For many parents, the decision to have their child tutored is precipitated by a teacher conference or a report card. Poor grades or problems in the classroom are certainly indicators that a child is struggling academically, but there are often more subtle signs that parents can detect. In education, as in healthcare, intervention at the first sign of trouble can prevent a deeper crisis. For many children, problems with academic performance may have less to do with learning disabilities than with gaps in the process of building academic skills.
Particularly in the areas of reading and math, skill acquisition and retention is based on a sequential skill building process. Gaps in this process, for whatever reason they may occur, can impede mastery of those skills. Unfortunately, once these “skill gaps” manifest themselves in the classroom, parents cannot always be sure they will be alerted soon enough.
Based on the experience of Tutoring Club centers throughout the U.S., there are a number of indicators that tutoring may be beneficial to a child.
The following are the most common signs:
- Homework frustrations. If parents have to constantly help a child complete homework, or if the child experiences continual frustration, there’s a problem. While it is natural for parents to want to minimize their child’s frustration, getting into the habit of helping them complete homework rather than identifying the cause of the frustration and strengthening the learning skills will not help the child become a successful learner.
- Lack of motivation. When a child seems unwilling to try, it is a clear sign that the assigned tasks are either too difficult, or that the requisite skills to accomplish them are lacking.
- Weak math skills. Contrary to the belief of some parents, there is no “math gene.” Success in math is based largely upon mastery of basic skills – and the critical period for establishing this foundation is between 3rd and 7th grade. If a child falls behind during this period, his or her ability to grasp 8th grade algebra is very problematic. A child who does not complete algebra by the 8th grade is behind in the math course sequence for typical college-bound students.
- Inability to read at grade level. The foundation for reading skills is laid down from Kindergarten to 2nd grade. If that foundation is shaky, it can affect virtually every other learning skill that children need to acquire.
- Inappropriate classroom behavior. Children who “act up” in class or are constantly seeking help from other students may be having deeper problems than being “troublesome” or “lazy.” Frequently, a child with these behaviors is masking gaps in his or her academic skill building.
While tutoring is an effective means of addressing all of the above, it has an additional underlying value: it sets an expectation for success. When parents invest in tutoring, they are sending some very important messages to their child: First and foremost, they are telling their child that learning is a priority, and that they are committed to their child’s success. They are also demonstrating that learning is a process, not just an outcome.
When children learn to master that process, which is what an effective tutoring program should accomplish, they gain a sense of competence and confidence that is ultimately more important than the grade level at which they are reading by the time their tutoring program is complete.
For more information, contact:
|Glen Allen Tutoring Club
11219-A Nuckols Rd.
Glen Allen, VA 23059
Phone number: 804-967-6278
Glen Allen Tutoring Club is an advertiser on Richmondmom.com