A Guide for Finding a Tutor

Get the basics on the benefits, challenges and costs of different kinds of tutoring services: private, tutoring centers, online tutors, and free Title I supplemental services.


Includes friends, neighbors, peers, classroom teachers.


  • One-on-one attention
  • Strong personal relationship
  • Better understanding of child's needs
  • Can be very affordable, even free


  • Quality can vary
  • Finding a good match takes time
  • If tutor is sick, child misses a session


  • Ranges from $0 for peer tutors and neighborhood centers to $75/hour for highly skilled chemistry and math tutors. Expect to pay $20-$70/ hour


  • Ask your child's teacher for suggestions
  • Ask friends and co-workers for referrals
  • Always interview tutors to make sure they fit your child's personality and need

Tutoring Centers

Includes national names like Sylvan Learning centers, Kumon Math and Reading Centers, Huntington Learning Centers; look for local centers also.


  • Use objective tests to pinpoint child's strengths and weaknesses
  • More than one tutor available if your child's tutor is sick
  • Usually hire highly trained and certified teachers


  • Tutors work with groups of 3-5 students
  • Family can't choose a specific tutor
  • Cost is high


  • Up to $150/week, with payments expected weekly or monthly
  • Most accept credit cards
  • Some offer financing or scholarship programs


  • Ask if the center will communicate with the child's teacher
  • Make sure the center's philosophy matches yours

Online Tutors

Includes homework help sites, one-to-one tutoring, and step-by-step software.


  • Can be fit into your schedule without leaving home
  • Can make learning more fun
  • Appeals to kids with interest in technology


  • Little or no mentoring relationship formed
  • No personal assessment of student needs or progress
  • No contact with classroom teacher


  • Free for homework help sites, such as
  • Subscription services run about $100/month
  • $20-$50 per session for human tutors


  • Make sure to get as much information as possible from the online tutor
  • Monitor your child's work to see if he's learning or just having fun

No Child Left Behind

Free Title I Supplemental Services


  • Free to qualifying families
  • Highly qualified tutors
  • Will work closely with classroom teachers


  • Child's school must be identified as needing improvement
  • If supply or funding is limited, only the most needy students qualify
  • Limited to services approved by the state


  • Free to families in Title I schools that fail to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for three or more years


  • Ask your school's principal or Title I coordinator if you qualify
  • Or contact the U.S. Dept. of Education at 888-814-NCLB;

Under copyright by Partnership For Learning, a national award-winning nonprofit at Reprinted with permission.


For any reprint requests, please contact the author or publisher listed.


I am a credentialed special ed. teacher and I work for the company, Professional Tutors of America. We provide one-to-one, at home tutoring (as well as other types).All of the tutors have an academic degree. We have been having GREAT success with regular AND special needs students.It's by far the most effective teaching I've done because I can focus on one student intensively and teach to their learning style. I love it! Parents remark that we've been able to make progress with their kids that no one else has ever been able to make! It's true. Especially for our struggling readers, it is so exciting to see them finally be able to make some progress. We offer SES services to most school districts around the country, so the government pays for it.Otherwise our prices are competitive.One-to-one home tutoring truly is my favorite way to teach in my 20 year career. The kids make progress. There's no better way.

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