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Selecting a Tutor

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: My husband and I are planning to get private tutoring help for our daughter, who is in 4th grade. After meeting with the school guidance counselor and her teacher, we all agree she could benefit from extra help in language arts.

The guidance counselor provided a list of tutors. What is the best approach to interviewing them, and what questions should I ask?

A: Tutoring works. It taught Alexander the Great what he needed to know about the world and should help your daughter understand language arts better. Before you begin talking to prospective tutors, be sure that you know exactly what kind of help your child needs.

Make appointments to talk to the tutors recommended by the school instead of interviewing them on the phone. A face-to-face interview will give you a much better idea of the prospective tutor's personality. You want someone who is patient, flexible, pleasant, and able to work well with your child. Do consider having your child present at the interviews. By being part of the process, she will be more open to working with the selected tutor.

When you talk to the tutors, you will want to ask them questions in the following three areas:


  1. What is your background in education (teaching experience, training, and certification)?
  2. How long have you been tutoring?
  3. Do you have special expertise in the subject area to be tutored?
  4. Can you tailor the tutoring sessions to meet my child's learning style?
  5. Have you worked with children my child's age?
  6. Are you familiar with the textbooks and other materials my child is using in school?


  1. Are you willing to work closely with the classroom teacher?
  2. How would you describe your teaching style?
  3. Do you have good rapport with children this age?


  1. Will you come to my home for tutoring sessions or will my child have to be taken some place?
  2. Are you willing to schedule more than one session in a week?
  3. Are you able to commit to tutoring for a specific period of time (school year, summer)?

Before committing to a tutor, be sure that you have a clear understanding of fees and cancellation policies. Once tutoring begins, request periodic reports from both the tutor and your child's teacher. You should find a noticeable academic improvement within a few months.

Learn more: Do you know what your school-age kids should know? Click here to find out.

More on: Expert Advice

Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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