11 Qualities to Look for in a Great Online Tutor

11 Qualities to Look for in a Great Online Tutor

11 qualities of a great online tutor

With the world all connected online now, sometimes it is hard to find what you are looking for.  Especially when you don't really know what you are looking for.  When hiring an online tutor you will want to make sure that they have certain qualities.  I have narrowed them down to just 11 qualities to ensure you find the right tutor for the job.

A great tutor is: patient, self-confident, resourceful, persistent, professional, internet savvy, enthusiastic, results oriented, adaptable, and compassionate. Let’s take a look at each of these and how they play a part in molding a great online tutor so that you can find the very best one for your child.


This falls on a spectrum. Each student will command a certain level of patience.  For example,  patience gives a tutor the ability to return to a problem that a student hasn’t learned or yet mastered. Patience can be given from the tutor when he or she is having trouble being patient with the tutoring process. Sometimes students can become easily frustrated, and showing the student patience can give him or her a model to emulate.


A great online tutor needs to be able to sell themselves. They need to believe in their strengths and believe in their service.  If they don’t believe in themselves, then it will become extremely difficult for you to want to move forward with their services.


One of the beautiful things about teaching online is the access to a world of knowledge. Online tutors have unlimited resources that can aide in instruction: online dictionaries, photos, videos and graphs.  You want to hire an online tutor that takes advantage of these tools.

Accessing material on an as-needed basis affords the student some independent lesson control: if a student wants to delve deeper into a concept, typing a few key words will populate innumerable hours of information.

You will want a tutor that will encourage listening and speaking skills, especially in younger students, by engaging in casual conversation as media is loading.


You will want a tutor that will refuse to give up on your child, and tailor a method that works. Some kids are used to people giving up on them.  This has been a pattern in their lives and they have become quite accepting of it.  Some kids will test their tutor. Find a tutor that will not give up on them. Also, make sure the tutor has some form of assessment they use to determine the growth that has been made.  Your tutor should do an assessment every 3 months to determine growth and to re-evaluate how instruction is going based on your child's needs.


Professionalism is key, on and off the screen.  Make sure the tutor dresses the part of an education professional. Working from home is not necessarily a free pass to conduct tutoring sessions in pajamas. It is important that they carry themselves with a quality that you want your child to see (and possibly copy).

Professionalism necessitates starting and ending tutoring sessions on time. You want a tutor that respects this as you most likely have a very busy life and do not want it hindered because a tutor is unable to show up on time.

Optimized Online Presence

Make sure the tutor that you are looking to hire has an optimized online presence.  You should be able to do research on the tutor ahead of time to learn all about them.  Go to their Linked In page and website.  Type in their first and last name and analyze the information that is available on the internet about them.  If you are able to find a lot of information that is positive and you like what you see, then they may be a good fit for your child.  However, if there is very little information available, be wary because they could be hiding something.

Content Knowledge

Obviously you want to hire a teacher that has a lot of content knowledge in the area they specifically teach.  If a tutor says that they are a jack of all trades, then beware.  This usually means they haven't studied extensively in any of those areas and they only have a general knowledge base.  If you hire a specialist in the specific area that your child is struggling, then you will be much happier with the results they are able to produce during the tutoring session.

Results Oriented

Tutoring is a results-oriented practice.  You should be committing to tutoring services for an anticipated result (improved grades, increased confidence, performing at or ahead of grade level, increased motivation, et al). Your tutor should set up some goals to be reached with your feedback.

By the end of three months (or a tutoring package, for example), the tutor should be able to provide an assessment that describes student achievement, room for improvement, and whether the goal was met.

Personable Demeanor

Find an online tutor that is pleasant to work with. Personable people focus on the relationships with their students and make the students feel comfortable working through problems and making mistakes.

An excellent tutor encourages and guides the student to figure out the answer, especially to a question the student wonders aloud. Creating a personable relationship that a student wants to be a part of is critical in maintaining student interest and cooperation in a session even when he or she doesn’t feel like cooperating.


One of the biggest gifts you will want to look for  is the ability to adapt. If  your child all of a sudden needs help understanding an old concept or a new idea, then the tutor should be able to focus on that material using a variety of tools in their toolbox. Adaptability also affords the student to take responsibility for his or her learning; the student can begin the session by sharing what he or she doesn’t know, or would like to know more about.

With adaptability comes autonomy: the ability to determine what avenue will best explain a concept. Your child may be able to memorize anything if it’s put into a song, so the tutor might provide a video that sings the Preamble to the US Constitution. If your child is struggling with a meaning of a word and is a visual learner, the tutor may ask him or her to draw a picture of the definition of the word. If the student learns best by doing, the tutor may ask the student to use the word in a variety of role-play scenarios. Words can be added to a list of words to build long-term memory and increase word usage. (We will discuss the different learning styles and how to determine a student’s learning style in a separate post)


Compassionate listening is the tool that a great tutor  will utilize to determine what your child needs during instruction.  It is also a tool that can be used for empathy. Sometimes your child may have a rough day, may be distracted, or may feel sick. A compassionate tutor is able to identify when the student has an “off” day and adapts to the student’s needs, expresses patience throughout the lesson, and the skills discussed in this article to instruct the student effectively.

What are your thoughts?  Are there some qualities that you think should have made the list.  If so, I would love to hear what they are.  Or, maybe you really agree with one of these qualities.  If so, then which one do you connect with and why?  Type your response in the comments section below.

Dyslexic Tutoring Student from Canada Makes a Three Year Gain in Less than One Year

When I started tutoring online, I honestly had no idea that I would be able to make as much of an impact as I do.  I have to say that each day I wake I up I feel complete bliss knowing that I am able to service kids struggling with reading everyday all over the world.  I even am able to offer dyslexia tutoring for kids struggling with processing sounds.

One particular student that stands out this month is a child that has dyslexia from Canada.  When I first met this boy's dad he had informed me that his son specifically had struggled since Kindergarten and that his progress was slow and delayed.  He was diagnosed with ADHD in grade 2 and has been on medicine ever since.  He has had evaluations both at school and privately and was diagnosed with broad based learning disabilities.  They were using Barton Reading and Spelling with him at school and his parents did activities with him at home.  They had hired several local tutors and had limited success.

His dad mentioned that when his son reads he guesses a lot and that his decoding ability is very weak.  Since reading was so hard for his son, it was difficult to get him to read at home.

When I first assessed him, his reading level was actually at a kindergarten reading level and he was in sixth grade.  My heart went out to this family that they had honestly tried everything that they knew to try and struggled with finding anything that would result in success for their son.

After working with this young man for 10 months an hour an 1/2 a week he is now at a  third grade reading level.  He does still struggle with decoding and seems to do really well with memorizing words.  He is able to read more words immediately, but gets frustrated when asked to decode.  To listen to this young man read today compared to what he was reading like 10 months ago is amazing.  There are times when I think, wow, how in the world did he get that word.  He reads for meaning, he understands what he reads, but it still isn't his favorite activity.

About 2 months ago when I was doing an assessment I noticed that he was reading very choppy.  I really wanted to improve on his prosody and i decided to do a reading fluency intervention.  So we began reading song lyrics and then using youtube with the lyrics to speed up his reading.  It worked, just like it has with all of the other students that I have used this method with.  It also increased his engagement.  He began getting more excited about our time together and made remarkable growth in the last 2 months.

I am so blessed to be able to make a difference in kids lives whose parents have tried everything.  I get to be a solution to a very big problem that they are struggling with, which is helping their struggling reader increase his/her reading level.  This really is an exciting vocation.  If you are interested in learning more about how you can become an online tutor then you can go to www.tutorpreneurs.com/free-videos.  If you are interested in finding out more about getting tutoring services from me you can go to www.theskypingreadingtutor.com.  I still have a few slots open for this summer, but they are filling up fast.  If your child is struggling with reading, don't wait to get help.  The longer that you wait the tougher the struggle becomes.  This could be the year that you start your child ahead of the curve instead of behind.


How Online Reading Tutoring is Magical like Walt Disney World

How Online Reading Tutoring is Magical like Walt Disney World

Last week my family and I spent the entire week at Disney World. We spend 6 days in 4 different parks and had a magical time. So naturally, my mind is still on Disney as I sit here and reflect about my business as an online reading tutor and how it is like the magic that happens at Disney. I have found that Disney and my online reading tutoring business make everything convenient, provide friendly service, add excitement with the use of techonology, and both are just plain fun. Let's take a look at each of these areas and see why I feel that way.


Everything at Disney was just plain convenient. They provide transportation for you everywhere. You take the monorail in, they have buses, trams, boats, strollers, and motorized wheel chairs. These make moving around the parks very convenient. They also have the fast pass. The fast pass at Disney is unlike other fast passes at other parks. Everybody has the ability to use them so that you don't have to wait in long lines. You just go to the ride, decide if you want to wait or get a fast pass. If you get the fast pass, then you can do whatever you want and come back at the front of the line. We did this with Soaring in Epcot and skipped a 45 minute wait.

So you may be thinking, great Disney is convenient, but how in the world is online reading tutoring convenient. Well, for one, you don't need any transportation to get to your online reading tutoring session. You turn on your computer and begin your session. You don't even have to sit and wait by your computer. You can turn on Skype do something else and the Skyping Reading Tutor calls you when it is your turn at your designated and agreed upon time.

Getting tutoring from the Skyping Reading Tutor is very similar to the Fast Pass. When you go to other facilities, of which we will not name here, it can take at least 36 hours of tutoring to move your child up a full year. This is very costly in the end. For the same price as these other options your child can make a full years growth with just 8-12 hours of instruction. Even if, he/she has dyslexia. Now that is the Fast Pass.

Friendly Service

At Disney, everyone treats you like you are one of their family members. They treat you with respect, spoil you, and smile. As the Skyping Reading Tutor I put these same principles in place. Sometimes you have had a long day, you need to make dinner, and get your kid settled at the computer. No matter what kind of day I have had I know that it feels warm and welcoming when you are treated with respect on the other side of the computer and have a tutor that is eager to help your child with reading. The happier your child is to come to his/her reading tutoring session the better. So I always try to make it fun and make your child smile during the session.


What could be more fun than Disney? I am not really sure. What I was amazed at during this trip was that the imagineers even made waiting in line fun. They had interactive games that you could play and games where you had to work as a team with the other people in line. Even though I was exhausted. I found myself jumping up and down, leaning left and right, and waving my arms to help my team win while waiting in line at Soaring in Epcot. (There were no more fast passes available the first day we were there, so we decided to wait in that line). Waiting in line had never been so much fun. Even though I didn't want to wait in line, while I was there I was engaged and having a great time.

I like to think that is what it is like to recieve online reading tutoring. No kid wants to have to have tutoring, but while they are there I want to make sure that they have as much fun as possible. The Skyping Reading Tutor gives kids choices of what they get to read while they are working together and utilizes top notch technology just as Disney does. What could be more fun than choices, cool technology, and the ability to speed through reading levels like a video game? Probably Disney, but I like to think that the Skyping Reading Tutor comes next.

There you have it. Both Disney and the Skyping Reading Tutor are convenient, provide friendly service, and are fun. If you don't believe me, then what others have to say from their own experience. You can find testimonials at the bottom of my about page.

P.S. on a personal note, our favorite place was Epcot. What is your favorite Disney park?



How the Skyping Reading Tutor is as Good as or Better than the Mail Delivery System

How the Skyping Reading Tutor is as Good as or Better than the Mail Delivery System

A song came to my head today as I thought about what I do and it is by George Strait called Overnight Male.


A little girl today who lives in Texas came to her reading session today even the power in her house and her neighborhood went out.  I often have stories like this when there are rainstorms or snowstorms which would normally render us cancelling sessions, but in my profession and with my delivery, we don’t have to cancel anything.


So I dedicate this new song to all of my students and my promise to each of them.reading Tutoring


Let me be your reading tutor and I'll always come through.
There's no denyin’, come rain or shine,
I'll deliver my lessons to you.
I do things by the letter, you can put your trust on me
'Cause there ain't nobody better than Joanne Kaminski

Like a pony express in the wild, wild west
I'll Skype with you all night long.
And I can raise your reading level, get you there ahead of the class
Long before the dawn.
You know your reading tutor will be there for you
Come snow, rain, sleet or hail
'Cause I'm a top flight, hold-you-tight,
Get-you-there-by-daylight, do-you-right skyping reading tutor.

I know your reading fluency is fragile, so I'll handle it with care.
There ain't no doubt, I know practice is the route,
So kiddo let me take you there.
I'll bring you books at your level, but I know just what you need.
Just give me 8-12 hours satisfaction guarantee.

Like a pony express in the wild, wild west
I'll Skype with you all night long.
And I can raise your reading level, get you there ahead of the class
Long before the dawn.
You know your reading tutor will be there for you
Come snow, rain, sleet or hail
'Cause I'm a top flight, hold-you-tight,
Get-you-there-by-daylight, do-you-right skyping reading tutor

Yeah I'm a top flight, hold you tight,
Get you there by daylight, do you right skyping reading tutor.

Renee Love’s Story of Dyslexia and an Effective Dyslexic Intervention Program

Renee Love’s Story of Dyslexia and an Effective Dyslexic Intervention Program


October is National Dyslexia Awareness month, so there will be several posts this month dedicated to understanding this learning disability. Today I have interviewed a client that is an adult that has suffered from Dyslexia and what her experience was a result. Her name is Renee Love and she enlisted my services about a year ago to help increase her reading level.

Skyping Reading Tutor: What was your first experience you remember with reading?

Renee: My grandmother reading Rumplestiltsken. I remember being fascinated with the idea of spinning gold.

Skyping Reading Tutor: Were you read to a lot as a child?

Renee: Yes, I Remember being read to fairly regularly by lots of different people.

Skyping Reading Tutor: When was the first time you knew something was different?

Renee: I was reading with my grandmother and it seemed like I was understanding everything. I remember her asking me to continue reading a sentence over and over again. I didn't understand why she kept having me reread it. I thought that I was reading it correctly. She kept telling me that I was reading was as saw. I kept thinking, why would I do that.

Skyping Reading Tutor: How did your experiences effect you?

Renee: When It was explained to me that I was dyslexic I was relieved that there was a reason. At the same time a lot of people assumed I had more limitations than I actually did.

Skyping Reading Tutor: How did dyslexia affect your overall school experiences?

Renee: It really made school miserable. I was constantly teased and felt singled out a lot because they would put me in special reading classes. It didn't seem that people really understood what the problem was and what my limitations actually were.

Skyping Reading Tutor: You graduated from high school and got a masters. How were you able to accomplish that?

Renee: Belief that I was intelligent enough and a lot of late nights. Some very cooperative and helpful teachers also guided me through my studies.

Skyping Reading Tutor: What was your experience online like with the Skyping reading tutor?

Renee: Amazing, enlightening, and extremely helpful. She found what I needed to improve on and helped give me the confidence to discover things that I didn't know I could do.

Skyping Reading Tutor: What would you like to say to kids who are struggling with this today?

Renee: You are not alone and don't get discouraged there is still lots you can do.

Skyping Reading Tutor: What is some advice that you have for parents that are going through this with their child?

Renee's mom: Patience and continue to have a positive attitude and praise. Still read to them.

Renee: My mom made herself available consistently to get through material. Recognize that it is not your child's fault. It needs to be dealt with in the best manner possible.

Today Renee has focused on what her talents are and shares them with the world. The picture that you see above is a water color painting she did of my children. You can check out her work at http://reneelovepaints.weebly.com/. She is also going to be illustrating the cover of my new book 31 Days to a Become a Better Reader. Just because Renee has dyslexia does not mean that she is not a very accomplished woman. She has a bubbly personality and has a unique talent to capture people's essence through her painting.

Student in Australia Responds to Students in San Antonio, Texas

Student in Australia Responds to Students in San Antonio, Texas

Ask and you shall receive.  That is what happened to me when I asked my student in Australia some questions that students had asked her in San Antonio, Texas.

The students in Texas wanted to know what it was like at Christmas time in Australia.  I didn't get too much of a response about this, except that it is hot.  It is very, very, very hot.  It is so hot that they go swimming on Christmas day.

Who wants the inside scoop on Santa?  Well, they don't have chimneys in Ayr, Queensland so santa goes through the front door or through the window.  Santa figures out a way to do his job despite all of the hurdles he has to go through.

Another thing that the students wanted to know about was what kinds of books she likes to read.  On the video below they show us some of their favorite titles.  I noticed that they had The Very Hungary Caterpillar by Eric Carle, which is one of my favorites.  I recognized the Scholastic symbol on the books that they had, so some of the titles were familiar ones and some weren't.  One of the books that they had raved about was The Wonky Donkey.  It was originally a song that was turned into a favorite book.  You can click on the title to hear the fun song.  This is not well known to us in the U.S., but it is definitely on the favorites list of the family that I work with.  I was in 7th heaven being introduced to books that I had never heard of before.

To see some of the other amazing books that are on my Australian families best loved list, check out the video that I created for my friends in San Antonio, Texas.

Reading Acceleration Star Student

Reading Acceleration Star Student

Each month I will be featuring a star student that has made exceptional progress on his or her reading level.  This is Julia and she has definitely made some amazing progress in her reading ability.

Back in October of 2010 Julia's mom gave me a call because her daughter seemed to not be reading as fast as the other kids in her grade level.  She had mentioned that she had received Reading Recovery instruction in 1st grade, but for whatever reason it didn't help her get to grade level.  She had mentioned that the teachers thought she was reading at a Kindergarten level in 2nd grade.

As any parent would feel, this is devastating news.  No one wants to hear that their child is performing significantly below grade level.  Julia's mom found one of my advertisements and gave me a call.

After the call, we set up a time for a free assessment.  I found that Julia was a very confident little girl who enjoyed reading.  Her mom had mentioned that she was usually reluctant to read and was afraid of failing.  Essentially her morale and self-confidence were at stake.  (Which is the case for most students that are struggling with reading).

Julia had a burning desire to read the books that her peers were reading.  She set a wishing goal of being able to read Frog and Toad Books and Junie B. Jones books.  At the time I felt that the Frog and Toad goal could be met by November and that she could meet the Junie B. Jones goal by January.  Some people may have seen this as very tough goals to reach since Julia was only reading with me for one hour a week, but what I do is more than just reading tutoring.  I provide reading accerlation.

You may be asking what the difference is between reading tutoring and reading acceleration.  Reading tutoring can be provided by anyone who has more knowledge in reading.  It could be an older student, a college kid, even a past teacher.  All of these people may be qualified to provide reading tutoring.  This is really helpful if a student is only a few months behind grade level.  However, when a child is 1 or more grade levels behind their peers, then they need reading acceleration.  This is something that is going to help a child move very quickly in a short amount of time.  This entails deliberate teaching with a great foundational knowledge of the reading process.  Reading acceleration can be performed by someone who has knowledge of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary development.  Also, reading acceleration needs to be performed by someone who can build a report with kids quickly.  If a child likes you and trusts you, then he/she will work very hard for you and make significant gains.

So, back to Julia.  Julia met each of her goals.  She was reading Frog and Toad books by November and has just finished her 2nd Junie B. Jones book right on schedule.  She was able to start the first one in January just as planned.

When I started working with Julia she was a very confident little girl.  She has now built on that confidence and her teachers have informed her mom that she is reading on grade level.  Julia was a student that needed acceleration vs. tutoring and she got just that.  She always has a smile on her face and is willing to read whatever is put in front of her.  She is going to continue reading with me over the summer to ensure that she is not effected by summer slide.  When she is in 3rd grade she will be able to read whatever her peers are reading and take the WKCE in November without a problem.  I foresee that this little girl that was pronounced to be reading 2 grade levels below her peers will be proficient on this test.  All of the students that I have worked with have fallen into the proficient range regardless of where they started when I began working with them.

I am so proud of Julia and the amazing progress that has made and will continue to make.  It is because of smiling faces like hers that I continue to do what I love to do best.  Teach kids how to read.

Snowy Day and Kids Still Learn to Read

Snowy Day and Kids Still Learn to Read

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Today in Southeastern WI we are in the middle of a snowstorm.  Now snowstorms are usually something that keeps kids indoors and safe.  Many kids will miss out of school and have to make up the school time later on.  When it comes to tutoring, there is no way someone is going to travel in a blizzard so that their child can get better at reading.

Well, all of my students were safe today and had a tutoring session with each of them.  How can that be?  Well as many of you know I do all of my tutoring online using Skype.  Skype allows me to see the students and for the students to see me.  Skype allows my students and I to share a screen and read with one another.  We can work on individual words that kids are struggling with, read books, talk about books, and increase their fluency skills all from the comfort of our homes.

This is a difficult concept for many people to grasp since the technology to do this is very new.  But, the important thing is does it work?  Many people worry about that one on one time not being meaningful or they see the computer as a cold way to work with children.  Do children view it this way?  I think not.  In fact, I am normally able to raise a student's reading level in the first 3 months a full year.  That is with only 12 hours of instruction.  (Sylvan claims that they can raise reading levels a whole year with 32 hours of instruction).  On the computer, I have been able to raise reading levels a whole year with just 8-12 hours of instruction.  Kids find this kind of learning motivating and any way that is motivating and works is something that we need to continue to do.

Tutoring online is also a much more affordable way for parents to support their children in reading.  With the rise in gas prices, parents no longer need to travel back and forth to a tutoring center.  Also, some tutors offer specials like free evaluations and progress reports that Sylvan will charge heavily for.  If you are serious about getting help for your child in the area of reading, then check out tutoring companies that offer this kind of service.  My company is called Bright IDEA Reading and you can find out more information at www.theskypingreadingtutor.com.  Enjoy the weather wherever you are and stay safe!


Assignment: Find a Word without a Vowel

My assignment to the world is to find a word without a vowel. Can it be done? Listen to the aha's that this brilliant child had while engaged in a discussion about the vowels.