If you have a little one who is going into second or third grade and is expected to know how to read picture books, but cannot, you will want to help him this summer. (See yesterday’s post.)

There are a few options that you have to help your little one achieve reading fluency and be closer to his peers in his early reading skills when he goes back to school this fall:

1. Tutor or tutoring service

2. Working with him at home without a program

3. Working with him at home with a program

Today’s blog will focus on the first one—hiring a tutor or taking him to a tutoring service.

Take him to a tutoring service or hire a tutor

There are plenty of fine private tutors* out there. (I used to be one of them!) And many tutoring services available, of which some are probably very good as well. However, there are a few problems with only hiring tutoring for your child:

1. The tutor or tutoring service may or may not focus on what your child truly needs: to be brought up to speed in reading. A tutoring service, especially, often sees it as their job to bring a student up in all areas of school, according to their standards. If I had a child going into second grade at school who could not decode (sound out) words well enough to pick up a picture book at the library and read it (assuming that is the school’s expectation), I would not concern myself with reading “comprehension” (much more on that in a few days), social studies, science, etc. If you go the hiring a tutor route, explain to that person that you want him or her to work with your child on learning to decode and recognize words. (Be sure he or she uses a word family phonics program**.) And read. Not fill in the blanks, answer questions***, or play concentration or hang man. You want that person to help your child learn to sound out words so that he can pick up a library book and read at the level his peers will be reading at in the fall. Leave all the frills and thrills for another time.

2. Once or twice a week tutoring will not teach your child to read anymore than going to a piano lesson once a week (without practice and oversight) will teach your child to play the piano. You will want to get readers**** and read everyday with your child. You will want to practice the sounds and words that the tutor is reviewing with your child every day (maybe even twice a day) at home. You will want your child to be immersed in a reading environment. (Stay with me—creating a reading environment is coming up in a few days!)

* ** *** **** Notes from today’s post will be given tomorrow…I am afraid I am putting too much info in each post….don’t want to overwhelm young parents, especially.

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