The demands of education can be difficult for any child. At a young age, they are propelled into environments where they have to acquire complex skills requiring a mental capacity they have scarcely exercised. Reading is one of those subjects that is often very frustrating for young children to master. In fact, only 35% of 4th graders and 34% of 8th graders were considered proficient in reading skills in 2019, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). With the amount components that come with learning reading, it is no wonder that so many children are struggling. They have to learn word pronunciation and phonics, understand word definitions and the use of context clues, comprehend texts and their meanings as a whole, and so forth. This multi-faceted skill has always been taught in the general classroom, but deeply benefits many students when taught in thorough, firsthand circumstances.
One approach that has always proved to support increased reading skills is tutoring. The metacognitive skills that are required to improve reading capabilities often need support that can only be provided outside of the general, routine classroom experience. Even government measures implemented in public education settings to improve reading capacity have not garnered significant success. The reason that tutoring has always been one of the most effective educational tools is that it allows for students to receive individualized instruction. This means they are given the chance to receive direct feedback on mental obstacles they encounter throughout particular subjects. Instead of immediately tuning out of their academic environments as soon as they cannot comprehend teaching—as is typical in larger classroom settings—they can tackle their personal roadblocks with firsthand help from an educator. Multiple studies reveal that even tutoring supplicated by individuals not fully trained to be teachers (i.e., volunteer college students studying education) still generates significant improvement in the reading capabilities of young students. This shows how effective one-to-one instruction can be, and what happens when students have their individual struggles addressed in ways that are not as feasible in the classroom.
Higher test scores and skill levels aren’t the only outcomes of tutoring. It is also common for students to acquire a greater appreciation for respective subjects once they realize they are fully capable of conquering them and their challenges. One participant from a study investigating the effectiveness of tutoring shares a testimony of his pupil expressing excitement to read by the end of the study, whereas beforehand he saw it as a chore he had no choice but to endure. When students gain these types of experiences, they, in turn, acquire the confidence to seize their learning and begin to approach their education with a greater sense of independence. Additionally, tutoring allows for educating individuals to gain a deeper understanding of what type of mental roadblocks students might be facing within reading, or other subjects, and cater to needs in the larger setting that they were previously unaware of.
In general, one-to-one tutoring is a recurring recommendation for struggling readers, as the individualized process children receive repeatedly improves a child’s capacity in individual literacy components, and thus reading as a whole. When students are able to conquer all of literacy’s facets—phonetics, contextual understanding, text analysis, and so forth—they are able to acquire a fluency in reading they can be proud of. Hopefully, the implementation of tutoring services and programs can become more widespread so that children are given the chance to overcome individual challenges and see their education as something worth conquering—not just a journey they have to survive for multiple years.