opening doors through learning

together, we can turn things around for your child

About Lisa Durham

As a trained special education teacher with over twenty five years of teaching experience, I have worked in both public and private school settings as well as within the homeschool community.

In 2010, I began my tutoring practice working specifically with children with learning disabilities, focusing primarily on providing reading and spelling instruction to students with dyslexia. I have Advanced Certification in the Barton Reading and Spelling Program, which is a program designed specifically for teaching children or adults with dyslexia.

In another capacity, I am a testing consultant with Lighthouse Educational Services, and provide annual testing to homeschoolers using the Woodcock Johnson IV Achievement Test.

I provide tutoring primarily from my home office, located in southeast Wake County in Raleigh, North Carolina. But I also tutor off-premise, if my schedule allows. You may contact me through this website, or call me at 919 539-6950.

Dyslexia at a Glance

• Dyslexia is neurological and often genetic.
• Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.
• Dyslexia may cause problems with reading comprehension and slow down vocabulary growth.
• Dyslexia is not the result of lack of motivation, sensory impairment, inadequate instructional or environmental opportunities.
• With the correct type of instruction and support almost all people with dyslexia can become good readers and writers.

As with other learning disabilities, dyslexia is a lifelong challenge that people are born with. This language processing disorder most often causes problems with reading, writing, and spelling, but can also impact speaking, memory function, and math ability. Dyslexia is not a sign of poor intelligence or laziness. It is also not the result of impaired vision. It is a neurological disorder that causes a person’s brain to process and interpret information differently.

Dyslexia occurs among people of all economic and ethnic backgrounds and can range from very mild to extremely severe.  Since it is an inherited condition, quite often more than one member of a family will struggle with it. According to the US Department of Health, as many as 15 percent of Americans have dyslexia.

Since so much of what happens in a classroom is based on reading and writing, it's important to identify dyslexia as early as possible and provide appropriate intervention.

Common Signs of Dyslexia

Common Signs of Dyslexia in Pre-School

  • Delayed speech
  • Difficulty pronouncing words, i.e. busgetti for spaghetti, mawn lower for lawnmower
  • Unable to recall the right word
  • Difficulty with rhyming
  • Frequent ear infections
  • Difficulty mastering tying shoes
  • Trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, days of the week, colors, how to spell /write name
  • Following multi-step directions or routines
  • Late to establish a dominant hand
  • Fine motor skills develop slowly
  • Difficulty telling or retelling a story in correct sequence
  • Difficulty separating sounds in words and blending sounds to make words

Common Signs: Grades K-4

  • Difficulty decoding single words in isolation
  • Terrible speller
  • Confuses small words—at-to, said-and, does-goes
  • Consistent reading and spelling errors including:
    • Letter reversals-d for b as in dog for bog
    • Word reversals- tip for pit
    • Inversions- m and w, u and n
    • Transpositions- felt and left
    • Substitutions- house and home
  • Trouble learning sight words
  • Transpose number sequences and confuse arithmetic signs (+ - x /)
  • Difficulty memorizing math facts
  • May be impulsive and prone to accidents
  • Difficulty planning
  • Uses an awkward pencil grip
  • Difficulty learning to tell time

Common Signs: Grades 5-8

  • Generally reading below grade level
  • Reverses letter sequences - left for felt
  • Slow to learn prefixes, suffixes, root words and other reading strategies
  • Difficulty with spelling
  • Avoids reading aloud
  • Trouble with word problems in math
  • Avoids writing
  • Difficulty understanding body language and facial expressions
  • Forgetful
  • Difficulty with planning and time management

Common Signs: High School/College

  • Reads slowly with many inaccuracies
  • Incorrect spelling
  • Limited vocabulary
  • Procrastinates with reading and writing tasks
  • Difficulty summarizing and outlining
  • Poor memory skills
  • Works slowly
  • Poor grasp of abstract concepts
  • May misread directions
  • Incomplete assignments or completes it but forgets to hand it in.
  • Unable to master a foreign language
  • Difficulty reading printed music

Dyslexia Symptoms in Adults

  • Difficulty in processing auditory information
  • Losing possessions; poor organizational skills
  • Slow reading; poor comprehension
  • Difficulty remembering names of people and places
  • Poor speller
  • Avoids writing
  • Difficulty with planning and organization
  • Often very competent in oral language
  • Relies on memory
  • Often has good people skills
  • Often is spatially talented; engineers, architects, designers, artists , mathematicians, physicists
  • May be good at reading people (intuitive)

NOTE: Reprinted with permission from Susan Barton of Bright Solutions for Dyslexia,

Our Curriculum

Students with dyslexia need a different approach to learning reading and spelling skills from that employed in most classrooms.  They need to be taught slowly and thoroughly the basic structure of our language.  Effective instruction is explicit, direct, cumulative, intensive and focused.  Multisensory learning needs to be an important aspect of the instruction.  This involves the use of visual, auditory and kinesthetic-tactile pathways to encourage learning and retention.  Research shows that 95% of reading failure in children with dyslexia is preventable — by using appropriate reading systems and well-trained teachers.

Depending on a child’s need, a number of curriculums are employed for remediation.  With reading skills, a student may be taken very quickly through a level in which they may be familiar with the concepts, to ensure that there are no holes in their understanding. When new material is presented, mastery will be achieved by using multisensory techniques paired with small sequential steps. These skills will then be reinforced as they practice reading, spelling and writing sentences with each new concept during the tutoring session.

Barton Reading & Spelling

The primary Orton-Gillingham program that is used by LD Tutoring for teaching reading is the Barton Reading and Spelling program. This is an intense, systematic program that has been developed specifically for teaching reading skills to students diagnosed with dyslexia and other reading disabilities. To see the scope and sequence of the skills taught through this program you can go to Barton's website. Other programs such as Recipe for Reading, Rewards by Sopris West and Megawords, along with many games to reinforce the skills being taught are used during a tutoring session.

Handwriting instruction is provided (if needed) using Handwriting Without Tears to correct reversals and inaccurate formation of letters.


Lisa is patient, wise and relational.

When we brought our son to Lisa several years ago, we were at our wits end as to how to help him overcome his reading difficulties. His dyslexia was affecting everything in his life, especially his desire to learn and work on his education. He was struggling and his test scores put him several grades behind in almost every subject.

Over the 3 years that Lisa worked with our son, his test scores improved dramatically and his ability to read, write and communicate jumped up significantly. At the end of last year, our son was at or exceeding his grade level in verbal, reading and writing categories, but more importantly - he was confident in his ability to learn.

His writing teacher commented on how our son has become one of the best writers in her class, and has leaped past other students who formerly wrote circles around him.

Lisa is patient, wise and relational. Our son really enjoyed going to her peaceful house each week and working with her. Tutoring with Lisa has been the single best educational investment we have made with our dyslexic son to bring him to a place of achievement and confidence with reading, writing and communicating.


I highly recommend any parent that has a child with dyslexia to take them to Lisa for tutoring.

After having great difficulty throughout kindergarten with phonics, reading and writing, our daughter, Jennifer was diagnosed with dyslexia the first month of first grade, September, 2010. It was recommended that she immediately start tutoring with a specialist. Jennifer attends a private school that does not offer the staff qualified to help her like public school systems do. School administrators suggested that Jennifer may not be able to stay in the school, because they could not help with her learning disability. Lisa Durham’s name was recommended to us as a possible candidate to assist Jennifer with her learning disabilities. We were and continue to be so grateful to find Lisa due to our lack of knowledge to appropriately assist our child to excel in school.

Jennifer began tutoring sessions with Lisa in October, 2010 and by the end of first grade, she had completely surpassed all of our and her teacher’s expectations. Jennifer has continued with Lisa through second grade and is now testing on a fourth grade reading level, been taken out of the slow reading classes at school, and is a solid A / B student. Lisa has given Jennifer the skills she needs to learn in her own way and the self-confidence she needs to succeed in her academic career and she has helped us to better understand dyslexia and be able to work with her at home. Jennifer will continue to have her tutoring sessions with Lisa and is now starting third grade at the same private school in which she began and loves.

I highly recommend any parent that has a child with dyslexia to take them to Lisa for tutoring. Lisa Durham is a true blessing to our family and we are eternally grateful for all she has done to help Jennifer succeed.

Jeff and Leslie H.

Not only is he a good reader now, he actually enjoys it.

We found out about Lisa though a Yahoo group. Prior to that, our son struggled for several years as we spent money and time on programs and methods that didn’t help him overcome his severe dyslexia. I wanted so badly to see him enjoy reading but more than that, I wanted to see him gain confidence when it came to school assignments. When we met Lisa, I immediately felt a sense of relief. It was evident to me that she was very knowledgeable and experienced in her work with struggling readers.

It only only took a few months of tutoring with Lisa and the Barton Reading & Spelling System, for my husband and I to see the progress and growing confidence in our son. She has helped him overcome so much; not only is he a good reader now, he actually enjoys it and often reads to his little brother, something I had always hoped to see. We are forever grateful for Lisa and her work that helped get our son where he is today.

Anna W.

Lisa was truly a God send and we are so very grateful we found her!

My son struggled with reading all through elementary school. He was consistently 2-3 years behind his peers. We tried so many tutors over the course of 4 or 5 years without really seeing any progress. When it came time for Middle School, we realized there was no way he'd be able to keep up with the curriculum and he just seemed to get more and more stressed out over school. We made the decision to try home schooling and had him educationally tested, which confirmed our assumptions that he was dyslexic. Realizing that he needed specialized tutoring not available in the school system, we sought out help from someone familiar with dyslexia and the Orton Gillingham approach.

Lisa was recommended to us by some friends who also have a dyslexic son. We met with Lisa and instantly knew she was the one to help him! After three years with Lisa, and completing 9 levels with the Barton Reading and Spelling program, I'm happy to say my son is heading off to high school with way more confidence that I ever could have imagined! Lisa was truly a God send and we are so very grateful we found her!


Contact Us

I tutor and provide testing out of my home office, which is located in southeast Wake County in Raleigh, North Carolina.
I am near the intersection of Hwys 401 S and 1010 near the main campus of Wake Technical College.
You may contact me through this website, or call me at 919 539-6950.