After-school support from a qualified educator can be sometimes be just the thing to help a child with learning difficulties.
I recently spoke with Barbara Marsh, a retired reading specialist and Springer tutor, about when tutoring should be considered and what a successful partnership looks like. She spoke passionately about the importance of literacy and got straight to the heart of her message.
There’s no question it’s time to look for a tutor when a child is unhappy in school. You don’t want struggles with reading to affect their self esteem.
Reading is the most critical skill--even though we have all kinds of technology for assistance--it still is a survival skill at this point. If your child is not reading well, is not comfortable, or not able to keep up with reading, it’s time to look for a tutor.
If reading is your child’s struggle, you will want to make sure that you select a tutor that can really address their needs. Barb continues:
I’m a super believer in structured English language instruction. If a child is struggling in reading, they need someone who is certified in structured language, whether it be Orton-Gillingham or Wilson or another structured literacy program. The important thing is that they’re not reading well, they need to be walked through all the pieces of the English language to get them reading. Structured literacy programs do exactly that.
While you must have a tutor who is great at teaching, personalities can also play a role in a good partnership. Sometimes personalities just don’t work out, so it is okay to make a change for the success of your child. You’ll know when a tutor is working for your child because you’ll notice some positive signs. Barb elaborates:
It’s simple, but you’ll know tutoring is going well when your child enjoys it. It’s hard work but it still can be fun. Your child will begin to recognize that it’s beneficial. When they begin to understand, they become more content. They’re finding some little successes along the way and start feeling happy. It’s a delight when a student begins to understand the concepts and it is demonstrated in reading and spelling. It’s wonderful when a student’s face lights up because they get it!
Just two weeks ago, a parent called me early on a Saturday morning. She was thrilled to report that her daughter voluntarily asked to read aloud a story to the family. This student has not read aloud with her family in three years!
Barb’s outlook on reading instruction is right in line with Springer, and our advocacy for structured literacy instruction for readers with learning challenges and dyslexia. At Springer Lower School and Middle School, the Wilson Reading System® has led to great strides in reading and the resulting confidence is absolutely invaluable to a child’s wellbeing.
Because of the success we’ve experienced, Springers now offers training to educators across the region hosted online and in person at our Hyde Park campus. Trainings are scheduled now for sessions beginning in February 2024. Springer can also partner to guide educators through Wilson Level 1 certification. Reading is a topic we love to discuss, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you are thinking about boosting your teaching impact with this kind of training. Center@Springer-LD.org
These tutoring insights are courtesy of Springer Tutor Barb Marsh. Barb is a retired reading specialist, and a Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner with expertise in using Orton-Gillingham. She is licensed to teach Reading (k-12) and English Language Arts (7-12).