sharon's blog

Thank you, Donors!

Windy Row depends on our individual donors to help us help children learn to read.  

A heartfelt thank you to our generous donors in 2015, who include:

Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund

John & Maud Corser Fund (a donor advised grant from the NH Charitable Foundation)

Masonic Lodge-Altemont #26

Peterborough Rotary

St. James Thrift Shop

Manhattan East Hair Design Studio

Currently, 7 girls and boys are receiving specialized after-school tutoring for various reading challenges including dyslexia. We charge a sliding scale for these twice-a-week, 1 hour tutoring sessions; but it is not enough to cover the costs of paying our highly trained tutors; our rent, heating and maintenance costs; and our outreach to educate teachers, parents and the community (about 1 in 20 children have a reading challenge and half of those are never accurately diagnosed). 

Your contribution goes directly to aid the students we help.

Windy Row: How You Can Help

Here is a way you can help hundreds of children learn to read, children who would otherwise struggle to read at a first- or second-grade level for the rest of their lives.

Join the Board of Windy Row.

Sound frightening? It isn't! Sound expensive? It isn't! Sound like you'll be dunning every friend you have for cash? You won't!

So what will you do as a member of the Board of Windy Row?

  • You will meet once a month between 5:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at 8 Windy Row (corner Windy Row & Union Street) in West Peterborough, New Hampshire. Our 1 hour meetings are never rambling and never go over time. We keep on task.
  • You will help Windy Row with the skill you love to use--writing, marketing, speaking before other groups, data entry, taking minutes at meetings, sharing your expertise as an educator or parent: Your choice.
  • You will join in decisions that ensure Windy Row will continue to thrive and that will give parents the financial aid they need to keep their children enrolled.
  • You will share your enthusiasm about reading with 6-8 people who feel exactly like you!

The days are long past when joining a nonprofit board meant you had millions of dollars to give away, wealthy friends, and a lot of time to socialize. Our board consists of several owners of small businesses (including my own sole-proprietorship), an employee at Franklin Pierce College, a lawyer, a retired college administrator, a retired teacher, and a banker. We range in age from late twenties to early 80s, with the median age about 50. Some of us belong to other boards, but some of us are first-time board members. In fact, Windy Row was the first board I ever joined.

Two articles mentioning Windy Row appear in the January issue of Monadnock Small Business Journal. One describes board membership in more detail and another welcomes our newest board member (Susannah Batchelder). I'm proud to say I wrote both articles, and even prouder about serving with people like Susannah and on a board like Windy Row's. 

Susannah joined by sending an info [at] (email) to Windy Row Learning Center. You can send us an email or call us at 603-924-7198. Everyone on the Board of Windy Row will be delighted to hear from you.

Start Your Child's New Year with Reading/Math Help

If your child has been struggling with reading or math the first half of the school year, call or email Windy Row Learning Center.

We accept children at any time of the school year and will adjust our fees to match the number of after-school tutoring sessions.

If you believe you can't afford one-on-one tutoring, please talk to us. 

We have a generous sliding scale for tuition and we also offer financial aid (scholarships). Our goal as a nonprofit is to never turn away a child for financial reasons.

If you aren't sure whether your child has dyslexia or dyscalculia, please contact us. We do not need a formal diagnosis to start. We just need to know that your child has reading and math challenges and may be falling behind the other students. Or maybe your child is keeping up but at a cost of exhaustion and stress.

We provide children with tools that help them to read more easily and fluently, which reduces both exhaustion and stress.

If you and your child are terrified of yet another failure, please talk to us.

Our tutoring is always one-on-one. Windy Row tutors always work at the child's pace. We feel that one of our primary functions is to restore to children the self-respect and sense of success that has been taken from them. Your child will never be shamed or made to feel like a failure.

If you know a really bright child who is failing reading, please urge the parents or guardians to contact us.

Many of the children we see are referrals from pediatricians, teachers, and other parents who have come to Windy Row. Their conversations with us almost always start with "my child is very bright..." We realize that children who are struggling to read are often extremely creative and excel in other areas.

If you are frustrated by the help your child has received so far, please contact us.

Our specially trained tutors use the Orton-Gillingham method and other internationally known programs for helping children to read and understand math. Public and private schools do not always have those programs available. At Windy Row we have trained many teachers in Orton-Gillingham, and we know how hard it is for them to offer one-on-one tutoring as much as they would want to. That's why teachers have no hesitation in recommending Windy Row.

If you feel you cannot disrupt your child now, please contact us about tutoring during the summer. 

We have flexible tutoring hours during the summer and can accomplish a lot to prepare your child for the next school year.

If you don't know how to find us, it is easy: just email us or phone 924-7198. 

Windy Row Learning Center is located in West Peterborough, New Hampshire, and accepts children from preschool to grade 10 for afterschool tutoring in reading and/or math.

Windy Row Learning Center: Q&A

Here are answers to some questions that folks have recently asked us about Windy Row:

Q. My pediatrician recommended that I contact you. What is the next step?

A. We will arrange for you to speak by phone with our Executive Director Dr. Cheryl Orcutt, who can answer your questions about Windy Row and who can help you evaluate whether Windy Row is a good fit for your child. If you decide that Windy Row is a good fit for you and your child, we will then arrange for your child to be tested so that we can pinpoint his or her problems with reading; we will assign a tutor; and we will begin helping your child to read.

Q. Can you send a tutor to my child's school?

A. Unfortunately, we cannot send tutors to individual schools. Children come to Windy Row in West Peterborough, New Hampshire (8 Windy Row, corner of Windy Row and Union Street).

Q. It's now the middle of the school year. Can I start my child at Windy Row?

A. Yes, we start children at any time during the school year and pro-rate our fees. We also offer tutoring during the summer.

Q. My child has problems with math. Can you help? Is there an special fee or tutoring hours?

A. We can help with math. We see many of the same problems with math as with reading and we tutor in both subjects. The fee and the tutoring hours are the same. If your child has problems with both reading and math, there is no additional fee.

Q. I'm not sure that my child has dyslexia or is very far behind the rest of the kids in the class. But I'm worried that she takes forever to read a page and seems exhausted by her homework.

A. If you are worried, please contact Windy Row. We don't require a formal medical diagnosis of dyslexia (or dyscalculia) or a set gap in grade level. You are seeing possible signs that your daughter is struggling with reading problems and the struggle is exhausting her. We can give her more efficient, proven techniques to help with reading.

Q. I can't afford a private tutor. Do you do group tutoring?

A. No, we always tutor one-on-one because each child is unique in both their problem and the solutions they need. However, we have a sliding scale of fees and offer scholarships on top of that if the family needs financial aid. Please do not let finances stand in the way of talking with Windy Row.

Q. I want to help Windy Row. What can I do to help?

A. Our board is strong, but we can always use new members. If you have skills in marketing, public speaking, education, data entry, or writing, please contact us at any time. We would be delighted to speak with you about joinging the board. We have a tutor training program, which is currently free. It involves a serious commitment to learning Orton-Gillingham methods and to tutor a student under the guidance of Dr. Orcutt. Our next tutor training class will begin in September; please contact us well before then if you are interested. We have several annual fundraisers that we can use help with, including crafting and selling wreaths for the holiday season. Donations to our scholarship fund are always most welcome and can be made online at the Donor page of our website.

Windy Row on Facebook

We're growing our presence on Facebook, thanks to new board member Susannah Batchelder. Come like us on Facebook and see what parents, teachers, and concerned adults just like you are talking about.

One of the reasons Windy Row Learning Center joined Facebook is to make it easy for concerned adults to ask questions and learn more about both Windy Row Learning Center and reading challenges, including dyslexia. We speak about "reading challenges" because children who come to us may not have a formal diagnosis of dyslexia and because some school districts and parents shy away from using the term "dyslexia." We don't want a word to interfere with our goal: helping every child to read at grade level.

We talk about "grade level" because many children manage to disguise their inability to read until 2nd or 3rd grade, when they switch from "learning to read" to "reading to learn." Their struggle might be shown by extreme weariness when they have to read--reading a page of text is exhausting--or by a refusal to ever read out loud or by an inability to write words the same way twice or by an extremely poor handwriting. Their inability to read may begin to interfere with friendships, as they cannot talk about favorite books, follow the directions for games, or use the computer the way other children do.

Finally, a struggle to read often turns into a struggle of self-worth: I must be stupid or broken or sick in some way if I cannot read but everyone else can. It must be my fault.

Our conversations and updates on Facebook enable adults to consult with us and with each other about the effects of reading challenges and dyslexia on their child and their entire family. It also enables us to celebrate the future by reminding adults about all the successful artists, actors, scientists, and even writers who have dyslexia. We are also happy to answer inquiries through our website. Please contact us, through Facebook, by info [at] (email), or by phone. We are waiting to hear from you.

Just a Few Wreaths Left after 11/21 Holiday Stroll: Order Yours Now!

Our wreath sale at the Holiday Stroll on Saturday was very successfull, with many wreaths sold even before the stroll officially began! We have a few wreaths left at $20.

These hand-crafted wreaths are all NH-made. At 24-inches, with ribbons and real berries, they are a joyful addition to any home.

All proceeds from the sale go into our scholarship/financial aid fund for children whose families need help with the tuition at Windy Row. 

Windy Row Learning Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to helping children with reading challenges like dyslexia and math challenges like dyscalculia. When children are struggling behind their peers, we bring them up to grade level and beyond with our specialized one-on-one afterschool tutoring. Our sliding scale is based on income but many families still need both financial aid and scholarships. Our goal is to never turn away a child for financial reasons.

You can help us with that goal and carry away a beautifully hand-crafted wreath (several types of ribbons, pine cones, and berries) for just $20.

To order your wreath, call 603-924-7198 or info [at] (email) Windy Row today. We deliver to your door in the immediate Peterborough area.

How Can You Tell If Your Child Needs Help in Reading or Math?

As parents, we often struggle with knowing when to help our child with a reading or math challenge: does our child really need our help or are we over-reacting, over-protecting? If you are worried that your child might be having problems learning to read or do math, you might use the following as a checklist. Any one of the items might not indicate a problem, but two or more should put you an alert. Does your child:

  • Complain of being very tired after studying for even a short time? Trying to handle homework with any learning disability is extremely tiring.
  • Refuse to read out loud?
  • Have trouble grouping objects by size or guessing at the number of objects in a group?
  • Seem unable to grasp the directions for games that other children that age are playing?
  • Express himself or herself well in speech, but not in writing?
  • Have difficulty keeping up with peers in reading or math?
  • Often get accused of being lazy or not working hard enough or underachieving in school?

You may hesitate to ask for an evaluation because you want to avoid having your child labeled as "learning disabled" or you may hope that any problems will disappear over time or you may be worried about the expense of one-on-one tutoring. But if you are concerned about these or any other issue, please talk with us. The earlier your child receives help, the quicker any problems can be addressed, enabling your child to experience success in school rather than failure. We will honestly and confidentially evaluate your child; and we have financial help available. Contact Windy Row today by email or by calling 603-924-7198.

Windy Row Learning Center is accepting new students for afterschool tutoring now or at any time during the school year. Let us help your child--and you--as quickly as possible. Email or call 603-924-7198.

To find out about our free presentation on children and reading (for parents, educators and professional groups), please contact us today.

Once again, Windy Row will be selling beautiful hand-made 24-inch wreaths (several types of ribbon, pine cones, and berries). To pre-order your wreath for just $20, phone Windy Row at 603-924-7198 or info [at] (email) today.

What the Holidays Mean When You Can't Read

October means Halloween fun. It is also Dyslexia Awareness Month. Children with reading challenges like dyslexia can’t read the instructions on how to carve a pumpkin or the names of the candies they like best or the cards they get wishing them a Happy Halloween. They can’t even clearly mark their calendar for the day because dyslexia is so closely associated with dysgraphia, affecting handwriting, spelling and the ability to put thoughts on paper.

Please help us make the next Halloween a truly special time for a child with reading challenges. Your donation will go into our scholarship fund, to help girls and boys who need our specialized, one-on-one tutoring to learn to read. Our goal is to never turn away a child for financial reasons.

The Windy Row Learning Center is a 501(c) 3 non-profit that provides multisensory tutoring for children with reading (and math) challenges, including dyslexia. Since 2003, as the only resource of our type in the entire Monadnock Region, Windy Row has tutored nearly 200 children who read well below grade level if at all. In one year of tutoring, we turn their lives around.

We have been called “one of the most effective programs for children” with dyslexia and other reading challenges. Your contribution will enable us to continue our work. 

From traffic signs to the labels on medicine, from job applications to a favorite book, from choosing a favorite costume to enjoying a Halloween joke, so much of life depends on our ability to read. Please join us in giving a child the gift of reading. 

Anne M., Windy Row Parent: “We are so very grateful to have Windy Row in our lives. Our daughter’s enthusiasm for and confidence in her reading skills continue to grow every week. The work you do amazes us and we look forward to continuing to be part of the community of Windy Row.”

Developmentally Appropriate Tutoring: What Does It Mean?

At Windy Row, we tutor children in reading and math using developmentally appropriate activities. When we customize each reading or math lesson for your child, we take into account your child's social/emotional, physical and cognitive abilities and we work with your child's strengths. Every choice a tutor makes in developing an individual lesson plan is based on the child's development and interests.

For example, we might have a kindergarten child trace out letters in shaving cream or cover letters with glitter, an activity that might not appeal to an eighth or  ninth grader. Older students would engage in multi-sensory activities appropriate to their age and their level of reading or math skills. 

All the tutoring at Windy Row is one-on-one. The National Association for the Education of Young Children and the International Reading Association has published a position paper on reading preparedness and instruction that is endorsed by many educational groups. This position paper states, "Teaching practices associated with outdated views of literacy development and/or learning theories are still prevalent in many classrooms. Such practices include extensive whole-group instruction and intensive drill and practice on isolated skills for groups or individuals. These practices, not particularly effective for primary-grade children, are even less suitable and effective with preschool and kindergarten children." 

The paper also states that no one teaching method will be appropriate for all children. That is why Windy Row uses programs in addition to Orton-Gillingham, when Orton-Gillingham doesn't seem to match the child's needs. We have books on hand for every age group; children are more willing to practice reading when the content is age-appropriate. We have computer programs that children can use at home to strengthen their skills on their own. And our tutors are infinitely inventive. They are always looking for new ways to connect with and stimulate the children they are tutoring.

Windy Row Learning Center in West Peterborough, New Hampshire, provides developmentally appropriate tutoring in reading and math because it works. If you have any questions about our program, please phone or email us.

What Makes a Great Reading or Math Tutor?

When your child is struggling with reading or math, a great math or reading tutor can change the situation around. But what qualifications should you look for in a reading or math tutor?

1. Training. Above all, tutoring a child who has reading or math challenges is not for amateurs, no matter how well-meaning. A typical tutor at Windy Row has undergone 45 hours of seminars and 100 hours of supervised tutoring before being allowed to tutor a child unsupervised. Tutors must master the techniques and goals of the Orton-Gillingham method and other programs for dealing with dyslexia, dyscalculia and other reading/math challenges.

2. Creativity. Every child learns differently--every reading or math challenge is different--and every response to those differences has to be appropriate to the age, understanding and interests of the child. To provide one-size-fits-all tutoring is to fail the child. At Windy Row Learning Center, every child receives individualized instruction from the child's personal tutor. Our math and reading tutors are infinitely creative in helping children.

3. Empathy. After years of struggling to keep up with their peers, most children with learning disabilities are frustrated and convinced of that they are "stupid" or "broken" or beyond help. One of our major responsibilities at Windy Row is to help the child see beyond past failures and to give hope both to the children and their parents.

4. Patience. Dyslexia and dyscalculia are caused by a difference in the manner and speed with which the brain processes information. Retraining the brain takes time. There are no shortcuts. Most children attend Windy Row for two years. They come for 50 sessions of math or reading tutoring each year, attending after school, 2 days a week, for an hour each time. But once they have completed tutoring at Windy Row, they have the skills to continue reading on their own. We have had failing students become straight A students, once their individual reading hurdles were overcome.

5. Commitment. Windy Row is a nonprofit in existence since 2003; we aren't here to "sell" tutoring. We want to help the children who need our help and support the parents who need our support. If you aren't sure whether your child will benefit from attending Windy Row, please speak to us anyway. We won't label your child. We won't pressure you. Our goal is to give every child the gift of reading.

Windy Row tutors excel in training, creativity, empathy, patience and commitment. We have helped hundreds of children gain the skills needed to maintain and exceed grade level reading and math. You can reach us by email or by phoning 603-924-7198.


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