Tutoring Resources

Donald L. Potter 

Goals of this Webpage 

1. Provide highly effective, easy-to-use materials for teaching reading, writing, and spelling  to students of all ages. 

2. Encourage public and private schools to adopt a science based spell-to-read approach to teaching reading. 

3. Motivating and training teachers in the fine art of teaching manuscript and cursive handwriting.

4. Offering powerful assistance to teachers and parents helping young students whose reading levels were adversely 

    affected by the Covid 19 Pandemic. 

 

Free Reading Resources

1. Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics Self-Tutor 

For the very best program for beginning or remedial reading, I recommend my Self-Tutor edition of Samuel L. Blumenfeld’s famous Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics. Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics Self-Tutor Manuscript

2. Audio for Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics Self-Tutor 

You may access my free audio instruction for Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics Self-Tutor from my One Drive. I designed the audio to be entirely self-teaching. It can be used for review after the tutoring session or before the tutoring session to prepare the student to make the best of the face-to-face instructional time. Mature, motivated students can master the whole program on their own with the help provided by the audio. 

3. Ten Decks of Flashcards

There is one set of flashcards for each of the 10 logical steps in the program. The cards are designed to provide the necessary spaced repetition to develop an automatic phonics reflex and full orthographic mapping (sight-word recognition). Flashcards in Power Point. 

4. Reader First Readers Anthology 

This anthology contains 10 decodable readers and one book of poetry in a single volume, covering every spelling pattern in the English language - following the 10 Steps in the program. I believe they are the finest decodable readers available anywhere today at any price. First Readers in Power Point. Here is a Progress Chart.


Linguistic Introduction to 44 English Speech Sounds

1. Sound-to-Symbol Associations.

It is important to pronounce the phonemes (individual English speech sounds) correctly in order for the students to be able to apply them to decoding words. This video is a practical mini-course in English linguistics for teaching reading. Scientists would call the associations or relationships phoneme-grapheme correspondences. 

2. Facial Diagrams for Phoneme Production

These facial diagrams will be of great help to new teachers. They are designed to go with the training video above. Students also  benefit from seeing how speech sound are formed in the mouth. A mirror is very helpful here.

3. Phonogram Flashcards

These cards are based on the Spalding Phonograms adapted to the Alpha-Phonics Scope and Sequence. I have taught the program successfully with them and without them. Here is more information on the Phonograms.


Assessment Instruments

Suggested Reading Assessments for Tutors

Assessments are essential for planning appropriate instruction and measuring progress. This document is a compilation of the test I have found valuable, including alphabet, handwriting, phonics, dyslexia, and grade level. I prefer these excellent assessments over the more expensive commercial tests because, although free, they give me very comparable results. My experience is that students who score well on my free assessments will also score equally well on the expensive commercial tests. This allows me to keep my tutoring expenses down to something parents can easily afford.  


Beyond Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics self-tutor

1.  Beyond Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics Self-Tutor 

I wrote this very advanced level of reading instruction for students who have mastered Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics Self-Tutor. Beyond Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics Self-Tutor  is generally  appropriate for students beginning in third or fourth grade through college. The approach goes directly to the Anglo-Saxon, Romance (French and Latin,) and Greek Layers of the English language. It teaches the prefixes, suffixes, roots, and Greek combining forms in an easy-to-understand manner using expert audio instruction. The last section on English Homonyms is very helpful for vocabulary building and improving spelling.

2. Audio Instruction for Beyond Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics Self-Tutor

The audio instruction makes the program self-tutoring. The pronunciation and meaning of all the words are explained in detail.     

3. Dr. Marcia K. Henry’s 1990 essay, “Organizing Decoding Instruction.” 

Dr. Henry's essay serves well as an introduction to my approach for improving student reading ability beyond fourth grade by teaching the Anglo-Saxon, Romance (Latin & French) and Greek layers of English. 

Don Potter's Handwriting Videos

1.  Manuscript 

This video is a detailed, step-by-step approach to teaching fluent (legible and fast) manuscript handwriting. The letters are taught in alphabetical order so the students gain equal proficiency with each letter. Here is the same method without midlines

2.  Cursive

This video provides detailed instruction on how to teach fluent cursive handwriting. My students won a national handwriting competition six years in a row. This method gets results and is easy to teach. I explain various letter forms so the program can be used to help prepare teachers to teach the different commercially available programs. 


The Universal Safety Net for Literacy.

The Universal Safety New for Literacy is a one-stop method for beginning and remedial reading. I would suggest that EVERY school in America require EVERY student to read all 72 Phonics Exercises EVERY year from first through at least 6th grade at a minimum calibrated speed.  This would provide three important functions:

1. It would provide universal screening for reading difficulties.
2. It would provide remediation in the classroom, reducing the need for special programs for dyslexics. 
3. It would provide good readers with the opportunity  to further improve their decoding and comprehension skills.

Here is the Teacher’s Manual for teaching the Natural Phonics Primer with Blend Phonics (also called sequential or cumulative phonics) 


Recommended Commercial Handwriting and Spelling Programs

I highly recommend Zaner-Bloser Handwriting and Spelling-Connections. My experience teaching  Dr. J. Richard Gentry’s Spelling Connections convinces me that it has no equal. Here is a Detailed Stroke Description for Zaner-Bloser Manuscript.Here is my Alphabet Tapping and Writing Exercises

Questions for Educators:: 

1. Why are NONE of my tutoring students able to write the alphabet fluently?  (Is anybody teaching handwriting?) 
2. Why can NONE of my tutoring students pass the Gentry Grade-Level Spelling Test? (Is anyone teaching spelling?) 
3. Why are ALL my tutoring students being asked to memorize Fry Sight-Words? (Is anyone teaching phonics?)

 

The Science of Reading 

Videos from the Reading League.

1. Learning to Reading Words: Is it a Visual Memory Task? 

2. Orthographic Mapping: What it is and Why it is important

3. Syllable Patterns and Syllable Division 

4. Phoneme vs. Phonological Awareness: Knowing the Difference Matters for Assessment and Instruction. 

5. Recent Advances in Understanding Reading Development and Difficulties: Prevention & Intervention. 

6. Oral Reading Fluency: Understanding it to Improve it. 

7. Strategies for Teaching Irregular “Tricky” Words

8. Dispelling Misconceptions of Dyslexia. I do agree that some dyslexia is inherited, but I highly suspect that much of what passes    for dyslexia is simply the logical result of inappropriate beginning reading instruction. Dr. Murry gives hope for improvement if appropriate instruction is afforded. I have taught people as old as 41 to read so I agree that it is never too late

9. The Science of Reading a white paper by Laura Steward, Author and National Director for The Reading League. 

10. Lyn Stone Orthographic Mapping Explained

11. Popular animated presentation of Dr. Kilpatrick’s Orthographic Mapping.   Reverse Sentence Reading 

12. The Reading Wars: Phonemes or Whole-Words? A easy-to-understand YouTube presentation, 6:13 minutes.

13. Dyslexia and the Importance of Teaching Foundation Skills by Dr. Richard Gentry, whose Zaner-Bloser Spelling     Connections is the epitome of a sound, science based spelling program that would greatly improve students' reading and writing. This article was based partly on my correspondence with Dr. Gentry. 

14. Tipping the Scale on Fountas & Pinnell. A short post on the downside of Guided Reading and Leveled Literacy Intervention. The same writer very up-to-date, informative article on “Research-Back Reading Instruction.”

15. 5 Practical Assessment Tips for Tutoring Struggling Readers. This is Psychology Today article (8/3/201) by Dr. J. Richard
     Gentry on how I test students to find out their real needs in order to  provide optimal remediation.  

16. Creating Dyslexia: It’s as Easy as Pie by Samuel L. Blumenfeld. This late scholar nails the heart of the problem. 

17. The Essential Linnea Ehri "A Research-Based Explanation of How Children Learn to Read" by David Parker. 

18. Creating Better Readers and Writers: The Importance of Direct, Systematic Spelling and Handwriting Instruction in Improving Academic Performance by Richard Gentry, PhD., and Steve Graham, Ed.D represents the best current research. 

19. Dr. David Kilpatrick. 1. How We Remember Words, and Why Some Kids Don’t. 2. Understanding the Role of Phonemic Proficiency in Boosting Reading Skills. 3. FAST (Phonological Awareness Screening Test) Test, which I give to all my students. 4. Facilitator’s Guide to to Essentials of Assessment, Preventing and Overcoming Reading Difficulties 

20. Dr. Mak Seidenberg: 1: Phonemes, Speech & Reading. 2. Becoming Phonemic. 3. Reading Learning and Instruction. 

21. Learning to Read and Spell Words: How Teachers’ Instruction and Students’ Reading Contrivbute to the Development of Reading and Spelling Skills. Slides by Linnea Ehri. 



My Goal in an Aphorism

 My goal is to present a program 

with the simplicity the teachers desire 

but the effectiveness the kids deserve.


Mr. Potter's Approach to Education 

To teach the heart, where lies the gold,

My goal shall always be,

With warm love and true kindness

For all the world to see. 

                      By Donald L. Potter 1/1/2014

  



Page last revised 11/2/2021.