Identifying Legitimate Reading and Learning Help – Four Quick Tips

It’s the final term of 2021, and parents are naturally taking stock of the academic year that was. All eyes are on the final exams and consequent report cards, and parents are hoping for the best. Edublox specialised reading, maths and learning services share four important tips on finding reading and learning support for a child to help parents get ahead of the 2022 school year.

According to Schanece Van Deventer, manager at Edublox Krugersdorp, the pandemic caused academic disruption for most children. “We have definitely witnessed an increased awareness from parents that their children might need additional academic support, even though many schools have navigated their way through the last two school years very carefully. There are, however, many potential solutions available out there. Parents might feel overwhelmed with the options (and costs!) of academic intervention, especially when learners are struggling with pre-existing reading and learning difficulties.”

Here are four tips to help parents make an informed choice around a solid provider that can facilitate positive long-term results:

Choose an established business, programme, or tutor

Because of the difficult economic situation caused by Covid, Edublox franchisees have noted many informal homeschool tutoring centres popping up, with out-of-work individuals offering tutoring services at cheaper rates than established reading programmes or centres. Although this is not necessarily a bad thing and provides work and purpose to many, it might not yield the longevity required to tackle a reading or learning problem effectively. Established businesses and research-based programmes may be worth the investment since they can provide a consistent learning environment in the longer term.

Assessment tools can help zoom in on the problem

A trustworthy provider will have some kind of assessment tool available to help pinpoint difficulties a child may have before recommending an intervention – and will be happy to refer a parent when a more formal diagnosis is necessary. Susan du Plessis, Head of Educational Programmes at Edublox, adds that feedback should be discussed with a parent in detail. “It’s important to note that ‘extra classes’ in isolation won’t necessarily help a child improve academically or help them study more effectively. A specialised programme to address the child’s specific deficits is often required, which is why we use an internal assessment to determine a child’s cognitive and academic strengths and weaknesses. This gives us a picture of how many hours of training are required. Parents need to know what they are signing up for before they commit to an intervention.”

Progress should be measurable

When an intervention method is working, there should be measurable, tangible results. Ideally, there should be an improvement in school performance, backed by a child’s report card over time, but it can also be an improvement in the child’s self-esteem in general. Be wary of any tutors or establishments that promise quick fixes. Addressing underlying deficits causing reading problems takes a lot of dedication, repetition, and time.

Are testimonials available?

A provider or tutor should have some forum for documented success stories or testimonials from other parents. It’s great if you were referred to by someone you know, but be careful if there is no history of success or positive word of mouth around a person or provider. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your Whatsapp contacts or Facebook groups for recommendations. There’s no shame in a child needing additional academic support, and you will probably be surprised to see how many parents have travelled the same road with their children.

Schanece concludes: “Start investigating interventions for your child before the end of the school year. You don’t have to wait for a demoralising report card. If you visit locations, do assessments and sign up with a provider, you can rest assured this holiday season knowing that you are ahead of schedule in terms of the back-to-school chaos, and your child has time to wrap their head around it. Whatever your choice, know that there are specialists available that are cheering you on in your quest!”

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