VALDOSTA -- Winona P. Walker is committed to reading. The Valdosta native has been tutoring students of all ages for over 45 years, and she is still going strong.

"Reading and vocabulary are the most important skills for a student to develop," said Walker, who has developed a patented reading and vocabulary program known as The VACK.

VACK stands for "Vocabulary Aptitude Cumulative Kit," and consists of a series of lessons and games aimed at boosting a child's vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. Walker began her tutoring career with piano lessons, but her time as a professional teacher inspired her to create a reading curriculum that addressed the problems facing local students.

According to Walker, "Reading is the weakness of most students." When I first started teaching I found that only about 35 percent of my students could read on grade level when they got to me. I realized that something was wrong with an education system that fails to prepare students for the challenges they will face."

Determined to correct the situation, Walker began working on the VACK, which focuses on teaching vocabulary through visual aids like flashcards and building reading comprehension skills.

"I start by giving my students a series of tests that cover vocabulary, reading and writing, to get an idea of their individual weaknesses," says Walker. "I would then build a personalized curriculum based on their needs."

Walker currently produces most of her own learning materials, and hopes to publish a book that uses her teaching methods in the near future.

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