Enhancing Learning and
Self-Esteem in Students
Enhancing learning, as well as increasing 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 or dysgraphia, or have 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
• morphology awareness skills
• Word Cracker to teach morphology
• strategies to improve mathematical fluency and calculation
• "Structured Reading Comprehension"
• strategies to improve reading comprehension
• vocabulary development
• 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. Currently, all sessions are one-to-one and virtual, which I have found to be as effective as in-person sessions. For many of these years, I also taught at an independent school in RI 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 called Language and Literacy, the methods course for teaching reading and writing in the MAT Elementary Education program in the Brown University–Wheeler School MAT 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, was 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 and a half years, 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 https://m.facebook.com/groups/230984030592831
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.
Joyce has been a miracle. We had another reading tutor for a full school year but saw little progress. Our daughter didn’t enjoy the sessions, and never wanted to read aloud to us. Enter Joyce; in just one month before the start of third grade, our daughter made a quantum leap. She spontaneously picked up a book and read the back cover aloud to us with flow and expression. Not only does Joyce teach the how and why, she instills confidence. Once school started, Joyce became a liaison between us and the classroom teacher. Before we never quite knew where we stood with progress and problem areas, but Joyce’s excellent communication skills keeps us up to date. Not only with her sessions, but with what’s going on at school as well. Joyce’s sessions with our daughter are hard work; our daughter knows that, but has fun, and always ends them happy and confident in what she just learned. R.A
‘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.
'Our family has been working with Joyce for many years and she has been nothing short of amazing. Both of our children have loved working with her. Joyce’s expertise is incomparable; she is dedicated to each child, her sessions are engaging, her approach is effective and she also makes the time fun. Both of our children struggled with reading early on in different ways. Joyce was able to determine what type of support was needed for each and implemented a plan to get them to be stronger readers and writers. Because of their work with Joyce, both of our children have become more confident and competent with their literacy skills. We have worked with many tutors over the years and Joyce is hands down the absolute best! A.M.
'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