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Natural Awakenings Tampa Florida

Creating Independent Readers

Sep 01, 2015 01:12PM ● By Annette Primiani

After working as an educator for many years within a variety of economic and ethnic groups, covering a wide spectrum from New York City’s South Bronx and Brooklyn to the "Hollywood Sets" in Los Angeles, it became apparent that kids weren’t learning. Regardless of social and economic status, the situation was the same—children from both the private and public school sectors were falling behind.

It was in Los Angeles that the pre-school, phonics-based reading program utilized at The Learning Connection, TLC Inc. was developed in order to combat the lack of reading progress made by far too many students.

At The Learning Connection, TLC Inc., pre-school students are taught how to properly hold a pencil, form lower case letters, and write within the lines on lined paper. A system of phonics is then taught in order to provide students with the "tools" needed to sound out words smoothly. Students soon become able to sound out words independently and write them independently as well.

Students are then encouraged to check their work before saying they are done, in order to ensure that they are being responsible for what they have written. With attention on making sure that each step is mastered before proceeding to the next step, stability is achieved.    

Books are then read which contain the sounds and words just learned. In this way, a well-rounded approach takes place with sounding out words, writing out words, and reading those words in books. Students thus become "independent" and a strong foundation is developed upon which to base further learning.

Here is what a few satisfied parents have to say:


"My son T., who just turned 4, started tutoring about six weeks ago. He had a very rudimentary understanding of how some letters of the alphabet sounded. In the short time he’s been at The Learning Connection, TLC Inc., I am amazed at how well the methods used work! I showed a neighbor of mine, who is a public school teacher, what T. was able to read. She said that it was at least first grade level reading. My son, who never showed much interest previously, now really enjoys it!" (R.H.)


"When I first brought Becky, age 3½, she couldn’t read at all (although I had spent many, many months trying to teach her myself). In just a few short months (only one and a half hours per week), Becky was reading just about anything she took the time to "sound out".  Now, with more practice at home, Becky is reading all her own books, food labels, road signs, you name it!!! She just loves to read. I, of course, am ecstatic. I even get bedtime stories read to me now!" (R.F.)


"Of course we were thrilled when our son, age 5, started to read. It was a step up—it clicked, and he started reading everything! He just has such self-confidence like he never had before! We reaped the rewards when he started Kindergarten and was the best in his class at St. Paul’s." (C.D.)


"My daughter, age 7, was a candidate for being retained in first grade. Thanks to The Learning Connection, TLC Inc., she has successfully passed and now loves to read everything and anything, and does so without a struggle!" (V.B)

When a step-by-step approach is utilized and independence is encouraged, real learning takes place, self-confidence blooms, and academic success follows.


Annette Primiani, BS, MS, graduated from St. John’s University in New York and received her Master’s from Bank St. College. She was determined to make a difference. She worked for 10 years in the N.Y.C. Public Schools as a classroom teacher, teacher-trainer, and educational consultant. In L.A. she worked in the Hispanic community as a bilingual program coordinator as well as a tutor for Fox TV. Director of The Learning Connection, TLC Inc., Clearwater, Primiani is of the opinion that there is no student that cannot be helped.


Voted #1 Best Tutoring Service for 6 years in a row by Tampa Bay Family magazine, The Learning Connection, TLC Inc. is located at 1156 NE Cleveland St., Clearwater. For more information, call 727-443-5353 and/or visit