Tatum Acutt
Reading Specialist, Owner

Qualifications: 

Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction - University of Kansas

Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in Reading - University of Kansas

Bachelor of Education in Intermediate and Senior Phase - University of South Africa

Lindamood-Bell Seeing Stars Qualification

 

I am a South African and British Overseas Territory Citizen living on the sunny Caribbean island of Grand Cayman. My husband and I love going on adventures with our daughter and our rescue dog.

I have 17 years of education experience, and I am passionate about supporting and guiding striving readers as they develop the necessary skills to become independent readers. As a curriculum and instruction specialist, I have the skills to coach other teachers, assisting professionals in furthering their own skills, with the common goal of benefiting students. I am also available to assist parents in strategies and support for reading and learning at home. 

My students are at the heart of my teaching philosophy. I am in a learning partnership with them, their parents, peers, teachers, and community members - it takes a village! I tailor my teaching towards each student’s interests, which leads to deeper interactions, building on skills, conceptual knowledge, and character. Dialogue is key to building understanding and knowledge and I am a firm believer in conversing with children from a young age about the world around us and how they are experiencing it. Paulo Freire’s (1970) words translate into my teaching style, “Men are not built in silence, but in word, in work, in action-reflection.” Learning sessions should not be silent where knowledge is transmitted by the teacher. My classrooms - not defined by four walls - have always been a busy hive of activity and dialogue; places of sharing and inquiry; safe and happy environments, enabling students to take risks, embrace challenges, learn from mistakes and celebrate solutions. There are teachable moments occurring throughout the day, and being aware of these moments is key to teaching - tackling real problems. 

 

Nel Noddings (1988) promoted an ethic of caring. As a teacher, it is key to care about each student in order to build mutual relationships of trust, which leads to confidence to take risks and open oneself up to learning experiences - learning as a whole child. In my teaching, a caring relationship with each student is very important, and I use my own identity, and the culturally diverse identities of my students as a bridge to build relationships. By sharing bits of my life story, and in turn, taking the time to learn about each student’s background, the learning experiences can become all the richer.

 

I gather detailed information on each student prior to commencing intervention lessons. Data is gained through a series of assessments and screening tools. Parents are kept informed and up to date as I constantly monitor student progress and ensure students are working towards their targets. My instruction follows a combination of programs, including the Lindamood-Bell Seeing Stars focusing on developing symbol imagery. Enhanced symbol imagery leads to rapid processing time and quick self-correction when reading or writing. Through explicit instruction, I help students to build phonemic awareness, decoding strategies and comprehension strategies. 

 

Ultimately, I want to help students LOVE reading and exploring books.

References

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: Continuum.

Noddings, N. (1988). An ethic of caring and its implications for instructional arrangements. American Journal of Education, 96(2), 215-230.