If you think a tutor is needed


Parents seek tutoring for a variety of reasons, but the first step is to go through a fact-finding mission.


Ask his teachers how he's doing in comparison with others in his grade.

Try to determine your child's learning style. Read the book, "The Way They Learn: How to Discover and Teach To Your Child's Strengths" by Cynthia Tobias.

Observe your child at home doing homework and at school during reading class and record what you notice. Some children struggle at home but are hard workers at school.

Determine whether your child needs help with a particular subject (such as, reading or math) or skill (phonics or reading comprehension) or whether he needs help with study habits. Some students may do poorly in math due to difficulties with language or reading problems, so tutoring just in math may not correct the problem.


Ask other parents whose children are being tutored for referrals, keeping in mind that each child will react differently to a particular setting or person.

Check tutorial services through the phone book, ask for lists from the Board of Education, or call referral services in your area. An organization that maintains a tutor list is the International Dyslexia Association, 410-296-0232.

Visit the tutor or center. It is a good idea to bring a written list of your concerns, results from any testing, and samples of your child's school work to the initial meeting. It is best to schedule an appointment without your child present, so that you and the tutor can talk freely.


Will you provide me with references, preferably from another family who has a child approximately the same age as my child and who is working on similar skills?

What methods do you use in tutoring? (Then discuss this with your child's teacher.)

What will be my commitment in terms of time and money?

Is the tutoring on a one-to-one basis or in groups?

Will you talk to my child's teacher?

What are your teaching qualifications?

Finally, arrange to discuss your child's progress periodically, when your child is not present, keeping in mind that gaining confidence and improving grades are also important measures of progress. The tutor should be patient and encouraging and your child should feel reassured. Once you've found that "just right" person, allow at least a few sessions to see if the tutoring is effective. The ultimate goal is for your child to be able to learn independently so tutoring is no longer needed.

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