In this month’s Student Story, you read about how getting tutoring from Mrs. K was a huge turning point for Luke. In the story, it is mentioned that Luke’s mom researched to find Orton-Gillingham-trained tutors in her area. You may wonder how you can find a Mrs. K for your child, and exactly what type of research will help you in your quest.
Firstly, know what you are looking for. You are not looking for a general tutor, or a tutoring service company. You want a tutor who is specifically trained to work with students that have dyslexia. Orton-Gillingham is the name of the approach which is often used. Science of Reading is a newer term used for a sequential, multi-sensory approach that you want for a dyslexic child.
Secondly, it is good to know what type of commitment you are embarking on with tutoring for your dyslexic child. The truth is, this will be costly and take a while. Tutors for students with dyslexia are successful because of their specialized training and because they take an individualized approach to tutoring the child. Each lesson is custom written to reach back and address errors made during the previous lesson as well as to reach forward and teach the next aspect of language that the child needs to master. If you think this sounds time-consuming, you are correct. It is not uncommon for a tutor to spend nearly as much time preparing a lesson as she does delivering it. To restate, this is a large part of what makes this approach to tutoring work but also adds to the cost. The tutor will use multi-sensory methods with your child and teach strategies for breaking apart unknown words and for spelling more accurately while she teaches your child each of the 44 sounds in English and the 250-plus ways to spell those sounds.
It is common for students to spend 1 - 3 years in tutoring. This process simply cannot be rushed, and it truly does take time to be sure the child is solid on a concept before moving to the next. Rushing through tutoring, or quitting early results in suboptimal results. Staying the course can change the child’s life by gifting him or her with language abilities that he or she will not develop any other way.
Now that you know what you are looking for, and the commitment you are about to make, it is time to find the right tutor.
Begin by asking your friends, your hairdresser, your neighbors, or other moms at the ball field if they know anyone who tutors dyslexic students. You would be amazed at how effective word of mouth is at finding potential tutors. Once you start asking around, the mom network will often bring you a recommendation.
Social media is another place to ask about anyone who has a dyslexia-specific tutoring connection. A general tutor is not going to help in this situation, so zero in on tutors who exclusively help children with dyslexia. It is unlikely to be a tutoring center staff member.
Some online services for dyslexia-specific tutors exis t. The Orton-Gillingham Academy provides many Orton-Gillingham trainings and practicums. It certifies teachers, tutors, schools, and camps based on training, observations, practicums, and application documents. You can email them for a list of certified tutors in your state. https://
www.ortonacademy.org/for-parents/find-a-teacher-tutor/ is the website. Emily Gibbons’ website, The Literacy Nest, has a tutor finder service. It is here https:// app.theliteracynest.com/tutor/search/
If you must Google, search for private schools in your area that are specifically for dyslexic students or have programs for students that have dyslexia. These schools often have connections to independent tutors, and will give recommendations if you call. Another thing to Google is Orton-Gillingham trainings in your area. Find the phone number associated with the training, call, and ask about contacts for area tutors. Many of the teachers taking that training plan to start a private tutoring practice, making this a good place to look.
If none of these methods work for you, you can hire an educational consultant to help you find names and contacts for dyslexia-specific tutors in your area. Cindy frequently consults with parents on precisely this topic.
Once you have tutors to choose from, you need a process for how to narrow the choices to the tutor who seems the best fit for your child and your family’s situation. This month’s freebie is a companion to this article. The parent freebie is a list of questions to ask a potential tutor before hiring her. The teacher/tutor freebie is policies and expectations that tutors could share with parents before they are hired to calibrate everyone’s expectations.