Reading Specialists and Tutors

Wilson, Orton-Gillingham Reading Tutors & Specialists

The Brooklyn Letters experienced reading/literacy specialists work with all ages (preschoolers through adolescence), travel to your home (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island), or and several have office locations, see below. Brooklyn Letters offers professional reading and writing support from passionate, warm, and experienced educators. Our staff has academic training and professional experience working in schools teaching students with literacy difficulties; tutors typically don’t have these qualifications. We understand what causes underlying literacy learning issues, and we  provide decoding and encoding services, Orton-Gillingham support, and facilitate reading fluency and reading comprehension. Our staff provides standardized reading tests to measure progress. Please read below to learn more about our team. We are more than happy to recommend affordable and fun computer games, if needed, to be used at your leisure at home, to help reinforce your child’s literacy goals.

To help you better understand the process involved in literacy tutoring, we recommend that you read the following articles:

From Catch Them Before They Fall: Identification and Assessment to Prevent Reading Failure in Young Children, by Joseph K. Torgesen

Ten Myths of Reading Instruction, by Sebastian Wren

Manhattan: $110-$130 per hour and either Jo-Ann, Shelley, Rachel, Jennie, Rita, Andrea, Melissa, or Marie can work in your home.
Brooklyn: $100-$120 per hour and Susan Littman, Jo-Ann, Rachel, Jennie, Marie, Rita, Andrea, Melissa, and Patti travel to your home.
BROOKLYN OFFICES Susan is in Park Slope on 399 2nd Street and Bracha is a few blocks from Brooklyn College.
Queens: $100-$120 per hour and Jennie, Shelley, Melissa, or Andrea can work in your home.
Nassau County: $100-$120 per hour and Shelley Padilla or Melissa can work in your home.

Feel free to call 347-394-3485 and leave a message- just let us know what type of literacy support your child needs, your availability, and your cross streets. A Brooklyn Letters reading specialist will call you back or email the Brooklyn Letters reading specialist directly (their emails are listed under their respective bios.) Otherwise, contact Craig, who will match your child with the right reading specialist, for additional information-[email protected]

Shelley Padilla, M.S. NY State Dual Certified: Special Educator and Elementary Education & Certified Wilson Reading Specialist

Hempstead-20130210-00024Shelley Padilla is a New York dual licensed Elementary Education (Pre K, Kindergarten, Grades 1-6)/Special Education teacher (K-12), earning a Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education from Buffalo State College and a Masters of Science from Adelphi University. Shelley found her love for teaching by becoming involved in Special Education since an early age, working as a camp counselor in Special Ed camps, and subsequently has taught special needs children and children with reading difficulties, e.g. dyslexia, in various school settings around the country, including self-contained classrooms for elementary grades, resource room for grades K-5, and reading instruction grades 6 through 12. She has also tutored reading at children’s homes in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island.

Shelley achieved Certified Wilson Instructor status (very few have obtained this status in NYC), including being trained in the Wilson Fundations Program; a phonics-based program for young children (K-3), and supported teachers using this program. Additionally Shelley trained other teachers in the Wilson Reading Program at a K-12 Special Education school, the Child School, located on Roosevelt Island.

The Wilson Reading System directly and systematically teaches students to achieve success in reading. Unlike traditional phonics programs, Wilson Reading instruction is very interactive and multi-sensory, thus teaching total word construction and not just phonics. Students learn to encode (spell) and they learn to decode (take words apart) as part of their reading process. Evidence shows that when a direct systematic, code-based instruction is skillfully implemented by a Wilson Reading knowledgeable teacher, it is the most effective approach for problem readers. This system is based on the multi-sensory language techniques and principals first described by Dr. Samuel Orton and Anna Gillingham (Orton Gillingham philosophy)

Shelley excels at changing the lives of children that have difficulty in reading by allowing them to see how being a better reader can affect many areas of their lives especially in education. Shelley utilizes her skills to collaborate with teachers, therapists and parents in order to maximize the achievements of students in their educational and emotional needs. Shelley really knows how to make learning to read fun and exciting while showing her students all the possibilities available to them when they learn to appreciate the world of reading.

Read more about her reviews

LOCATION: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island (she resides in Forest Hills).
TYPE OF SERVICES: Initial reading evaluation and reading intervention.
EXPERTISE: Working with children who have difficulty with decoding (deciphering letters when reading), reading fluency, reading comprehension, and/or encoding (spelling) issues, including working with students with dyslexia.
AGES: Kindergarten through high school
HOURS: Home-Visits: flexible
CONTACT: [email protected]

Marie Mcgill – NYS Dual Certified Special Educator & General Educator With Specialization iN Speech/Language & Learning Disabilities

Marie McGill is a NYS Certified Special Educator and a NYS Certified General Educator. She works in a collaborative classroom setting, where both general education and special education services are provided to a diverse group of learners. Her education includes a bachelors degree from St. Joseph’s College with a major in Child Study and a concentration in speech language pathology. She also has a masters degree in Special Education from Hunter College, with a specialization in learning disabilities. Her professional experiences working in NYC public schools provided Marie the opportunity to teach a broad range of students from pre-k through 5th grade. Marie is trained in the Wilson Reading Program and its early childhood component, Fundations. She uses the sequential and systematic approaches of these programs in order to build phonemic awareness, decoding, and fluency skills in struggling readers. Students are then given immediate opportunities to apply new concepts as she exposes them to text that is appropriate for their instructional reading levels. Her ultimate goal is for students to end each session with the ability and initiative to independently apply the new concept(s) taught in each session.

In order to fully understand both the strengths and needs of the students she services, Marie begins the tutoring process by conducting both formal and informal evaluations. These may include standard reading assessments, interviews with the student and parent, observations, and examination of class work helping create goals to drive instruction.

It is Marie’s priority to create a learning climate that is supportive and nurturing, yet appropriately challenging. While she often uses research based methods and strategies, her teaching philosophy is grounded in the belief that there is no set “formula” that works for every student. As an educator, she enjoys opportunities getting to know and to understand individual student needs and learning styles, and she instructs accordingly.

LOCATION: North Brooklyn, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Park Slope, Downtown Manhattan.
TYPES OF SERVICES: Initial reading assessment, individualized reading instruction, progress monitoring.
EXPERTISE: Working with students with learning disabilities and speech language delays/difficulties, building phonemic awareness, reading comprehension strategies, balanced literacy.
AGES: All ages
HOURS: Flexible after school and weekends.
CONTACT: [email protected]

Rachel Hedbavny – School Psychologist & Reading Specialist

Rachel3Rachel is a nationally certified School Psychologist and certified in the Wilson Reading System. Rachel is passionate about working with children to promote their academic, social, and emotional growth. Her education includes a B.S. in Marketing from the Rutgers School of Business and Masters in Education with an Advanced Certificate in School Psychology from CUNY Brooklyn College.

As a School Psychologist, she has worked with a diverse population of general and special education students at the elementary and middle school levels, conducting psycho-educational assessments and providing counseling services. She also fosters collaborative relationships in which children, parents, school staff, and outside agencies can work together to maximize students’ potential, and create the most positive school environment that is possible for them.

As a Brooklyn Letters reading tutor, Rachel uses the Wilson program to improve children’s decoding, fluency, comprehension, and spelling skills. She is intent on creating a nurturing and supportive learning environment for her students so they feel most comfortable to persist and challenge themselves. She highlights students’ strengths by tailoring lessons to meet each student’s unique learning style.

LOCATION: Manhattan: lower Manhattan Brooklyn: Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens areas; She resides in Brooklyn Heights.
TYPE OF SERVICES: Initial reading assessments, individualized reading intervention and instruction
EXPERTISE: Assessment and intervention for children struggling with decoding, reading comprehension, and fluency
AGES: 2nd grade through high school
HOURS: Flexible after-school hours and weekends
CONTACT: [email protected]

Jennie Young, M.S. NYS Licensed English Language Arts Teacher with a Masters in Secondary English Education

Jennie Young received a masters in Secondary English Education from CUNY, Lehman College. Her area of expertise includes helping children and adolescents with reading and writing difficulties, school curriculum and homework, and test preparation. She worked with ESL, special education, general education, and advanced students at M.S. 821, where she was a tenured sixth and seventh grade ELA teacher. She has taught students from elementary to high school and helps them in all areas of English Language Arts, from phonics and decoding to literature and advanced writing. With a BA in Spanish from the University of Miami, Jennie is also fluent in Spanish. She also has training in aesthetic education (an arts-rich approach to teaching literacy and literature) and in Columbia University Teacher’s College Workshop Model. In addition, Jennie is well versed with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts for all grades.

Jennie begins the tutoring process by getting to know the student through formal and informal assessments and observations. This helps her understand the student’s strengths and struggles so that she can develop an individualized reading and writing curriculum. Jennie enjoys using popular young-adult literature and creative writing along with direct instruction to make reading and writing enjoyable and relevant to students’ lives. When reading and writing difficulties hinder students’ success in classes such as science or history, Jennie can help. She teaches students to comprehend, question, and analyze the material, as well as to improve their writing, editing, and organization, no matter what the subject. Jennie believes fostering confidence and independence in her students is an important goal, whether a student has a language-based learning disability or struggles with spelling, syntax, grammar, handwriting, organization, attention span, reading and listening comprehension, speaking, fluency, or decoding. Jennie creates individualized goals and works hard to keep students invested in their progress. She hopes that all of her students become engaged lifelong readers and writers.

LOCATION: Brooklyn (all areas), Lower Manhattan and Midtown, and Queens (Long Island City)
TYPE OF SERVICES: Individualized reading and writing intervention and instruction, reading and writing assessments, consultation with teachers and other specialists involved
EXPERTISE: Children and adolescents struggling with reading comprehension, decoding, encoding, and fluency, as well as with writing (forming ideas, organization, grammar, syntax). Also advanced students wanting to build on current reading and writing skills or prepare for testing.
AGES: Elementary through high school
HOURS: Flexible afternoons and after school, all days of the week
CONTACT: [email protected]


ritaRita is a certified literacy specialist with a M.A. from Bank Street College of Education and a B.A. in Literature from Bard College. She has practiced assessment and tutoring in private and clinical settings. Rita has had classroom experience at Hunter Elementary School as well as in public elementary schools in Queens and Harlem. She has completed Part I of Literacy through Multisensory Teaching (LMUST), an Orton Gillingham curriculum developed by Judith Birsh. Growing up with a dyslexic sister in a time when learning disabilities were less understood, she has personally witnessed the challenges that struggling readers and writers face. She has also had extensive music and computer experience and has worked in online news and in web design and development. Rita combines her experience in the arts, computers, and education to teach literacy skills such as decoding and comprehension strategies. She has also had success helping students prepare for the New York State ELA exams. Her students have fun following a series of short, engaging exercises while they learn the skills they need. Rita strives to help her students gain confidence by teaching them to direct their particular strengths toward the goal of becoming more independent learners and successful readers and writers.

HOURS: Weekdays after 3:00 pm, mornings and weekends.
LOCATION: Brooklyn, Manhattan.
TYPES OF SERVICES: Formal and informal reading assessments (phonological awareness, sound symbol association, decoding strategies, fluency, and reading comprehension, spelling); development of intervention programs to address needs.
EXPERTISE: Developing individualized and prescriptive remediation for struggling readers
AGES: Pre-school through middle school
CONTACT: [email protected]

Melissa Marino, NYS certified in Early Childhood, Childhood, Special Education and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)

melissaMelissa Marino is NYS certified in Early Childhood, Childhood, Special Education and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). She graduated from Saint John’s University with a Bachelor of Science in Childhood Education, and a Masters of Science degree in TESOL. She then furthered her studies and attended Touro College to receive her Special Education and Early Childhood certification. She currently works for the Department of Education as a kindergarten and first grade ESL teacher. Melissa has over 10 years experience impacting students with different needs. She works with students on improving their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Melissa believes in a multisensory learning environment in order to engage all students. Her expertise includes test preparation for the ELA and Math state tests, homework, school curriculum, and preparing English language learners for the NYSESLAT.

Melissa is trained in the Wilson Reading Program and its early childhood component, Fundations. She uses this approach with her students in order to build phonemic awareness, decoding, and fluency skills in struggling readers. She also has training in Columbia University Teacher’s College Workshop Model. Melissa also has experience working successfully with special needs children in improving their academic and social skills using the applied behavior analysis approach (ABA).
Melissa begins the tutoring process by getting to know the student through formal and informal observations and assessments. This allows her to target student’s specific problem areas and adapt instruction. Creating a risk free environment is important when teaching all students. Melissa provides positive reinforcement to all her students. Her goal is to foster and maintain an open, honest, communicative, and supportive environment in which students feel safe, secure, engaged, and appropriately challenged.

LOCATION: Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Long Island
TYPES OF SERVICES: Initial reading assessment, individualized reading instruction, progress monitoring.
EXPERTISE: Working with students with learning disabilities, English language learners and speech language delays/difficulties, dyslexia, building phonemic awareness, reading comprehension strategies, balanced literacy
AGES: Preschool through middle school
HOURS: Flexible after school and weekends
CONTACT: [email protected]


004Andrea is dual certified by New York State as a Literacy Specialist and Early Childhood/Elementary Education Teacher. She has a B.A. in English from SUNY Albany and earned two master’s degrees in literacy and in childhood/elementary education from Queens College, CUNY. For the past eight years, Andrea has worked as a Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS) provider, working with students in grades K-12 who have a variety of learning differences. Based on her student’s needs, her services have ranged from giving basic homework help in all subjects, to designing and implementing individualized literacy and math programs, to preparing students for a variety of New York State standardized tests. She was also a first grade reading teacher in Oceanside, New York, where for seven years she worked to build the literacy skills of her students. She also completed the coursework at the associate level in Orton-Gillingham reading programs and received training in Wilson Fundations. Andrea’s goal is to help her students attain the two most important ingredients in academic success: independence and confidence. During literacy instruction, she helps her students master a variety of decoding and comprehension strategies and to apply these strategies to better their understanding in all academic areas. To improve their writing, she gives students the opportunity to express themselves in different topics ranging from creative writing to writing based on reading. Her students also learn to improve their spelling and edit their written work. In mathematics, she provides students with strategies to help them understand concepts, and she uses techniques such as manipulatives and reading comprehension strategies to help solve word problems. Through her work, she gives students the tools they need to help them achieve their academic potential.

LOCATION: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens
TYPE OF SERVICES: Initial reading evaluation, individualized reading and writing instruction, consultation with teachers or other service providers if requested.
EXPERTISE: Reading: Implement a variety of decoding and comprehension strategies to encourage independent reading. Improve reading fluency. Writing: Instruction in writing both short paragraphs and full essays. Improve organization, grammar and encoding (spelling). Work with students with a variety of learning difficulties, such as dyslexia.
AGES: Kindergarten through high school
HOURS: Home-Visits: Mondays at 3:30pm, Tues., Thurs. Fridays at 3:30pm, and weekends.
CONTACT: [email protected]

Susan Littman—NY State Certified Reading Specialist, NY State Licensed ELA Teacher, & Literacy Coach

Susan Littman is a NYS Certified Reading Specialist, a NYS Licensed English Language Arts Teacher, and a Literacy Coach who is Orton-Gillingham and Wilson trained, who has helped many students with reading difficulties in elementary and middle schools. Her education includes a Masters in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Masters in Literacy with a special focus on reading disabilities from Long Island University. She also has worked extensively in several District 15 schools, including in P.S. 321 and M.S. 821.

Initially, the process begins with an evaluation of your child’s readings skills, using standard reading assessments, personal observation and interaction with your child. Input from you, the parents, and your child’s teachers, is also vital to get a better understanding of your child’s strengths and struggles. Then, based on your child’s instructional needs and goals, Ms Littman will develop an individualized reading plan. This targeted intervention is customized to help your child make progress, whether the issues are decoding words and/or reading comprehension.

Ms Littman has created a welcoming space in her centrally located Park Slope brownstone where she sees students after school or on weekends. It is a quiet room where a child can concentrate and where distractions are minimized. Here, in this comfortable, supportive environment, Ms Littman will teach your child the strategies and skills s/he needs to become a confident, competent reader.

LOCATION: Home office at 399 2nd Street (Park Slope) and Ms. Littman makes Brooklyn home visits.
TYPE OF SERVICES: Initial reading evaluation, consultation with teachers and other involved specialists, individualized reading intervention plan
EXPERTISE: Students with phonemic awareness, phonics, and reading comprehension difficulties.
AGES: All ages.
HOURS: Flexible, after school and on weekends.
CONTACT: [email protected]

Jo-Ann Kalb-NY State Certified Teacher & Reading Interventionist

After a successful 20 year career as a classroom teacher and 10 years as a school librarian, Jo-Ann has launched what has become a vibrant practice as a private reading specialist. For the past three years she has transformed dyslexic and otherwise struggling students into thriving readers who do well in school. At the same time Jo-Ann continues to work for the Department of Education part-time as the Reading Intervention teacher at PS 10 in Park Slope. She has received certificates for training in Orton-Gillingham, PAF, Wilson, Sounds in Motion, Great Leaps, and Rewards. All are research based programs designed to meet the needs of students who are faced with difficulty establishing basic reading skills. She blends all programs together and combined with her years of classroom experience formulates a program to meet the very individualized needs of each of her clients. If you are on vacation and want to continue tutoring, Jo-Ann will set up SKYPE sessions with you and your child.

Her initial evaluation is free, and she will determine whether or not she believes she can help your child. She will gladly provide you with a referral list of satisfied parents. All materials are provided and parents are involved with assigned practice work.

Read more about her rave reviews!

LOCATION: Manhattan and Brooklyn (Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Prospect Heights, Bay Ridge, Ditmas Park, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, and Fort Greene).
TYPE OF SERVICES: Initial reading evaluation, reading intervention using research based reading programs.
EXPERTISE: Working with children who have phonemic awareness problems and/or dyslexia.
AGES: 5-10
HOURS: Home-Visits: Mon, Wed-Fri 3:30-7PM, Sat & Sun 10 AM-3 PM
CONTACT: [email protected]

Bracha Perlstein- NYS Licensed Special Ed. Teacher & Certified Reading Specialist

photo 1-2Bracha has a bachelors degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences through Excelsior College, a masters in Special Education through Daemen College, and she almost has completed her Associate Level of training through the Association of Orton Gillingham Practioners and Educators (AOGPE). As an accomplished full time teacher and private tutor at Magen David Yeshiva, Bracha provides one-on-one support for students with dyslexia and other reading difficulties. Bracha is a special education teacher in a 4th grade self-contained classroom for all subjects, a math and science teacher for 8th graders and also specializes in preparing students for the New York State ELA exams. Before becoming a reading specialist, Bracha encountered fourth and eighth graders who simply could not read! She realized that these students were floating through the system without receiving the proper reading support. As a result, she registered for her first Orton-Gilllingham (OG) class. During her practicum, she saw a significant difference when teaching students with the appropriate reading instruction. The Orton-Gillingham approach takes advantage of a variety of learning pathways such as kinesthetic, auditory, and visual cues. Her Orton-Gillingham lessons are both diagnostic and prescriptive, since she monitors her students’ verbal, nonverbal, and written responses in order to analyze their literacy difficulties.
 Furthermore, she teaches how words are made up of individual sounds and that the letters of written words are represented by these speech sounds. 
The child is actively involved in the reading, spelling and writing process. Students who can’t decode and who struggle with basic letter recognition, thanks to her help, now have the skills to become a successful reader. Bracha’s instruction includes PAF and the use of Bumpy Books.

LOCATION: Ave I and East 29th Street (near Brooklyn College)
EXPERTISE: Children with learning disabilities, ADHD, dyslexia, auditory processing disorder
AGES: Grades 1-8
HOURS: Weekday evenings and Sunday
CONTACT: [email protected]


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPatti Bottino-Bravo is a NYS licensed and ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist. With more than 18 years working with students with speech and language impairments, Patti was surprised by the number of middle school students she encountered who just could not read! How did these students get to the 6th, 7th or 8th grade and not be identified or enrolled in a reading program? Patti used all her resources to help her students and learned that multisensory techniques are the most effective way to help readers “crack the code” for reading and spelling. Patti embarked on the process of obtaining her certification in Orton-Gillingham techniques through the Association of Orton- Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE). She has completed the 60 hours of education for the Associate Level, and is in the process of completing the 100 hours of education required for the Certified Level. A member of both AOGPE and the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), Patti stays current on research in the field. Using multisensory techniques, as well as technology and apps, she leaves no stone unturned and will help motivate her students to love reading!!

HOURS: Weekdays after 4:00 pm and weekends.
LOCATION: Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Boro Park, Brighton Beach, Ditmas Park, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, Kensington, Manhattan Beach, Midwood, Sheepshead Bay.
TYPES OF SERVICES: Formal and informal reading assessments (phonological awareness, sound symbol association, decoding strategies, fluency, and reading comprehension, spelling); development of intervention programs to address needs.
EXPERTISE: Developing individualized and prescriptive remediation for struggling readers
AGES: Kindergarten to Adult
CONTACT: [email protected]

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