"Michelle has been providing weekly tuition to our daughter for the past eight months. From the very first session Michelle displayed a real understanding of the way younger children learn. She constantly adapted her approach to fit into our daughter’s particular needs and always made each session interesting and rewarding. She was always sensitive to our daughter’s changing concentration levels and thus her ability to absorb the information before her. She used a wide variety of techniques which kept each session different but aimed at delivering the fundamental concepts our daughter needed to grasp. Under Michelle’s tutelage, our daughter has made noticeable progress in her maths, reading, comprehension and verbal reasoning. "
Year 1 English and Maths Tuition
Senior School Entrance
Queen Mary University, London. MA English Literature.
University College, London. BA History of Art, 2:2.
Westminster School, A-Levels, English (B), French (B), German (B)
Preston Manor High School, O-Levels, English Language (A), English Literature (A), Religious Studies (A), French (A), German (A), Food & Nutrition (A), German (A), Spanish (B), Maths (B), Physics (B), Biology (B), Chemistry (B), Hungarian (B).
As an experienced English tutor, I am passionate and enthusiastic about tutoring every aspect of English language and literature to children and young adults. I take a holistic approach, working with pupils to improve both their literacy skills and to gain confidence.
I have a proven ability to help children to learn. With over eight years of experience (300+ hours of one-to-one tutoring), I have worked with several pupils (5-11yrs), to significantly improve their literacy, reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary knowledge, verbal reasoning and comprehension. In addition, I am able to tutor Maths and French (KS1 and KS2).
My focus is on helping pupils to improve their reading, writing, spelling, vocabulary knowledge, comprehension and verbal reasoning skills. As well as working with mainstream pupils, I have extensive experience of tutoring students with learning challenges, adapting my approach to ensure that they benefit effectively from one-to-one tuition. I am particularly good at helping pupils to develop better concentration and focus when learning.
My tutoring style is gentle, enthusiastic, encouraging, nurturing and very patient.
I feel the key to high quality learning is to imbue in the child an enjoyment and love for literacy, so that they do not see it as a chore or something to resist and fear.
I work hard to ensure that lessons are fun and enjoyable for my tutees. I aim to inspire the child to enjoy reading, writing and learning. I engage with him / her by discussing the books they are reading and the stories they are writing, asking them questions about the characters and what they like about the story.
I always emphasise the positive, because students often experience frustration and anger when they are finding it difficult to learn to read and write. They worry about being stupid, not good enough, and their classmates picking on them for being behind in their learning.
My methodology is to break down lessons into short five or ten minute segments, and to make each short segment fun and engaging.
Sensitive to the fact that every tutee is unique, I adapt my tutoring approach according to the way they like to learn. I seek to encourage children and young adults to feel enthusiastic about books and writing, and not to be afraid of making a mistake. By allowing them to know that it is okay not to be perfect first time round, I keep the emphasis on making the pupil feel good about themselves and their level of reading, even if / when they make mistakes.
Prior to my full-time career as a tutor, I was a journalist for several years and thereafter a communications (PR) professional for over a decade. During that time I also worked for six years as a volunteer reader at a local primary school in central London, supporting pupils of various ages who had various challenges and difficulties with their literacy development. At this school I helped four pupils in Reception (aged 4 – 5). I also supported six pupils in Year 1 (age 5 – 6) and Year 2 (age 6 – 7) and four pupils in Year 3 (age 7 – 8). These children were behind in their reading and literacy for many different reasons. I worked with them to improve their phonics, pronunciation, reading, writing, spelling and comprehension.
I am proud to say that all of the pupils I worked with at this school experienced significant improvement in their literacy over the time-frame that I helped them. This varied from one to three terms per pupil. It was a joy to see them develop their confidence as they improved all aspects of their literacy skills.
Please find a snapshot of my tuition experience below:
My recent tuition involves working with students individually to help with their literacy, reading, writing, spelling and comprehension. I offer support to develop their confidence, understanding and fluency.
P. is a bright young boy of five in Reception. He was struggling to read and understand phonics. His parents were going through a divorce, which was proving to be quite traumatic for him. As he was slipping behind his schoolwork because he couldn’t read, he was being teased and feeling quite sad and defeated. Initially, he just didn’t want to read all and he kept pushing the books away. My approach was to make it fun and to remove the stress out of reading for him. We started by choosing a picture book that he would find easy (one that was well below the level that his class were reading). I initially had to help him to read several words per page as he was stumbling and finding even the most basic words difficult. Every week we would practise writing just a few words from the book onto lined, brightly coloured paper. We also practised saying a few sounds (phonics) together for which I used visual flash cards. My approach is gentle, enthusiastic, positive and supportive. Over time, P. began to feel more confident with his reading and spelling. He felt sufficiently secure and happy that he wanted to upgrade to a more advanced book each term. By the time we had finished working together over a three-term period, P. was reading much more fluently than at the start, and was at the same books that his classmates were reading. He was enjoying phonics, reading, spelling and learning.
YEAR 1, English Language, Literature and Literacy
A. is a bright little boy aged six. He was reading books for children well below his age group, closer to nursery level. His parents were living apart and it was clear that he wasn’t receiving the parental support to help with his reading as he often talked about his dad being too tired to do much when he got home. Initially lacking self-belief in his ability to read and spell, I offered him practical and emotional support so he learned not to be afraid to make a mistake. Working with him to keep practising the more difficult words, I praised A. when he spelled them correctly. Over the course of two terms I helped A. to catch up to his reading age by encouraging him to choose books at a higher level than his initial comfort zone of nursery stories when it became clear to me that he could tackle them, and by giving him confidence to spell the ‘bigger’ words which seemed to cause him concern before.
YEAR 1, Literacy
B is a bright young girl (aged six) with some problems surrounding her literacy. She has been diagnosed with mild dyslexia. When we first started working together, her handwriting was illegible and she was struggling to read simple picture books. She found the words were jumping all over the page and she was getting angry and frustrated at her inability to decipher the words in these picture books. Early on, as spelling and writing was so difficult for her, I went back to basics and each week we would practise the alphabet and some simple spellings on a whiteboard. She also practised a list of spelling tests per week from the school curriculum. We used a transparent blue cellophane page placed over the book pages she was reading to enable her to read the words more clearly. I focused on helping her to slow down with her reading so that she’d make fewer mistakes and feel less frustrated. Seven months on she is now reading with much more fluency, and her writing is significantly neater and more legible. When tested, she is also writing words correctly onto the whiteboard and into her spelling book with minimal support.
YEAR 2, English Language, Literature and Literacy (SEN)
T. is a very bright girl aged seven. She comes from a single parent family and may also have some form of undiagnosed dyslexia because she was really struggling with her reading when I first began to offer her tutorial help. Even at this early age her self-esteem was very low and she had a great lack of confidence in her literacy skills and abilities. My approach was to give her emotional support and to encourage her to have the confidence to tackle more difficult words in slow, steady, step-by-step stages. In the space of three terms A.’s reading and literacy had advanced by two grades and she was much more confident and fluent in her reading by the time we had finished working together. She enjoyed reading, writing and learning new words, rather than being afraid to ‘fail’.
YEAR 2, English Language, Literature and Literacy
J. is a bright girl aged 7. However, J. had little enthusiasm or interest in reading and seemed quite bored when I first began to give her tutorial help. It was challenging to get her to read out loud and she had difficulty reading and spelling many of the words in the books she chose. I worked hard to instil in her a sense of joy and fun in reading and learning new words. To make the book come alive, I paused regularly to ask her questions about what was happening in the stories and what the more challenging words meant. I also asked her opinion about the various characters in them. By the end of our time working together, once a week over nearly three terms, J. looked forward to reading out loud and practising spelling and she was excited about choosing a new book as soon as she had finished the previous one. With my help she improved her reading by two grades.
YEAR 3, English Language, Literature and Literacy
P. is a boy aged eight. His father passed away three years ago and he had fallen substantially behind in his reading and writing. When I first began tutoring him he was reading children’s books for ages four to five. He had little confidence when reading out loud and stumbled on relatively easy words. Over the course of two and a half terms I worked with him once a week to restore his confidence and enjoyment of reading. With a gentle, positive and nurturing approach I encouraged him to lose his fear about tackling more challenging vocabulary. By the end of our work together he had advanced by two reading grades, was reading happily with confidence and able to understand more complex words and their meaning.
YEAR 3, English Language, Literature and Literacy (SEN)
G. is an extremely bright girl aged eight. She has some form of as-yet-undiagnosed ADHD. When we first began working together, she could not sit still or pay attention for any length of time. She was very easily distracted and kept talking about random things not connected to the book she was reading. It was hard for her to concentrate or focus on individual words. She would often skip past them and change the sentences she was reading to create her own ‘version’ of the story. Together with the SENCO teacher we came up with a plan to help create a structure for G’s tutoring time. We created a nice pictogram with five parts to it:
1) Chat for a few minutes about G.’s day so far
2) G. reads out loud for 10 minutes
3) I read to her for 10 minutes
4) I ask her questions about the meaning of what we have been reading
5) G. practices spelling, handwriting and verbal comprehension.
By the end of our work together, G. was able to concentrate much more and focus well on her reading. She read the words actually written in the book with fluency and clarity and was not at all distracted by other things.
GCSE English Language and Literature
James is a very intelligent student, but he was having trouble engaging with the AQA English Literature GCSE curriculum. He put off reading the key texts for this exam because he found them boring. I worked with James on one text at a time, and focused on asking him what he felt about each character of the novel / play / poem. Once I had successfully engaged with James to become more enthusiastic about reading the various books on the curriculum, I advised him to pick out key short quotes from each text, write them down into a notebook, and revise them in short bursts of ten minutes each. We then spent several tutoring sessions looking at previous AQA papers for both English Literature and Language. I impressed upon James the importance of making sure that he had carefully read and understood the exam questions, and that he focused on actually answering the question being asked. As a result of my tutoring, both James’s English Literature and Language exam results were 7 as opposed to the 5 he was predicted to achieve.
GCSE English Language and Literature
Louisa is a lovely, intelligent student, however, she sometimes has great difficulty concentrating. Although there has not been a clear diagnosis of ADHD, her parents are concerned that this may be the case. She had difficulty with some of the basics of grammar, punctuation and spelling. Louisa also found the curriculum for English GCSE Literature somewhat challenging, and I could sense that the texts she needed to study were not easy for her; hence she wasn’t enjoying this subject and lacked confidence. Given Louisa’s difficulties in concentrating, I made sure that each tutoring session was split into manageable chunks, and I was guided by her to take a few small one-minute breaks when she needed them. We did regular work on past exam questions and I provided targeted feedback to help her improve. I also helped Louisa to draw up a list of ‘easy-to-remember’ quotes for each of her main texts. Louisa was predicted a 4 for her English Literature and scored 6. For English Language she was heading for a 3 and scored 5. Her parents were very happy with her results and she was very happy too.
Hobbies and Interests
Writing books, reading, visiting museums and art galleries.
“Michelle Doughty has been providing weekly tuition to our daughter for the past eight months. From the very first session Michelle displayed a real understanding of the way younger children learn. She constantly adapted her approach to fit into our daughter’s particular needs and always made each session interesting and rewarding. She was always sensitive to our daughter’s changing concentration levels and thus her ability to absorb the information before her. She used a wide variety of techniques which kept each session different but aimed at delivering the fundamental concepts our daughter needed to grasp. Under Michelle’s tutelage, our daughter has made noticeable progress in her maths, reading, comprehension and verbal reasoning. ” Parents of one of my Year 1 students
“Michelle was a private tutor to my 10-year-old son who needed help with his English. Her approach was friendly but professional; and in my son’s own words ‘kind, patient, and knowledgeable’. I often face frustration and tears when I help my son with his homework. However, there was none of that with Michelle. She masterfully took him though comprehension, creative writing, and vocabulary building with her delightful positivity. She also helped to boost our son’s confidence by reminding him how smart he was, which resulted in his school report with ‘Excellent’ on all subjects for the first time ever. I am grateful for Michelle’s work to make my son feel so proud. I am happy to recommend Michelle for anyone who is looking for an excellent tutor who can caringly support their child’s academic development.” Parent of Year 6 student
“Michelle has been a wonder with my year 8 son. In the sixth months that they have been working together he has improved immensely, becoming far more confident in his writing, and writing at greater length with more clarity and punctuation. He is also more thoughtful when planning his sentences. He has gone up two grades in English, and his improved writing skills are benefitting most of his other subjects. Michelle has also helped him to prepare for the 13+ ISEB exams, giving him lots of guidance and helpful tips on how to tackle the various questions that might arise in an exam situation. This really helped him to feel more confident and well prepared for his exams. My son enjoys his lessons with Michelle, who is very encouraging, patient and positive.” Parent of 13+ student