$7000 For Tutoring at Sylvan to Teach My 10 Year Old How to Read???

Updated on December 21, 2014
L.H. asks from Universal City, TX
18 answers

Does anyone else besides me, think that's exessive??

My daughter has always struggled with reading and never truely learned the basics of reading. Not sure why or how she slipped through the cracks, as she's been in CDC's since she was two, attended Headstart (preschool), then a magnet school(kinder-1st grade), then a Montessori school (2nd-4th grade). She's in a regular magnet school now because we've just recently moved to Texas, and they are saying she's so far behind in reading that she might need to redo 4th grade again because 5th grade seems too hard with the TAKS looming over her head. They've all but said she's going to be held back this year.

She failed reading and math the first six weeks of school, but seems to be doing better now...everything was passing in her last progress report last week...2 A's, 2 B's and 2 C's....Reading was a B!!!!

ADD and ADHD have been ruled out, the school counsler gave her an IQ test and said she has normal ability and can learn...but why isn't she???

I'm trying to figure out if she has a learning disability. Dsylexia has been ruled out too, but are there any other disabilities that I should be asking the school to test her for?? I realize that being so far behind can be a learning disability in itself, but she's been is school since she was two years old???? How could she not have gotten all that she was suppose to learn???? She's our only child and we give her so much attention...I just thought she wasn't reading well because she didn't like to read...not that she didn't have the skill level to do it. It makes me want to sue the schools for not doing their job. Seems like the schools have been doing a huge dis-service to her. Her previous report cards have been all A's and B's and an occasional C. We were under the impression that everything was just fine...until that first report card came home with the failing grades a few weeks ago. It's been going down hill from there. We are just amazed that she's that far behind...we just didn't know...had no idea. At every Parent Teacher Conference, the teachers have always raved about her and said she was doing fine...had trouble with reading, but nothing to be concerned about.

We had a very shocking and sobering discussion with Sylvan today and they suggest 170 hours of tutoring to teach her all the skills she should have already learned to read. They also suggest that we take out a loan to finance it. They want to see her 3 days a week, 2 hours each day at a rate of $40 per hour. I'm just trying to figure out....is it just me that thinks this is crazy??? I mean I'm sure Sylvan can assist her, but $7000 is a bit much, right? Please be honest...if that sounds about right...just let me know. As she's my only child...this is my first experience with this.

Thanks for your advice!

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So What Happened?

Bill C.

Yes, we had her hearing and vision tested Monday, both were perfect. That's when they also ruled out ADD and ADHD. She's not a behavioral problem either.

I'm new here...this education center...is that the exact name to look up in the phone book?? What type of flash cards?? Sight Words??

Thanks so much for your suggestions!! We're happy to try whatever it takes!

Tina A.

Thank you for your opinion about this situation, but with all due respect...you only know as much as you've read about this situation. I believe it's a little hasty to make such a strong statement..."YOU knew she didn't read well and didn't do anything about it."

You actually have to clue about our struggles with this child and her reading or exactly what we've done to help her. When writing to these groups...it's not always possible to give a blow by blow of one's life over the last 8-10 years, most just hit the high points to give the reader a brief synopsis/history of what's going on.

I apologize for not making it clear for you, however we have worked with the schools and put her in all the best schools that we could find across the country. I say across the country, because we move quite often due to being a military family.

School standards differ from state to state, and my daughter has attended schools in 4 different states in 8 years. We are not invisible parents and we make this clear to every teacher she ever has. We are active in the PTO, attend every function held by the school, serve as room parents, ask for additional homework, work endlessly with her to get it done and so on and so on.

A parent that doesn't do anything to help their child wouldn't take the time to move heaven and earth as we have to get her in the best educational situations that she's been priviledged too. She has had remarkable opportunities in her short 10 years...and many many many more to come. So on the surface, there's no reason for her to be where she is, because she should be so much further because the opportunites have been there since day one!!! The opportunities that we have created for her! People keep saying get her tested. Get her tested for what??? I need names of tests to request. She had a test last week. I told the school counselor, "I want her to be tested, because her reading is not where it should be, I'm concerned there may be a learning difference or disability." She gave my child a standard IQ test. How does that diagnostically test for a learning disability?? My child is 10...you can talk to her and know that she has common sense and a reasonable level of intelligence...what I expected was a test telling me that there is something physically preventing her brain from learning.

She was tested ($200) at Sylvan this past Saturday for reading and math. This is the first time we've ever heard that she was missing crucial basic skill levels that was preventing her from reading. All her teachers have said she's doing fine and her grades reflected it. We knew she wasn't a strong reader and she's been in extra reading classes through the schools for 2 years. I'm not a teacher...I don't know that she can't blend words and can't recall the "th" sound sometimes. All I know is it's hard for her and we've been trying to figure out why. So we ask the teachers and they say there's nothing to be concerned about...she'll get it and they working with it. We read at home, but again she does it enough to get through with it quickly...she just doesn't like it and I thought that was what the problem was. We have down a tremendous amount to help her, so please don't assume that we haven't done our part as parents. Because we have.

Featured Answers



answers from San Antonio on

Hi L.! Have you heard of Kumon? It's another tutoring program and it's really effective. I'm a teacher and I plan to enroll my little one as soon as she's old enough because it gives them a great education without the holes. They test until they find exactly what her mastery level is and work from there. If you live in San Antonio, I highly recommend the one in Alamo Heights. I worked there right out of college, and the woman who owns that Kumon is really fantastic. Good luck!

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answers from San Antonio on

That seems a bit excessive to me. I would ask the school's reading specialist or your local university's masters in education program (or even just calling a education professor will help. they are usually chatty and more than happy to point people in the right direction) about what materials she uses, flashcards, manuals, etc.

A fairly new diagnosis for late-readers (my nephew for instance) is dysgraphia (not dyslexia). It is treatable and my nephew is making progress on reading finally.

It will happen, hang in there. Personally, I would avoid the for profit-Sylvan crowd and try to obtain advice from a Graduate Education Professor and finding better materials.

Good luck to you. It will work out!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Hi L., It's funny that you write about this. Just last week I checked out Sylvan for my 17 yr old nephew. As for the money, they just average $40.00 an hr. They have like 12 week courses that cost $175.00. Going 3 times a week is excessive I think. They have to test anybody who comes there first to see what it is they need. How can they say how many times she needs to come if they have not tested her yet? That costs $75.00. The people my sister in law and I talked to were very informative and great. We got a good vibe from them. They say they work at the childs pace and do not push them. They also guarantee that your child will do better if they go there. My nephew is going for Algebra and study skills once a week and they guarantee that we will see a difference by christmas break. I think you need to call back and get more information. Also insist that she not come in that often. Sounds like you got a pushy person. We were never made to feel that way. They also offered us a pymt plan.
Good luck and I hope your daughter improves her reading. Maybe just read with her everyday for 20 minutes. That might be a start.



answers from San Antonio on

Hi L.,
I worked in the special ed. field in the public school system for many years. If your child has a normal IQ and below average scores in reading, the school should be offering you reading support/special education services for reading. Have they done that? Also, some children need different approaches and extra assistance to learn a new skill, others pick it up easily. It's not necessarily that your child's teachers weren't doing a good job teaching reading, otherwise all the children would be behind. However, it is their responsibility to make sure that you and the teacher are on the same page in regards to her progress. Best of luck to you...I think your school can give your child the support they need.



answers from San Antonio on

YES!!! 7000 is a lot of money... although I think Sylvan is a great place to start there are other alternatives. Try your church where people volunteer their time... It sounds like youra military family like mine and I had a similar problem, The stress of moving around and changing schools is VERY stressful on our kids. We as parents want to do whats best for them.try to schedule an hour out of the day and read with your daughter.. sometimes reading ISN'T the problem it's the comprehension that children have difficulties with. CDC's are great and headstarts are great also but we as parents need to play an ACTIVE role when our children are enrolled in those programs. They can't do it all.. half of them require no bachelors or masters in education.be patient with you daughter and try to encourage her to do better. I'll be rooting for ya!!!



answers from San Antonio on

That seems really expensive. Have you thought about hiring a college student to tutor her? Maybe someone majoring in education.
I'm sure there are alot of broke students out there who would tutor her for a fraction of the price Sylvan charges.
Good luck.



answers from San Antonio on

Wheww! That's a nice trip to Europe! IS your child in public or private school? I suggest a meeting with the guidance counselor and asking for the 'Resource' classroom at least to get your child caught up in reading. I spent a great deal on turoring for my son to catch him up on some high school crdits and math skills- more than I really want to think about- and I cannot really say it was money well spent. It didn't change the key problem which was learning skills- I would hold the school accountable for getting her caught up- that's why you pay taxes! Also- go look at Barnes and Nobles or one of the Homeschooling book stores and find materials to work with her- this could be an opportunity for you all to build some wonderful, close memories rather than spending money you don't have, going into debt- and having her feel like something is "wrong with her."



answers from San Antonio on

I am a 4th grade teacher here in San Antonio. My experience with Sylvan can be very expensive. From what parents have told me that did sylvan did help their child some but I personally did not see much evidence. Not to say that sylvan can't help your child.Did they tell you what skills she is lacking? Can she read at all? does your school offer taks tutoring? My advice to you if you can afford it -go and try and follow up at home. You and your husband will have to work with her. Talk to her teacher and ask to see what you can do to help her become more sucessful. When parents ask me what they can do -I have give the materials and suggestions.
I hope this helps- I understand your concerns.



answers from San Antonio on

IMHO it is excessive. If you have time help him work on the areas he is weak in. Or find someone at church you trust who can tutor at a reasonable rate or check online for expensive language art tutors. Or you can ask Sylvan to suggest to cut back on the number of hours and suggest how you can help in the learning process at home...



answers from San Antonio on

Hi L. -
Send her!!! I sent my daughter for math and I have not once regret the decision. We use to struggle on a nightly basis with her math homework and WOW ~ what a difference Sylvan made for the sanity in my home. We haven't had to look back once. It's well worth the money to invest in your child's future in this way.



answers from New York on

It has been quite a while since you posted this question. Can you provide an update on your daughter's progress?


answers from San Antonio on

I do believe this is an excessive amount. Have you looked for a personal tutor (maybe one from the school) or even tutoring her yourself? There is a very inexpensive homeschool reading series from Pathway Publishing. It is an Amish-based reading program with detailed phonics. You can order it through Sycamore Academy on-line. (I use this program in homeschooling and love it.) Whatever you decide, I pray the best for you and your family.



answers from San Antonio on

I almost didn't write this, since you may snap back if you don't like what I suggest. Please remember we are all taking our time to try to help with the limited info. AND you don't have to take the advice, certainly not take it personal.

We've had many different reading issues in our familiy, and just moved here 2 years ago, so we had to find our way. It hasn't been easy - people are proprietary and competitive here...and expensive!

Cathy Cummings is an excellent reading teacher. She holds reading group sessions (enrollment open to the public)at San Antonio Academy for Boys on French Place, 78212. The kids love her and she can give brief assessments once she works with your child a bit. She's an expert that teaches reading teachers. Very pricey tough.

Academic Associates is a program my daughter is doing now. One on one tutoring at $40 hour. One on one phonics reading is better usually, but I find this systematic approach to phonics is sometimes redundant to what she already knows and I'm paying for that time. Also, they aren't personally as skilled as Cathy Cummings to give expert advice. Very pricey. Dea McCall is the contact, the program can be found online - search it.

Sylvan - my son is doing a writing program there. Very pricey. We first signed up to pay by the month and only 2 per week (even though they suggested more for success). I now feel we have gotten what we need from it and we are putting in notice to end it. So we will pay alot less then they suggested. The Sylvan rep did come to my son's school and discuss approaches with the Teacher. I insisted I be there and I found it a very good communication between the two in the best interest of my son. We are all on the same page.

My son was at the Winston School of San Antonio 2nd & 3rd. It is an LD school (for learning disabilities) He is now back in public school. He does have ADHD & Dyslexia. They taught him to read above grade level, fantastic and such a relief! They could tell you about testing that would help identify issues - whether learning disability or achievement or whatever. I don't know the test names are, but ask Julie Saboe there. I had him tested back on the East coast by a Diagnotic Psychologist, and this testing revealled more than LD, it helped us understand his learning styles and his strengths...how he compensates. Tests are pricey, that one was $1,200, including the interpretation/counseling charges.

I found there are "Education Consultants" in the phone book. I spoke to one about schools when we arrived, but not about testing. They might be helpful, however, probable pricey.

The public schools here are crazy about TAKS and preparing the kids. They are worried about the scores. The 'hold back a year' threat I think is so premature at this point in the year. You may want to ask (outside the school) about Parent Advocates to be with you at school conferences to know your child's rights. I do not know any, but again you can ask the Winston School of SA about such programs.

That's it for now. You are obviously a caring mom and you know what is best for her and your family. Use your instincts, take a breath and do some research.



answers from San Antonio on

Morning L.;

#1 The person you talked to at Sylvan is a sales person, it is their job to sell you on getting their help!! Do not fall
for that!!
#2 Your daughter is no different from a gillion kids today that have gone thru our wonderful education system!! College graduates that can't read or write!
Reading is a mental identification of letters and words. You did not say if you have had her eyes checked for a abnormality?
You can go the the education center which I believe is near
IH-10 and West Ave and buy "Flash Cards" which if you will
spend one hour a day, two or three times a week working with
your daughter you can have her up to and above the speed of the other kids in her class in no time!
Good Luck
B. C.



answers from San Antonio on

I don't know about magnet schools, but the public school has to offer testing. Just tell the teacher that you want you child tested. Public schools also offer SE classes and tutoring after school. Most also offer summer school for students who need extra help.

Remember, Sylvan is in the business to make money. Since she is your only child, educate yourself on how to teach her at home.

Unfortunately, schools' feet are held to the fire regarding test scores. They want your child to do well. But it is up to YOU to get the best education for your child. Teachers want to be successful. PARENTS are ultimately responsible. YOU knew she didn't read well and didn't do anything about it. Insist that the school test your child.

Sounds harsh, but people have to start taking responsibility for their own children, their own finances and their own lives.



answers from San Antonio on

Have you tried taking her in to have her eyes checked by a pediatric eye doctor?



answers from Kansas City on

The cost of a Sylvan program is based directly on the number of skill gaps a student has. It is simply X number of skills needing to be taught times the number of hours needed (by the typical student) to teach this number of skills. The more skill gaps a student has, the longer it will take to master these skills. Close parental involvement and support/reinforcement can often reduce the number of hours suggested. Sylvan is expensive, for sure, but they do guarantee results. As a Sylvan teacher for 10 plus years, I have seen many students go from failing to exceeding expectations well within the time suggested at the enrollment conference. I would not be part of an organization I did not believe in; I know Sylvan can make a difference.



answers from San Antonio on

First of all, I want to say good job for being so proactive and on top of her education. You are an exemplary parent.

I do think that $7000 is a ton of money. It is more than I pay for 2 years of private school tuition.

Have you thought about a private tutor? Education majors at the university can get practical expereince and they are excited about what they are learning and eager to work with children. You can ask professors for reccomendations.

You paid the big bucks for the Sylvan evaluation. Do you have a copy of it? I'm assuming you've met with them and know the results of the eval. Talk with potential tutors about the exact nature of what you want and work out a plan together.

Sylvan proably can help, but if they are taking food out of your child's mouth then they are actually hurting and should be ashamed of themselves. I personally find that inscrupulous because they know they've got you emotionally once you've paid for the eval. I don't think you should take out a loan.

You can have the school district where your child goes to school (even if you are in private school, the public school in that district has to do this) evaluate your child for special programs. I'm not talking special ed, rather enrichment classes and evaluation for learning disabilities and placement in any available therapies.

I really wish you luck on this one. I know how hard this is on you.


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