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How do I know if it's worth it to keep going with my child's tutoring?

User
June 20, 2018

My daughter is in fourth grade. She has been working with a tutor on her reading skills for almost the whole school year. I feel like we've seen a little improvement but nothing too dramatic. How do I know if it's worth it to keep going with the tutoring?

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Have a word with her school teacher and inquire about her level of improvement. Also, if her tutor is affordable I would say continue with the tutorials, if not, look for another option.

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Jake in Saratoga, CA
July 6, 2018

I would keep in mind that some learning processes are lengthy, and also that even if it doesn't show on the surface immediately, your kid might actually be retaining more information than seems. That said, it is possible she is not being tutored very effectively, and that is up to your judgment.

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When the student has withdrawn from it, and normal activities home/school/community; You will need to discontinue that tutoring service. Encourage by incentive ways to learn real life things/moments like at Sci Center, Aquarium, Museums, etc. Check for their free-discount visits being offered.

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It is best to ask your daughter if the tutoring it is helping her or not. It is also helpful to assess her in her reading skills and see if she has improved because a whole school year of tutoring should have had plenty of improvement in her reading skills.

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Chloe in Denver, CO
June 15, 2018

There are two important variables to access when determining whether tutoring is benefiting your student. Obviously, the first is whether your seeing improvements in your students subjects. More importantly however, is to gauge improvements in your students overall confidence and problem solving abilities. A good tutor will not only improve your students academic success, but they will also boost their confidence and empower them to be their best selves both in and out of the classroom. If nothing is happening in either of these domains, then it may be time to find someone else!

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It may be possible that your child hasn't seen improvement due to the tutor she's working with. You have quite a few options here: try changing the tutor, talk to your child's school about possible in-class options, or stop tutoring altogether. The first thing you want to do, however, is talk to your daughter's teachers and see what they'd advise. They know how she's doing better than anyone else, and they can offer the most insight. Hope this helps!

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I say the best thing to do is talk to the teachers about your daughter's improvement and then speak to your daughter. See how she feels about her tutor and whether or not she feels like she's getting the help she needs. If not, time to move on. But if your daughter feels like she does better with her tutor around I don't see any harm in keeping her.

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Test her...also it depends how much effort your daughter is putting into it. Reading is something that can be slower than other things. Make sure she is reading books for fun as well. The more she reads the better she will get. Angela Mann

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To know if it's worthwhile, I would suggest laying everything out and looking at it closely. One of the questions you can ask yourself is how much the tutor costs. If you can spend money on the tutor and they are not too much, there is not really any financial reason why you should let the tutor go. Another thing you can consider is the child's opinion. While they are in 4th grade, try to ask them if they are learning from their tutor and if they enjoy it. If not, then why bother? In my personal opinion, to improve reading skills, I would strongly suggest spending money on a ton of books instead of a tutor. I'm not quite sure how extreme your situation is and if they can even read, but it's like watching TV where someone builds a car; after you watch the show, you won't be able to go out and build a car, you will need to be out with car parts all the time to understand how to make a car. Learning to read is the same way, you need to read to improve your skills.

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First have a discussion with your tutor about your concerns and second explore your options. When having the discussion set target goals with the current tutor that you find reachable in a few month time span then review at the end of that period to check again for progress. Bring someone else in for a couple months and see if your daughter responds differently to them. I know with reading it's a constant endeavor that must be consistent. Reading daily for at least 30 mins. Find books that your daughter is interested in as well as taking the time to sit with her and read aloud to would be a great way to watch her improve. Dependent upon where you are I'd love to chat more! ~Melissa Harding

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I like to set goals with my students. For example, if a 7 year old is on a certain reading level when we begin, then maybe the goal is to be on the next reading level by a certain time. Setting measurable goals the tutor can help identify progress and provide feedback to the tutor and child.

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User in New York, NY
Sept. 21, 2017

It depends on your particular situation. What do you want from tutoring? Talk with your child, their teacher, and their tutor, and decide what your goals are and how you will monitor them. Practice tests can be a good way to keep track of improvement.

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Alex in Alhambra, CA
Sept. 6, 2017

best way is to test the child in certain criteria you would have liked to see if any improvement has been established. Of course, child all have different rates of accelerated growth, just because the child is not improving at an exponential rate as you would desire sometimes is not the tutors fault but because the child is unable to comprehend things as quickly as you would want to.

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Ask the tutor. They know when they've done everything that they can and whether or not they can help the child more.

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Cam in Columbus, OH
June 1, 2017

Reading is iffy in my opinion. The best way for kids to learn to read better is to read on their own, ideally out loud. Tutoring is great for when they are just learning, but in fourth grade, they just need to read more!

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If you see improved grades but maybe not as good as where you would like them to be yet.

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User in Brinkley, AR
Jan. 10, 2017

You should be able to observe a significance in your daughter's performance in reading. If you have seen any improvements in a year, then you may want to find another tutor. I was a teacher 14 years, and my students showed an improvement over the course of a school year.

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User in Osseo, MN
Nov. 21, 2016

A good place to start is asking your daughter if she feels the tutor is helpful. Ask her teacher if your daughter would be falling behind without a tutor. Do you feel your daughter responds and learns from the tutor she has. Are there guideline that you have given the tutor to gauge progress? Fourth grade is sometimes the year where assignments go from art projects to research papers. If you feel that your daughter is in need of help with reading, then I would suggest communicating your concerns with the tutor, your daughter, and her teacher(s). That might provide some insight on whether to continue with a tutor.

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User in New York, NY
Sept. 4, 2016

Ask your child, and her teacher.

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User in Haughton, LA
Sept. 1, 2016

This question is not one with a cut and dry response. The conditions a child has relative to processing and other learning differences makes a vast impact on the ability one has to get fast results. However, if there is not a serious dyslexia concern or other processing issue or some other learning difference that is significant, then a tutor who has some real background in addressing reading should have the ability to offer what it would take to see significant improvement I believe. I believe I have that to offer. But initially one might not recognize how much difference these things make as they are subtle and called neuro-impress exercises and ways to approach sections of material, and to help with tracking...so I would ask does the teacher have any background in reading diagnosis and instruction. Many/most perhaps do not.

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Compare your daughter's beginning of year and end of year reading scores. Find out what the average amount of growth for one year in 4th grade should be. If the tutoring was effective, your daughter should have made about 1 year of growth. This doesn't necessarily mean she will be on grade level. If she still is not on grade level, but she has made almost a full year of growth, then keep up with the tutoring. If she hasn't made a full year of growth, then the tutoring is still necessary, but you may want to find something more effective. Talk with her teacher about the expectations your daughter will have in 5th grade and how you can ensure any tutoring is geared to meeting those expectations.

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See if there's a way to occasionally assist your daughter with recommendations from the tutor before replacing or removing them, that way you can at least have a smaller version of assisting your daughter rather than leaving her on her own, on a cold turkey method.

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I would ask your daughter, and her teacher at school what they think. Do you know what level she was at initially, when you hired her tutor, and what level she is at now? I would ask what you have seen, or not seen that makes you wonder if your daughter is getting what she needs. I agree, if she isn't connecting with her tutor, or making progress, I would try to find out why.

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User in Woodside, NY
June 14, 2015

Ask your daughter how she feels about the tutor. There are lots of tutors who just sit there and do nothing, they pretend to teach but actually just give them work and review it but don't really care if the kid understood it. Get a new tutor and someone who will be able to make daughter engaged and motivated to learn!

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User in Miami, FL
Aug. 15, 2016

Is everyone (you, your daughter, the tutor (etc.)) doing her/his part? Ask the tutor how long it should take to get your daughter up to or above standard. Or give the tutor assignments from school. If goals are not met, find out why. Still, you have to consider the tutor and your child. A child cannot make a tutor teach in a way that will encourage her to learn, and a tutor cannot make a child learn in a way that always satisfies parents. They must be a fit. However, being able to work together does not always get the job done. Sometimes it is difficult to tell when tutoring is not working. Besides, changing tutors could be disruptive and stressful for the student.

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User in Wakefield, MA
July 24, 2016

Does your tutor regularly assess your daughter? If not, they should do this and show you the results. I would also consult with your child's teacher(s) to see where she is the weakest, and have the tutor focus on those areas. Also, progress in reading requires a lot of practice, which means that your child should be reading at least 20-30 minutes a night. This can be a combination of reading aloud to you, reading quietly without distractions, and even listening to an audio book of the title she's currently reading. I hope this is helpful. Sincerely, Tom

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User in Haughton, LA
July 14, 2016

That is a complicated question. That depends on what is really going on with your daughter and if the tutor is qualified to tell. Reading progress often takes time, but someone with training may have helped with greater impact than one is seeing depending on exactly what your daughter is dealing with. For example, if you have a child with dyslexia or other processing issues progress will plod along more slowly than if not - the most obvious of reasons that is easiest to explain. However, someone trained in diagnosis with real knowledge of how to get to that issue for helping turn it around could make a fabulous impact in just a month's time.

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User in Miami, FL
May 15, 2015

Hi Alicia! I'm a tutor and I have surely come across this question many times. There are a few things to try and consider. Perform a pretest with your child. Then, have the tutor work on that particular area with your child for a few sessions. After, perform a post test. As you look over the scores, take into consideration the areas of strength your child originally had; then look at which specific areas improved and which ones didn't. This sounds long but it can surely clear up a lot of the fog as you'll be seeing everything first hand. Another thing you'll want to do is speak with your child about their thoughts and feelings on the sessions and the tutor. Last, you'll want to share your concerns with your tutor. Carefully analyze his/her reaction and response. If, at the end of all this, you feel like it's not worth continuing with your tutor, I urge you to test out the waters with another one. You never know, perhaps your child and that specific tutor just weren't very compatible. Best of luck!

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I believe you need to consider the gains. Remember, we do not all learn at the same pace. I have seen students make dramatic gains in the first six weeks of tutoring, while others take longer. Your daughter may have a different learning style and will understand when that method is employed. I recommend thinking about whether the tutor is employing different methods of teaching to make the content material easier for your daughter to understand.

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A little improvement is better than none. Children learn at their own pace. It may take one child longer than another to hone and/or grasp a skill, but it will come in time. If you're really concerned that your child is still very much behind in their grade level even after a length of tutoring, perhaps a study team is needed to evaluate your child for a possible learning disability. If there's a disability, it can be addressed with special instruction. Otherwise, if you want to start from scratch to see if there is an adequate enough learning curve, have the tutor start fresh with a new concept within the remedial lesson. Have the instructor save a piece of your child's work in the beginning, than have them show a series of samples over a period of time to see if your child has advanced in that particular concept. Or you can start over with a new tutor and ask them to keep an evaluative portfolio from the get go.

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