Michelle Roy and her team of instructors at I Heart Learning Academy fill a special niche in the world of tutoring: they teach kids with dyslexia and other challenges how to read. Since conventional reading instruction taught in most schools does not work for these students, they need certified instruction from a tutor, one-on-one.
After many years teaching first grade, Michelle knew some kids struggled to read and she couldn’t understand why. After earning a Master’s degree, she tried to answer this question: “What do you do when reading strategies don’t work?” The answer led her to certifications to teach reading in multisensory, phonics-based methods and to helping kids individually after school. “I knew these kids were bright and had tons of potential. They just needed this life-changing type of instruction,” she says.
Then, Michelle decided she needed to reach more kids, so four years ago, she founded I Heart Learning Academy in Dallas, TX, initially just serving as the company’s primary tutor. But, the demand kept increasing as parents needed highly skilled instructors to help their kids learn to read. I Heart Learning Academy was growing, all while “staying true to helping kids.” A few months ago, she decided to experiment with online multi-sensory instruction knowing that she could reach more kids and help them. With a passion to help as many as possible, she began building online instruction with her team on the Trilogy Mentors platform.
COVID-19 has changed many things in education, but perhaps one area of most change has occurred in tutoring multisensory reading techniques. What began as a mission to reach more kids now takes on a different level of importance “because those kids [with reading challenges] are just getting assignments from their schools, and they can’t learn to read without direct instruction from a certified teacher. It’s very hard for them to even complete an assignment.” By using the Trilogy Mentors platform, however, I Heart Learning Academy can deliver this much needed instruction- one teacher and one child per session. As a result, in the past month, I Heart Learning Academy has increased their tutoring sessions 100 fold from students inside and outside of Texas, and the company now has a waiting list.
“It’s such an awesome feeling to say ‘Yes, we can help them’” when a distressed parent calls Michelle for help. School instruction has all but ended, but the challenges for these children do not go away. She gets regular inquiries from parents: “What tutoring software are you using? It works really well.” This high functionality means tutors can focus on the creative demands of teaching in a multisensory manner without technological disruption, essential to maintaining the student’s attention. With the help, support, and expertise of the Trilogy team, Michelle has been working on solving her next biggest problem: to train only the best, certified teachers “who have the creativity and skills to teach online” for I Heart Learning Academy. But, one thing is for sure: Michelle will not stop until she finds those teachers in order to help the most number of kids she can.
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