Image via Wikipedia
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Kansas,
Happy Birthday to you!
Kansas turned 150 years old today and the only way that I could find out that wonderful bit of information was by skyping with Mrs. Atkinson’s Kindergarten class in Louisburg, Kansas. They were such a wonderful group of students that have been learning all about penguins. I had the opportunity to share a fiction and a non-fiction story about Penguins. The fiction book was called Five Little Penguins Slipping on the Ice and the non-fiction book was called Penguins. These kids are so smart, they knew that real penguins do not actually wear ice skates. That is one of the reasons that makes this book a fiction book. When I explain fiction and non-fiction to kids I explain that fiction is false and non-fiction is not false (that means true). This tends to help them remember which kind of book it is.
After reading both of these books the children shared some other wonderful information that they knew about penguins. They told me that the daddy takes care of the baby and that the mama does the hunting. They also told me that when the mama comes back she shares her food with her beak. That was a nice way of saying she regurgitates the food into their mouths.
Penguins only live at the zoo in Wisconsin and I bet the same is true for Kansas. One thing that I learned is that there is snow in Kansas this time of year. These kids are used to sledding and having a great time, just like the kids here in Wisconsin. However, in the summer they have much warmer weather than we have. It can get to over 100 degrees. Typical Wisconsin weather for the summer is between 70 degrees and 89 degrees. It is not too often that we have weather in the 90’s, but it does happen a couple of times throughout the summer. It is the end of January and the days are getting longer, which means that the weather will be getting warmer soon. Till then, stay warm!
Image by mcmrbt via Flickr
Whether you are a parent that is looking for the right tutor for your child or a teacher looking for the right tutor for a student, it is important to know that not all tutors are right for students with reading difficulties. When you look out on the web you will find a host of people who think that they can tutor children in all subjects simply because they have graduated from high school or college. Even tutoring companies will hire people who simply have graduated from high school or college. Is this the right fit for a child that is struggling with reading? In most cases the answer is no. When we go to the doctor, most of us don’t ask for the least qualified person to see us. We want the best and most qualified. It is the same thing when we are looking for the right reading tutor for our child.
A qualified reading tutor usually has a specialty degree from an accredited college or university. These people have studied and worked with children struggling with reading and know how to identify areas of need that a student is struggling with. Here are some basic questions that you will want to ask the reading tutor before he/she begins working with your child.
- What type of degree do you have?
- How long have you worked with students?
- What has your success rate been working with students in reading?
- Do you teach a certain reading program?
- How do you feel about phonics vs. whole language?
A great reading tutor will let you know that he/she does not teach reading programs that are a one size fits all approach (like Sylvan). They will tell you that they will personally assess your child to find out exactly what his/her strength and weaknesses in reading are and teach where the instruction is needed. This may sound like a no brainer in most cases, but you would be surprised in the amount of people that put their faith in reading programs that do not meet individual children’s needs.
When it comes to the whole phonics vs. whole language thing you really want to look for a reading tutor that does not take sides on this debate and instead incorporates a much more balanced approach. Most of the time that the tutor spends with your child should be directly in relation to reading. It shouldn’t be ridden with worksheets and lengthy phonics lessons and it also shouldn’t be ridden with reading tons of books that the reading tutor needs to provide all of the words to the child in order for the child to be successful. It should incorporate quick mini lessons when needed and tons of on level reading.
You will also want to find a tutor that is passionate about tutoring. Children that are struggling with reading do not respond to all people the same when it comes to learning. They need highly passionate and highly knowledgeable people at their disposal. They need to trust the person that they are working with and most of all they must like working with the tutor. Building report is an extremely important part of working with children who struggle with reading because the reading tutor is asking the child to do something that is the last thing in the world that they want to be doing.
Our struggling readers deserve the best when it comes to getting the support that they need. Make sure that you are giving them the most knowledgeable, educated, and passionate people who care about making a difference in their life.