There is no simple way to answer the question. It depends on many things, including how old your child is and which skills are lacking when compared to what is typical for his/her age or grade. You also want to make sure you select a tutor who will be able to assess and remediate the area in which your child’s skills are below what’s expected. Simply hiring a “tutor” may not be enough. You want to consider the strengths of the tutor and the skills in which your child needs help. The person who tutors your neighbor’s child may not be a good choice for your child.
Below are some questions to answer when considering whether or not you should hire a tutor.
For younger kids-Kindergarten to 1st grade
- Does my child know all of the letter sounds, including the vowels sounds?
- Can my child blend the sounds together to make words?
- Can my child read “nonsense” words (jat, mip, vom)?
- Can my child easily learn and remember sight words (those words you have to memorize)? If stuck, can my child decode a work quickly?
- Can he read that same word on a different page, without having to decode it again?
For grades 2-5
- Does he read without making a lot of errors?
- Can my child decode words quickly when he makes an error and keep reading?
- Will he recognized a previously decoded word and read it correctly on a different page (without sounding it out again)?
- Can my child read and remember sight words?
- Does my child read in phrases with expression and proper speed?
- Can he retell the events in a story in the proper order?
- Can he name and describe the characters and setting?
- Can he make predictions about what might happen next?
- Can he explain why a character acts or feels a certain way?
- Can he answer “how” and “why” questions about the story?
In addition to these questions, you should also consider in which area of reading you feel your child is lacking skills (fluency or comprehension) and how they compare to their peers (this information would be found on the testing reports the school sends home three times a year). Of course, teacher concerns and the grades your child receives should also be considered. Most school districts discourage their teachers from recommending a tutor, even if you ask. The question you should be asking is whether your child’s skills are below what is typical when compared to his peers. For older kids, you want to ask if your child’s deficits in reading skills affect his performance in other areas.
If you’re seeking help in finding a tutor, please contact our office (630-512-7685). Through assessments administered by Reading Specialists, we carefully match our tutors to students. We determine where and why your child is struggling, we create a plan to help your child succeed and we work with your child to build academic skills. In addition, we also offer consultation, evaluation and advocacy services to help you navigate through the education system.