Friday, May 17, 2013

Summer Tutoring

Deciding how your children should spend their summer can be tricky. While some kids love going to a variety of camps and daytime activities, many others find themselves bored and glued to video games or hours of TV. Whatever their schedule, studies have shown that it is common for students to lose 1-3 months of learning during the summer months. Learning Loss is no joke, especially for students who are prone to be unmotivated during the school year. Finding a summer tutor for your child can not only bridge the gap between the school years, but also keep him busy and learning during a time when boredom is always lurking.

Here are just a few ways that working with a tutor during the summer can help your child:

  •          A tutor can help build confidence. If there is one or more subjects that a student has found particularly difficult, working with a tutor can allow him to catch up and even get a jump on new material before the school year begins. This approach will help your child start the next school year feeling confident and in control.
  •       A tutor will encourage your child to read. Reading for pleasure is always beneficial for your child’s academic progress. The good thing about summertime is that she can choose to read whatever she wants. Discussing books with a tutor and even writing short essays or studying new vocabulary will keep your child learning and stimulated throughout the summer.
  •       Adjusting to school will be easier. If you child has spent her vacation reading, learning, and reviewing with a tutor, getting back into the swing of things once school  officially starts will be easier than ever.
  •       Summer is a great time to prep for the SATs and ACTs. If you have a high-school student who is preparing for college, meeting with a tutor to prepare for the SATs or the ACTs can help him get focused and ready. Students will have the leisure to prepare at their own pace, without the added pressure of additional schoolwork.
  •       Close the gap. Are there areas that your child is weaker in than others? Math and writing are two of the biggest problem subjects for students of all ages. Instead of putting learning issues on the back burner during the summer, hiring a tutor can allow you to take an active role in bridging the learning gap for your child. Don’t wait for September to address problems! This will also reduce any anxiety your student might have about the upcoming school year.

At Tutoring For Success, we know your summers are busy; family vacations, play dates, camp schedules can make it difficult to plan for anything else. That's why our tutors are flexible and willing to work with you and your child when planning sessions. Don’t let Learning Loss get the best of your family! Plan for the school year while enjoying your summer, and avoid stress, anxiety, and frustration when September finally rolls around.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Reading Comprehension

Is your child a good reader? Can he read things fluently? Does he comprehend everything that he is reading or is he reading the words but not really understanding?  Does your mind ever wander when you read?  Basic reading strategies can help improve your child’s, and even your own overall reading comprehension.

Not everyone enjoys reading. Sometimes this is due to poor comprehension, which makes reading too much of a struggle to be fun.

Here are ten strategies that tutors use to help students improve their reading comprehension:

1.      Explore Background knowledge – If you don’t have enough background knowledge about the subject matter, it can be difficult to connect.  The tutor can foster discussion and help the student make connections.

2.      Review Vocabulary – The tutor goes over potentially difficult vocabulary words before the student reads the material.

3.      Visualize – My favorite!  If you picture a movie in your head while reading, comprehension significantly improves.  The tutor can help the student visualize what she is reading.  One example is to draw a picture or act out a scene from the book.

4.      Break it down – For students with major comprehension difficulties, it helps to break down reading into paragraphs, pages, sections, or chapters and discuss the meaning of each one.

5.      Explain the book to someone else.

6.      Predict what will happen.

7.      Add a chapter on your own.

8.      Self correct - Do you ever misread a word that doesn’t make sense and then go back and realize that it’s a different word?  A tutor can teach children how to re-read when something doesn’t make sense.

9.      Read actively -  Good readers think about what they are reading the whole time and go back to clarify or ask someone when they don’t understand something.

10.  Identify story structure – Students should understand a story’s basic structure, including characters, setting, events, problem, and resolution. A tutor can help by utilizing graphic diagrams along with discussions to analyze the story’s structure.

As you can see, reading comprehension is complicated.  People with good comprehension skills are usually fluent readers who always find something to pique their interest.  They will then read for pleasure and consequently become better readers.  Once they are excellent readers, they will use the same strategies to comprehend everything, even material that they find less interesting.

Remember, for school, SAT’s, ACT’s, and for life, you will have to read and comprehend material that you may not be crazy about.  I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to learn reading comprehension strategies.  The payoff will be significant.