Supercharge Your Summer: Boosting Reading Skills with Private Tutors and DIY Programs

Supercharge Your Summer: Boosting Reading Skills with Private Tutors and DIY Programs

Summer is the perfect time for students to strengthen their reading skills, and private tutors can offer valuable support in this area. With a focus on the science of reading, these tutors can help students develop essential skills and improve their overall reading ability. In this blog, we will outline some effective reading programs offered by private tutors and provide tips on finding the right tutor for your child's summer reading support.

The Science of Reading

The science of reading refers to evidence-based research on how we learn to read. This research has identified the most effective methods for teaching reading, emphasizing the importance of phonics, phonological awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Private tutors who base their reading programs on the science of reading can help students make leaps and bounds in their reading skills.

Reading Programs Offered by Private Tutors

Several reading programs that are available through private tutors are grounded in the science of reading. Some popular options include:

Lindamood-Bell: The Lindamood-Bell program focuses on developing sensory-cognitive skills, such as phonemic awareness, symbol imagery, and concept imagery. This approach can help students improve their reading fluency and comprehension.

Wilson Reading System: This program is designed for students with dyslexia and other reading difficulties. It uses a structured, multisensory approach to teach phonics, spelling, and vocabulary.

Barton Reading & Spelling System: This is another multisensory, Orton-Gillingham-based program designed for students with dyslexia. It focuses on phonemic awareness, decoding, and spelling skills.

These programs are all rooted in the Orton-Gillingham method. This method is a structured, multisensory approach to teaching reading, focusing on phonics and language processing. Many tutors trained in the Orton-Gillingham method can provide a tailored, individualized instruction to your child. You will find Wilson and Barton are very structured and rigid. The tailoring and flexibility are simply not inherent in those programs. Still, the evidence that those programs work with most students is strong when followed with fidelity.

How to Find a Tutor for Summer Reading Support

Finding the right tutor for your child's summer reading support can be daunting. Here are some tips to help you in your search:

Research: Start by researching local tutors, online tutors, and tutoring companies that specialize in reading programs based on the science of reading. Look for tutors with experience and training. Online tutors can offer additional flexibility and convenience, allowing your child to receive support from the comfort of your home.

Ask for recommendations: Reach out to your child's teachers, other parents, or local support groups for recommendations. They may have personal experience with tutors, both in-person and online, or know someone who has had success with a particular tutor.

Interview potential tutors: Once you have identified potential tutors, schedule interviews to discuss their experience, teaching methods, and familiarity with the science of reading. Ask about their success stories and request references from previous clients. If considering an online tutor, inquire about the technology and platforms they use to ensure a smooth and effective tutoring experience.

Observe a session: If possible, ask to observe a tutoring session, either in-person or online, to see how the tutor interacts with their students and how they implement the reading program.

Consider your child's needs: It's essential to find a tutor who that can adjust to you child's learning style. The multi-sensory approach helps meet that need, but if your child is a strong visual learner or audio leaner having a tutor that can cater to that need will help you get the most out of each lesson. Discuss any learning challenges your child faces and ensure the tutor is equipped to address them.

DIY Reading Programs for Parents

In addition to private tutors, there are several do-it-yourself (DIY) reading programs available for parents who want to support their child's reading development at home. These programs are explicitly designed to be user-friendly and accessible, even for parents without formal training in reading instruction. Here are a few recommended programs, including some that I have personally used and found effective:

Blast Off to Reading*

Toe By Toe*

Please Note: Snapwords are not a part of the OG method, but can help with fluency and words that don't follow basic reading rules.


While these are just a couple of examples, there are many other DIY reading programs available for parents who want to take an active role in their child's reading development. When selecting a program, look for one that aligns with the science of reading and provides clear, step-by-step instructions for parents to follow. Remember, consistency and practice are key to helping your child make progress in their reading skills.


In conclusion, whether you choose to work with a private tutor or take on a DIY reading program, supporting your child's reading development during the summer months can have a significant impact on their success in the upcoming school year. By exploring various evidence-based programs and finding the right fit for your child, you can help them build the foundation for a lifetime of reading enjoyment and achievement.

Happy reading!

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