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  

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. 

2. Facial Diagrams for Phoneme Production

These facial diagrams will be of great help to new teacher. 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.

Assessment Instruments

Self-Tutor Assessments

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 levels of the English language. It teaches the prefixes, suffixes, roots, and combining forms in an easy-to-understand manner using expert audio instruction. 

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

The audio is now available at the link above. It is the audio that makes the program Self-Tutoring so you can learn to improve your reading Online with me.    

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 faculty with each letter. Here is the same method without midlines. I plan to publish a video explaining how to teach without the midlines asap. 

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. 

Read, Write, and Type

1. Read, Write & Type

I have used Read, Write, and Type since 1999. It is the ONLY computer program I recommend. It teaches phonemic awareness, phonics, touch typing, reading, and spelling. When a student has any difficulty with Blumenfeld’s Alpha-Phonics Self-Tutor, it is usually an underlying deficit in phonemic awareness. This program will fix it. 

Recommended Commercial Handwriting and Spelling Programs

I highly recommend Zaner-Bloser Handwriting and Spelling-Connections. The latter by Dr. J. Richard Gentry has no equal. It is equally good for public, private, and homeschool students. Here is a Detailed Stroke Description for Zaner-Bloser Manuscript. 


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: A Demonstration 

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.

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 7/30/2021.