Should You Hire a Reading Tutor?


I want to begin a discussion on the topic of hiring a reading tutor with a summary of a previous article I wrote “How to Fix Your Child’s Reading Problem.” Here’s a summary of the important points from that article:

  1. There’s no quick fix, miracle med, or secret formula. Transforming your child’s reading requires following a consistent protocol.
  2. Silent reading is usually not productive. Neither is unmonitored reading.
  3. The secret is for your child to do supervised reading that includes real-time corrective feedback for 30 minutes/day 5 times/week. And to listen to fluent reading.

As I mentioned in the above reference article, the path to dramatically improved reading is simple. There’s nothing complicated about it. You don’t need a Ph.D. to understand it or to guide your child through the protocol.

However, it’s not easy.

It’s not easy because someone has to read with your child for 30 minutes/day. It doesn’t have to be a teacher or a tutor or someone with a degree in linguistics; you just need someone who can gently correct your child when they mispronounce words and be a good example of fluent reading.

Who’s going to do that?

Possibility #1: You could hire a tutor.

This is a decent solution. And it’s the one I want to analyze today.

Most tutors would have no problem providing corrective feedback while your child reads.

Tutors are also in the business of providing this kind of service, so presumably they would be available and reliable, which is important.

Tutors also know how to monitor a child’s progress, so, assuming they’re trustworthy, you can track results, which is also important.

Bottom line is: a tutor could work for you.

There are some drawbacks to using a tutor, however.

The biggest drawback is the cost. Theoretically, a tutor could solve your problem. But let’s do the math.

The cost for a tutor ranges from $50-$100/hour, depending on many factors. If you want to see a dramatic improvement, most children need about 100 sessions over a 3-6 month period. So you’re talking $5000 to $10,000.

Don’t let a tutor convince you that working with your child 1/week will work. That’s their typical model, because they know that most people can’t afford more frequency, but it’s not even close to enough supervised reading for your child to significantly improve their fluency or comprehension.

Tutoring centers get you to buy into the once a week model and you get the satisfaction of feeling like they’re doing something for your child. It solves your problem, which is that you want to feel like a responsible and proactive parent; but it will not solve your child’s problem. It won’t give them what they need to really transform their fluency or comprehension.

Anyway, if you can afford a tutor for about 100 sessions, which, again, will cost about $5000 to $10,000, then you should consider using a tutor. But there are better and more cost effective ways to accomplish the same objective, which you should also consider. We’ll get back to that.

Besides cost, there are other drawbacks to using a tutor.

The schlep is a problem. Every time your child has a tutoring lesson, you have to take them there and back. Are you going to wait until their lesson is over? Either way, it’s a lot of time. I’m sure you have more important things you could be doing than another carpool.

Do you work? If so, that makes it even more difficult. How will you get your child there and back? If the tutoring sessions are during your non-working times, is that the best use of your time?

Another problem I faced when I considered using a tutor for my child was leaving him with a stranger for an hour. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those neurotic over-protective mothers. I don’t stand over my kid when they’re in the dentist chair and I’m not always in the room during the violin lesson. But I’m also not oblivious to the fact that responsible-looking people sometimes behave very irresponsibly with children. So, I don’t leave my kids with anyone unless it’s necessary, and even then only after I’ve done my homework and feel comfortable.

I know a mother who handles things just as prudently, but suffered a terrible disappointment nonetheless. You never know. Be careful. Be prudent. Do your homework before you leave your child with anyone.

Another challenge with tutors is chemistry. In other words, how will your child take to the tutor?

When your child works on their reading, it’s important that they enjoy it. They have to feel comfortable. They have to be motivated. It’s not like taking them to get a pair of shoes; whether they like the shoe salesperson or not, they leave with the new shoes they needed. But in the case of reading, the transformation occurs on the inside not on the outside. It’s different than slipping a foot in a shoe; you need your child to put their heart into this. And whether or not your child does that depends a lot on the child-tutor relationship.

What if you don’t want to use a tutor? What if you can’t afford a tutor? Are there other options? Yes, there are. Maybe you want to consider using Reading Buddy Software.

Reading Buddy Software is a responsive speech recognition software program that helps children improve their fluency and comprehension by providing real-time corrective feedback and modeling fluent reading. Reading Buddy Software offers parents a hands-off solution that’s effective, convenient, and much cheaper than tutoring.

Learn more about Reading Buddy Software

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Ari Fertel

President & Founder

Reading Buddy Software

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Reading Buddy Software™ is advanced speech recognition technology that listens, responds, and teaches as your child reads. It’s like having a tutor in your computer.

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Reading Buddy Software™ is advanced
speech recognition technology that listens,
responds, and teaches as your child reads.
It’s like having a tutor in your computer.

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When I got Reading Buddy Software for my son, it was like I got a 24/7 reading tutor. Better though, because I didn’t have to pay by the hour.

Jenny Ander
San Diego, CA

The Precision Memory Tracking Technology (PMTT) records your child’s weaknesses, creates personalized practice readings, and drills your child until mastery is achieved.

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What’s Included?

Reading Buddy Software for up to 4 Users

Unlimited Usage. Every user can access any of the 400 readings as many times as they want.

Up to 4 Users.You can create separate accounts for each child.

Unlimited Technical Support. Phone and email.

Reading Buddy Software Costs 98% Less than Tutoring

Lessons/month needed to improve reading level: 20

Average Cost for Tutor: $60/lesson

Cost Per Month
1 Child 2 Children 3 Children 4 Children
Tutor  $1,200  $2,400  $3,600  $4,800
Reading Buddy Software  $79  $79  $79  $79
 You Save  $1,121  $2,321  $3,521  $4,721
   93%  96%  97%  98%

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