“We had met with Shelley to help our son work on language art skills, as he was struggling with reading properly, comprehension, and writing. I have been seeing drastic improvements in many areas of his life, not just his academic profile.
My son has a newfound enjoyment of reading. Prior to working with Shelley, reading was a chore and his level of understanding was negligible. Finding pleasure in reading has brought about improved intellectual capacity and the ability to read aloud with confidence has brought his school work to a whole new level. He is completing homework tasks on his own for the first time in 5 years, as he doesn't need someone else to read the directions to him and guide him to get the assignment completed. He finds it easier to stay on task without being redirected constantly. He participates more in class and I believe that is because he has a clearer understanding of the topics as he reads along with more balance and cadence.
Along with reading skills, Shelley is helping him to write successfully. Physically, I believe my son has had trouble with the tactile effort involved in writing, which has hindered his advancement in literacy. With Shelley's guidance, he now seems to be overcoming this hurdle, and I believe that it is due to his new ability to understand and conceptualize which has improved his reading. His writing is coming along nicely. . . Shelley encourages his creativity and my son seems to be flourishing with the freedom to express what's on his mind. He seems to enjoy putting is ideas and concepts into words more than ever. I think that the positive reinforcement that is provided for his expression through writing is outweighing his reluctance to pick up a writing utensil. An enormous step forward for him!
Shelley also encourages his artistic flow through painting. While I would have not have considered my son any sort of an artist (he used to deplore any type of creative efforts), I now see him not only participating but truly enjoying a bit of color in his black and white day. I am thrilled to see him develop new talent and aptitude for things that he believed he did not like or was not good at.
Once considered a child with a combination of ADD, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder, my son is more "normal" than ever. Instead of second guessing myself for removing him from mind altering medications to make him compliant in a classroom environment, I now feel that these decisions about tutoring over medicating have actually enabled my son to contribute more fully in educational areas and in life. His attitude has improved and he has stopped telling everyone he meets how much he 'hates school'.”
— Melissa L., Morris County, NJ
“In January, my son, then a 20 year old sophomore in college was sent a letter from his school with the news that he was doing extremely poor academically . . . Since second grade he was classified with a 'general learning disability'. He worked hard in school but obviously lacked a lot of skills that would get him through a serious college education.
He decided to come home and figure out what he would need to do to make it through college and we were blessed to find Shelley at this time. We met with Shelley and our son decided he would work with her to gain insight and sharpen skills that would be needed to succeed in college. Shelley began with a number of exercises and lessons that he began to work at. Shelley was immediately able to identify some sight issues that no one had recognized, this was affecting his reading. Shelley also identified some other things that led us to find out our son had a sensitivity to gluten and dairy.
She was able to assist him with some new writing skills as well as new reading and comprehension techniques. Although we are extremely grateful for all that Shelley has done, we feel that her ability to connect and help his esteem develop with great new self insight has been most important for him. Shelley identified photography as a skill for him and recently he received publication in a magazine that she helped him apply to.
Shelley works with her students in all areas of their development. She treats her students with amazing respect, and this translates into an open environment for learning. After two semesters home and weekly meetings with Shelley, he is now back at college. In my opinion, Shelley has been an enormous positive influence and I know she will continue to relate to her students and provide them with opportunities to reach her potential.”
— Donna B., Sparta NJ.
“I am a special education teacher at a Somerset County Middle School. I came upon Shelley's tutoring service through the International Dyslexia Association. Due to my experience with students with learning differences I realized the importance of early intervention in a child's education. In a classroom situation, teachers are not always aware of all the teaching alternatives for students who are not learning by conventional methods.
My son Bobby had not been classified as a learning disabled student but was struggling in a basic skills class for reading and language arts when he started with Shelley. Because of Shelley's expertise he is now in an average reading and language arts class. His writing skills have developed from simple sentences to writing persuasive paragraphs.
Shelley not only has the training, but due to her own experience with dyslexia, she knows that her students need to learn through a multi-sensory approach. She can recognize and address it when a student needs visual training, kinesthetic learning (hands-on), and/or auditory cueing. As my son tells me: ‘Shelley makes it easy to understand and do it.’
I would highly recommend Shelley for any position that would involve working with students and their families who have learning differences.”
— C.H., Branchburg, NJ
“Shelley Tzorfas has worked with my son Steven, age 7, for the past five months in bi-weekly tutoring sessions focusing on reading and writing. Shelley was surprisingly successful in many ways. First, Shelley was able to ‘connect’ with Steven nearly immediately, which is not very often accomplished so quickly. While establishing a solid bond with Steven she also set standards of behavior and performance that Steven attended to quickly and rather consistently. Shelley was successful in moving Steven's reading and writing skills up one to two grade levels in this short period of time, building his confidence. According to Steven, he has learned more reading and writing with Shelley in one or two sessions with Shelley than he had learned in all of first grade!
While what brought us to see Shelley was Steven's lower than needed reading and writing skills upon completing first grade, Shelley also provided us with many insights into Steven's possible physical links in his behavior and abilities. We have learned during this time, thanks in part to Shelley, that Steven cannot manage milk and also possibly red dyes. We have also learned that he has an eye-tracking difficulty that makes it harder for Steven to read and write. Shelley's experience, expertise and recommendations take into account and manage the whole child and not just a single aspect. Shelley has also participated as our advocate in obtaining additional educational and therapy services with our school district. Shelley has really been a God-send to our family and especially to Steven. We could not have been luckier to find Shelley and to employ her special service.
We plan to continue to use Shelley as we continue at least through Steven's second grade. Steven, who is a very bright child, now has the opportunity to reach his full potential, thanks, in part, to Shelley Tzorfas.”
— D.M.D., Glen Gardner, NJ
“I am writing on behalf of Ms. Shelley Tzorfas who has been working and still is with my 16-year-old daughter, Jennifer. Having met her is truly a gift from above. Finally we are getting somewhere and Shelley's goal is to make sure that Jennifer will be prepared for college.
Ms. Tzorfas is not a miracle worker but is definitely a very hard worker and relates to Jennifer's needs very well. Being dyslexic herself, Shelley knows what Jennifer's frustrations are and certainly can relate to them very well. Ms. Tzorfas is helping Jennifer cope with her weaknesses, teach her studying techniques and find ways to bring out the things she does well. Shelley has also given Jennifer hope that she does have a chance to go out into the world and make a future for herself. Ms. Tzorfas has broadened Jennifer's knowledge on the carrier force and that she is not limited because of her learning problems. Jennifer feels very comfortable in her presence and feels that Shelley has made a difference since she has started working with her.
Shelley has not only been good for Jennifer but she has been good for me too. My school meetings don't take 15 minutes anymore and no longer do I remain silent and agree readily with the team. Shelley has educated me on how the system works and what my rights as a parent are. She has helped me to handle little emotional problems with Jennifer and is always there for me when I need to talk to her.
Without hesitation, I highly recommend Ms. Tzorfas and her services. My daughter could be in no better hands.”
“The purpose of this letter is to share with you the successes my son, John, has had under the tutelage of Shelley Tzorfas. John has struggled academically for almost 4 years now. While he is currently in 5th grade, his troubles became evident early during his 2nd grade school year. John has had several tutors over the past few years but never has he shown the kind of progress that he has working with Shelley. I have found Shelley's tutoring approach to be significantly different in that she takes a multi-faceted approach. While John's issues are many, Shelley quickly recognized his difficulties and offered effective approaches to each one. Shelley's strategies have resulted in improvements for John in the areas of reading, writing, test taking skills, independent work habits, social skills, and outside interests.
While working with John on his reading skills, Shelley noticed that he had a visual tracking problem and recommended that he get an eye exam that included a test for visual tracking. This exam showed that John indeed had a tracking problem which has since been addressed with the help of the ophthalmologist and eye tracking exercises. John has increased the speed and fluency of his reading. His comprehension has improved and he now enjoys his reading assignments.
Writing has never been one of John's favorite tasks. His approach had always been to write the bare minimum and his writing was often incomprehensible. However, with Shelley's guidance and enthusiasm John is now more creative in his writing. He no longer groans about writing assignments. He now attacks writing assignments on his own and writes more than ever before.
John's work habits in the past have been anything but independent. Basically he was getting no work done without a parent or teacher telling him exactly what needed to be done and watching over his shoulder to be sure it was getting done. Someone always had to be by his side. With Shelley's guidance and encouragement John now completes almost all of his homework assignments independently on a daily basis. He is able to organize himself to begin a task. He starts on his own without being told. He finishes his assignments appropriately and knows when to seek assistance. This is a great improvement.
Because John struggles with his communication skills, his social skills with his peers is lacking. Shelley is well aware of this and has made a point to include social skills discussions in his curriculum. John shares with Shelley his successes and his difficulties and they talk them through. She offers up suggestions and has on occasion given him assignments to help him to practice these skills. This kind of input from someone other than a parent has proved to be a big help. With Shelley's assistance John continues to gain insights not only into how the behavior of his peers affects him but also into how his behavior affects the relationships he has with his peers.
In an effort to search for untapped strengths, Shelley has encouraged John to branch out and try new things. As a result John has found that he is a talented photographer. It came as a surprise to him when he was one of 50 winners in a nationwide junior photography contest. While most of the winners were in their teens, John was only 10. In addition, John entered and won a lip synch competition at camp. As a result of these experiences John is becoming more outgoing and is now more willing to try new things.
Overall, I have found Shelley to be a wonderful tutor. She has provided important lessons and insights to John as well as myself as his mom. She continues to work with John to teach him, to encourage and motivate him, and to bring out his best. Most importantly, she has taught John about his learning differences and has shown him how to succeed despite them.”
For more information contact me at Stzforas@gmail.com
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