Enhancing Learning and
Self-Esteem in Students
Enhancing learning, as well as improving students' self-esteem and self-confidence are most important to me. My expertise is supporting a family in various ways when their child experiences difficulties in his or her academics. My relationship with a family may start at the beginning of their child's academic career, or any time through high school. Sometimes a child may need help in a specific academic area, or the support maybe more global, as in study skills. In my practice, the majority of students have a diagnosed learning disability, such as dyslexia, nonverbal learning disability, executive functioning weaknesses, or a language-based disability. My eclectic approach to helping students serves my clients well. I have always followed what is now referred to as "the science of reading" and I strive to find the" best of the best practices"…those that are successful for the student I am working with at that time. I rarely use a published or scripted program in its entirety because I see each student as an individual and believe that no two students learn the same exact way. Therefore, I pride myself on adapting and modifying various programs and strategies to meet the needs of the individual.
Here are some programs and strategies I use with students:
• Phonemic awareness skills
• Various strategies that follow alphabetical principle
• Orton Gillingham for remediation of dyslexia
• Wilson Reading Program for remediation of dyslexia
• Glass Analysis for support in decoding skills
• Great Leaps and Varied Reading Passages to improve reading fluency
• Project Read's Framing Your Thoughts for support in written expression
• Visualizing and Verbalizing for support in written expression
• Touch Math to improve mathematical fluency and calculation
• "Structured Reading Comprehension"
• guided reading that follows Bloom's taxonomy
• strategies to help students become active readers
• strategies for students with executive function weaknesses
• strategies for students with a non-verbal learning disability
• Study Skills....note-taking from a lecture, making margin notes in text,
writing essay answers for tests, keeping an organized
notebook, studying for tests and exams using various strategies
Then and Now
I have maintained a private practice, tutoring students in grades K-12 and beyond, for over 35 years. For many of these years, I also taught at an independent school where I was the Lower School reading specialist and Department Head of the Academic Support Department.
Staying current with the latest research on learning, literacy, and various learning differences is a priority of mine. Several years ago, I taught a course for the Brown University–Wheeler School MAT program called Language and Literacy, the methods course for teaching reading and writing in this MAT Elementary Education program. At the time, teaching this course satisfied my need to grow professionally.
For the past several years, my attention has been on the research regarding the teaching of literacy to both conventional learners and students with learning differences. This interest led me to write a spelling and word study curriculum for grades one through eight. This program, Get on the Ball with your Spelling, is used in the Lower School where I taught. I owe the faculty many thanks for their time and feedback regarding this program.
For the past two years this month (March, 2021), I have given lots of my energy to growing my Facebook group called Evidence Based Teaching of Literacy & More. This group curates and shares information about evidence-based educational research and strategies as well as outstanding professional development opportunities. I welcome you to join my group at
Joyce M. Ball M.S.
Reading and Learning Specialist
I began to learn I was not stupid but just learned a different way....I learned to work on my abilities and to put forth twice the effort on things that didn't come easily to me.....Joyce built into me a work ethic that many of my peers find amazing.' C.D.
I have worked with Joyce, as a colleague, for the past seven years. Throughout these years, she has provided me with curriculum support, mentoring, and insights into how students learn. She is passionate about her work and dedicated to the needs of students, parents, and colleagues. Joyce is fantastic!' K.D.
‘Ms. Ball tutored me for years and I wouldn't have anyone else. She understands that I learn differently from others. Because of Ms. Ball, I have made academic high honors throughout high school and she has provided me with advice all the way. It is hard to find such a wonderful teacher like her.’ Z.T.
'We want to thank you for the recent meeting about our son. You certainly have calmed many of our worries, and we know that he is in the best school with the best teachers possible. I have always said that you taught him how to read, so you hold a very special place in our family. My husband said, ‘Wouldn't it be great if Joyce could teach our son through 12th grade!’ Just thought you should know how much we truly respect your teaching and everything you do." M.J.V.
'Ms. Ball tutored me since my days in elementary school, when I began having trouble in areas that other kids were excelling in. I worked with Ms. Ball, and over the years I became stronger in these academic areas. I learned a lot about myself while learning specific ways that helped me study and stay organized. Everything she has taught me has helped me be successful in high school.' J.S.
Joyce was the first educator to gain our son's trust and to begin to systematically teach him to read and write. She tutored him through elementary and middle school and into high school, providing the academic support he needed, always finding ways to build on his strengths and to compensate for his disabilities. E.W.B