How Do I Become a Reading Tutor?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen
Many libraries and schools have programs where volunteers work as a reading tutor.
Many libraries and schools have programs where volunteers work as a reading tutor.

To become a reading tutor, most often you will need a college degree. The exact requirements necessary for this career often depend on the setting in which you wish to act as a tutor, though most schools look for a degree and often require that you also have a teaching license. Private tutors may not need to meet these qualifications, but you should typically be able to prepare and execute a lesson plan and understand how reading and literacy develop. If you want to become a reading tutor privately, then you will need to recruit students and find parents or teachers who can use and recommend your service.

Reading tutors typically work one-on-one with children.
Reading tutors typically work one-on-one with children.

The exact requirements necessary to become a reading tutor can vary quite a bit, depending on where you are and how you want to work. In general, however, one of the first things you should consider is receiving a college degree, such as a bachelor’s degree, in a subject like language or reading. Different schools offer a variety of degrees in these subjects, so you might also consider literacy or linguistics. This type of degree is not always essential to become a reading tutor, but it can help qualify you for some positions and make you more appealing for others.

Reading tutors should typically be able to prepare and execute a lesson plan.
Reading tutors should typically be able to prepare and execute a lesson plan.

You may also want to consider a degree in education, such as reading or language education, to help you become a reading tutor. If you want to work at a public school as a tutor, then you may be required to have a teaching license as well as a degree. Some private schools may also expect licensure in addition to a degree, and higher levels of education, such as a master’s degree, may be necessary for some schools. Not all institutions hire additional reading tutors outside of regular teachers, so you may need to do some searching to find an appropriate school.

Students who have strong reading skills may tutor other students in the subject.
Students who have strong reading skills may tutor other students in the subject.

It is also possible for you to become a reading tutor with a private clientele instead of working at a school. If you want to work privately, then you should have appropriate qualifications such as a degree and experience in education. One of the hardest parts about becoming a private reading tutor is finding clients. You should contact local schools and Parent/Teacher Associations (PTA) to offer your services and provide your credentials. There are also websites that you can use to register as a reading tutor, which can help you find clients and may even facilitate tutoring online.

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Discussion Comments

Ana1234

In theory you could just advertise for people who need help and become a tutor without any real training. I know a few people who basically put themselves through university by doing that. Not in reading though, obviously, although I think if you were teaching reading to illiterate adults it wouldn't be all that different.

KoiwiGal

@MrsPramm - I'm actually studying to be a teacher now and it's really surprising to me how complicated the process is to properly teach someone to read well. You can't just plonk them in front of a book every day and hope that they will eventually "get it".

That goes double for students who have rarely been exposed to literature at home. They end up competing with kids who have been singing the alphabet song for years and who know all their letters and sounds and it's easy to become discouraged.

So, it's not only a matter of knowing your stuff, you also have to be a cheerleader pretty much all the time without any breaks, because it's your job to make this exciting and interesting for them.

Being a teacher, even a tutor, is hard work. It's totally worth it though, particularly since reading can open so many doors for people.

MrsPramm

I think it really depends on what you mean by "reading tutor". I mean, I know retired people who volunteer as reading tutors with local schools and basically sit and read to kids who need a bit of extra help. They have no real training at all.

And then on the other side of the spectrum, you've got the people who have high level degrees in literacy who probably end up consulting more than actually teaching.

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    • Many libraries and schools have programs where volunteers work as a reading tutor.
      By: Noam
      Many libraries and schools have programs where volunteers work as a reading tutor.
    • Reading tutors typically work one-on-one with children.
      By: Marcel Mooij
      Reading tutors typically work one-on-one with children.
    • Reading tutors should typically be able to prepare and execute a lesson plan.
      By: Dmitry Goygel-Sokol
      Reading tutors should typically be able to prepare and execute a lesson plan.
    • Students who have strong reading skills may tutor other students in the subject.
      By: pressmaster
      Students who have strong reading skills may tutor other students in the subject.
    • Most reading tutors have at least a four-year degree.
      By: altanaka
      Most reading tutors have at least a four-year degree.
    • Someone interested in being a reading tutor may start with younger relatives.
      By: Daddy Cool
      Someone interested in being a reading tutor may start with younger relatives.