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S/o How do I become a reading tutor?


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I don't know if there's any regulatory body that cares about your education or credentials, but unless you're volunteering (in which case you just need to show up with the ability to read) or doing this informally for people who know you personally (ditto) you probably need at least a Bachelor's, or else years of experience.

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ETA:  I am not trying to be discouraging at all with the following questions.  I just think these are things to consider, plus I think it would help us to help you if you added some details to your post.  Frankly, we NEED good tutors.  Kuddos to you for looking into this.


1.  Are you wanting to do this professionally?  Are you only interested in the actual skill of reading (as in decoding and fluency)?  Not writing/spelling/grammar/literature?  Other skills/subjects?

2.  Have you ever worked with kids that have learning challenges?

3.  Have you ever tutored someone else's child at all?

4.  Are you strictly talking about teaching a younger aged child to read or are you thinking of helping even older kids that might be struggling or might be very advanced and need more challenging material?  Most parents hiring a tutor for "reading" do so because the child is struggling.  Otherwise they would be teaching basic reading skills themselves or those skills would be covered in a brick and mortar school.  Teaching a struggling learner may require a lot of time, patience and background knowledge.


FWIW, your best bet in starting out would probably be to talk with other parents in your area that might just want a bit of assistance.  Start small.  Maybe just one or two clients.  See how it goes.  Either volunteer or charge very little until you get more experience and word of mouth coverage for your abilities.


Some parents are going to expect credentials, either degrees or certifications or something else along those lines.  However, word of mouth can be powerful.  If you start with someone you know and do well helping their child they will pass on that experience to others.  Maybe now you have two more parents asking for help with their children.  If that works out then word of mouth will spread further.  And so on.  It will take time to build up a client base.  As that client base builds, though, credentials will become less important.  Word of mouth will theoretically get you more and more clients and the ability to charge more.


Things to consider, though:

  • Where would you tutor?  Your home?  Would city regulations and your insurance allow it?  Do you allow drop offs or should the parent remain?
  • If you are willing to tutor in someone else's house, consider safety precautions.
  • What sort of policy would you have for behavior issues?
  • There may be a big disconnect between your expectations and the client's.  Make sure you and the parent are on the same page with what you are prepared to do and what happens if the child does not seem to be grasping what you are teaching.
  • What about cancellations?  What would your policies be?  Would you still charge if they fail to notify you of a cancellation?  Would you still charge if they notify you only half an hour before hand and don't seem to have a valid reason?  What if they cancel a lot?
Edited by OneStepAtATime
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Having known a few, I think you get certified in a system, like Crimson Wife suggested, then build a client base through word of mouth. People I know who are tutors are mostly former teachers, but as long as you have a basic college degree, I think you're good - I think it's really a word of mouth business in most areas.

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What is your educational level? 


You will want to seek out an Orton Gillingham program and get trained in that. You could do Barton as well. BUT the Orton Gillingham training is considered the 'gold standard' for reading tutors. 


I would also encourage you to start volunteering and track your hours so you can begin to build your experience. 

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You can make more money if you train on and use OG programs, but you can start out with just my syllables material and something like "Back on the Right Track Reading" and Phonics Pathways and the entire Webster's Speller to supplement.




I tutor as a volunteer, but most people would pay me money, in fact most people feel guilty if they don't pay; I suggest donations to our nonprofit in that case, but don't mention it for my less well off students.  One of my poorest families gave me a lovely handmade huge crocheted doily thingy as a thank you, it is lovely and appreciated as a gift from the heart.


I find students by giving out reading grade level tests to every parent I know and offering to give it to them if they "don't work well with their kids," or prefer my doing it as I've done thousands and can do it easily and quickly, offering an easy out for parents who may be functionally illiterate themselves but don't want to admit that.  Even in good school systems, if they teach with sight words, about 30% of the students will be reading below grade level.  Often, the parents don't realize their children have problems because the books sent home and the early Accelerated Reader books all have 90 to 95% of the words as sight words, and the more difficult words are easily guessed from context or pictures.  So, the problem will show up later as an apparent "comprehension problem," or the parents is more likely to figure out there is a reading problem sometime between 4th and 6th grade when the reading material becomes more difficult and the percentage of sight words in a passage declines.  


Here are my pages about tutoring with more ideas:






The older the child, the more nonsense words you'll need to use to overcome the guessing habits, and the longer remediation will take.


Once you've worked with a few kids, you should be able to find more students easily.  If you use this model, you don't really need credentials, although people whose students have been diagnosed with dyslexia will want someone trained in OG methods.  There is an inexpensive online OG training course, ask in the special needs forum.  Also, you can get cheaper than Barton OG methods to start, the Recipe for Reading manual for basic OG techniques and words, then Sophris West Rewards Reading for higher level OG techniques and multi-syllable word work.  If you live in a large metro area, there will likely be a demand for Barton Reading, and buying that after earning some money would be a good investment.

Edited by ElizabethB
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Are you talking about professionally tutoring children who are struggling with reading & may have a learning disability? Or about volunteering in a local community center or school to provide extra support. 


What is your experience & training? 


For what purpose do you want to tutor?


If to make money, are you willing to work weekends? Are you willing to work after school and evening hours? 



What contacts do you have with potential clients or people who would refer to you? 

Edited by Laurie4b
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