You know that your child’s reading skills are not on par with other students. You have been looking for a reading professional who can finally help her become independent in school, sans tutors or your help.

Do any of these statements sound like you?

  1. ”I’m exhausted because I’m always helping my child with understanding the textbooks.
  2. “The tutors are helping my child attaining strong grades, but what do I do when my child goes to college?
  3. “I know that the tutor is helping with schoolwork and explaining the textbook, but when will my child be able to read on her own successfully?”
  4. “I can’t find a good tutor. My child has not improved much.”

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you are not alone.

What can parents do?

 There are countless professionals out there, but parents need to be aware that strong reading and learning skills don’t come overnight. Reading comprehension is an intricate cognitive process and students need to practice specific skills daily. Learning to become a strong reader takes the same effort as learning to play the piano; each takes daily practice and commitment. However, the average secondary students who has struggled to comprehend can become a strong reader within a year (more or less) by using cognitive training—building new pathways for fully understanding textual information.

Today, many students and parents are impatient and want to see immediate results for the wrong reasons. They want excellent standardized test scores, but they need to realize that cognitive training is the key to reading comprehension success. Cognitive training works on processing, the key to comprehension. This type of training provides the results that parents want, but will also help students retain information for the long-term. That means that studying for tests will be minimal. Strong comprehension skills are the ticket for continuing academic success.

I have come across many students who want that A, but improving reading skills are not a priority. For those students, low college exam scores become a reality, and the RTS floodgates open with high-school juniors who finally realize that grades do not necessary reflect strong reading skills. Students finally realize that strong reading comprehension is needed for top standardized testing scores.

College board testing assesses aptitude. They want to know if students can read independently and gain textual concepts. After all, college professors will not be teaching the book; they expect that college students are able to read and learn the textual information independently.

The bottom line is that those students who have been solely focused on grades and have never been strong readers will most probably have disappointing standardized test scores. Plus. if they can get into the college of their choice, they will most likely be a struggling college reader.

 When I am not able to see students and parents ask for help in finding a professional who is the “right fit,” I provide the following guidelines:

  1. Find a secondary school professional who has expertise in comprehension.
  2. Get involved with your child while they are learning. A team effort, where a parent and child work together has outstanding and fast results. Teens enjoy parent/child camaraderie, even though they may initially stick their noses up. Also, parents who learn along with their children can help support their learning. Plus, parents learn a lot too!
  3. Find a reading specialist that has an open-door policy. This means that reading specialists should allow or encourage parental participation.
  4. For parents who do not have the time to participate weekly: Ask your child her takeawayfrom each session. If she is unable to tell you, ask the reading specialist to communicate weekly about the specific skills and tasks that were taught. RTS provides a weekly email outlining goals, skills, expectations, along with specific daily homework. You should be receiving information like, “John learned that  parsing is a critical component for reading. If questioning your child, you should hear something like, “I know that if I can’t visualize every word, I can’t comprehend.”
  5. The child should have access to that reading professional throughout the week (this should be included within the weekly tuition). Because reading involves many multifaceted intricacies, students who may get stuck within a process will not be able to successfully continue without support throughout the week.
  6. A parent should communicate the desired outcome from the child’s sessions. For instance, you want your child to be able to read and learn any textual material at or beyond grade-level (independently). The professional needs to know your expectations so that everyone is on the same page.

Strong Readers are Strong Test Takers

If you have followed my blogs, you will know that strong readers are strong test-takers. The “secrets” of being a top test-taker is easy to teach in less than an hour. And my motto remains that if students can read well, test-taking will be easy for them (because it is), because strong reading skills will produce top scores on any test.

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