OAHU TUTOR SUMMER TUTORIALS
Summer is an excellent opportunity to improve your child's academic skills. Decisions about tutoring are made on an individual basis to allow for family vacations, summer camps, and sports activities. In some cases, tutorials are given just before the new school year to refresh skills. More intensive summer remedial math and reading work are often more effective than tutoring during the school year, as the student is free of other homework responsibilities. A unique offering is a kindergarten-age program allowing parents the joy of participating in and observing their child beginning to read.
Parents have options for their child’s best academic progress during the summer. Academic help can result in gains of a couple of grade levels in reading or math. The key is appropriate teaching to match the child's needs. There are three alternatives for professional academic work over the summer.
1. OAHU SUMMER SCHOOLS: Many summer fun programs offer daily math or reading classes. This is effective for a child needing review of skills. The classes have 10 to 25 students. The teacher does not have time to individualize needs. Teachers are often summer employees and are not expected to personally coordinate progress information with the child’s teacher in the fall. There is flexibility in the summer school programs because fun optional activities like tennis or art are often included in the summer school package.
2. OAHU LEARNING CENTERS: Parents wishing more free, flexible time often employ a learning center business. Lessons can be cancelled and made up at the parent’s convenience. This is a viable alternative for a review of skills for the next grade. Individual or small group options are available, sometimes reducing costs. Generally, pre-testing is done on a fee basis. Post-testing is sometimes not performed. Reports are generally check lists of skills introduced or mastered.
3. HONOLULU PRIVATE TUTORING: Parents seeing noticeable weak areas in reading, spelling, or math benefit from private tutorials. A professional private tutor is trained to identify and remediate "holes" in learning profiles. They individualize lessons with games or drills aimed to improve specific tasks. Time is not wasted. In small groups at summer schools or learning centers, a teacher can only go as fast as the slowest student. The time you pay for with a private tutor is time totally devoted and adjusted to your child's learning curve. Parents should seek a tutor willing to coordinate skill information with the school in the fall. Tutors are generally willing to perform this service. Parents should expect to pay a report fee if a written report is needed. Parents want the best summer fun and learning environment for their children. Each alternative for academic remediation, enrichment, or maintenance of skills is a viable option. Parents need to access the child's future needs to make an informed decision about summer academics.
Summer Tutorials Can Teach Different Learning Styles:
One of the pleasures of summer tutoring is the opportunity to experiment with new learning methods. Summer is perfect timing for a tutor to introduce and practice appropriate methods for identified needs. The following are suggestions to remediate specific weak areas or use for study skill enrichment.
TYPING methods for a dysgraphic student having difficulty with the mechanics of writing.
Intensively teach READING FLUENCY training for a child with slow reading speeds.
Experiment with computer-based VOICE-ACTIVATED written expression EQUIPMENT so the dyslexic can write without the constraint of correct spelling or punctuation. It's not unusual for a student to move from writing a few simple sentences to several descriptive paragraphs when they don't have to worry about the mechanics of spelling and punctuation. There is no better time than summer for a student to become proficient with new equipment and skills.
Introduce Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic recording on tape or from Learning Ally that have adjustable listening rates. Variable rates accommodate a dyslexic with slower auditory processing times. I use required assigned summer reading from the student's school because it adds motivation. After training with some assisted technology equipment, the student realizes that his assignments next year will be easier. They enter the new grade with more confidence. Notetaking methods when reading novels is easily introduced to help with long-term memory retrieval.
Learn specialized notetaking techniques for students with memory issues. I ask permission from the school counselor to use the science or history books for next year. Motivation is elevated when the student knows the books will become school reading assignments. They learn notetaking methods that will directly apply to classroom tests. The student is better equipped with a few chapters of notes that are useable and practical for their new study habits. I teach color-coding for mnemonic memory clues and test review methods. I introduce new notetaking styles using abbreviations, special spacing in notes, and study strategies that keys into longer retention of material. I also give textbook lectures demonstrating notetaking methods that work best for their learning style. The tutor shows unique and effective methods with the luxury of time during the summer break to practice and refine their skills.
Become proficient with VOCABULARY definition memorization. A standard requirement in many schools is to write vocabulary words on 3x5 cards with the definition on the back. This method is often counterproductive for students with poor visual and/or auditory memories. I contact the school counselor to get permission to use the vocabulary text for the next grade. If a child is dyslexic, they often need methods to better visualize variant word meanings. One effective technique is writing 5 or 6 vocabulary words in a vocabulary notebook. They space the words with plenty of room above and below the definitions, marking each section with a heavy marker so the sections look like mini flash cards. The dyslexic can better re-visualize where the word is in a notebook, memorizing meanings with excellent retention. Flash cards don't offer the opportunity of enhancing the visual memory to "see" a word and definition on the top, middle, or bottom of a page. Students learn abbreviations and phrasing so they are only visualizing the key words and can "think around" the key words to verbalize sentences.
The success of specialized methods is well-documented. For example, one 7th grader with memory issues went from over 3 hours of vocabulary study memorization to 45 minutes, learning all vocabulary lesson spellings and multiple definitions. The study time drastically reduced. The final unit grades, testing l00 words, rocketed to A's and B's. Parents were no longer overly involved in daily vocabulary drills at home to help the child try to pass the difficult tests. The student became independent, studying vocabulary using mnemonic clues, abbreviations, and visualization methods learned in tutoring. Summer tutoring can accomplish high goals in a shorter period of time. Learning new methods during the school year sometimes produces dips in grades because the work load is too overwhelming. Summer tutorials get the skills mastered before weekly tests begin in the fall.
Beginning-To-Read Fun: Kindergarten students. Nine game sessions, providing a solid phonetic foundation for reading. Students are loaned books and enjoy phonetic games to enhance reading skills. Parents observe effective games to play at home.
Math: Grades 1-5. Basic math skills are taught with game and strategies.
"Multiplication Madness": Students learn basic facts in six individual sessions. Games and special
visualization strategies are taught to master the facts without homework worksheets. Students learn to apply strategies to basic division facts.
Reading: Grade 1-High School. A full range of specialized services is offered.
Study Skills: Students are shown effective note taking and study methods using textbooks they will use when school begins.
Date, Location, and Availability: Tutorial times are from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 12 noon on Sundays. Appointments are at the tutor's office in Hawaii Kai, (island of Oahu, Hawaii). Summer appointments for June, July, and August are scheduled in advance to coordinate with the child's other summer activities. The tuition payment employs the tutor for specific days and times.
Testimonials for the Summer School Tutorials
"...Mrs. Hawkins is a quick study of character and capabilities. She demands and receives hard work. Her methods may seem somewhat unconventional at first but stick with them. They are, often times, games which are fun, fast moving, and TEACH. She keeps detailed progress notes. She is extremely organized. She maintains confidentiality. She provides excitement throughout the learning process."
"Gail Hawkins has a wide circle of professional contacts and she knows how to make the system work. Mrs. Hawkins noted some discrepancies in (name of student)’s abilities. In a most professional manner, she conferenced with us and shared his strengths, progress, and areas or weaknesses. She recommended outside testing and further tutoring closer to home. We had a long commute to get to her office in rush hour traffic. She recommended names of qualified people to help us. She is well respected by her colleagues. The tester shared with me, that in her opinion, she is one of the best tutors she has ever seen, and her results are outstanding.
She is extremely enthusiastic with (name of student). She has an excellent sense of humor. She utilizes positive feedback and rewards consistently throughout the work session. She provides excitement throughout the learning process.
Because of the travel time, we tried another tutor. It didn't work out. I called Gail at ll a.m. Saturday and left a message to explain what had happened and by 5:30 p.m. she was back to me with times available. Once she tutors a child it's as if they become her own. She loves her kids, and she thinks of a plan that will work for each and every one of them. She sees the best in these little minds and knows how to tap it and make it flourish. I hope you are fortunate enough to become a member of Gail's family because she will really take your child and do whatever it takes to help him." Parent of an eight-year old
"Our child comes back each spring for a diagnostic session and coordination with the school. Some years she does not recommend summer tutorials. Other years she provides summer services. Mrs. Hawkins has an ability to look ahead to future needs and provide successful methods that match his learning style. He's now going into a grade requiring more note taking and study skills. I got the texts for next year so he could practice note taking in a book he will be using. That's a great motivator for my child! She got permission from the school for him to take notes to hand in for homework this fall. It's not the format usually taught at the school._(name withheld) has never complained about coming to summer tutorials. He knows he's getting a head start and won't need tutoring once school begins." Parent of a 6th grader at a private school
"Our children attend private schools in Asia. We spend school holidays and summers in Hawaii. Mrs. Hawkins coordinates tutoring needs with the teachers and tutors at their Asian schools. She has identified learning issues requiring specialized methods. We have the luxury of being able to spend time in Hawaii while getting tutorial help for our children."
"...Thank you for helping our son. He has made so much progress this summer and his confidence has soared. Best of all, he didn't feel like he was doing "work" because he enjoyed your lessons. We just got his Stanford Achievement Test scores back from his teacher and he scored in the 85% range for reading and 80-something for math. I attribute his success to you...I overheard him telling a friend the other day that last year when he started with you, he could only read the first and the last letter of every word and he had to guess what was in the middle. He's so much happier in school." …mother of a private school child in Honolulu.
"Gail wasn't sure if she could fit my daughter into her already filled schedule. After meeting my daughter Gail realized how much help my daughter needed and graciously fit her in whenever she could. What 7-year old is willing to wake up to be at an appointment at 7 a.m.? ...she did it and did it happily. Within a couple of sessions Gail suggested I get my daughter tested for Dyslexia...I knew what I was dealing with and how I could best facilitate my daughters' "new learning style." To see my daughter's self-confidence and joy of learning return was the best feeling in the world." ...mother of a DOE child going into grade 2.