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Reading Between the Lines ... to Help Students in Trouble
Ten Signs that Your Child Could Need a Tutor
By Raymond J. Huntington and Eileen Huntington

From vexing mathematics problems to anxiety over a big tests, most of us remember school days that were a bit more difficult than others. But some children feel as if every day propels them further into a cycle of frustration and failure. While extra help from caring, motivated teachers can help many children regain their academic balance, others may need a program of supplemental instruction tailored to specific learning needs. Here are 10 signs that your child may need special attention from a tutor qualified to diagnose and respond to these needs.

  1. Despite his or her best efforts, your child's grades are falling.

  2. Regardless of how long your child spends on homework, it's neither complete, nor well-done, which could be an indicator of weakness in a particular skill area.

  3. Struggling with day-to-day schoolwork, or stumbling over a series of exams or assignments, your child shows an increasing lack of confidence and motivation.

  4. Your child experiences extreme anxiety before tests and exams.

  5. Your child seems to have an intense fear of failure and criticism from peers and teachers, a fear that may lead to extreme reluctance to go to school.

  6. A teacher reports that your child is behaving badly or disrupting the work of others, particularly when he or she is struggling with schoolwork or having difficulty with a test.

  7. Your child's teacher reports that your child seems to have special difficulty in retaining and understanding lessons, which could be an indicator that your child's learning style is inconsistent with the way that the lessons are taught.

  8. Your child begins to use phrases such as "I'm stupid - I'll never understand this subject."

  9. Your child admits that he or she is simply ready to "give up." Or worse, you begin to feel that way.

  10. Your child's teacher or school counselor recommends a tutor. This may happen at a parent-teacher conference. It may also occur when progress reports or report cards are issued.

While any one of these stumbling blocks could be an indication that your child needs extra help from a tutor, children in real academic jeopardy will often face several at different points in the school year. Working in partnership with teachers and others at your child's school, a qualified tutor can often get your child back on track. When considering a tutoring service, make sure you select an individual or organization well-qualified to diagnose your child's particular needs, and a track record of demonstrable success.

About the Authors: Raymond J. Huntington and Eileen Huntington are co-founders of Huntington Learning Center, which has provided supplemental education services to local communities for 26 years. Ray Huntington is a doctoral statistician who has served as a business analyst with a Fortune 500 company and an instructor of college-level mathematics and statistics. His wife, Eileen, is a former junior and senior high school teacher with a master's degree from Rutgers University. Visit to learn more.


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