Tutor Spotlight: Author & Tutor Tricia Springstubb

As a writer of children’s and young adult literature, Tricia Springstubb carries a pen and notebook with her always, ready if inspiration strikes. It’s served her well – she’s published nearly 20 books, and her most recent sold more than 100,000 copies! As an author, she’s a frequent speaker at schools, conferences, and libraries. She’s also a wife, a mom of three, a grandmother of four, and the oldest of five. 

And at Seeds, the Cleveland Heights resident is a treasured tutor in the Virtual Classroom. 

In the Beginning

She can’t remember HOW she first heard of Seeds, but she remembers WHY she wanted to tutor. 

“Low literacy is hard on employment and income, but also importantly, on self-esteem. Students who struggle to read can feel hopeless, marginalized, overwhelmed. Their feelings about themselves and their education can be passed on to their children,” she said, adding “The country needs citizens who can synthesize information for themselves, not just swallow stuff from the internet or tv.” 

Tricia explained she was upset by so many things in the world, “the pandemic, a White House administration I seriously opposed, the tragic events that lead up to the Black Lives Matter movement,” she said. “I really needed to do something that felt positive in a tangible way.”

At the time, the Seeds classrooms were closed, so Tricia attended a Virtual Tutor Training. “The session was as informative as it was inspiring,” she said. It helped her realize what she DIDN’T know. “I honestly feel this training is ongoing. I continue to explore how best to work with students at all stages of their learning.”  Seeds also provides regular professional development workshop opportunities for tutors.

Tricia the Tutor

“Tricia is a regular Thursday morning tutor,” said Anne Cudnik, a Virtual Classroom Coordinator at Seeds. “She’s very sweet and reliable. Recently, she started adding an evening class to help with the large number of students.”

“I love the variety of people – all ages, backgrounds, life goals – and how they all share a strong motivation!” Tricia said. “I am surprised again and again by how hard students work. They often have jobs, kids, health and financial worries. Their motivation is so moving.” 

As a writer and avid reader herself, it’s no surprise she enjoys tutoring Reading Language Arts. “To be honest, I feel sorry that students only get to read short passages from great works of literature,” she said. “”So I work to help them enjoy the language, the plot twists, and the characters – in addition to working on vocabulary,  sequencing, etc.”

“I really enjoy helping students get pleasure from reading, in addition to information.” Her favorite sessions are the ones when students relate something they read to their own experience, “Finding themselves in a story,” she said. “I think that has lasting value.”

Love of Reading

Tricia’s memory of first learning to read is similar to that of many bookworms. “In first grade, our class took turns reading aloud and we were not allowed to peek ahead,” she explained. “I always got in trouble for turning the page, but I couldn’t help it. I just had to find out what happened next!” 

By the time Tricia was in her late 20s, she knew she didn’t want to just read stories, she wanted to live inside them by writing her own. “After a slew of rejections, which taught me a good deal, I had the thrill of being published for the first time. Years later, nothing compares to the happiness I feel when one of my stories goes out into the world!” 

After a recent tutoring session, Tricia told Anne the conversation turned to writing. “We read a difficult passage. He needed time and coaching to figure it out. Then we spent some time discussing writing. He would like to write his memoir so I gave him lots of tips! It was a great conversation. I really love tutoring!”

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Books by Tricia Springstubb can be found here.  Among her literary awards: the Iowa Review Prize for Fiction, Ohioana Award for Children’s Literacy and Ohio Arts Council Grants for Individual Excellence. She’s received praise and recognition from the American Library Association Notable Books community, the Junior Library Guild, and the Parents Choice Awards.

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Interested in becoming a tutor like Tricia? Learn more.