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About Us

Diane Talbot

Diane Talbot

For me, learning  is joyful, but I know that for many children and adults, learning to read and spell can be discouraging and stressful. I am passionate about helping children and adults be successful, so that school and learning can be an exciting and happy experience. I have been a teacher for nine years and a private tutor for seven years. I specialize in working with students who are dyslexic, dysgraphic, twice exceptional, gifted and talented, on the autism spectrum, ADHD, have auditory discrimination deficits, have low phonemic or phonological awareness or who have been identified with specific learning disabilities for an IEP. I enjoy working with challenging students because I see great potential in their spirit, creativity and uniqueness.

I have worked as a Learning Specialist (Mild/Moderate Special Education Teacher,) for 7 years. I have additional experience as a severe needs Special Education teacher for children with cognitive and behavioral disabilities and as an art teacher for twice exceptional kids.

I specialize in tutoring for reading and spelling difficulties, specifically for kids with low phonemic awareness, auditory processing deficits, dyslexia, dysgraphia, or what your school might call a Specific Learning Disability in Reading or Writing.

I tutor using an Orton Gillingham approach for reading and spelling, which is the method that is recommended by the International Dyslexia Association. See the links on our main page “Why Orton Gillingham?” for more information on OG methods. I am also trained in and use the LiPS program from Lindamood-Bell for those students who need extra phonemic awareness skills.

I am currently working on an intensive practicum in order to earn an Associate Certification in the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practioners and Educators (AOGPE), which entails 63 graduate level hours of instruction, 100 hours of supervised tutoring, 10 observations, extensive readings and a final case study. I have also used the Wilson Reading System and the Barton Reading and Spelling Systems, two other Orton Gillingham based methods, and have completed the Wilson System Introductory Workshop.

I have completed the Barton Dyslexia Screening course and am available for dyslexia assessment, consultation, professional development and public speaking.

Although I am not currently taking new math tutoring students, I support and collaborate with John Barnes, our Math Tutor, and administer the Diagnostic Interview to students, during which John observes the student and takes notes.  In in December 2013, I earned a Math Interventionist Certificate from Adams State University and continue to learn about and study math instruction and remediation.

I am a past member of the board for the Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities, where I was the editor for the Newsletter and facebook page. I am also a member of the International Dyslexia Association.

 

John Barnes

John Photo for Tutoring

I’m John Barnes. I’m a professional writer and college professor who has often worked in highly mathematical fields. I’m highly qualified in Colorado to teach grades 7-12 math: my recent PRAXIS score for secondary school math was 181 out of 200 (Colorado requires 152 for highly qualified). I’ve taught both high school (including Common Core) and college mathematics within the last few years, and as a substitute teacher I’ve also seen a fairly broad sample of middle school math and how it’s taught in Colorado (especially in charter schools).

I’m currently working on a book for parents about how to help children with the new curricula, Singapore Math Figured Out for Parents. Singapore Math is the math instruction method created by Dr. Kho Tek Hong in Singapore in the early 1980s; it was adopted in several other nations subsequently and is in use in the nations that top the lists in children’s math proficiency. In the United States it has a successful track record in academy-type charter schools, academically-oriented private schools, and gifted and talented programs. Singapore Math has also been a strong influence on the development of Common Core.

Because Diane Talbot, founder and owner of Tutoring Colorado (and my wife) was getting more math clients than she could handle, and because I wanted the experience of actually teaching Singapore Math methods one-on-one as a parent does, I agreed to take on some of her math tutoring students. Aside from the book research benefits (which have been many), I have also learned:

  • Dr. Kho designed Singapore Math to prevent and overcome the frustrating, too-common experience of “the wall” — where kids are “good at math” up to some point in the curriculum and then suddenly don’t seem to be able to understand anything further. As I’ve used his methods and techniques I have found that Singapore Math seems to be able to produce breakthroughs even for children who have been stalled for years; kids who had given up begin to like and learn math again. (This has also made me even more of an advocate for Singapore Math than I already was).
  • For kids to “get” math at the deep level that leads to enduring success, they need conceptual clarity: a real explanation of how it works mathematically, not just what marks you make on the paper. For them to be able to use that math in the rest of their education and work, they also need to be procedurally proficient: quick and accurate in basic calculations. Singapore Math is the one system of mathematics instruction that deliberately and effectively combines conceptual clarity with procedural proficiency. Most systems strongly stress one at the expense of the other, which is a sure pathway directly into the wall. Singapore Math equips students to build bridges into higher math, not walls against it.
  • If Singapore Math is going to drastically improve math instruction in the United States, as it has in so many other nations, parents will have to be able to understand it and coach it for their children. Thus a family-centered approach to tutoring math isn’t just a nice addition to what I do; it’s crucial to your child’s success that you be involved. I’ll be talking with you almost every week about what your child is doing, what it does for math ability, and how you can help.
  • The discovery that brings me here: I really love math tutoring, and hope to do more of it in the future. In my sessions, I focus on:
    • Helping ordinary kids find a way over or through the walls of fractions, long division, decimals, or beginning algebra.
    • Enriching and deepening curriculum so that twice-exceptional, gifted, or talented students can take maximum advantage of their abilities.
    • Most of all, helping blocked or stalled kids get unblocked, unstalled, and sometimes even liking math again.

Because it’s important for me to explain Singapore Math not only to your child, but to you, you may want to browse through the dozens of articles I’ve written explaining math to managers, at http://tinyurl.com/JohnBarnesAllAnalyticsBlogs. (I’ve worked extensively in several highly mathematical areas, most recently in marketing intelligence analysis, so I do know some answers to the perpetual question “but what will I use this for”?). On the subject specifically of math instruction, you can find some of my writing at http://tinyurl.com/JohnBarnesInformationWeekBlogs. If you look for blog pieces with “Singapore math” in the title you can find some longer pieces in my personal blog, http://thatjohnbarnes.blogspot.com.  (Please don’t worry about the adult content warning; I sometimes talk about adult subjects in my blog posts on other subjects, but I am rarely profane about mathematics!)

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