Joan Peters

Owner & Teacher

Cognitive skills are important for academic success. A deficit in any of the cognitive skills will make learning difficult. The assessments used in my program identify and target problems in these areas:

  • Attention
  • Memory
  • Processing Speed
  • Visual Processing
  • Auditory Processing
  • Logic and Reasoning

Since these cognitive skills are interdependent, a deficit in one skill can impact the other skills needed to learn. If a student has trouble focusing, then the student will not be able to retain the information in order to process the information. If the processing speed is slow, then the information stored in the working memory may be lost before it can be used. If the student has a Visual Processing deficit, the student may have trouble with math, reading, and comprehension because the student cannot visualize the concepts. If Auditory Processing skills are weak, the student may have trouble reading and spelling. If Logic and Reasoning skills are weak, a student may have trouble with math, comprehension, and problem solving.

At The Liberty Lake Learning Center, the focus is on finding the underlying cause(s) of learning problems and developing cognitive skills. In order to be successful in any subject area, cognitive skills are essential for learning.

Signs of Vision-related Learning Problems

  • Avoidance of close seat work
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Closing or covering one eye
  • Difficulty remembering what is read
  • Eye-hand coordination problems, such as writing or general clumsiness
  • Squinting while reading, writing, or looking at the chalkboard
  • Getting headaches, dizziness, or nausea unrelated to any sickness
  • Holds head close while reading or writing
  • Illegible handwriting
  • Difficulty finishing work/poor concentration
  • Becoming tired shortly after starting work
  • Inability to track or copy from the board
  • Blinking or rubbing eyes too much while doing work 

Signs of Dyslexia

  • Confuses letters n-u, m-w, p-q, d-b
  • Has trouble sequencing
  • Difficulty telling time and managing time
  • Reading and writing shows repetitions, omissions, additions, substitutions, and sequencing of letters, numbers, and words
  • Trouble with directionality -up/down, under/over, left/right
  • Distracted by sounds
  • Delayed speech - leaves sentences incomplete, looses train of thought in the middle of a sentence, mispronounces long words, transposes words, phrases, and syllables in words when speaking
  • Trouble copying
  • Illegible handwriting
  • Clumsy, poor at ball or team sports
  • Poor attention
  • Poor math skills - word problems

Signs of Dysgraphia

  • Illegible handwriting
  • Trouble expressing thoughts on paper
  • Has trouble with visual orientation on paper
  • Trouble sequencing
  • Tight or unusual pencil grip
  • Writes very hard and dark
  • Says words out loud while writing
  • Omitted words in sentences
  • Omitted letters in words
  • Trouble with syntax and grammar
  • Running words together to make one long word
  • Inconsistent spacing of words while writing
  • Irregular sizes and shapes of letters
  • Slow, labored writing

Signs of Sensory-Integration Disorder

  • Overly sensitive to touch
  • Overly sensitive to movement
  • Overly sensitive to sights (bright lights)
  • Overly sensitive to textures, smells, and tastes
  • Overly sensitive to noise

The opposite of the above can also be indicative of Sensory-Integration Disorder. In this case, children are under sensitive and seek out stimuli such as cravings for spicy foods, playing with mud, liking strong smells, or rocking, swinging, and doing daredevil-type stunts. Sensory-Integration disorder is common among all of us to a degree, but it can ultimately interfere with daily life in those with more significant issues.

Signs of ADD/ADHD

  • Poor attention
  • Problems following written and verbal directions
  • Poor working memory
  • Poor sense of time
  • Inconsistency
  • Low frustration level
  • Poor judgment or lack of
  • Excessive fidgeting/trouble sitting still

Signs of an Auditory Processing Disorder

  • Speech and language delays
  • Easily distracted
  • Bothered by a loud environment
  • Difficulty following simple directions
  • Difficulty with reading, writing, comprehension, and spelling
  • Difficulty understanding abstract concepts
  • Difficulty with word problems in math
  • Disorganization
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty following conversations
  • Poor listening skills
  • Takes longer to process information

Different types of Auditory Processing Disorders

Auditory figure-ground: This is the inability to function in a noisy environment.

Auditory memory problems:Children may not be able to repeat something back right away, or there is a delay in processing that makes it so that they cannot remember what they've heard.

Auditory discrimination problems:This is the difficulty to differentiate between similar sounds, which make learning to read extremely difficult.

Auditory attention problems:This is where children cannot listen long enough to understand directions or complete a task.

Auditory cohesion problems: This is the inability to complete more difficult listening tasks such as making inferences, or drawing conclusions from context clues. This auditory problem can greatly interfere with reading comprehension or comprehension in general.

Many of the symptoms of these common learning disorders overlap. It is very important not to label a child, but to carefully watch for any of these symptoms and when they might occur. All of these symptoms are inter-related and are very telling of how the brain is functioning.

 Getting an assessment is the first step. These learning problems can be helped. At The Liberty Lake Learning Center, the primary goal is to detect the underlying cause(s) of the problems in learning to read, write, and do math.

Don't hesitate to get help if you feel your child has some of these symptoms. These symptoms could possibly be interfering with his/her development academically, socially, physically, and emotionally.


The Liberty Lake Learning Center focuses on developing the skills needed to be successful academically in all subjects. Instruction at the Liberty Lake Learning Center is synonymous with neuro-education and is research-based, proven and effective, especially for dyslexic children.


My reading method, The Letter, Sound, Syllable Approach, is based on the Report of the National Reading Panel 2000: Teaching children to read, an evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction.TheLetter, Sound, Syllable Approach has been quoted as "simply one of the most effective reading methods around."

TheLetter, Sound, Syllable Approach is research-based, and major findings of the National Reading Panel include: "Instruction that provides substantial coverage in the key components of reading--identified by the National Reading Panel as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension - has clear benefits for all learners."

Together with this research, my educational background, years of experience with preschool, school-age students, students with learning disabilities, and training in multiple reading methods, I have fine-tuned my reading method making it even more effective by incorporating auditory and visual processing skills as well as writing skills. My reading method is effective individually, in small groups, and in large groups.

I specialize in evaluating and teaching students with dyslexia and can accurately diagnose and differentiate as to what is an actual learning disorder and what isn’t. Most families who reach out to me for help have unfortunately been given false-positives, and I have been able to provide them with accurate assessments and treatment plans whether their children have a learning disorder or just simply haven’t been taught to read correctly. Teaching reading correctly is definitely a process, but a simple, structured process that I’d like to eventually share with families and schools.

I will be publishing The Letter, Sound, Syllable Approach: A Comprehensive Reading Method for All Learners. My book is especially recommended for students with learning issues, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and visual and auditory processing disorders. The Letter, Sound, Syllable Approach also helps spelling, speech, language acquisition, decoding, fluency, auditory, visual, and cognitive skills, handwriting, writing, and comprehension skills. The Letter, Sound, Syllable Approach, as reviewed, has been quoted as “the most clear, direct, comprehensive, effective, and user-friendly method out there.” I am excited about making what I do available for parents and teachers to use at home and in the classroom! I will also offer workshops to walk parents and teachers through this method.


In addition to teaching early childhood education and school-age children, I also taught Special Education and also effectively taught middle school students in the San Francisco inner-city area. My classes had an average of 30 students each. Many of my students, who were 6th and 7th grade, were functioning at the 1st and 2nd grade levels in reading. One year, I was evaluated by an outside teacher who was on special assignment to oversee and support schools like this middle school, which was the lowest - functioning middle school in the San Francisco Unified School District. This is what Diana Caliz had to say:

"Joan was the Reading Specialist and Language Arts teacher and her students were pre- and post-tested in literacy skills and decoding. After eight weeks of instruction, students' tests indicated a 40% increase in improved decoding skills. This improvement became evident as students began to read with greater comfort and ease. They were less likely to give up when encountering new words; instead, they engaged in a conscious use of their newly acquired strategies. Ms. Peters' students seemed to look forward to her classes." - Diana, Caliz, Teacher on Special Assignment, Curriculum Improvement and Professional Development, San Francisco Unified School District.

The following year, I was not only the Reading Specialist, but also the Language Arts teacher. The literacy problem still existed, as well as the many other needs of these students. I constantly thought of ways to make a huge difference for the school as a whole. I wrote a proposal to the principal of the school about how reading instruction should be taught and how reorganizing the school based on the students' abilities would make a profound difference in their learning and in how the teachers would be able to effectively approach the students.

My grade level at that time, the seventh grade, was the largest and toughest generation to go through this school since it opened. I knew every single child's strengths and weaknesses. I carefully reorganized the entire seventh grade based on their academic, social, and emotional needs. It worked so well, that, with a team, I helped restructure the entire school using my reading method based on the students academic, social, and emotional needs. I trained other colleagues with my reading method and it made an enormous difference in the school's atmosphere.


At The Liberty Lake Learning Center, instruction in reading, writing, and math is effective because it focuses on identifying weakened cognitive skills and developing these skills. Lessons are designed to meet the individual needs of the students, is age-appropriate, and is developmentally-appropriate. Instruction is multi-sensory.

** My reading method does not use nonsense words for teaching reading. Students, particularly dyslexic students and students with learning disabilities, have trouble with sequencing and constructing meaning in general. It is difficult to construct meaning from something that doesn't make sense. It is easier to learn to read familiar words because students already have an understanding of what the familiar words represent.

** My reading method does not encourage "scratch" spelling or "invented" spelling. It is important to teach in a structured manner and to correct students right away as they learn. In the long run, students will learn accurately, and they will benefit in many ways academically. Better readers become better spellers and writers. The better that students can read, spell, and write, the better that they can comprehend.


Instruction covers all aspects of literacy: decoding, fluency, comprehension, spelling, handwriting, and writing. Assessments are used to identify cognitive, visual, and auditory processing disorders, which are often the underlying causes of learning problems. Daily assessments are used to determine lessons based on your child's strengths and weaknesses.


  • Code Knowledge
  • Sound Knowledge
  • Fluency
  • Auditory Processing
  • Visual Processing
  • Writing Samples


I specialize in dysgraphia, or rather the cognitive, visual, and physical aspects of writing issues. Dysgraphia is a rare and distinct disorder, and most of the time, students are simply just not taught how to letter or how to hold their pencils correctly. This is not dysgraphia. Writing instruction covers handwriting as well as the writing process and is offered to develop, strengthen, and improve writing skills. Writing is included in the reading instruction lessons.


Assessments are used to identify gaps in learning mathematical concepts. Daily assessments and close monitoring are used to identify causes of math learning problems, such as visual processing disorders and dyslexia. Instruction is presented in effective ways with an organized approach to teaching the mathematical concepts so that students can be successful. The assessments used are standard-based and developmentally appropriate.

The math program used is my own and has been created specifically to help children with learning problems, such as dyslexia. My math program is also beneficial for those who have gaps in their learning because it is structured, organized, cumulative, age- and developmentally-appropriate. I will soon publish my math method for use at home and in the classroom.


The Liberty Lake Learning Center welcomes all age levels, though the majority of students are between kindergarten and sixth grade.


  • Individualized and customized instruction.
  • Lessons designed to target specific learning problems.
  • Daily assessments and monitoring.
  • The choice of one hour or half-hour sessions depending on the age, development, and needs of your child.

*There will be no refunds for missed classes. Missed classes due to illness or emergencies can be made up at a later time or by paying for one less lesson the following month.

Thank you.