- ages 8-12
Steps to Reading: small group sessions and individualized instruction for struggling readers
|Start / End Dates||groups meet once a week for four weeks, as needed|
|Class Size||1-4 learners|
|One-Time Reading Evaluation||$150|
|Four group sessions with targeted homework, teaching strategies and progress reports||$240|
Learning to read can be challenging and it’s a foundational skill for life. Some children understand the concepts easily, while others do not.
So when our child struggles, we worry. If they aren’t making progress, is it my fault?
And from the child’s perspective, they wonder why their siblings and friends find reading so easy. Is something wrong with them?
This happened to me and one of my daughters when we were homeschooling. I know the heartache.
When my three graduated from homeschool, I went back to school and earned a Master’s degree in reading instruction. From there I taught reading in public schools and now have a tool box of successful, research-based teaching strategies to share.
Let me help you.
- A one-time diagnostic reading evaluation will help me place your child in a group and chart their learning path.
- Reading groups are small (maximum 4) so I can target instruction and know if it’s working.
- Students can see they aren’t alone and offer encouragement to one another.
- You will get weekly emails with comments about group work, teaching ideas and homework assignments.
- At the end of the four weeks, you will receive a cumulative report and an optional one-on-one Zoom meeting to talk about next steps.
Read more about me and my teaching approach under the Instructor tab.
First, the Reading Evaluation
The first step into a reading group is a one-on-one evaluation.
When you enroll, you will be able to choose a one hour appointment time when I will meet with you and your learner via Zoom. During the appointment, I will get to know the student and test them to determine their needs and placement in a group. The evaluation includes a written report of their needs and teaching suggestions you can use in your homeschool.
- Once a week
- On Zoom
- 40 minutes long
- 1-4 students
- Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays
- Exact days and times will be determined by the participants.
Within 24 hours of each live meeting, I will email you with comments about your child’s progress and homework/teaching ideas for the week.
Struggling readers often do not want to spend time reading, so it is my goal to make this class as motivating and efficient as possible, getting to the heart of what is holding your learner back.
My assignments and teaching suggestions are designed to be simple and enjoyable.
- The desire to improve their reading ability
- A willingness to try and keep going even if it’s challenging
- Kindness for themselves and others
Students will be grouped with others who have similar reading abilities. Together they will learn what good readers do and practice the skills and strategies they need to progress.
Based on learner needs, we will cover the following topics:
- phonemic awareness
- comprehension strategies
- describing and evaluating the author’s craft
After each group meeting, I will send you an email with comments, reminders, and teaching suggestions for the week.
At the end of this four week session, I will provide a cumulative progress report and an optional Zoom meeting with the parents or guardians.
To participate successfully in class, learners will need the following:
- Microphone and camera for in-class participation
- Zoom (free account)
- Google Drive (part of a free Google gmail account)
- the ability to print materials on regular paper or cardstock
- a lined writing notebook of any kind
Jena Borah, M.S. Ed. (she/her) is a certified teacher with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education and Master’s degree in reading instruction. She has extensive knowledge of the science behind reading and teaching strategies to help struggling readers.
Hallmarks of her teaching philosophy include sequential and systematic phonics instruction, metacognitive comprehension strategies and linguistics, all in the context of student interests and internal motivation. She believes the Orton-Gillingham approach of multi-modal instruction can benefit all learners.
As a public school reading teacher, she has worked with students from kindergarten to 8th grade. All of them were at least one grade level behind their peers, and she has seen even the most reluctant reader begin to love reading and improve.
As a former homeschool mom, Jena knows what it’s like to have a child with reading difficulties as well as the 24 hour demand of being both mom and teacher. She also understands the unique mindset children develop as they learn at home instead of the classroom.
Her 18 years of homeschooling was guided by the idea “Maintain the joy of childhood and the joy of learning.” That meant tapping into their natural curiosity and facilitating their passions, something she called interest-led learning, with a bent toward unschooling. Today, all three of her children have college degrees and are successfully pursuing their careers.
After working a few years as a reading teacher in public schools, she is happy to be “home” again, using her skills and experience to help homeschoolers understand their struggling readers and offer practical ideas to guide their child in lifelong learning.
My Zoom-averse daughter looked forward to the weekly online meetings. Michelle does such a wonderful job at speaking with young people and guiding discussions. My daughter was motivated to work hard on her assignments and has asked to take another class from Michelle.
E.F.P.Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I really appreciated your enthusiasm, support, and kind words in your video feedback messages to him. That goes a long way! [Learner] is going to a brick and mortar school next year for the first time since fourth grade. We submitted the two papers he wrote in your class to the high school he applied to go to next year, and they recommended he start in Advanced English! Woohoo!
Jill G.Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
The video lectures were clear and packed full of helpful and important writing lessons. The video and written feedback was clearly personalized, very detailed, and extremely beneficial for my learner. Michelle truly demonstrates compassion and expertise in her classes!
Kristi R.Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I only wish we had found Michelle sooner! I’ve been homeschooling my son off and on for years. Writing is very challenging for him and it is so difficult to take feedback from a parent. I have begged so many of his teachers to please offer direct, concise, written feedback and give him the opportunity to revise. I knew this would be the only way he could improve. This class was everything I’ve been asking for for years…..except I didn’t have to ask! It is designed this way and it worked brilliantly! My son gets to attend an adventure school in the fall, but if we homeschool the following year, the first thing I will do is sign him up for whatever Michelle is teaching.
E.F.P.Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I really appreciate how organized the class was, how clear the expectations and guidelines were and how professional and encouraging the feedback delivery was.
DarceyTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I just want to take a few minutes to send a huge thank you for the way you deliver (have delivered) feedback to [Learner]. He tends to put a lot of pressure on himself and doesn’t often take feedback or constructive criticism well. You have managed to give him a boost of confidence and an opportunity to look inward to appreciate feedback from others. I’m so glad we found you! This experience is exactly what I hoped for in our homeschooling journey!
KarenTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
He was so invigorated and excited after today’s meeting. It awakens something in him he craves and can only get from discussions like the one today.
Bevin EarlyTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I especially enjoyed the final project for this class, which was something I had never tried before, using creative writing as a way to debate philosophy and contrasting view points. It was quite a bit challenging, ultimately leaving me satisfied with the ending result.
AnonymousTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
For us, this is “authentic learning.” We discussed how community college classes and other virtual online high school classes might be accredited and “weigh” a lot in terms of grades and credits, but SEA is where her mind and creativity are challenged and inspired. I’d like to emphasize the part about creativity. She felt invited to engage creatively. SEA classes are where the love of learning happens.
AnonymousTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
It’s great to see thought-provoking books chosen and to have my son experience such an inclusive environment.