Tips for Getting Your Child Ready for Online Tutoring
Online tutoring provides your child with the educational support they need in the comfort of their own home, at the times that are convenient for them. Prep Academy Tutors is offering online tutoring services across Canada to digitally connect students with our certified and experienced tutors.
If you are considering online tutoring to continue and enhance your child’s academic development, there are a few things you can do to optimize the benefits of the digital service. At Prep Academy Tutors, we collaborate with parents to ensure that each student’s private tutoring is a fulfilling and enriching experience that is catered to their unique needs.
You can help your child get ready for online tutoring to make sure they are fully equipped to learn online, and continue their education journey in an environment that is focused, constructive, encouraging, and enriching.
With the right tools and resources, online tutoring can provide your child with the tools they need to keep up with their peers, get ahead, and reach academic success. Learn how you can set your child up for online tutoring with Prep Academy Tutors:
1. Find the Right Tutor
Every child learns differently and has different educational needs. It is important to find a compassionate tutor who can create a strong bond with your child and fill these unique needs. The right tutor will create an environment that is low-pressure, personal, constructive and empowering.
Whether your child is in need of a remedial tutoring program or subject-specific tutoring, Prep Academy Tutors will pair your child with the tutor that will best suit their unique needs, preferences, and learning style.
2. Set Academic Goals
Encourage your child to set academic goals. This gamification of learning will help encourage your child to challenge themselves to set and reach their personal academic goals with the support of an educational professional.
The tutors at Prep Academy Tutors offer personalized one-on-one online tutoring to help students better understand course material and gain the academic confidence they need to succeed.
3. Organize a Work Station:
It’s commonly suggested that a great way to increase productivity when you work from home is to get up from the bed and work in a designated workspace. This is supposed to help you mentally and physically avoid distractions.
The same thing goes for your child when online learning; get your child up, ready, and dressed to head to their work station — the bed is for sleeping, not learning.
When you and your child set up their learning workspace, they can distinguish the workspace as a place for learning and not playing, eating, or any other activity.
It’s important that this workspace is organized (also shown to benefit productivity), and out of high traffic areas where people will be in and out of. Online tutoring requires some uninterrupted time during which your child can focus on learning and both interpreting source material and applying knowledge of said material.
Giving your child the freedom to design their workspace can help to get them more excited about their online learning as they can look forward to utilizing their personal space to learn and advance their education.
4. Schedule the Day
A schedule will help keep your child on track and encourage them to learn how to balance tasks. Routines give kids a sense of security and help them develop good time management habits.
It is important to help your child schedule their day because, the reality is, they probably have responsibilities other than online tutoring. When you schedule their day, you can help them to better manage their time and split up their daily responsibilities.
If a student needs to write an assignment, engage with a tutor for feedback, make their lunch, and fold their laundry, a great way to help encourage them to be productive and get everything done is to guide them through a schedule-making process.
A schedule can help students visualize what their day will look like and how much time should be allotted to each task. By making daily or even weekly schedules, your child will also learn how to manage their time and schedule their tasks independently as time goes on.
5. Gather Supplies & Keep Them Handy
Not having everything handy can pose as a distraction. If your child doesn’t have a pen, notebook, or even a charger for their device on hand, they then have to go looking for it. This disrupts their learning routine, takes time away from their learning, and impairs their focus. Make sure that your child has all the tools they need on hand to settle down, and focus on their online learning.
Supplies you will want handy include:
6. Secure Your Internet Connection:
An essential part of online learning is the digital aspect. If your child is receiving online tutoring, they will likely need to send files back and forth and download resources. To do this effectively, they will need a secure internet connection and operating device. There are many affordable options for laptops and tablets that will help your child maintain a seamless online tutoring experience.
7. Work with the Tutor
When you enrol your child in online tutoring, it can be helpful to form open communication with their tutor. By working with your child’s tutor, you cannot only understand their progress but also identify ways to integrate their education and learning into day to day activities like cooking or baking.
For example, if the tutor is working on fractions with your child, you can bake with your child to help them make the connection between what they’ve learned about fractions and real-life scenarios.
At Prep Academy Tutors, our tutors offer phone calls and other means of communication to keep you updated on your child’s progress and answer any of your questions you may have about your child’s educational journey.
8. Encourage Discussions
What did your child learn today? At Prep Academy Tutors, we believe in open communication to ensure that parents are aware of their child’s progress. In addition to scheduling phone calls with our tutors, you can also work with your child to discuss what they’ve learned throughout their tutoring experience and encourage them to make connections.
You are one of your child’s greatest educational assets as you can encourage them by asking them questions, and answering their questions.
How Your Child Can Benefit from Online Tutoring
Online tutoring is a great resource that allows students to learn and get educational support in the comfort of their own homes. At Prep Academy Tutors, our tutors are making themselves available for online tutoring to help students continue their education without needing to leave their house.
Our certified tutors execute a personalized approach to online tutoring and will work one-on-one with your child online to help support their educational journey and explain things in a way that they can understand.
Through online tutoring, our local tutors are able to provide your child with supplementary activities, answer their questions, fill in any gaps in their knowledge, and help them to catch up academically.
Online tutoring comes with many benefits as it is remote, flexible, personalized, and doesn’t sacrifice the personal relationship between educator and student. The tutors at Prep Academy Tutors connect with students online to talk things over with them and explain things in a way that they can understand.
By bringing education online, your child can learn at their own pace in a low-pressure environment that they are familiar with. Consider the benefits of online tutoring and how receiving tutoring can help your child to set and reach their academic goals:
Online tutoring means that your child can receive educational support wherever and whenever they need it. Online tutoring also removes the need for travel time and other elements that can make scheduling educational support tricky. This makes it easy for tutors to make themselves available when students need them to be.
Our tutors work around your schedule to provide flexible online tutoring that suits your child’s at-home educational schedule. Whether your child requires tutoring in the morning, afternoon, or evening, our tutor will work with you to establish a schedule that works.
One-on-One Personalized Education
At Prep Academy Tutors, we know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to education. Our tutors approach online tutoring based on the unique needs of each student.
We consider a student’s unique learning style, schedule, capabilities, and gaps in their knowledge to create a plan that is specialized to them. Our tutors work with your child one-on-one instead of applying the same general approach to education.
Online learning allows students to learn at home and at their own pace. A student’s home is a low-pressure environment where they will not be distracted by their peers. At-home online learning allows students to learn in an environment that is familiar and comfortable so that they can feel more at ease when receiving educational support.
Learning at home also takes away the stress of classroom learning as students are less likely to compare themselves to their peers. Through online learning, students are able to focus on their personal pace and progress.
Instead of acting like a teacher at the front of the classroom, online tutoring allows our tutors to act as a “smart friend” on the other end of the computer who can talk to your child through curriculum material and explain things in a way that they can understand.
Get Paired with the Right Tutor
Online tutoring makes it easy for your child to get paired with the right tutor. At Prep Academy Tutors, we have general tutors with knowledge of the current curriculum, as well as tutors who boast specialties in specific subjects.
Whether you are looking for general support or an online math tutor, we will pair your child with the right online tutor who can provide them with the educational support they need.
Peers and other environmental factors when learning in the classroom can be distracting for students. By offering online tutoring we can eliminate these distractions. When your child is set up with a home learning station with little distractions, we can use online tutoring to capitalize on the familiarity and calmness of the home environment to educate them effectively.
In a survey done by Statista in 2015, 49% of students stated that they had taken an online course in the past 12 months. Needless to say, digital technology and education are growing rapidly.
Technology is more and more prevalent in children’s day to day lives, and online tutoring provides students with the chance to develop strong digital skills. By sending files, understanding different programs, and interacting via systems like Skype, Zoom, etc., students are able to better their understanding of computer technology.
There is a level of independence that comes with online learning as students are able to manage their time and take control of their educational journey. This independence that comes from online learning can be applied in many facets of their life.
Through online learning and tutoring, students learn how to take control of different aspects of their life and get the confidence to make choices and create their own schedules. Online tutoring keeps students accountable for completing supplementary tasks and communicating their gaps in knowledge. This also helps students to develop a sense of awareness which, again, contributes to their overall independence.
Easy Tracking & Document Exchanges
Online tutoring makes it easy to keep track of progress and assignments, as all assignments and related resources are sent and stored electronically. This allows students and tutors to both save files and tools to track progress and use as a resource later.
In the classroom, students can struggle to stay organized as different assignments, tests, and worksheets can amalgamate into a disorganized stack of paper. By utilizing digital resources, students can more easily keep track of their different assignments and documents to see what they have completed and still have to complete. Easy file storage also enables students to use past documents as a learning resource that they can refer back to when need be.
This electronic exchange also makes it easy for students to send or copy physical classroom resources like essay assignments so that tutors can gage the assignment, and provide educational support accordingly.
Gain Academic Confidence
Online tutoring helps to increase your child’s overall academic confidence. It allows them to learn in a comfortable environment where they can gain the tools they need to better understand curriculum material and gives them an option to still receive an education when unable to be in the classroom due to illness, injury, or any other reason.
This level of personalized education is catered to build your child’s understanding, and help them catch up to their peers and gain academic confidence in the process. Our online tutors work closely with your child to provide them with all the resources they need to succeed academically and gain independence both inside and outside of the classroom.
The Importance of Continuing Education During the COVID-19 Outbreak
The Ontario Government has closed private and public schools for two weeks following March Break (week of March 23 and March 30) in response to the WHO and the CDC advising against public gatherings due to the outbreak and impacts of COVID-19. These closures are also present across the country in Quebec, where schools will remain closed until at least May 1st and all Quebec provincial exams have been cancelled, Alberta (until further notice), British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and other provinces.
This cancellation is meant to encourage the social distancing between children and adults alike to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus. These moves are necessary for the safety of both the public and the health care system, which is why parents, educators, and the school board are all coming together to create an alternative option for continuing education at this time.
At Prep Academy Tutors, we are offering online tutoring to help students continue their education in the safety of their homes. Our tutors across Canada are making themselves available to provide personalized educational support and resources online to help students continue their education at this time.
Learn how our private tutoring services can help to maintain student’s educational progress at this time.
Although school may not be on everyone’s mind at this time, there are many reasons why continuing education is crucial right now for students:
Education & COVID-19
Global News has reported that Doug Ford has confirmed schools will likely not open on April 6th, but the provincial and federal governments continue to look for ways to maintain education at this time.
Toronto’s Minister of Education has shared in a statement that they “are working to ensure that students will be able to continue their coursework and credit accumulation, even when we aren’t able to be in a classroom setting.” They are expecting to do this by expanding existing online learning tools.
Educators are looking for digital ways to provide assignments, and even lessons, to help students to continue their learning. Online tutoring will help support your child with any of these online tasks and will continue to act as an educational resource.
Consistent Knowledge & Development
The reality is that not all schools and teachers will be able to continue education digitally, which means that many students’ learning will come to a halt. Even the suggested online learning assets from the school boards may take a while to establish and develop as rules and regulations have not yet been set, and different schools accommodate different needs.
Children are constantly learning and developing, and this progress is important to maintain. By pausing learning for two weeks (or longer), it will be that much harder for students to retain information and build upon information they’ve already been taught. Continued knowledge is essential for the academic fulfillment of students.
Our tutors teach material that aligns with curriculum material taught in the classroom so that the billions of students who are no longer in school can continue to learn while being in a safe and familiar setting.
Routine is essential for children. It keeps them on track, organized, and helps them to space out their daily tasks and responsibilities like meals, education, chores, and downtime. Education is not only essential for the knowledge and development of your child, but it also provides a sense of structure in their day to day schedule.
A lack of daily structure can make it challenging to get your child to focus on a task, and will make it that much harder for them to get back into their daily routine once school starts back up again. That said, there is no perfect routine for everyone.
There is no right or wrong way to react in this situation, and by bringing education into your home through online tutoring, you will have full control of your child’s new routine and educational progress. The thing is, any routine will provide them with a sense of normalcy, productivity, and empowerment.
Even if you integrate a couple of hours of learning into your child’s daily routine, it will be beneficial. With online tutoring, you can implement a schedule that will ensure your child is learning at the times that work best for you and them. This way you can also facilitate other elements into your child’s schedule like downtime, reading, crafts, meals, etc.
Challenge Their Minds
It is important for your child to continue to challenge themselves. As much as it’s nice to give your child the opportunity to escape by playing video games and watching Netflix, it is also important to keep them thinking and mentally challenged.
This will help them to continue to develop their cognitive skills and abilities so that they can continue to problem solve, think, and both apply and develop their knowledge consistently.
The state of COVID-19 and the government’s responses are changing every day. There is no knowing how things can change and when students will be able to get back into their school routine.
To ensure your child is still getting the education they need to expand their knowledge and build the skill for future educational success, plan ahead. Find a means to continue education like online tutoring.
Education is still Feasible
It’s important to continue education during this time because, bottom line, we can. The internet and online resources make it possible to connect with professionals like our certified tutors through online tutoring, find resources like worksheets, and submit assignments. As long as it is possible to maintain education, albeit with a shifted approach, we can all play a part in helping your child to continue their learning.
Plan For Learning in Different Circumstances
There are a variety of reasons why a child may need to shift their approach to education in the future whether it be due to homeschooling, injury, illness, or safety reasons. By introducing (or continuing) at-home education, your child can learn how to accommodate and facilitate learning in various different scenarios.
Circumstances are always changing, and online education is becoming increasingly more prevalent as an alternative educational resource. It is important for both children and parents to be able to pivot and continue education in different scenarios.
Continuing to learn at this time is about ensuring your child can still get the educational support they need to learn, achieve academic goals, develop their mind and skills, and maintain physical and mental health. Incorporating a routine into your child’s life by integrating education at a pace that works for both parents and children helps students to continue to learn and creates a sense of normalcy for them.
The 4 Habits All Successful Students Share
The way we learn new information and skills may have changed significantly over the past twenty years, but no matter how many new technological tools we acquire, basic study skills are still a central part of education at all levels.
Consistently, the most effective students — the ones able to rapidly master new disciplines and incorporate new information into their understanding of the world — are those who have built a reliable set of habits that help them synthesize new information quickly and to retain what they have learned over the long run.
Good study habits can:
- Make studying easier
- Make studying faster
- Reduce the time needed to synthesize new information
- Improve grades
- Lock information into the long-term memory
So what are these habits, and how can students who want to study more efficiently acquire them?
In this article, we’ll go over four of the most important study habits a high school or college student can develop and explore some of the strategies that can help you make them part of your daily life.
1. Regular Goals
When you start out in a new subject or discipline, learning is often stimulating and fun — after all, it’s empowering to discover new things about the world. But once the initial excitement wears off and your realize just how much you don’t know, it’s easy to get discouraged. Learning a handful of words in Japanese makes you feel smart and accomplished: putting in the hard work to master the language’s complex grammar is another thing entirely.
We often imagine that the thing that separates students who learn a few words and then give up from those who go one to achieve a degree of fluency is simply a matter of motivation and dedication. But motivation is about more than just drive, and motivated students tend to be good at providing themselves with incentives.
Setting regular goals is an essential part of this, because regular goals help students to feel that they are making a progress. Learning a language or mastering calculus takes a long time; if you are constantly measuring yourself against some kind of perfect ideal, it will be hard to stay the course.
But if you find ways to set regular goals — learning a cluster of words every week and a grammatical tense every month, for example — you can measure your progress more effectively.
Having outside help can make this a bit easier, which is why you might want to find a tutor near you if you’re worried that you won’t be able to hold yourself to your stated goals on your own.
2. Good Time Management
We tend not to think of time management as being a studying skill, per se, but effective studying is all about making the most of the hours available: the problem most students face is not that they can’t master the material, but that they struggle to balance all of their different time commitments, and can’t dedicate the time a given learning task requires.
For this reason, becoming a better student typically means finding ways to use one’s time more efficiently.
One common problem students run into with time management is that they aren’t sufficiently realistic about how long certain tasks will take. This leads to forms of magical thinking whereby students convince themselves that they can do more with their study time than is actually possible.
It is important to find out how long certain routine learning tasks actually take (how long, for example, does it take you to read a page of a history book, or write a thousand-word position paper), and then base your study plan on realistic metrics regarding what you can accomplish with the time you have.
Time management isn’t just about allocating yourself enough time to complete a learning object, however. It’s also about using that time strategically.
Cramming is an excellent example of where this often goes wrong: if you have four hours to prepare for a major test, that time will be far better spent in half hour or forty-five minute blocks of studying time spread out across the week, rather than a single intensive session the day before the test.
While certain mnemonic techniques can help you remember key information more easily, scientists who study how memory works know that there are no real shortcuts for mastering complex material: you need regular exposure over time in order to lock major and minor details into your long-term memory.
Again, when you find your local tutor they may be able to help with time management simply by virtue of requiring you to do regular, weekly work, thereby keeping you on task and not giving you a chance to fall behind in your studies.
3. Willingness to Use the Resources at their Disposal
We are living in a time of unprecedented access to educational tools. Companies like Udemy, Duolingo, Masterclass and other online learning sites have all become massively popular by making learning software, games, and lectures widely available to the public. You can now receive high-level instruction in everything from German and literature to cooking and coding on your phone.
And the resources that are available are not only digital — even small Canadian cities now feature thriving innovation hubs that can help students of all ages connect to quality instruction and learning opportunities. And of course, tutoring services like Prep Academy Tutors can help students get hand’s-on help with English, French, math, science and other challenging subjects.
The most effective students don’t just set regular goals and manage their time well — they also look beyond the textbook to find resources that can help them learn more effectively.
Studying is, for many people, a deeply social act, and using the resources other people provide to make learning easier is an important way to make the information really stick. After all, a student who is regularly meeting with tutors and peers will have new material regularly reinforced, which plays an important role in locking it into the long-term memory.
If you want to find out how tutoring can help you meet your learning goals, contact us to learn more about our tutoring services or take a look at the tutoring opportunities we offer in your city or community.
Study habits are just that: habits that form an almost unconscious part of our everyday lives. The routine nature of habits is part of what makes them so effective. Once you have developed good study habits, it is easy to make learning a regular part of your life even when you aren’t preparing for final exams.
But developing good study habits is easier said than done, especially for busy high school or college students who have a lot of activities to schedule in every week. For this reason, building these studying routines into your life requires an intentional and strategic approach, one that avoids overly optimistic thinking and focuses on what is doable.
There are plenty of tools online that can help you create a study routine that works for you, but here are five easy steps that can get you started:
- Make a list of your learning goals for the month.
- Determine how long each of these goals will take to complete — and be realistic.
- Sit down with your calendar and map out what your week and month look like. What activities and events are locked in? Where do you have time to spare?
- Portion out your study time into twenty-five minute blocks, with five minute breaks between, and see how many blocks you have over the course of the week.
- Allocate the tasks you need to complete to these time blocks, being sure to spread out major tasks like exam prep over a few days.
Like many things in life, there are no shortcuts when it comes to studying. If you want to see positive results, you just need to put the hours in.
But this can also be a liberating thing to realize. After all, if acquiring a new skill, learning a new discipline, or mastering a new language is simply a matter of studying smart enough and long enough, then the only thing holding you back from achieving your goals is proper planning.
One of the most important benefits that comes with professional tutoring is the feeling that you are not alone. Intellectual work can be tiring and isolating, and working with a tutor is a great way to feel not only that you have the expert help you need to overcome the obstacles in your path, but also have the human support you need to stay motivated.
If you want to overcome your personal learning challenges in 2020, get in touch with Prep Academy Tutors today and find the tutor in your city who is right for you!
How Toronto Students Can Help Improve Their SSAT Scores
For students planning on applying to private schools in Canada or the United States, getting a good SSAT score is an absolutely essential component of the admissions process. The SSAT sets an international standard for admissions, and can be taken at the elementary, middle, or upper levels depending on the age of the child and the grade at which they intend to enter. Some of Canada’s most elite private elementary and secondary schools, including some of Toronto’s most venerable institutions, rely on this test when deciding which students to accept.
For this reason parents who want to enrol their children in one of these schools need to make sure their children are adequately prepared for the rigours of this exam. At Prep Academy Tutors we are often asked specifically how younger children and teens can improve their chances at a good SSAT score.
While there is no shortcut for mastering the basic material and skills that are tested in the three sections of the exam (quantitative, verbal, and reading comprehension), students who are unfamiliar with the format of the test are unlikely to achieve the kind of high score that is needed to get into one of Toronto’s top private schools.
For this reason, we have prepared a few tips specifically designed to help students from the Greater Toronto Area to receive high scores in all sections of the SSAT.
Start Practicing Early
There are several different test dates throughout the course of the year for the SSAT, but one of the most common mistakes that parents make is putting off preparation until the month before the exam. While some students may still be able to turn around a good score in that time, our SSAT prep tutors in Toronto have often found that this does not give students enough time to really learn the test.
If you want to ensure a successful result, you should start planning at least six months in advance, as this will help give your child time to adequately prepare before test day rolls around. Most children who take the test successfully also use an extended test preparation package of one kind or another that will the give them an opportunity to try practice tests and to become familiar with the way the test grades performance.
Study Practice Exams
Ask anyone who is familiar with the mechanics of the SSAT, and the first piece of advice they are likely to give a future test-taker is to invest in studying practice exams. It is possible to find information about how the test is scored (and helpful tips on what to look for in areas like reading comprehension) in handbooks to the exam, but nothing will be quite as effective as giving your child the opportunity to take a practice test.
Practice exams are available as part of study packages. While free practice tests may be available at the elementary level, middle and upper-level students will generally need to pay for practice test packages. For this reason, it is a good idea to be strategic about using practice exams, and to work students up to these materials, using tools like tutoring support to help students prepare.
Given the fact that the SSAT itself needs to be completed within three hours and five minutes, it is a good idea to use the practice exams to mirror the actual experience of taking the test as closely as possible. Time management is a major component of the SSAT, so make sure your child knows how to prioritize difficult questions and use their testing time wisely.
The Enrolment Management Association, which administers the SSAT, has also compiled a lot of information and advice to help parents and students alike know what to expect from the test. It is a good idea to explore some of the test-specific webinars they have put out providing advice on how to understand things like the middle and upper-level score reports.
Hire a Local Tutor to Help with SSAT Prep
Any child getting ready for the SSAT is going to need to spend a lot of time in preparation studying on their own and with parents and peers. But this independent study will be much more effective if it is augmented by direct SSAT instructional help from a tutor who understands the test and can help provide practical help in passing it.
This is because tutoring can help make independent study more efficient by targeting a student’s particular areas of weakness. Every student has their own particular strengths and weakness, and someone who finds the quantitative part of the exam that focuses on math skills easy may struggle with reading comprehension. Hiring a tutor who can enhance the strengths while shoring up weaknesses will help build your child’s confidence heading into the SSAT.
As a Toronto-based tutoring agency, we understand the importance of the SSAT for getting into prestigious institutions like Upper Canada College, and we have experience dealing with the challenges involved in preparing for the test. If you want to know more about our approach to tutoring and how we can help your child, click here for more information.
Getting into an elite private elementary or secondary school is often the first step toward a successful career in law, medicine, finance, or the arts, and if you want your child to get the kind of lifelong advantage that attends this kind of education, you first need to make sure they make the grade for entry.
The SSAT may be a demanding test, but it is not insurmountable. With enough preparation and the right help, any child can ace it. Get in touch with Prep Academy Tutors to find out more.
Why Academic Success is a Team Effort for Toronto Parents
When most people think about education, they think about schools. But the reality is that while primary, secondary, and tertiary schools are where the bulk of formal education happens, children learn just as much if not more outside the classroom — from their parents, their peers, recreational activities like sports and music, and even the books they read in their leisure time.
This extracurricular learning feeds into mainstream academic success, which means that if you want your child to succeed in school, you need to conceive of their education as a team effort that involves not only you and your child’s teacher, but also their coaches, other instructors, and tutors.
Understanding education as a team exercise is particularly important for Toronto parents concerned about how deep education cuts are going to effect their children’s opportunities in life.
One of the reasons parents get in touch with us at Prep Academy Tutors is simply to find out what kind of options exist to expand their child’s academic horizons and make it easier for them to chart a way forward at a time when public education is facing significant cuts across Ontario. All parents want their children to do well, but the unfortunate truth is that many schools lack the funds and resources to ensure that all children get the support they need for academic success.
The good news is that there are many ways that tutoring services in Toronto can serve to provide exactly the kind of extra help parents and primary and secondary educators in Toronto need in order to provide children with the best chance of success.
If you want to know how tutoring can play a role in the team effort that is your child’s education, here are three things to keep in mind.
Tutoring Builds on Your Child’s Current Curriculum
There is a common misconception that tutoring largely exists to respond to individual problems (overcoming math anxiety, for example). And while tutors can be highly effective at strategic interventions related to specific performance concerns, many families hire tutors to work alongside their children through their regular curriculum, checking in every week to provide the extra support kids often need to process the material they are learning day-to-day.
Tutoring that is specifically meant to complement your child’s curriculum is particularly useful in times when large class sizes make it difficult for them to get the kind of one-on-one attention most children need to master difficult concepts from their teacher.
Because many of the tutors we hire have extensive teaching experience themselves, they are uniquely positioned to help your children work through the provincial curriculum for whatever subject they are struggling in. If you need an accounting tutor in Toronto for example, we can connect you with a qualified teacher who, in addition to being accredited to teach math and physics, has also taught accounting within the private education system in Ontario and knows its requirements well.
Tutors Improve Overall Confidence
One of the central goals of any education program, formal or informal, should be to help people of all ages develop the confidence and skills needed to engage with the world and solve problems on their own.
There is a growing body of academic research linking self-confidence to performance and achievement, and one of the most important things that primary education in particular should impart is confidence in one’s basic abilities to overcome learning difficulties with sufficient work and effort.
This is an area of education that Ontario’s schools — and schools in some parts of Toronto in particular — are not always well positioned to deliver, due to constraints on resources and the time teachers can spend with each student. While extra-curricular activities play an essential role in building confidence for children of all ages, it is still important for parents and tutors to help channel that confidence into academic performance as well.
One of the ways you can ensure that your child builds the kind of confidence they will need in order to succeed in university and later the workplace (where they will have to function more independently) is by providing tutoring help specifically geared toward helping children learn the skills and tools they need for independent learning.
Tutoring Gives Your Child Room to Take Risks
It is a truth universally acknowledged that in order to learn, you must make mistakes. But making mistakes in front of a classroom of other kids can be incredibly embarrassing, and shy or sensitive children may opt to stay quiet rather than risk getting a question wrong.
While it is an understandable impulse, over the long term this can have deeply negative consequences. Learning that taking a chance is sometimes rewarded — and learning how to deal with failure when it isn’t — is a necessary parts of any modern education, and if kids are reluctant to take these chances in class, parents need to find other, safer, ways for them to take risks.
If you want to learn how tutors can play a role in providing your child with a safe learning environment where they can explore ideas and concepts without worrying about looking foolish in front of their peers, contact us today to learn more about our teaching philosophy. Our tutors can offer instruction in your home, which means that your children can face the challenges of learning in a familiar and supportive environment.
The tutors we work with understand that the role they are playing is not merely academic, but also about building up confidence and skills in the kids they are working with. Perhaps more importantly, they understand that they are part of an educational team that includes you, the teacher, and a whole number of other people who are all working together.
For parents who want to make sure that their children will still get the best education possible, regardless of what future cuts may be coming to Toronto’s public education system, adding a tutor to your child’s education team is essential.
4 Strategies to Prevent Summer Learning Loss
For many parents, summer learning loss is a frustrating thing to witness. After watching their child struggle to master vital skills like writing and algebra over the course of the school year, summer comes along and seems to wipe the memory clean.
Numerous studies on summer learning loss have been conducted, and scientists have consistently observed not only that students tend to dip in performance after the summer break, but that these dips may become even more dramatic as the students enter middle school.
This should be of concern for every parent. Even bright students are affected by this decline in comprehension, which not only makes it difficult for them to get back into the rhythm of the school year, but can also cause them to experience a loss of confidence.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things parents can do to counteract this process. From inspiring them to pursue an educational hobby and getting them involved in community literacy programs to hiring professional tutors for your kids this summer, there are strategies available that can help you minimize or even overcome the adverse effects of the dreaded summer slide altogether. Here are four of the most effective.
1. Help Them Cultivate a New Passion
One of the most wonderful things about having young children is getting to watch them explore the world around them. Summer is a perfect time for this kind of exploration, and if you want to help curb their learning loss in general, encouraging them to get involved in an educational hobby like playing a musical instrument or participating in a science club is a great way to make learning fun.
These hobbies can also bear a different kind of fruit in the long term: as we have noted before in this space, when it comes to tips to help your kids get into university lots of schools are looking for students who have demonstrated a wide range of different interests. What starts as a summer passion may develop into the kind of dedicated hobby that can help make them stand apart from the crowd when it comes time to apply for post-secondary education.
2. Get Them Involved in a Reading Program
Decline in comprehension and skill in disciplines like history, social sciences, and language arts are almost always a by-product of a decline in reading. According to one seminal study, young children can lose as much as two months of reading skills over the course of the summer, in most cases because they are simply not reading.
This means that by grade five, a child will have lost a year and a half of their cumulative progress due to learning loss over the summer. Obviously, this represents a huge waste of time and resources; but what can parents do to stop it from happening?
The single most important thing is just to get them reading. Whether they are reading adventure books or romance novels matters less than the fact that they are reading at all, as summer reading of any kind has been correlated with better academic performance year round.
For this reason, getting them involved in a summer reading program that will allow them to discover new books and encounter reading in a fun and recreational context is a worthwhile investment of time and energy.
3. Hire a Summer Tutor
Sitting inside and going over math problems is probably the last thing your child wants to spend their summer doing, but with certain crucial skills, the only way to maintain educational inertia is through regular exposure. This can pose a major challenge, especially for students at the high school level who may be studying mathematical or scientific concepts that you can’t help them with.
In cases like these, hiring a summer tutor can be a very worthwhile investment. Not only can a tutor help keep your child engaged in their course material, because tutoring is significantly less formal than classroom learning, it is also an opportunity to help your child overcome personal learning challenges in a safe environment.
This is especially effective when it comes to hard skills like math, which can pose significant barriers for many students. Having a tutor come to your home every week will provide enough structure and support that your child will not only retain what they have learned throughout the school year, but can also improve their knowledge in advance of the year to come.
If you want to explore the possibility of tutoring this summer, call us to learn more about how Prep Academy Tutors can help your child meet their learning goals.
4. Turn Your Holiday Into a Field Trip
Finally, be aware of the educational opportunities that summer organically affords. Whether you like spending your summer holidays at the cottage or you’re planning a major family trip abroad, building educational opportunities into your holiday is a great way to keep children intellectually engaged during the summer months.
For example, if you’re travelling to visit family in another city or another part of the country, you can use it as an opportunity to get them reading about the geography or history of the place you are visiting. If you are going to a large city or a region with a rich cultural history, you may also be able to find young adult novels or picture books that are set in the places you will be travelling to.
Not only does this help keep your children engaged in educational work, it also helps to build a link between what they are learning in school and the world around them. Alternatively, you can plan your holiday around an educational theme, or make sure your itinerary includes day-trips to sites of historical or scientific interest.
Summer learning loss will always pose a threat for children in the elementary and middle school years, but you don’t need to accept it as inevitable.
By encouraging your children to stay engaged in learning throughout the summer by exploring new hobbies, reading regularly, getting tutoring, and making family holidays an educational opportunity, you can ensure they will be ready for the challenges of a new school year when September rolls around.
What Is Shared Reading?
Literacy is a critical skill, one that all children need to master in order to advance in their education. So it is perhaps unsurprising that so much of the emphasis in primary education is on helping students acquire the tools they need in order to engage in life long literacy development.
One of the most common strategies for helping students successfully acquire reading and skills is the method known as “shared reading,” in which a teacher or tutor presents a text to students via a big book or a SMART Board and reads the text aloud while the students follow along. If you remember this method of instruction from your own primary school years, it is probably because this is one of the most tried and true ways for helping children build connections between spoken and written language.
In this article, we will outline some of the reasons why shared reading is a useful method for teaching literacy, and also discuss particular strategies that can make shared reading even more effective.
Shared Reading Provides an Integrated Approach to Literacy
Learning to read is a unique challenge. For most children, connecting spoken language to written language is not an intuitive thing, and strategies for literacy education need to help students connect the language they speak with a system of signs and symbols that they can learn to use.
One of the reasons why shared reading is so effective is because it integrates direct instruction with practical application. As the teacher leads students through the text, they are able to use a number of different contextual markers (pictures, narrative, the formatting of the page itself) to make sense of how the story they are being told connects to the written language.
Shared reading is also valuable as a way of introducing students to more complex material that is beyond their normal reading level. Students who struggle to read at all can, with the help of their teacher, work through storybooks and other age-appropriate texts that will push the boundaries of their understanding and help boost their confidence.
By using shared reading in a classroom setting, teachers can:
- Help students gain an understanding of phonics and phonemic principles.
- Introduce them to new words
- Demonstrate strategies for comprehension and decoding, such as guessing meaning from context
- Reinforce print concepts (like reading from left to right, and the continuity of text from page to page)
- Help normalize reading activities, and foster an enjoyment and appreciation of written texts
Shared reading is an ideal classroom activity, because it provides teachers with the opportunity to engage the entire class in an exercise that has a clear entertainment component. But shared reading can also be a very helpful practice for a student to engage in on a one-on-one basis at home, either by yourself or with the help of a tutor.
In fact, shared reading is an excellent tutoring tool because it helps model skill acquisition in a safe and non-threatening way. In terms of our education philosophy, what makes us different is that we believe a tutor shouldn’t simply be a private teacher. We believe instead that a tutor should be like a very smart friend who comes alongside your child to help them feel their way through the material at their own pace.
Two Strategies that Can Make Shared Reading Even More Effective
While shared reading, as a practice, has been around for a long time, pedagogy experts have invested a lot of time researching ways to make this educational technique as effective as possible, and to integrate it with other strategies for literacy acquisition (you can click here to learn more about the latest literacy research).
They have found that shared reading can be made even more effective when the following strategies are applied:
Spend Time Introducing the Text
Shared reading is all about taking a text that is beyond a child’s reading level and making it approachable. For this reason, teachers generally see better results when they take the time to introduce the text properly and engage children’s curiosity before the reading begins.
For example, before opening the book, ask students what they think the book will be about based on the cover, and ask them what they already know about the subject. This will prime students to engage intellectual with the content of the story, and helps make challenging new material more approachable.
Engage Students in the Reading Itself
Once the reading has begun, don’t simply continue through to the end. Pause periodically to ask students about what is happening in the story, and encourage them to make predications about what is going to happen next. When you encounter words the child doesn’t know, ask them to guess what they mean, or to sound them out.
This gives children an opportunity to actively participate in the process, and to apply their own reading skills to deciphering the text (click here to read more about literacy development and other practical reading strategies). Reading is a skill we never really stop developing, so helping children engage their problem-solving faculties in the context of shared reading will provide them with a durable foundation for future learning.
Learning how to read is one of the biggest challenges your child will be faced with in their first years of schooling, and if you want to help them develop the habits of a life long learning, meeting this challenge using scientifically proven methods like shared reading is essential.
If you want to know more about how you can use shared reading in the home to help your child acquire literacy skills, get in touch with Prep Academy Tutors today to find out how we can provide extra help today.
How to Improve Your Child’s Reading Comprehension
Knowing how to read, and knowing how to understand what you have read, are vital skills. According to a recent study, a shocking twenty-three percent of students who had a below basic reading level in third grade did not graduate high school by age 19. Students who were in the top tercile, on the other hand, not only did better in language arts, they also did better in science and math.
Clearly, a student’s reading comprehension is strongly correlated with academic success in general, which is why improving your child’s reading skills is essential for preparing them for long-term success not only in academics, but in every area of life. But what is reading comprehension, and how can students cultivate this skill?
Reading vs. Reading Comprehension: Understanding the Difference
By the time they are in middle school, most Canadian children are relatively fluent in reading and writing. Despite recent slippage, Canada still has a relatively high literacy rate when compared to the rest of the world, and it is rare for students to pass through the education system and not emerge with some basic ability to read and write.
But fluency is not the same as comprehension, and a person who can read a text may not necessarily be able to grasp much of what it communicates. Reading comprehension is the cluster of skills that allow a child to work their way through a text and understand both particular details and the bigger picture, and it is essential for doing everything from filling out a form at Service Ontario to composing a university admissions essay.
Reading comprehension is hard to quantify, but it is something that many students struggle with right up to university. And because reading is the bedrock skill on which just about every other aspect of education rests, comprehension is arguably the most important skill a child will acquire in their first decade of schooling.
So how do you help your children become more analytic readers? One of the first things you should do is keep your child reading this summer — the easiest way to help children develop reading comprehension skills, especially at the elementary level, is simply to get them to read as much as possible.
But if your children are already reading regularly, or if you have a hard time getting them to actually engage with what they are reading, there are things you can do help them sharpen their ability to grasp the full meaning of a text.
4 Strategies for Developing Reading Comprehension
Unlike fluency, reading comprehension isn’t simply about learning to translate the words into writing. That means that when it comes to improving reading comprehension, you need to use a variety of different approaches. Here are four strategies that are proven to be effective.
- Engage your children about what they are reading. As cognitive psychologists like Teun A. van Dijk and Walter Kintsch discovered in the 1970s, being able to succinctly restate the main points of a text or story is an essential component of comprehension. By encouraging children and teenagers to talk about what they are reading, you will activate the parts of their brain engaged in processing a text.
In particular, getting them to summarize a book or story they have read is a great way to sharpen the critical faculties on which comprehension relies.
- Incorporate a range of tools. All-too-often, reading comprehension practice is about little more than answering questions about a text. While questions can be a useful way into a story, and especially for more advanced readers may be an essential way to tease out nuance, for plenty of children, this text-heavy approach is not particularly helpful.
Using diagrams, story maps, and visual images can help students understand the story in a way that makes sense for them. Trying out a variety of different tools also helps children to understand that comprehension is not simply about finding the right answer, but about creating an integrated understanding of what is going on in a given text.
- Get tutoring help. Helping students develop their reading comprehension skills is hard to do without one-on-one feedback and support, and in today’s crowded classrooms this is in short supply. The brightest students in the class often lead the way with reading comprehension, and can make slower and more methodical children reticent to speak up if they are afraid that they will expose their ignorance by doing so.
Giving your child the opportunity to work through a text with the help of a tutor who knows how to implement effective pedagogical strategies while also being a friendly and non-judgmental presence can go a long way toward helping develop their understanding and their confidence. If you want to find a local tutor today and you live in the Greater Toronto Area, Prep Academy can connect you with tutors who can help your child develop their reading comprehension skills at home.
- Make reading social. You can’t make your child enjoy reading, but you can create the conditions in which a love of reading is more likely to bloom. If your children are still quite young, reading to them before bed is a great way to normalize reading and encourage them to view reading as a legitimate form of entertainment, and also gives you the opportunity to make it an interactive experience by asking comprehension questions. If you have older children, reading the same books as them will give you an opportunity to engage them in conversation about what they are reading and what they think about it.
While it is never too late to improve reading comprehension, establishing good reading habits and strong analytic skills early provides children with a huge advantage.
If you want to make sure your child’s comprehension abilities don’t flag over the summer, employ these four strategies to make sure they continue to build on their knowledge of reading, and get in touch with Prep Academy Tutors to learn more about how tutoring can help children who are struggling with a broad range of literacy problems.
Tutoring and the Study Cycle
How do we learn, and how can we use what we know about the brain to learn more effectively? For researchers in the psychology of learning, these questions are of paramount importance, and finding answers to them can help educators unlock their students’ potential and help them learn more efficiently.
One of the central insights this branch of psychology has yielded is that some study patterns and approaches are much more effective than others; simply working hard and spending a lot of time studying is often not enough to lock new information into the long-term memory. This is where the Study Cycle comes in.
A series of steps that have been shown to help students take in, process, and remember new information, the Study Cycle is often used by universities to help new students develop strong independent study habits; but it can also be an immensely helpful tool for children at the primary and secondary levels. Indeed, one of the benefits of hiring a private tutor is that tutors can help children build the good study habits that come with an understanding of the Study Cycle, equipping them to handle self-directed independent study on their own when they are no longer living at home.
The Study Cycle is most often portrayed as consisting of five discrete steps that, taken together, help students incorporate new knowledge into their understanding of the world. These steps can be carried out over the course of a single day, or over a longer period of time. But the key is to incorporate new information through active repetition and retrieval.
Before class begins, students should skim new material and take note of new concepts and major points that they will be encountering in the upcoming lesson. This will prime them for the new information they are about to be introduced to, and will help them understand the broad strokes of what they are about to learn.
It also helps them to formulate any questions they might have early on, and gives them an opportunity to test the limits of their own knowledge. Previewing material doesn’t need to take long, and can be done in the morning before class.
Attending classes is obviously a vital part of learning at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. If a student is skipping classes, it is going to be hard for them to keep up with new material and truancy almost inevitably leads to decreased performance and falling grades.
But it isn’t enough for students to simply show up to class. While the 21st century has seen no shortage of new teaching methods for the digital classroom the fundamentals remain the same: students will retain information best when they are actively involved. Taking notes is an essential dimension of learning.
As pedagogy experts Francoise Boch and Annie Piolat argue in their summary of the research into note taking and learning, taking notes is actually a sophisticated activity that helps students process new information as they are introduced to it, learn to recognize the essential points, and also gives them valuable writing practice. Attendance isn’t just about showing up — it’s about participating in the learning process.
Scientists who study memory have noted that in order to transfer a piece of information from short-term to long-term memory, repetition over time is important. After class is finished, it is a good idea to have students briefly review what they learned. Bringing it to mind again will help fill in gaps, and can help develop the pathways of retrieval that fosters real learning.
Every step of the Study Cycle serves an important purpose, but none is as misunderstood as the fourth step: studying. It’s common for parents to require their children to do a certain amount of homework every night, and while it is good to built study time into the day, it is equally important to make sure that study time is being used wisely.
Experts agree that short periods of intense studying are much more valuable than long cram sessions, so trying to fit in thirty minutes to an hour every day is far more effective than spending several hours the night before a test.
If you child needs extra help, hiring a tutor can help you get the most out of these study periods, as a tutor can help students build confidence in their ability to understand the material. If you are interested in finding out how a tutor might help your child succeed, check this out to learn more about our teaching philosophy and practices.
Learning isn’t just about memorizing new information: it is also about making it useful by incorporating it into your child or teen’s understanding of the world. The final step in the study cycle is checking to see whether the information has actually been incorporated, and learning by teaching is a great way to do this is. Having your child try to teach the material to someone else is a great way to test their own understanding.
If you find a tutor in your area who can work with your child on a one-to-one basis, they can help make this process a little more personal. Tutoring is most effective when the tutor plays the role of a peer, a smart friend who can come alongside the student and help them master the material, rather than another authority figure who is providing them with information.
The end goal of learning is to provide your child with information they can use in the real world, so providing them with a tutor who can help them practice checking new information is a great way to ensure that they understand the curriculum material.
Studying smart is just as important as studying hard, and the Study Cycle is scientifically proven to help students lock in new information as efficiently as possible. Tutors can play an important role in implementing the study cycle with your child, so if you are interested in learning more about our approach, get in touch with us today.