remember that most children and most adults are kind. They react better if they understand a problem rather than being left to guess about why a child is different.

It helps if your child understands what a reading or math challenge means; that it is only one part of life; and that everyone struggles with something. The Dyslexia Association of Ireland has excellent advice on talking to your child about dyslexia. The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity makes the point that acknowledging the source of reading and math challenges may relieve the child as much as the parent. If adults in your circle need help handling your child's diagnosis, you may want to refer them to these sites and to the Windy Row Learning Center website for more information.

Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Time Management

Children with reading and math challenges often have problems with time management. They do not have a firm concept of the passage of time or how one set of actions affects another; they may have trouble following age-appropriate directions or figuring out how much time they need to complete a task. In addition, working on reading or math homework is exhausting, because it takes longer and requires more energy. Children may become overwhelmed with homework and unable to complete projects "on time."

Here are a few ways to help:

  1. Divide tasks into small pieces, so they are not so overwhelming. 
  2. Because homework can be daunting, set a goal of finishing part of the task (one paragraph, a few questions) or working for a set time (10 or 20 minutes), and then take a break to allow the child to recover.
  3. Set a timer for well before the next new task has to begin. The timer tells the child that now he or she has to start winding down the old task and prepare for the next task.
  4. Give specific instructions. Instead of a generic order like "get ready for bed," try saying, "put on your pajamas;" when that task is done, go on to the next task ("brush your teeth") and so on.
  5. Keep to a regular schedule as much as possible. If your normal day is chaotic, your child will have a harder time with time management.
  6. Provide more time. Rushing is very stressful for anyone with time management problems. 
  7. Take advantage of your child's computer or cell phone to set up a calendar and automatic notification of what will be happening each day ("when you hear the ding, we have to get ready to leave").
  8. Talk to teachers about your child's challenges and see if you can arrange for more time for tests, fewer questions to answer on homework, printed rather handwritten assignments or an oral exam.
  9. Don't over-schedule. As important as it is for children to have a variety of activities, children with dyslexia and dyscalculia need time to recoup energies. Downtime is important.
  10. Train yourself to be patient. When I'm waiting for someone with time management issues, I pick up a book!

Do you have some favorite techniques that you have used to improve and deal with your child's time management issues? Please let us know so that we can share those techniques with other parents.

As always, Windy Row can be reached by info [at] windyrow.org (email) or phone.

Dr. Cheryl Orcutt, Executive Director of Windy Row

Dr. Cheryl Orcutt has served as the Executive Director of Windy Row Learning Center since its foundation in 2003. In 2014 she received her doctorate in Educational Leadership, with an emphasis on curriculum and planning in reading and math programs. "In education," she said recently, "you go to seminars and workshops that help you envision the future--you are always furthering your education and made aware of the importance of keeping current with professional developments in reading and math."

The reading and math tutoring that Windy Row provides has a broad impact on children's lives, Cheryl explained. "It's about problem solving. Difficulties in problem solving are often problems with language, figuring out 'what is the question?' Children need to be able to problem solve in all sorts of ways."

However, she emphasizes that not all problems with reading and math are long-term. "You need to keep an eye on it," she suggested, "because if it is a problem, then the earlier it is addressed the better. Problems with reading can show up before kindergarten when children have difficulty if you ask them to show you four fingers. By first grade they're expected to do addition and subtraction and if they are still lagging in grade two, they." Symptoms of a reading challenge can show up kindergarten, with difficulty in saying the alphabet in order. Both math and reading disabilities may also show up as difficulty in following oral instructions that other children seem able to follow.

Cheryl's thesis focused on collaboration within schools between regular and special education in addressing reading challenges. "In the best case scenario," she said, "there is a seamless system of regular and special education and tutoring, where everyone collaborates to help the child."

At Windy Row, Cheryl supervises 4 tutors and also tutors children herself. She speaks with prospective parents about their concerns for their children and handles enrollment.

In addition she runs the summer program at Windy Row (which is accepting applications now) and also teaches a tutor training course.

Dr. Orcutt can be reached by info [at] windyrow.org (emailing) or phoning (603-924-7198) Windy Row.

Parents of Children with Reading or Math Challenges: Helpful Resources

As a parent or guardian, you are your child's advocate. Sometimes that advocacy seems frustrating, confusing and very lonely. At Windy Row Learning Center, we try to support parents as they reach out to us for information about resources and ways to help their child. Here are a few sources of information to help you on your journey:

  • 5 Important Things to Do During an IEP Meeting is a reminder that you are part of a team, and asking for your rights as a parent--for clarification of terms, for time to think things over--is asking for what you deserve.
  • Dyslexia Action has a list of books for beginning readers that are filled with repetition (to reinforce words) and delightful for adult and child to enjoy together.
  • Time management enables children to increase their enoyment of reading; children with dyslexia often grow tired from reading and need more time to absorb content. (We'll talk more about time management in an upcoming blog.)
  • The International Dyslexia Association has a lot of information, including the fact that Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase to the association, at no cost to you.
  • If you prefer to donate locally so that children in the Monadnock Region can receive the gift of reading, click here.
  • The New Hampshire branch of the International Dyslexia Association also has important information on dyslexia and teaching approaches.
  • The Dyscalculia Association has similar information about math challenges.
  • For more great information, follow Windy Row on Twitter.

Windy Row Learning Center in West Peterborough, New Hampshire, welcomes questions from parents, guardians, teachers and other family members who are not sure if a child has dyslexia or dyscalculia, but would like to discuss options. There is no need for a formal diagnosis before you contact us. Feel free to either call or email; you should get an initial response within 24 hours. We look forward to hearing from you.

New Research into Dyslexia

The New Yorker recently (February 11, 2015) published an article on the latest research into dyslexia, including the connection between dyslexia and executive functioning.

These studies have indicated that the first three years of reading, from kindergarten to grade 3, are the years where the greatest strides can be made to overcoming reading challenges. The potential for reading problems can be observed even in pre-schoolers who have trouble with concepts like first and last, cannot sing the alphabet song in any sort of order, or have trouble following directions in games that their peers can follow, among other indicators. 

To help parents and educators recognize potential reading problems, including dyslexia, as early as possible, Windy Row has created a workshop that explains the dynamics of dyslexia, including strengths (such as creativity) that come with reading challenges, and explains how educators can best help children in the classroom. This workshop, which includes the latest research, is about 1.5 hours long and can be given to groups of any size (a minimum of 10 people). If you or your organization is interested in the latest research and techniques for recognizing and responding to reading challenges, please info [at] windyrow.org (contact) Windy Row. We will arrange to come to a convenient location for your group. 

Our goal is to make sure that the latest information is available to parents and educators to benefit the many children who are undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or struggling in silence to keep up with their grade level in reading. When a child cannot read, school becomes a very unhappy place and the original problem becomes overlaid with emotional and behavioral issues. 

If you are concerned that a child you know may have a reading challenge, including dyslexia, please reach out to Windy Row Learning Center. We offer after school and summer programs based on one-on-one individualized tutoring; there is no need to wait until September to begin. Contact us any time by phone or email.

How Attitudes toward Dyslexia Have Changed--or Not

Some attitudes toward dyslexia and other reading challenges have not changed. Even today, the real problem of dyslexia is often been lost in the jargon, because so many synonyms are used to describe reading challenges. It is often common to blame reading problems on laziness or ADD (which can be addressed with drugs). At Windy Row, we have met children who have spent years unable to read while they were "treated for" behavioral, psychological and developmental issues--trapped in programs that addressed the symptoms and not the cause. 

However, there have been profound changes in attitudes toward dyslexia. Parents and teachers are much more aware that at least 10% (and as many as 20%) of all children have a reading challenge. But more importantly, they are becoming aware that these children are some of the brighest and most creative. Children with dyslexia struggle to make the connections required for reading, but they make other connections that the rest of us miss.

Consider this statistic: 33% of successful entrepreneurs are dyslexic. Many actors, researchers and artists have overcome huge reading challenges to become leaders in their professions. Dyslexia does not need to be a barrier to success in life.

Another change is the recognition that reading challenges can be caught very early--even before kindergarten--and that one-on-one specialized tutoring can turn reading-is-a-struggle into reading-is-a-joy.

New insights into dyslexia (and dyscalculia, the math equivalent) are being made that advance both identification and the methods used to teach children to read. 

info [at] windyrow.org (Windy Row Learning Center )in West Peterborough, NH, is proud to contribute to the changing attitude toward reading challenges with our articles, blogs, website, tweets and other outreach programs. Please let us know how we can help your struggle to change attitudes. 

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