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One on One Tutor Blog

The purpose of our blog page is to provide resources, ideas, and suggestions to assist parents in guiding their children as we believe parent involvement is the single most important part of a child's success in school and in life.

6 Year Old Can't Remember Letter Names

Thaddeus Falana M.ed - Thursday, July 14, 2011

From time to time, I like to tutor some of my students.  I think it is important for decision makers in education to be in the “front lines” so they can view education from the teacher’s perspective.  Yesterday, I tutored a 6 year old in reading.  I quickly noticed that after two months of instruction with his regular tutor, he was still unable to retain certain letter names and sounds.


I worked with him for an hour.  We spent the entire session yesterday working on the letter “F” which he previously spent a total of five hours working on with his regular instructor.  He completed a guided interactive lesson on the letter “F”; drew pictures of words beginning with the letter “F”; learned a song about the letter “F”; spent 15 minutes tracing the letter “F”.  However, after one hour of instruction on the same letter with two 5 minute breaks, he was unable to provide me the name of the letter. 


Obviously, I was a little distraught because this was my first experience working with a child that has such severe retention difficulty.  The majority of the remainder of my day was spent researching possible diagnosis for his learning difficulty and how to properly instruct him despite his hardships, since he did not have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in place from his school.


What I found was that he may be exhibiting early signs of a form of Dyslexia as there are many forms under this spectrum.  This form of Dyslexia affects the brains ability to retain certain information.  My research suggested that extra time be spent on one concept, teaching in a variety of ways to target all learning modes. 


Based on my research, we modified his individual learning path to double the instructional time for each unknown letter, provide ample reinforcement at home with his mother, and continue teaching to the different modes of learning. 


We will continue to document his progress in future blogs.  If you are an educator or a parent with experience dealing with a student exhibiting the same characteristics mentioned in this blog, please feel free to chime in below.

Does Your Child Struggle With Reading?

Thaddeus Falana M.ed - Thursday, June 02, 2011

By : Thaddeus Falana, M.Ed

Most of us do not remember how we learned to read.  To many of us, reading is a seemingly simple task that we do on a daily basis without much thought.  However, for many Americans, learning to read is a tedious task that takes a lot of time, effort, and systematic instruction. 

As an educator of 9 years, I have come across many school-aged students and adults with serious reading difficulty.  Many, over the years, have developed their own method of reading words or getting by unnoticed by peers, parents, and teachers.  These readers often rely on context clues or the use of illustrations. 

As many of us know, reading is a means to help us understand the world in which we live and indubitably a skill required for success.  Because of this, it is imperative for parents of school-aged children to monitor the reading progress of their child(ren) by assessing them at least twice a year.  Schools, and outside agencies such as One On One Tutoring Service in Philadelphia,  are able to provide this assessment.

Reading can be broken up into the following components:

ü  Decoding

The act of systematically turning written words into spoken words by matching written letter or letter groups to oral sounds. 


ü  Comprehension

The ability to make meaning out of written words.


ü  Retention

Retaining or remembering what has been read

Struggling readers usually have difficulty with decoding.  A student who has difficulty with this skill will have trouble reading words that they are not familiar with.  Difficulty with this skill is often found in students between the ages of 5 and 11. 

Students who are able to decode known and unknown words but still struggle with reading are often weak in the areas of comprehension and retention.  These students have a difficult time understanding word meanings (vocabulary), inability to connect ideas in a passage, differentiating between significant and minor details or connecting what is read to personal experiences.  Difficulty with comprehension and retention are usually found in students between the ages of 7 and 17

If your child struggles with reading, it is recommended that you seek the advice and help of a professional.  Testing and instruction can be done at One On One Tutoring Service in Philadelphia, PA.