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TnT Weekly Wrap: Uncommitted Parents

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you would know that last year I retrained to be a dyslexia specialist teacher. I made a massive career change,…

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you would know that last year I retrained to be a dyslexia specialist teacher. I made a massive career change, to get back to what I love doing, which is working with kids. You can read about the change in the following post:

Do You Have The Courage To Make A Massive Change?

I now work from home tutoring students that have a learning difficulty and I provide the intervention that they need to be able to read, spell and write. I have learnt a wonderful new reading programme and every week I am excited at the progress that my students are making.

I wanted to share with you our successes and challenges, so thought that I would start a weekly wrap of tutoring sessions. The weekly wrap will follow the Plus, Minus and Interesting (PMI) framework. Each week I’ll use this framework to give you a peek into the week of our tutoring sessions.

Feel free to ask any question in the comments below, or share good ideas that you’ve tried with your students that you think may help.

Plus – Mini breakthrough

I have been working with a boy in Grade 4 for about 3 months now. He has been particularly challenging and is a very anxious child. Unfortunately, he has gotten to the point where he ‘hates reading’, so engaging him during our sessions has been a ‘work in progress’…to say the least. This is also the case at home, he never completes any of the consolidation activities (even the games) and his Mum is at a loss to know how to get him interested in completing home activities.

At different times, different techniques have worked, but I have noticed that he especially likes using the iPad so I’ve looked at ways to integrate this as well (read below for how).

After talking with some colleagues I decided to implement a chart that shows how hard this boy works during a session. The chart includes a 6 x 6 grid, and the boy gets a stamp for each part of an activity he completes. At the end of the session he rolls 2 dice and if a stamp is in the square that is rolled, then he gets to pick a prize from the prize box. See below for an example of the grid.

TnT Weekly Wrap |

I also sent one of these grids home last week…..and for the first time the boy completed some of the home activities. He completed enough to fill all squares in the grid, so didn’t need to roll the dice and got to pick a prize from the box. This is definitely a mini breakthrough and something to build from.

Minus – Uncommitted parents

Unfortunately I have some parents that are not fully committed to their child’s tutoring. These parents bring their child to me for a couple of weeks, then there is some emergency at work so will then cancel a week or two and then start up again. Mix into that school holidays, swimming lessons and camps….One child I’ve only had 13 sessions with, where as another child that has been coming for the same amount of time, I’ve had 20 sessions.

I understand that other commitments come up from time to time, but to get the most out of tutoring, and value from the money that parents are spending….consistency is the most important part. This means consistency in taking the child to tutoring and consistency in repetition and practice of concepts learnt at home.

Unfortunately, this child has made limited progress.

Interesting – IWB and the iPad

If you’re also a Sounds-Write tutor then this will be of particular interest to you. Recently, I purchased the Sounds-Write Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) Software. I don’t have an IWB, but do have a laptop, so thought that it would be good to have this software as another way to engage my students. I just downloaded the free interactive viewer to have it work on my computer.

The software is very interactive and allows students to move letters, words and write, all following the same format of the lessons. But, I thought to myself this would be even better if I could get this working on my iPad. I also tutor students in their school, so needed something a bit more mobile to take with me.

I was very excited when I found out a way to get this working on my iPad. It takes a little bit of work setting up and uses Dropbox and when it’s working some of the slides have formatting that is out of whack. But, all in all it’s been a great addition to my tutoring sessions. See the pics below for some of the slides.

TnT Weekly Wrap |

TnT Weekly Wrap |

If you’re a Sounds-Write tutor and would like to know how I did this, then just send me an email and I’ll gladly send you the instructions.

I hope you enjoyed a peek into our week. How has your week been?

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  1. Sarah Williams

    Hi Melinda,

    I have recently purchased the IWB for Sounds-Write to be used for my tutoring, and would love for you to email me the instructions for how to use it on the ipad.

    I really appreciate your help.

    Thanks and regards,

  2. ayo

    hello Melinda,
    I got this link from a friends blog and i have never regretted a single bit of it.You are a treasure i adore. Am a sound-write tutor, have a laptop but havent got the IWB, how do i get to use interactive viewer working with my laptop.ciao

    • Melinda

      Hi Ayo,

      Ahhhh that’s lovely of you to say, thank you 🙂 I hope you love using Sounds-Write as much as I do? To get the SW software working on your laptop you will need to download the SMART interactive viewer. This used to be a free download, but I don’t think they have a free option anymore. This is a link to their download page:, but if you click through on the SMART software it asks for your licence key. I did find a free SMART notebook express online that may work: The other option would be to download the software as a free 90 day trial, here:

      I hope that helps


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