The moment a child begins having reading difficulties, the first to intervene are their classroom teacher and the school support staff. However, in most occurrences, the challenge exceeds what the school can handle. Consequently, parents are forced to seek the services of a reading tutor or a reading specialist. A qualified reading tutor should be able to provide knowledge, custom-tailored interventions and have the proper passion required to help struggling readers achieve success.
There is nothing most parents won’t do to support their children. However, teaching reading is a challenging endeavor. Not many parents have the expertise or materials to be their child’s reading tutor. And even for those who may have the skills to do so, they opt not to. This is to avoid confusing or jeopardizing the parent-child relationship in case the child doesn’t respond well to help. Therefore, when hiring a reading tutor, there are some qualities and benchmarks you should consider.
How hard is finding a tutor who can read? But, what you need is a tutor who is trained to teach reading. In your quest for a reading tutor, you should find one with a teaching educational background. Some of the qualifications may include;
• A degree in teaching accompanied by extensive coursework in reading
• Previous teaching experience and tutoring children in reading
• Experience working with kids in a similar age group with yours
• A master’s or a doctorate in literacy, special education or learning disabilities
The perfect reading tutor should also have ample training in effective instructional tactics. Effective instruction for children struggling with reading differs from what the National Reading Panel recommended for all classrooms. Although it includes the same components, children have more chances to exercise with guided feedback. Multisensory techniques are also employed where necessary.
In fact, the best reading tutors have vast training in a Multisensory Structured Language approach. MSL is an umbrella term used to describe an instructional approach used to teach reading and writing. It is used mainly to explain sound-letter relationships while incorporating the visual, auditory and tactile senses of the child. This helps the child to focus and also helps their brain to imprint the sounds and letters that go together.
If the tutor is trained in Orton-Gillingham, Lindamood-Bell, Project Read or Wilson Language, they are an excellent choice. Again, the suitable reading tutor for your child should have advanced training in dealing with the reading disability affecting your child.
After finding a tutor who has the education, experience, and skills your child requires, you can try them out for a session to ensure that they are as good in person as they appear on paper. This is among the most efficient ways to ascertain that your child will get the most from their reading tuition. Some of the traits you should look out for include;
Parents and tutors understand early enough that every child is infinitely different from the other. This is accurate in the way they learn to read as well. Since every child originates from a different background, their experiences with reading are also diverse. Some kids have remarkable memories, and others have keen intuition. Some learn quickly through observation while some are plodders who will eventually learn if you have enough patience.
A good tutor should adapt his teaching methods to a child’s interests, abilities and learning styles. Teachers are dealing with a group of children and doing this may be impractical. By working with your child’s interests and strengths, a tutor will help him build confidence and also encourage skill-building. This will assist the child to learn interestingly and encouragingly, leading to better results.
Like we mentioned earlier, the learning curve differs with various children. Be keen to observe whether the tutor gets easily discouraged or remains adamant as your child takes their time to digest everything. Patience is a trait every teacher should exude entirely. If the teacher can keep up with your child as they make mistakes, and keep correcting them without the student feeling discouraged, they will go a long way.
Creativity is paramount for any tutor who wants to achieve success, especially with children. Since your child already has difficulty learning, the instructor should incorporate creative ways to help him learn better. Although some tutors can be creative personally, it’s hard being creative while teaching reading and writing. However, there are training workshops which equip teachers with techniques, basic approaches, and knowledge that show them how to be creative in their tutoring. A tutor who exhibits such creativity is a more appropriate choice for your child.
Children need to be approached tactically to avoid scaring them away. This is true even for teaching. A good tutor should aim at establishing a rapport with the student before they can embark on learning. This relationship between them develops a mutual trust which eventually makes the entire process easier for both the tutor and the learner.
An excellent teacher offers clues to his students. This is because when the child hears “no” too often they may be discouraged in their effort to read. Therefore, you want to work with a tutor who is ready to change their teaching methods, one who is sensitive to your child’s actions and reactions always.
Sometimes tutors can be unrealistic in their expectations of the student. A tutor should know that a child who is struggling to read may be having other difficulties in other aspects of life as well. A good teacher must be quick to assess a student’s needs and adjust their expectations accordingly. Without an honest approach, the parent, student, and the tutor may become frustrated and disillusioned.
A Sense of Humor
Any tough endeavor can be simplified by lightening the mood. Often, laughter is a perfect remedy for tension. Reading or sharing a good joke is an excellent way to build a rapport and add pleasure to a difficult undertaking. Every instructional hour coupled with some good laughs will seem like a shorter time. When your child enjoys the company of the tutor, they will always look forward to their next encounter, and this will enhance the pace at which he develops an ability to read.