Does your child need a tutor this summer?

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This is a question asked by lots of parents this time of year with the school year close to ending.

Research shows that children take four to six weeks at the start of the new school year to gain back knowledge and skills lost over the summer. That doesn’t need to be your child. Summer tutoring is not just for students that are struggling. It is for all students so that they can retain the information learned from one school year in order to continue right on learning when the new school year begins.

Summer tutoring benefits everyone. As a parent, you have the best intentions of having your child read, write, and do some math daily, or at least weekly. But then, things come up and that reading doesn’t seem to fit in. With a tutor, you have a scheduled hour once or twice a week where you know your child is learning.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are considering hiring a tutor for your child this summer. If you answer yes to any of the questions below, then your child might benefit from summer tutoring.


  • Has your child fallen behind his/her classmates in reading or math skills?
  • Does your child struggle with simple math facts or spelling words?
  • Is your child expressing concerns about not being able to read, write, or do math as well as his/her friends?
  • Has your child’s teacher suggested he/she could use some extra help?
  • Do you want your child to be ahead of the curve when school starts again in the fall?
  • Do you want your child to retain and review the skills he/she learned this year?


As a private tutor, I try to make summer tutoring a little more laid back and a lot of fun. However, my students are working hard and learning a lot as well. We play lots of learning games, read books that are of high interest to each individual student, and write fun stories and paragraphs about great topics. The students work on skills from the previous school year, as well as skills they will learn in the coming school year. It’s a great review and a super head start.

If you are considering a tutoring and live in the Colorado Springs area, please email me or give me a call and I can tell you more about summer tutoring. Spaces are limited, so don’t hesitate to contact me soon. Michelle Drake 760-672-8668



What happens in a typical reading/writing tutoring session?

The answer to this question will depend on what your child’s needs are for reading and writing. However, some typical activities happen in each session.

The session starts with the tutor asking the child about his/her school day. What did you learn in reading today? What did you write about today? How did you feel about your reading/writing?

Next, the tutor will set the timer and remind the child to work hard so that he/she gets to play the game when there are 5 minutes left in the session.

After that, the tutor will begin working on the skills for the day. The tutor will give choices to the student so that the student feels some sense of control over the activities. This also instills confidence in the student as a learner. He/she will most likely pick the activity that is easier for him/her to complete. This is fine because all activities will be completed during that session, but done in the order the child chooses.

Some activities might include: sight word practice with reading and pointing to sight words, reading a fluency passage to increase speed and accuracy, writing about a favorite topic while working on spelling and writing conventions as well as developing ideas, reading a book about the student’s topic of choice while working on fluency and comprehension, writing spelling words on a white board, and more.

With 5 minutes left in the session, the tutor will determine if the game was earned. Usually, it is as the student is working hard toward that goal. The tutor will provide a choice of two games, both of which are educational and games that will help the child work on specific skills.

At the end of the session, the tutor will talk with the child and the parent about what was worked on during the session. The tutor will point out skills that have improved and skills that will be worked on during the next session.


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What’s the difference between a tutor and a homework helper tutor?

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Parents often have questions about the difference between a tutor and a homework helper tutor. The biggest difference is the tutor assesses your child’s current ability and works to teach the concepts that your child struggles with the most. Often times these concepts are not from the current grade level, rather concepts that were not learned in previous grades and are the building blocks of the current concepts. This is especially true when it comes to math concepts since math builds on previous learning. If your child didn’t learn a concept very well in third grade, he or she might be struggling in fourth grade, but it’s really the third grade concept that needs to be retaught. A homework helper tutor, on the other hand, does not do an initial assessment and does not reteach concepts. A homework helper simply helps your child with the current day’s homework, prompting him or her to complete it and keeping him or her on task. This type of tutor might give a little background knowledge in order to help with the homework, but this person is not going to reteach concepts from year’s past that were not learned by your child. A homework helper tutor will get your child through the homework, but your child will most likely not really learn what he or she needs to learn in order to be successful in years to come. Refer to the chart below for more comparisons.

Tutor                                                  Homework Helper

Assesses current academic level and identifies needs Works on nightly homework
Identifies goals for tutoring Works on current concepts
Plans lessons based on child’s needs No planning involved
Teaches lessons based on child’s needs No teaching involved
Reteaches concepts that your child might not have learned No reteaching of concepts
Certified teacher with teaching experience College student
Cost $50-75 per session Cost $15-30 per session


If your child is struggling with homework, it would be a good idea to identify the reason or hire a tutor to do an initial assessment to identify the reason for the struggle. If it is determined that your child just doesn’t like doing homework and needs prompting to complete it, then a homework helper is the way to go. However, if it is determined that your child is really struggling with concepts, it would be more beneficial to hire a professional tutor.


What qualities should I look for in a great tutor?


Lots of people could be hired to tutor your child. However, there are specific qualities that make a tutor great.

  • Able to boost your child’s confidence-A great tutor is one that gets to know your child well so that he or she knows how to increase the level of confidence your child feels in all subjects, but especially in the subject your child struggles with most. A great tutor will get to know your child and your family on a personal level. Having a personal relationship helps foster trust which in turn helps the tutor build your child’s level of confidence.
  • Knowledgeable and trained in education-A great tutor must be knowledgeable in the subject he or she is tutoring, but having knowledge about a skill/subject is not enough. The tutor must be able to teach the skill/subject to your child in a way that makes it easy for your child to understand during tutoring and easy for your child to apply in school.
  • Individualized-A great tutor must individualize tutoring sessions. Your child should be tutored one on one. Your child’s lesson plan should not look the same as another child’s lesson plan. Even if two students are both in first grade and struggling with reading, the tutor needs to determine specific goals pertaining to each individual’s challenges with skills in reading. No two children struggle with reading in the same way so you shouldn’t have a tutor that teaches reading the same way to all students.
  • Engaging-A great tutor should teach your child using fun and engaging learning materials. Lots of skills in tutoring can be taught through interactive games or hands on materials. The use of white boards is more engaging than worksheets or paper/pencil tasks. The tutor should ask your child what he or she is interested in and that can be the focus of writing and the subjects of books being read.
  • Available and informative-A great tutor should be available to talk with parents anytime questions arise. He or she should have a consultation with parents following each tutoring session to inform parents of their child’s progress.

Hiring a tutor for your child that is struggling is a wonderful idea. Be sure to hire a great tutor with the right qualities!


To hire a great tutor in the Colorado Springs area, please call Michelle at 760-672-8668.

For more information about hiring a great tutor, or to ask about the qualities of your child’s tutor, please contact Michelle



What is included in a tutor’s fee?

A tutor’s fee includes much more than just the time spent working with your child. Included in the tutor’s fee are the following things: planning time, materials, tutoring time, parent consultation time, drive time, gasoline cost, and mileage. Your child’s tutor spends 45 minutes to one hour planning for your child’s tutoring session. The tutor buys and provides all materials your child will need during the tutoring session such as: books, games, paper, notebooks, whiteboards, markers, etc. After the 50-55 minute tutoring session, the tutor will spend between 5 and 10 minutes talking to you, the parent, about your child’s progress. If the tutor comes to your house for each session, part of the fee will include driving to and from your house, paying for gasoline, and mileage put on her car.




Should I hire a tutor?

tutoring signWhy should I hire a tutor for my child?

There are many reasons you might find yourself asking this question. Perhaps your child’s teacher recommended your child would benefit from tutoring. Perhaps your child’s report card is showing that he/she is not meeting the standards of the grade level. Perhaps your child is struggling to keep up with the rest of the class and is coming home unhappy or angry about school each day. For one or more of these reasons, you might consider hiring a tutor.

If your child’s teacher recommended you hire a tutor, he/she is probably concerned about your child’s progress in school. The teacher is probably seeing that your child is struggling in a particular subject and would benefit from some additional one on one support.

If your child’s report card is showing grades that are not meeting the standards, you might consider a tutor. A tutor can provide one on one instruction to help your child meet specific academic standards.

If your child is struggling in school and is coming home unhappy or angry after school, this could be a sign that your child needs additional help outside of school. Children that are struggling to keep up with their classmates will often feel unhappy about school or they will feel angry about school. A tutor can help boost confidence in your child while working on academic skills.

There are many reasons to hire a tutor for your child. Seeing your child’s academic success and confidence in learning will make hiring a tutor worth it!