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FAQ--Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my child is dyslexic?  Can you test to determine this? 

 We do not provide psychoeducational assessments and  cannot legally determine or diagnose dyslexia.   We can, however,  provide you with a list of characteristics typical of dyslexia. Generally, parents recognize many or most of them in their child.  You can and should discuss this matter with your pediatrician initially, and arrange to have your child's vision and hearing tested, to eliminate the possibility of visual or auditory acuity problems.

You may choose to seek further testing ( a psychoeducational assessment)  to determine if there are truly learning problems that are affecting your child's academic performance. We are happy to provide you with names of professionals such as psychologists and educational diagnosticians (found on the Provider List of the International Dyslexia Association) who are qualified to perform psychoeducational assessments

Carol can administer the Slingerland Screening Tests, which identify specific language disability, and also help identify strengths and weaknesses within the three learning modalities (visual/seeing, auditory/hearing, and kinesthetic-motor/writing and speaking) which contribute to language learning. The Slingerland Screening Tests are neither required nor necessary to begin instruction.

How often should I bring my child to you for instruction?

Generally, at least two, one-hour sessions per week are advised.  Three-to-four hours per week are better, if possible.  The rate of progress will be much more rapid with more frequent sessions. Some parents request only one lesson per week, but this is not advised, and is generally NOT effective. With only one session per week, much of what was taught is forgotten by the next lesson, and more time is needed for review, prior to any new instruction. An important part of the Slingerland® Approach is repetition and patterning of new material, as well as intensity of instruction, and therefore it is important to plan for AT LEAST  two sessions per week, and to be CONSISTENT with attendance.  

How long does it take to see improvement in my child? 

This will vary with each child, but often, improvement is seen within a few hours of instruction.  One recent student's parent reported a quite noticeable improvement after the second hour of instruction, when her child (a third grader) began reading aloud street signs while mom was driving, which was apparently new behavior for this child.  With other students, it may take slightly  longer to see improvement. Often the first improvement parents will notice is an improved attitude toward reading, as the first small successes the child experiences begin to positively reinforce the child's efforts.  To see an example of one student's success, please see the graph on the Testimonials page.

How long will my child need to come for instruction?

This also varies with different children, and is dependent on many things, most importantly:
  1. the child's degree of difficulty
  2. the child's intelligence
  3. the amount of effort the child puts forth
  4. the age of the child (the longer the child has suffered academic failures, generally the longer it takes to break down the "walls" of resistance the child may have built up as defense mechanisms, before learning can consistently occur)
  5. the child's temperament (his/her ability to cope with failure)
  6. the support and understanding of parents
  7. the consistency of the child's attendance at the lessons
  8. the general attitude of the family towards education

One recent student had astounding progress after only seventeen hours of instruction, and went from below level in reading (testing at the 20th percentile), to the 76th percentile, surpassing the normative group average. This student's progress report (see Testimonials page) shows his remarkable improvement in reading in graph form, and is available for viewing upon request.  Of course, every child is different, and results will vary. In the past there have been students who attend lessons for two to three months, while some attend for perhaps a year or longer. Generally,  more frequent weekly sessions (such as three to four/week) correlate with a shorter, overall time commitment, as well as more rapid progress and success!

Please note:  *It is important for parents and students alike to realize that dyslexia remediation is NOT an "overnight cure", but a process that does take some time.  It takes a commitment from all involved to keep working toward a common goal, that of "retraining the brain" so the student may be successful in the language arts.

The Importance of Early Intervention
Ideally, dyslexic characteristics will be recognized while students are as young as kindergarten or first grade, so that intervention can begin before the student suffers much failure in school. Such early recognition and intervention with dyslexic students provides the optimal timing to make significant neurological changes in the brain while it is still highly "plastic".  While such early recognition of dyslexia doesn't always occur, making these neurological  connections at a later point still occurs with proper instruction so that older students (and  even adults) with dyslexia can still achieve success in the language arts!

Is instruction given only individually, or is small group instruction possible?

Slingerland instruction can be delivered in individual, semi-private, small group, or classroom  formats.  Here at Achieve Reading, in addition to private lessons, small groups of two, three or four students may be taught at the same time, as long as they are somewhat close in reading abilities. Students must start in a group at nearly the same time, as lessons cannot be skipped.  Every student starts at lesson one, so a student joining an existing group would need individual "catch up" lessons. The small group format offers a more affordable way to provide your child with this expert instruction, and  may allow more frequent lessons.  Our classrooms, due to size, dictate either small group, semi-private, or individual teaching formats.

We are currently expanding our services to be able to provide Slingerland instruction during the school day at local schools, by special arrangement.  Call Carol if you are interested in this option, and we can discuss specifics.
Beth H.Slingerland adapted the Orton-Gillingham tutorial (one teacher to one student) approach so that one teacher could teach a classroom of children, and that was Carol's experience while teaching in the classroom (with a class size of 24 students) at Eliot School (a public school) in Gilroy, CA. In other areas of our nation, some districts have trained  ALL primary grade teachers in the Slingerland® Approach.  In the future, perhaps this excellent approach will be available in public and private schools in Colorado, so that more students with dyslexia may receive this life-changing instruction! 

What does Achieve Reading charge for lessons?

Please contact Achieve Reading for the fee schedule for individual, semi-private, or small group instruction.
Our fees, while more than fees charged by other "tutors", are fairly equivalent to the "big-name" tutoring companies (who lack our specialized  training, years of experience, and expertise).   The results provided by Achieve Reading,  will certainly make the investment in your student worthwhile. And often, as you can see on the Testimonials page, results may occur in a surprisingly short time!

Why should I spend the time/money for this kind of instruction? Will it be worth it?  My child  is already so busy after school....

Think of this instruction for your child (or yourself, if you're an adult!) as an investment in his/her healthy educational, emotional, recreational, and occupational/financial future!  Compare it to providing orthodontia for a child who needs it, or physical therapy.  It IS educational therapy that will provide your child with the needed skills to learn our language, which will help your student NOW and for  life!  It can also prevent social and emotional struggles that result from repeated and "embarrassing" school failures.

 While sports, arts, music and other extra-curricular activities are desired and especially important for our dyslexic students (who NEED an outlet for their energy, a chance to reduce dyslexia-related school stressors, and an opportunity  to SUCCEED at the non-academic skills and gifts they all possess), these activities can often, inadvertently,  take precedence over scheduling  timely and consistent dyslexia intervention.  Reading  (for pleasure, educational goals attainment, or successful employment), is an essential,  lifelong skill that will benefit your child during his/her school career, and for the rest of his/her life, and even succeeding generations of your family. Though there are many famous and very successful dyslexic adults as role models for our children, odds are, MOST of us won't become sports superstars with multi-million-dollar contracts, or world-famous artists or musicians living "LIfestyles of the Rich and Famous" seems prudent  to make sure we are well-prepared for a successful, self-sufficient future.  Achieving success with literacy, even if it takes extra instruction (time, and money), for some of us who might need some dyslexia intervention, certainly is worthwhile!    It is an investment with critically important dividends!

How do I pay for lessons?  When is payment due?

Payment is due in advance, on the day of the first lesson for each month, for that month's instruction. Payment should be made with a check made out to "Achieve Reading".

What is your cancellation policy?  Are make-up lessons available?

Achieve Reading has a 24-hour notice cancellation policy. Clients are expected to either email or call at least 24 hours in advance if the student(s) will miss a regularly scheduled lesson. If clients fail to provide the required 24-hour notice of a cancellation, and the student does not show for a lesson, the parent  is required to pay for the scheduled lesson; no refunds, credits or make-up sessions for the missed lesson will occur.

With this in mind, occasionally true emergencies, student/parent illnesses, car trouble and other last-minute issues do happen.  If this is the case, please notify Achieve Reading as soon as possible, that a lesson will be missed, and a make-up lesson will be scheduled.  However, if a pattern of  last minute-cancellations or "no shows" becomes apparent, at the instructor's discretion, no refunds or make-up sessions will be made, and the client will be expected to absorb the costs of the missed lesson(s).

Generally, the last Saturday of each month will be available for make-up lessons for students.

What days and hours are available for lessons?

Lessons may be scheduled during school hours (for homeschooling students or adults who have free daytime hours), and in the after school hours, Monday through Friday.  Weekend,  early (weekday), and evening appointments may also be possible. In the past, some parents have chosen to bring their child for lessons at either the beginning of the school day, or at the end of the school day.  Be aware that the after school hours generally fill up quickly.  Please call Achieve Reading  to discuss options.

**We are now adding the option of lessons delivered at the student's school during the school day, either individually or in a small group format, by special arrangement. Please call Carol to discuss this option if you are interested.

Summer lessons are available throughout the day by arrangement.  Summer is often the optimal time to begin lessons, as the child generally has more free time and is less likely to become overwhelmed with the combination of school attendance and homework, extracurricular activities such as sports or music lessons,  PLUS extra instruction with a tutor. It can be an excellent time to devote to Achieve Reading!

Are students given homework assignments at Achieve Reading?

This is usually determined on a case-by-case basis.  With some students, any homework given by the instructor at Achieve Reading, on top of homework given by the classroom teacher, is just too much, especially if the child truly has learning problems.  With these children, school is very hard work, and they may already be mentally exhausted after a full day of school.  Adding another hour to the school day, then adding extra homework from the tutor, in addition to the classroom teacher's homework, may just be too stressful for both the student and the parents.  Learning declines with this kind of "overload" and is not productive.

Depending on the student and each situation, students may sometimes be given homework that is a review of the lessons given.  With the Slingerland® Approach, lessons are sequential and extremely well-structured and organized.  Students will not be expected to know things that have not been covered during lessons.  This is one of the ways that the Slingerland® Approach builds success into its program.

When homework IS given, we want to make sure the student is comfortable with the processes that are taught during the lesson, before being asked to use the processes at home, without proper guidance. Once the child masters the processes taught, homework becomes a valuable tool for review.  The instructors will teach the parent many of the processes (for blending/spelling, or decoding, etc.) that are taught to  the student, so that the parent can understand and assist his/her child at home.

Why should I choose Achieve Reading, rather than the other, larger tutoring companies?

Carol, an educational specialist, highly skilled in remediating dyslexia, has over thirty-six years of experience with the Slingerland® Approach to Language Arts Instruction. Currently, she is the ONLY Slingerland-trained teacher in the state of Colorado (as listed on the Provider List of the Slingerland® Institute for Literacy). Happily, the success of her students since beginning Achieve Reading in 2010  has helped in "spreading the word" of the existence of ("WHAT is Slingerland?" is a common comment we hear!),  and effectiveness of,  the Slingerland® Approach. Occasionally we do find some specialists who recognize the name "Slingerland", and they have been excited to find that it's now here in the Denver area!

The Slingerland training is a very intensive and extensive training program.  Carol has taken both the initial (1980) and secondary (1981), then the level 3 training (2013), as well as helped organize and teach a fourth training (2015).  She has nearly four decades  of experience utilizing this training, both in the public school setting, and as a private dyslexia interventionist..  With this specialized training, Carol is part of the approximately 10% of teachers trained in a method most appropriate for use with dyslexics. Additional instructors who work at Achieve Reading will follow the copyrighted curriculum designed by Carol and utilized by Achieve Reading.

When your child works with Achieve Reading, our passion and love for teaching students will be evident!!  Passion for this work is what lead Carol first into public school teaching, then to starting her own business, creating her own curriculum, and expending her positive energy towards helping those with dyslexia....and it shows!

When you choose Achieve Reading, you or your student will receive the full hour of instruction.  If your child is part of a small group, you can be assured that the entire group is studying the same thing for that whole period of time.  With other tutoring companies which teach small groups of children,  there may be three students studying three different subjects with that single teacher for that same hour.  One may be working on reading, one may be working on math, and another may be working on study skills. The students may also vary widely in age.  With Achieve Reading, you can be assured that children in small groups are all receiving the full amount of lesson time, and are studying the same thing. When grouping children, their ages are taken into consideration, as this may effect a child's emotional comfort while working with the other students. Individualization of  instruction, even within a small group, is possible, so that certain students who need more repetition with certain elements of instruction can be given extra opportunities to master that element.

When you choose Achieve Reading, you can be assured of our dedication to helping students achieve success.  As a small business owner, Carol's livelihood, and that of her instructors, depend on the quality of our service to students and their families, our students'  successes,  and their positive experiences. After all, "word-of-mouth" is the best form of advertising!

Thanks to the clients, teachers, and supporters of Achieve Reading....Carol was selected "Tutor of the Month" by the wonderful organization, Learning Ally, for December 2016!!


Achieve Reading
264 Southpark Rd.
Highlands Ranch, CO    80126
Phone:  (720) 328-9229

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