Most Amazing Weekend Ever!!!

Most Amazing Weekend Ever!!!

As an online reading tutor I often don’t get to meet the students that I work with.  However, this past weekend I had the opportunity to meet with an astounding student I have been helping since June of 2014.  She lives about 2 hours away from San Jose, California.  This past weekend I happened to be traveling to San Jose for a business function and they were visiting San Jose for a Christmas party.  We decided to meet up at the hotel I was staying at since I didn’t have a car and my conference started at 9:00.  We met for breakfast at 8:00 and honestly we could have gone on talking for hours.

FullSizeRender-5

Joanne Kaminski and Piper in San Jose, California

People used to ask me if tutoring online was not personal enough for kids.  I used to laugh inside my head at that question because it is absolutely personal.  Just because I can’t touch you physically doesn’t mean that I can’t touch your heart.  As you can see from this lovely picture of the two of us, it looks like we have known each other forever.  I love this girl and the progress she has made and it gave me the opportunity to connect on a deeper level with the entire family.

The entire day I was at my conference I was ecstatic because I was able to connect with this amazing child.  All of my students have something special to offer the world and Piper has a shining personality and a never give up attitude that is going to take her very far in life.  She has improved so much in her reading that she no longer needs to go to a reading specialist at her school for additional interventions.  We are continuing to close her non-fiction reading gap, but that will easily come with a little bit more time.

I love that I am able to travel the world, tutor online, and make a difference in kids lives.  After talking with this wonderful family over breakfast, we really got to know each other on a deeper level.  They expressed their gratitude for the work that I have been doing and they shared a special story with me about how Piper does her tutoring.

Piper has her tutoring session at 6:30 am in the morning before school because she is so active after school.  This is perfect for me because of the 2 hour time difference.  I am able to drop off my kids at school a little early and make it home in time to tutor Piper.  Piper sets her alarm on her side to wake up at 6:00 so that she can tutor with me.  Piper’s mom doesn’t have to ever remind her and she is always at her sessions on time.  Her mom let me know that this is because she is so excited to work with me.  These kind of stories are so touching to me.  They let me know that I am making a difference in another’s life and that what I do is valued.  I love that Piper’s mom allows Piper to be self-sufficient and gives her the responsibility to do what she needs to do.  This is a mom that really cares about giving her child what she needs and allowing her to be responsible for her own education.

Who knew?  Tutoring online can be fun, personable, and rewarding.  Well, I guess I knew all along since I started this business.  Just not all people believed it could be possible when I first started out.  I am so grateful that I didn’t listen to the nay sayers and I followed my dream of teaching struggling readers to become better readers via online tutoring.

What are your thoughts about online tutoring?

 

 

Three Little Sisters Learn to Get Along is Published

Three Little Sisters Learn to Get Along is Published

Today is an extremely exciting day for my friend Renee and I.  We have created our first picture book together and it is live on Amazon Front_Cover_of_Three_Little_Sisters_Learn_to_Get_Alongbeginning today.  It is called Three Little Sisters Learn to Get Along.  It is about three little sisters that yell, pinch, fight, and kick.  When the mother sees how her little girls are not getting along she becomes extremely distressed.  She teaches her girls how to use “I messages” and at once the sisters learn that there are other ways to resolve their problems. There are parent pages at the end that help parents with some ways to help their children in  a calm manner when their kids are not getting along.  Let’s face it.  This is a reality for our kids, they will fight, but now there is a healthy solution to make things right.

This book is perfect for anyone that has kids or knows anyone that has kids.  The illustrations engage kids of all ages and the text is at a 2nd grade reading level.  Below in the Amazon carousel you will find all of the books that we have created and are published through For the Love of Books Publishing.  I have also added a book in the carousel that I featured a few weeks ago by my friend Kat Kirst called Snitch.

Three Little Girls Learn to Get Along

Three Little Girls Learn to Get Along

Yesterday I promised to share my next book with you.  Renee who is co-owner of For the Love of Books, LLC will be creating pictures to go along with it.  After Renee did a picture of my three little girls in a tree and then I heard them arguing I became inspired to write it.  I would love feedback on what you like about it and things that you think that could make it better.  This book is set to be released in January.

Three little sisters sitting in a tree

Y-E-L-L-I-N-G

First came the lies

Then came the names

Next came the petty threats of no more games

Katelyn punched my back

Becca squeezed my arm

H-I-T-T-I-N-G

She hit me first

I don’t like her

So went the arguing, then there was more

The third little sister

Joined in the fight

K-I-C-K-I-N-G

                She kicked them near

She kicked them far

She kicked them everywhere, even in the car

The mother saw this picture

And became very sad

She knew that her children were not that bad

She talked about peace

She talked about love

She talked about sisters that fit like a glove

She said they use nice words

Talk about feelings

I feel hurt

That makes me sad

These were the words that don’t make others feel too bad.

The three little sisters apologized

A-P-O-L-O-G-Y

That’s a big word

But feels real good

Their mother knew they could and they would

Now the sisters play nice

and get along

L-O-V-I-N-G

Sometimes they fight

But they don’t forget

To think about feelings without regret

 

The three little sisters hug each other

H-A-R-M-O-N-Y

Harmony is the song of getting along

Today it doesn’t have to be about who is right or wrong.

How the Skyping Reading Tutor is as Good as or Better than the Mail Delivery System

How the Skyping Reading Tutor is as Good as or Better than the Mail Delivery System

A song came to my head today as I thought about what I do and it is by George Strait called Overnight Male.

 

A little girl today who lives in Texas came to her reading session today even the power in her house and her neighborhood went out.  I often have stories like this when there are rainstorms or snowstorms which would normally render us cancelling sessions, but in my profession and with my delivery, we don’t have to cancel anything.

 

So I dedicate this new song to all of my students and my promise to each of them.reading Tutoring

 

Let me be your reading tutor and I’ll always come through.
There’s no denyin’, come rain or shine,
I’ll deliver my lessons to you.
I do things by the letter, you can put your trust on me
‘Cause there ain’t nobody better than Joanne Kaminski

Like a pony express in the wild, wild west
I’ll Skype with you all night long.
And I can raise your reading level, get you there ahead of the class
Long before the dawn.
You know your reading tutor will be there for you
Come snow, rain, sleet or hail
‘Cause I’m a top flight, hold-you-tight,
Get-you-there-by-daylight, do-you-right skyping reading tutor.

I know your reading fluency is fragile, so I’ll handle it with care.
There ain’t no doubt, I know practice is the route,
So kiddo let me take you there.
I’ll bring you books at your level, but I know just what you need.
Just give me 8-12 hours satisfaction guarantee.

Like a pony express in the wild, wild west
I’ll Skype with you all night long.
And I can raise your reading level, get you there ahead of the class
Long before the dawn.
You know your reading tutor will be there for you
Come snow, rain, sleet or hail
‘Cause I’m a top flight, hold-you-tight,
Get-you-there-by-daylight, do-you-right skyping reading tutor

Yeah I’m a top flight, hold you tight,
Get you there by daylight, do you right skyping reading tutor.

Joanne Kaminski’s Journey as a Struggling Reader

Joanne Kaminski’s Journey as a Struggling Reader

Skyping Reading Tutor

My name is Joanne Kaminski, the Skyping Reading tutor, and this is my journey as a struggling reader.  My very first memory of reading was when I was 5 years old.  I was sitting in my living room and we had all of our family over the house for Thanksgiving.  I brought out a book and I asked my mom to teach me how to read.  Well, I bet you can imagine, she was a little bit busy that day and she said, “no.”  I didn’t give up there.  I went on to my cousin Cathy and asked her to teach me to read.  She was 5 years older than me and she had the same response as my mom.  I was heartbroken that no one would teach me how to read.  So, I longingly looked at the words in the book wishing that they would somehow jump off of the page and into my brain so that I could hear the story that was written.  No one really ever read to me, so I didn’t know that this was an option.  All I knew was that the words on that page conveyed a story and I wanted to know it.

 

I would like to tell you that I kept asking and found someone that would help me learn how to read, but I gave up that day.  My mom saw how much I loved stories and eventually she got my some books on tape.  Yes, they were tapes back in those days.  She must have signed up for a Disney subscription because I remember Sleeping Beauty and Brer Rabbit very clearly.

 

When I began learning how to read in school everyone was ahead of me.  I was in the lowest reading group, the Blue Jays, and I knew it.  All I wanted more than anything in the world was to become a better reader.  I mean, didn’t these people know what I was going to do for the rest of my life? Didn’t they know that one day I would own my own e tutoring company and that I just wanted to get a head start?  Apparently I knew my calling from a very early age, everyone else just was not on the same page as me.

 

I remember when we would have to read out loud in class in round robin style.  When I would read out loud, I didn’t sound like the other kids.  The teacher would give me advice about making my voice go up and down in front of all the other kids.  The other kids never got this kind of advice and this made feel more self-conscious about my reading.  Back then they didn’t have reading fluency interventions.  So I felt like there was something wrong with me.

 

As school continued I scored poorly on the state tests and continued to get put in the lowest reading group.  I remember in 6th grade kids started to take a foreign language, but because of my reading comprehension scores I was denied this and put in another reading program for struggling readers.

 

I felt less than, devalued, and diminished.  Even the kids in the reading class made fun of me.  I felt stupid and worthless.  I continued on my middle school years this way, which were some of the toughest days of my life.

 

One day a teacher at a parent/teacher conference suggested to my mom that she read with me.  My mom took her up on this suggestion and began reading Anne of Green Gables.  She would read a page and then I would read a page.  This was my most prized memory of reading with my mom.  It built a feeling of being loved and accepted all while being immersed in Anne’s world inCanada.  I found out later on in life that my dad’s whole family came fromPrince Edward   Islandwhere the story took place.  Anne of Green Gables became a series and I read every single book in that series.  This is were I got my mantra, if you hook a reader into a series, then you hook him/her into reading for life.

 

This was the first book that I ever read over and over again.  I remembered the beautiful trees that were described in the beginning of the story when Anne was first arriving at Green Gables.  It captured my heart.  I remember how talkative Anne was and fell in love with this imaginative little girl.  I could relate with the character and I longed to experience life in this book as Anne.

 

Today, I am no longer at the bottom of my class.  I graduated fromMarquetteUniversitywith Suma Cum Laude.  I went on to get my masters and graduated as a Reading Specialist with a 4.0.  I struggled to get where I am today and reading was never easy as a child, but I love reading more than anything else in the world.  I love to learn and immerse myself in learning new things and above all I love teaching kids to read.  I take into account the feelings that kids struggling go through because I was one of those kids.  I incorporate positive reinforcement techniques and make kids feel like they are good enough, smart enough, and wonderful enough to accomplish the things that they want to accomplish in life.  I tell my students that it doesn’t matter what level they are reading at right now.  I will get them far beyond where they need to be.  I have tips and tricks that have gotten me through school and I had to learn the hard way.  I teach them these tips and tricks and make learning easy for them.

 

No child should be made to feel less than because he/she does not learn the typical way that is acceptable in schools.  All children have a right to an appropriate education whether they are a struggling reader or not.  I am here to speed up the learning curve for kids and to find that path to educational success.  Whether a child is struggling a little bit with reading, or whether he/she is in need of a dyslexia tutoring program, I am here to help.  This is my passion and my path in life.

Day 13 of the 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge:  Make a Statement

Day 13 of the 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Make a Statement

As readers, we have so many things that go through our head that we don’t even pay attention to.  However, once we begin to pay attention to them, we can begin to recognize whether we are understanding what we are reading or not.

One of those strategies is called making a statement.  For example, some statements include;

  1. Wow, that is really neat.
  2. I never thought of that before.
  3. That is so true.
  4. I never knew that before.

 

These statements don’t really lead to anything, but if you find that you are making them, then you are definitely understanding what you are reading.  You can’t comment or say something to yourself if your mind is blank and you are just reading the words.

As a parent you can do this by making a comment or statement when you are reading, tell your child that a comment just happened in your head and you just wanted to share it with him/her.  Ask if your child ever does that when he/she is reading.  If he/she says yes, then ask him/her to tell you about that.  If he/she says no, then ask them if any come to the head when you reading together today.  Your child may find that he or she is doing it, but since he/she didn’t have a name for it that he/she wasn’t aware of it.  Or, you may have the opportunity to teach it to your child.  Either way it is a great technique.  Tomorrow we will be taking a look at how prefixes can help increase comprehension.

Day 2 of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Begin Reading

Day 2 of 31 Days to Become a Better Reader Challenge: Begin Reading

20120524-175259.jpg

Today’s challenge is to simply start reading the book that you have chosen together. You may have already started doing this because your child was so excited. But, in case you didn’t there are some things to think about.

1. How to read the book
2. Commit to 30 minutes a day

First, you want to think about how you are going to read the book. Some kids like to read one page while the parent reads the other page. However, for some kids this is overwhelming. If this is the case, then I suggest that you switch off after each paragraph. This will give your child more breaks and make both of you feel less stressed out.

I highly suggest that you stay away from each of you switching off by chapters. I have noticed that kids seem to lose attention pretty quickly and that it is difficult to keep them on task.

The suggestions that you will get in the days to come will help with what to do if you notice that your child is off task. To begin with you shouldn’t notice that this is much of an issue because they are usually really excited to begin this process with a book that they have chosen with you.

Second, you want to make at least a 30 minute commitment to this activity each day. If the parent is reading half of the pages, then your child is reading for about 15-20 minutes. Children should read for at least 15 minutes a day. With summer and warm weather approaching, many children will feel tempted to play outside or play their video games instead of immersing themselves with a good book.

Studies have been done which correlate the number of minutes a child reads at home to SAT scores. Not so surprisingly, the children that read for the most minutes at home ended up with the highest scores. I am sure that there are other factors in place here with this study, but if the solution to high SAT scores was reading with your child for 30 minutes a night, wouldn’t it be worth it. Check out the results of a dad who made this commitment and this one girl’s success.

Happy reading!

31 Days to a Better Reader

31 Days to a Better Reader

Everyone wants to make sure that the children in their life are able to read easily and effortlessly.

No parent or teacher ever thinks, “Gosh I  hope that my child will struggle with reading.  It sure would add a lot of adversity to their life.”  Therefore, we always want to be able to do everything that we absolutely can to make sure that kids have the tools that they need to do the very best that they are capable of doing.

In this information age it is pivotal that children be able to read.  There isn’t anything that they will partake in that will not include reading.  We all know that, but sometimes it is hard to convince kids who don’t actually enjoy reading to understand it’s importance.  Who wants to do something that is either hard or boring.

Over the next 31 days you are going to get tips and tricks that will turn any child into a better reader.  Are you ready for a challenge that will motivate your child, build bonding time with your child, and help him or her with reading all at the same time?  This is the perfect time for this challenge.  The time is NOW!  Whether your child already loves to read or doesn’t, they can always become better.

My name is Joanne Kaminski and I am also known as the Skyping Reading Tutor.  I have been teaching kids to read for over 10 years, have a Masters in Reading and have starting my own reading tutoring company called Bright IDEA Reading Tutoring where I provide online reading tutoring.  The tips and tricks that you will learn are based off of my own experiences of what works best with kids.  I utilize brain research and how kids learn best and actually retain the information that they are learning.

Tomorrow starts day 1 of the challenge.  Subscribe to this blog so that you don’t miss one single day of this challenge and turn your loved little ones become a better reader.

Oh Canada, How I Love Canada

 

Can I just say that I love skyping to classes in Canada?  Well, whether I can or cannot, I will.  This week I was in Danielle Maley’s grade 1 and grade 2 class.  I learned that in Canada first and second grade do not exist as far as terminology goes and that it is referred to as grade 1 and grade 2.  I just love this age.  These kids have so much enthusiasm and zest for life.  You can see how engaged they are in the pictures that Mrs. Maley took. 

The first thing that we talked about was how far away from each other we are.  We found out that we are 1,000 miles away.  Then we got to the important stuff like what is your favorite book.  One little girl happened to say that her favorite books are Franklin books.  Since I just happened to have a Franklin book I dedicated my reading of Franklin’s Halloween to Georgia.  The kids did not mind at all that it was a little past Halloween.  They were just mesmerized by the entire experience because they had never skyped with someone in one of their classrooms before.  I had the wonderful opportunity to be their first.

After skyping with Canada I quickly came back to Wisconsin to work with an adult that has struggled with reading her whole life.  She happens to live in Wisconsin and is only 30 minutes away from me, but working via skype makes it so much easier.  Neither of us has to travel for an hour and we get to get more done than if we were in person. 

This new student has mentioned that Skype has completely changed her life.  The fact that she can now get help with reading and not have to leave the comfort of her home just astounds her.  She loves the convenience and the new tools that she learns with each session.  She is continuing to get better and better every day and she brightens my day with all of her insights. 

I love that I can spread positivity around the world via Skype and in my day to day life.  It is a blessing, a calling, and for me a way of life.

Soccer Practice: Please Show Passport

Soccer Practice: Please Show Passport

Imagine this, it is time to bring your child to soccer or football practice.  You pack all of your clothes, equipment, and get everyone settled into the car.  You begin driving and forget to bring your passport.  So, you go back home, grab your passport and cross the border to get your child to practice on time.

This may sound far fetched to many of you, but it is reality for the children in Saskatchewan, Canada.  Last week I got to hang out in Ms. Elder’s class and she was explaining that many of her students have sports practices in Montana.  I was extremely interested in this, especially since I already knew she lived in Canada and that the class I was specifically talking with was in Canada.  To them it did not sound like a big deal, but to many of us who have never experienced that it is fascinating.

This is one of the reasons that I love volunteering in classrooms all over the world and reading to them.  I love learning and I love learning about different people and the way that they do things.

Ms. Elder and I met last year via Twitter and I was able to read to her class then.  She does a looping grade 1 and grade 2 split.  So some of the students had recognized me from last year.  It was really cool to pop into their classroom and have many of them recognize me.  One little boy said, “I know you”.  It was really sweet.

Ms. Elder asked me to share my favorite story with the class.  For me, my absolute favorite story is Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco.   However, I do not have an ebook version yet to share with the children, so I decided to go with my second favorite Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  Ironically, the class had just taken down their Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree and they were absolutely thrilled that I chose that book out of all of the books in the world to read to them.

I have read this book to several children all over the world and it seems to be a hands down favorite.  What are some of your favorite books to read with children?  I would love to know.

Watch this clip from a past reading of the book to a group of students in North Carolina.

s2Member®