Why do you call yourself a coach, not a tutor?

For me, coaching implies that I walk along with your teen as they learn, watching how they read and write and making suggestions for new strategies to try that will improve their skills. I want them to take an active approach to their own learning, much like an athlete does, instead of sitting passively while I tutor them.

How do you deal with reading issues?

My first step is to find out why a youth isn’t understanding what they read. I ask them to read aloud to me, and analyze what words trip them up and why. Are they lacking phonics skills? Are they saying words that look similar to the word on the page, but aren’t exactly right? Are they inserting words that aren’t there, missing words that are, saying words that don’t make sense? All of this information tells me how to go about helping them to make more sense of what they’re reading.

They could be having other problems with reading as well- not reading actively, rushing through a selection just to get it finished, or feeling bored with an assigned reading. Because I individualize my approach to a youth’s reading, I teach them the strategies they need to improve once I’ve determined their reading patterns.

How do you deal with writing issues?

Because I’m a published freelance writer, I teach writing quite a bit differently than it is often taught in schools. It mystifies me to hear teachers talk about “the” writing process, when there are many writing processes, depending on what is being written and how a writer thinks. First and foremost, I want students to have something to say, on a topic they care about. I teach organizational methods using published models so students can see the different ways ideas can be arranged. We talk about replacing general words with specific ones; developing a writing style; and how attention to spelling, sentence structure, and grammar helps a reader understand a written piece and not be distracted by errors.

How do you incorporate the arts into reading and writing instruction?

Some students relate better to art, music, drama or photography than to reading and writing. I ask if this is an approach they’d like to try to enhance their reading comprehension or writing skill. For example, a student might draw a response to a reading selection, then use the drawing to create details for a piece of writing. They might want to use drama to understand a character in a piece of literature. They may take photographs to illustrate the meaning of a poem.

How long do you usually work with a student?

The answer to this question is individual to each student. Some only need help with a specific unit ( Shakespeare and poetry spring to mind); others need support for a longer time. My goal is to eventually work myself out of a job, handing the reins over to the student once they’ve learned the strategies they need to be successful.

What do you charge per hour?

My rate is $60 per hour for a one hour session. Some parents opt for a ninety minute session.

If I need to prepare materials for a session, the rate is an additional $60/hour.

Do you tutor face to face or online?

Most students are now comfortable with, and actually prefer, an online experience because it is less time consuming and fits better with their schedule. I know how to make the session into a conversation, which most students enjoy.

I can meet your teen face to face in Edmonton and area, if that fits their needs. There is no mileage charge if we meet 2 kilometers or less from my residence. If more than 2 kilometers, I charge .75 per kilometer.

Why choose you instead of a well-known tutoring company like Oxford or Kumon?

First of all, most tutors who work for large commercial tutoring services have far less educational background and experience with addressing reading and writing issues than I do. Some are not even qualified teachers. Also, tutors in these large companies often stick to an ” in the box” approach, or a standardized program. They may deal with students in groups, not as individuals.

Your teen is the only person I focus on during the hour I spend with them. I completely devote my attention to their current needs, and prepare materials that match what is happening in their classroom and how they learn.

There are university students who offer tutoring for far less money than you’re charging. Why wouldn’t I save money by hiring one of them?

Of course, you could go that route. But, generally with tutoring, you get what you pay for. A university student won’t bring the education and experience that I do to the challenges your teen is having. They may be untrained in teaching, and may rely on methods that have worked for them but won’t for your teen.