Many people ask why certification matters. They think they can save money tutoring with someone that is not certified. But that thought is wrong. Many times you spend so much more time and money with a tutor that has no oversight. Certified tutors not only spend hours training with the program developer but must follow certain rules and guidelines to maintain their certification. Unfortunately non certified tutors do not.


When your child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, or he has extra difficulty with reading and spelling, even without a diagnosis, there are key things to look for in a tutor, when you are seeking help.

1. Look for an Orton-Gillingham-based intervention. If your child has received a diagnosis of dyslexia, or she has signs of dyslexia, it is vital that you select a tutor who is highly trained, certified in and uses research-based, Orton-Gillingham influenced intervention.There are a number of highly respected and effective Orton-Gillingham based approaches and programs. If a tutor or service does not use an Orton Gillingham based approach, do not consider them, if your child has been diagnosed or you strongly suspect dyslexia.

2. Look for Tutor Certification. The prospective tutor who will work with your child should be highly trained and most importantly, certified in an Orton-Gillingham based approach or system. Different programs or organizations will have different methods of certifying providers, but when a tutor is certified in the method that he is working in, that is key for providing effective intervention. Always ask a tutor if she is certified. If so, what programs or by what organization and what process was required to earn the certification.

3. Look for Experience. It’s also wise to ask how much training a tutor has had. If a prospective tutor has just a few weeks or months of actual training, no on-going supervision by the trainer and less than two years experience specifically using an Orton-Gillingham approach, be cautious. Some newer tutors may offer a discounted rate to tutor your child and to gain experience, which can be an option if finances are tight.

4. One-on-One Tutoring is best. One-on-one tutoring for a minimum of two, 1-hour sessions a week is consistently the benchmark recommendation for dyslexia intervention in a private setting. Group tutoring is most often done in school classroom settings, where it is easier to create effective groupings. If groups are considered, the group size should not exceed recommendations of specific programs. Grouping requires skilled decision making, because in order to effectively teach each child, the group can only move as fast as the child who needs the most practice. If there are absences, a child will miss instruction, or the tutor will have to postpone or review material. If a child can move faster, her progress may be stalled by slower/absent group members, or a child who needs more practice may be “left behind.”

5. Reading intervention vs. homework help: know the difference. If your child is learning something in school, it is great when a tutor can also touch upon and reinforce the same reading or spelling concept. However, most Orton-Gillingham based interventions already have a general scope and sequence that will also ensure basic sight words, spelling rules, phonics concepts, morphology, etc. will be covered in a very explicit, systematic way. If too much time is devoted to helping with specific spelling lists or other homework, it can quickly diminish time for actual reading intervention and progress.

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