It snowed in Georgia this morning, the first snow this year. I was tutoring a fifth grader still in his pajamas when the snow started. The dining room blinds were drawn, so we didn’t know. The student finished his lesson, stood, stretched, and walked to the door.
By Nicholas Powers, 6
“It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” he screamed, literally jumping. “Miss Kathy, it’s snowing! My shoes. My coat. I gotta get outside. Everybody! It’s snowing!”
The family came running. Everyone was shouting about the snow. None fell last year near where I live, and maybe just a few flurries spit from the sky the year before. The forecast was for flurries in the morning and melting of anything that stuck in the afternoon. But already more than an inch had fallen. Serrendipidy!
The boy’s older sister looked longingly outside and then sat down next to me for her lesson. “I remember when it snowed,” she mused, gazing out the window. “Maybe I was three.” We sputtered, trying to get the lesson going, but she was distracted, glancing through the blinds, now open, to the cluster of kids gathering outside, scraping the car for wet snow to pack into snowballs. For 15 minutes we struggled, but the shouts of the kids captivated her. We ended the lesson. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, Miss Kathy,” she said, bolting.
Guess what we’ll be writing about next week?
Under these circumstances, I recommend hiring a reading tutor:
- You, the parent, are not a native English speaker. Even though you can read and speak English well, you want your child exposed to a wider variety of words or better grammar than you know. You want your child to pattern a native speaker of English.
- You, the parent, are not a native English speaker. You are embarrassed by your spoken English. You cannot answer your elementary school-aged child’s questions about words, story meaning and grammar.
- You, the parent, are not a native English speaker. You want someone immersed in the culture to explain idioms or allusions.
- You are not well-educated and your child is surpassing your knowledge of English. You can no longer give your child the support you want to give.
- Your child has learning problems. You have tried to help, but your child is not making progress.
- You suspect your child’s teacher or school is not good, and you want to supplement the instruction your child is receiving.
- Your child is stubborn and out-of-control. If the child were more pliant, you could probably offer the needed help, but the child’s history suggests an outsider might be a better match.
- You know how to help, but you have no time. It’s easier to find the money to pay a tutor than it is to find the time to work with your child.
- By the middle of first grade (or sooner), your child can barely read.
- Your child is hyperactive and needs one-on-one instruction in order to pay attention.
I have tutored students in reading and writing for more than 20 years. I believe most kids can benefit from tutoring, but most kids don’t need tutors.