SLD Read Builds Confidence – and Literacy Skills – Up to 4th Grade
Does your child’s teacher tell you that reading is a struggle or your child has a hard time writing and spelling? Do you work with them at home, but still fail to see progress?
Kids work hard in school – so much harder than us parents did in elementary school. Today, kindergarteners are expected to be reading short books and writing complete sentences by the end of the school year.
We’ve found a local tutoring program that uses multi-sensory tools to build confidence in kids with their reading, writing and spelling skills. And it’s all catered specifically for each child’s needs!
Read on to see how SLD Read could transform your child’s reading abilities and confidence.
SLD Read is a non-profit tutoring organization that’s been working with students since 1974.
They provide tutoring in reading, writing and spelling for kids ages six through ten in west and southwest Michigan.
With one-on-one tutoring for two hours per week, students will be able to read at grade level when they are done.
SLD Read Engages Kids While They’re in the Learning to Read Stage
Did you know that it’s predicted that 1 in 6 students will not graduate on time due to low literacy rates?
“Michigan is in a crisis,” shares SLD Read CEO Kristin Potts.
“In the average 4th grade classroom of 24 students, four of them will not graduate high school with their peers,” Potts cautions. “We need to do better.”
While that number feels daunting, it can also feel oddly comforting. If your child struggles to read at grade level, they are obviously not alone!
Want some good news? Places like SLD Read see your kid, and know exactly what to do to help them do better.
Tutors work with students to get their literacy skills in place to build the foundation for 4th grade.
“A big learning shift occurs in 4th grade,” says Potts. “Students have to be able to read at grade level in order to do math, science and more.”
“We want to reach students before 4th grade,” says Potts, “while kids are still learning to read rather than reading to learn.”
SLD Read is an Individualized Tutoring Program
SLD Read begins the tutoring program with an initial meeting in which all the necessary information is gathered.
Then the student is assessed to see where they need help. Students’ strengths and weaknesses in reading, writing and spelling are identified during these assessments.
Students then receive one-to-one, individualized, multi-sensory instruction.
“The brain isn’t naturally hard-wired for reading,” explains Potts. “We use a variety of strategies to help students form those connections to become proficient readers.”
This structured literacy program is constantly being tweaked to ensure it’s working for all types of learners.
What Happens in a Tutoring Session
“The role of the tutor,” Education Services Manager Christine Gavin explains, “is to provide students with the life-long tools they need to be successful.”
Tutors spend a lot of time reviewing skills with their students. They introduce a concept (like “tch” spelling rule) and continuously review it in subsequent lessons.
“Lots of review leads to mastery,” Gavin says.
Since SLD Read is an individualized program, tutors can work with students on their reading, writing and spelling in whichever ways they best learn.
SLD Read tutors have a wide variety of multi-sensory tools to draw from for students. Visual learners may benefit from visual aids like color-coded words while auditory learners enjoy using whisper phones so they can hear themselves read.
Kinesthetic learners like penciling while reading where they use a pencil to point to the words as they read, using one smooth movement.
Tactile tools include sandpaper, pipe cleaners and gel bags.
“The gel bags are a kid favorite,” laughs Gavin. “They just love the squishy feeling beneath their fingers as they practice spelling.”
Ready to Sign Up? SLD Read Offers Private and In-School Tutoring Options
SLD Read provides two types of tutoring services – one that comes to your child’s school, and one that operates out of their Cascade-area location.
In the Language Links program, tutors come into the schools to work with students.
This free program is for students who are at least six months behind in reading, receive free or reduced lunch and do not receive special education services.
Tutors come into the school twice weekly for 45 – 60 minute sessions. SLD Read works with classroom teachers to find the best times for students to be pulled from their classroom for tutoring sessions.
This program currently serves students in 12 different schools in four counties. Grand Rapids area locations are MLK Leadership Academy, Ridgemoor Park Montessori, and Northpark Elementary.
Private Tutoring Lessons
Parents can also opt for private tutoring sessions.
These sessions are for students who do not have a Language Links program at their school. It’s for any student who wants the services, no matter income level or reading level progress.
Families receive 50 sessions, offered year-round. Sessions are at least twice weekly for 45 – 60 minutes.
Sessions can be held at SLD Read’s office, libraries, schools, churches or any other community-based location.
Tuition for private tutoring is based on a sliding scale determined by yearly income and family size. Scholarships are available.
SLD Read serves students in 18 counties in Michigan with their private tutoring program.
Want to Help Kids Yourself? You can Even Become a Tutor with SLD Read
SLD Read is looking for more tutors to help at North Park and Ridgemoor Montessori in Grand Rapids.
If you are passionate about kids and helping them learn to read and write, SLD Read would love to hear from you about joining their team.
They are having a training session for new tutors on September 18 – 22, 2023, in Grand Rapids. (The session is offered again November 6-9 and 13-16, 2023.)
“Many of our tutors are retired teachers or school personnel,” says Potts, “but it’s not a requirement. We just want people who love literacy and want to strengthen their community.”
What to Expect as a Tutor
When you become a tutor with SLD Read, you don’t just get thrown right into the classroom.
Prospective tutors, called interns, first attend training sessions. At these sessions, they learn about the program and are given binders with the curriculum and the teaching tools they may need.
After successful completion, interns shadow a Master Tutor, someone who has at least two years experience with SLD Read.
“The goal of this mentoring program is to help interns make a connection with a Master Tutor,” Gavin explains. “We want them to have someone they can ask for advice and help.”
Interns join master tutors for 12 sessions before they go off on their own.
“Our interns develop so much confidence in themselves and the program by the end of these 12 sessions,” says Gavin.
Why Tutors Love Working for SLD Read
Tutors with the Links program volunteer for two or three hours each week during the school year.
“These are the people who work with the high-needs students,” Gavin explains.
Paid tutors work year-round in the private sessions. They work with at least two, possibly up to four, students.
Whether it’s through Links or private-pay, tutors work one-on-one with students and develop incredible bonds with them.
In Gavin’s opinion, seeing the understanding and successes of the students is the most gratifying part of the job.
“Hearing them say, ‘I did it!’ as their face lights up… there’s nothing better than that!”
“Some of our tutors have been invited to past clients’ open houses or even their weddings,” Potts exclaims. “The bonds they develop during these sessions last well beyond the tutoring.”
Schedule Your Free Conference – Or Join the Team – Today
If your child is struggling with reading, writing and spelling, don’t wait to get support.
Contact SLD Read today to schedule your free conference to get started with tutoring or to become a tutor.
“There’s nothing like tutoring,” Gavin raves. “The students trust you. Because of that, you know you can teach them anything.”