Does Reading Tutoring Help?

Reading is a skill that does not come easily to everyone. There are many factors that affect how people learn to read, and the right instruction can make all the difference in the world.

Tutoring for Struggling Students

Reading tutors can be very valuable for students that need additional support. The tricky part is knowing what to look for in a tutor.

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Tutors for Dyslexic Students

When looking for tutors for dyslexic students, look for someone highly trained and preferably with a teaching credential. Dyslexia affects all aspects of language – spoken, read, and written – and a qualified tutor needs to know the signs and symptoms of the disorder and be well-versed in how to help the student learn differently.

Tutors for dyslexic students should be certified in at least one Orton-Gillingham, or OG, curriculum or hold an Orton-Gillingham certification. This methodology is proven to be effective for dyslexic learners. There are some curriculums that are “based on” OG methods, but very few true OG curriculums. Sonday System and Barton are probably the most recommended OG curriculums and require training to be implemented authentically. OG curriculums are very expensive and a tutor who uses them is valuable!

Tutors for Students with Learning Disabilities

Many tutors have patience and personality traits that are great for working with students with learning disabilities. However, they may not have the right teaching skills to help that student learn differently. If tutors aren’t knowledgeable about the various strategies to differentiate instruction, the teaching may not be scaffolded properly or, very simply, not targeted and effective.

Tutors for students with learning disabilities will ideally have a general understanding of various disorders and how they impact learning. They will also have a “toolbox” full of strategies to use so they can determine which strategy works best for an individual student. If the tutor employs basic common strategies without knowing how to individualize the instruction, the student may not be getting the support they need. Speaking slower, strategic repetition, having a student repeat things aloud, strategic break times, and even targeted skill games that can be played on the spot are just a few simple things that skilled teachers/tutors do that others may not think about.

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Tutors for Students with ADHD

Finding the right tutors for students with ADHD/ADD can be done! Again, we’re talking about knowing what strategies to use. Savvy tutors will have several strategies at their fingertips to implement with this population of students. Kiddos with ADD need predictable routines, mindful positioning (not facing a window, close to teacher, etc.), visual cues, active learning (with body movement), interactive responses, and often modified assignments, just to name a few.

Tutors for students with ADD need to be mindful of how easily the student can become overwhelmed. Unclear instructions or two many steps to follow at once can contribute to unwanted behavior or the student simply not doing what is desired. Instructions should be short, concise, and positive. For example, instead of saying “you’re not paying attention,” verbiage could be “remember you’re on step 2- can you tell me what that is?” Student focus better on the desired behavior when they know what TO do rather than what NOT to do.

How do I find the right tutor for my child?

Now that you have an idea of what to lookout for, here comes the hard part. With so many tutors out there, you may be asking “So, how do I find the right tutor for my child?” There are a few ways to go about this.

Tutoring Companies
Businesses that operate as headhunters for tutors can pull from a pool of tutors to match you with one they think is a good fit. In this case, you tell them what you want and need for your student, and they try find a tutor that matches your criteria as closely as possible. This can work well if you know what to ask for, however, they may not have trained professionals to pull from. Additionally, a tutor stating they “work with students with ADD,” for example, doesn’t mean they are qualified to provide effective instruction or are actually trained in that area. It can simply mean they are willing to work with different populations of students.

Internet Search
Many people use keywords and phrases to search for a specific tutoring need in their local area. For example, “reading tutor near me” or “tutors for dyslexic students” might produce search results that get you heading in the right direction. Typically, internet searches will point you towards companies that hire tutors- Varsity Tutors, Wyzant, and Kumon are some examples of what may be found.

Personal Referral
This is the best way to find a great tutor. Ask around! Talk to your child’s teacher, the local school, your friends and neighbors… word of mouth is powerful and there’s no better referral than from someone who has first-hand experience with the style and effectiveness of a particular tutor. Exceptional tutors are usually credentialed teachers or trained professionals with experience teaching in their field, but they often have no internet presence or public advertising for their services- they operate strictly by personal referrals.

So does reading tutoring help? Absolutely! A highly qualified tutor can make all the difference in the world. Tutoring for struggling students should be effective, develop proficiency, and be something the student looks forward to. There is nothing more rewarding to a student than feeling confident in their learning- so get started with tutoring today!

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