Become a reading tutor
Are you looking to take on a new career and become a reading tutor?
In my experience since starting Clara James Tutoring in 2012, these are six main considerations you will need to take.
Be clear in what you tutor
If you market yourself as a reading tutor, it is inevitable that people will ask if you can support other aspects of English as well. These might include comprehension, spellings, and grammar.
What will your answer to this be? Is reading just a small element of what you can support? Do you want to offer niche, specialised lessons to a smaller group of people, potentially for a higher financial return?
Consider who you provide the support to.
Are these children who need help for a specific reason such as a learning difficulty
Take time before you start your marketing to think about who it is you would like to support. Are they children who are new to reading or are they adults who struggle to read because of a learning difficulty?
Although I am a great advocate for treating every person as an individual and creating the lesson accordingly, resources can often just be tweaked if you are working with a similar age group and or difficulty. The resources/ books you use with a young child could be quite different to those you use with a teenager or an adult.
Offer the parents techniques that they can use themselves to support their child – be a guide as well as an authority
This is a story I often tell, and I apologise if you have heard it before.
When I set about franchising Clara James, I looked at what other tutoring businesses where offering. One person asked if I wanted to go with him to meet a family. Their son had been suspended from school. They needed support for him until he was allowed back into the educational system.
When we arrived, it was clear the person I was there with was employed to get the family to commit to lessons and sign the contract. He had little if any educational knowledge and in my (maybe cynical) mind it made him seem less trustworthy. More like a stereotypical used car salesman.
If he had some basic knowledge that he could pass on to the parents of suggestions they could use themselves, he would have appeared knowledgeable and in turn trustworthy. He could have spoken about the techniques that some tutors use. How they have proven efficient and enjoyable in the past.
This way he could have acted as a guide and come across as a person of authority as well as knowledge which would have completely transformed the mindset of the meeting and probably created a more successful outcome.
Consider where you can promote your business and how
Once you know who you want to support in your lessons, you can consider where to focus your marketing.
If you are looking to support primary school children, publications like “The Primary Times” might be worth investigating. Additionally, local social media “mum’s groups”. However, if you are looking to support adults, you may want to consider approaching businesses, or local colleges. If you are wanting to support reading to adults your adverts will probably need to be image or video based. Lengthy text may be inappropriate to those you are trying to get your message out to.
Think about who your market is, then think about the best form of media to attract them. There is a commonly used term in marketing of: market, message, media. Who is your idea market, what message do you want to get across to them and what media (marketing) will you use?
Do you have any specific qualifications or experience in supporting reading?
When people get in touch, especially if they have found you through a piece of marketing you have done, rather than a referral, they will often ask about your background. I always talk about how I’ve had a varied background in education, my degree, working with children in a residential school for those with low functioning autism, in early years and as a SENCo in a playgroup. I’ve worked as an NVQ assessor. I always thought Clara was dyslexic, so I learned as much as I could to support her. Talking about my role as a mum to 3 children who are now all in their twenties.
I talk openly about my views on learning. How I believe we are all individuals and the education we provide needs to reflect this.
There will always be people with more experience than me. This is what I can offer and this is my background. These are what have moulded me into the person I am today. The way I do things the way I do. By being open about the courses I have done, my degree and my background, they can decide whether our attitudes compliment each other. Whether I am what they are looking for or if they would be better searching else where for the support that they need.
Do you follow a specific technique?
Many people have completed training that leads them to offer a certain form of approach to training such as the Wilson approach which is immensely popular in America. It maybe like us at Clara James that you have taken what you have learned over the years and adapted it to create your own methods and resources.
Maybe you prefer to sit with a child and offer guided reading like a parent who goes into a school.
No matter what you offer be honest, because by claiming something else you will make your life difficult when you try to carry it out.
What you offer, maybe exactly what someone is looking for, and if it’s not, don’t worry because when you consider how many people there are in this world, the ideal student for you is out there somewhere. It is a case of creating the marketing with the correct message to find them.
Good luck in your journey to becoming a reading tutor.
If you want to find out more about how we can support you in building a successful tutoring business click here