School is beginning this month for many families, and while we understand the bittersweetness of saying goodbye to summer, we also find this an exciting time to usher in a new school year! For many of our students and their families, the beginning of the school year poses a time to assess what additional support will be helpful on the path to academic learning and success. Our team at The Village Tutors is honored to work with each of our students, and proud to offer support in many areas. Here are a few of the many services we offer, as well as links to learn more:
Available in-person and online, TVT’s unique approach to Test Prep is a distinct advantage for students. Standardized test preparation is available for the ACT, PSAT, SAT, GRE, HSPT/SSAT/ISEE, and many professional licensing exams. HSPT is offered the first Saturday in December. For 2022 it will be Saturday, December 3rd. At TVT, we have no contracts for test prep, but instead offer recommendations on the ideal number of sessions of test prep for each exam. We also host test prep though personalized, 1:1 instruction so students receive immediate feedback. Our tutors are all up-to-date on the latest test features and changes, so our recommendations and guidance are rooted in the latest information available.
Reading Challenges + Dyslexia
At TVT, we provide one-on-one, evidence-based support for students who struggle with Reading. Our flexible and compassionate approach for students with learning challenges helps to improve a multitude of areas including comprehension, spelling, fluency, writing, and handwriting. We have experience and training in working with students with dyslexia, ADHD/ADD and processing challenges, non-verbal, expressive, and receptive learning disorders.
On our website you will find a list of the multi-sensory, evidence-based programs our tutors are trained/certified in. We are committed to learning the latest teachings on reading support, and focus on continuing, best-practice professional development for our tutors. We are also well versed in IEPs, 504 plans and professional evaluations, and can offer support for accommodations, benchmarks, and terminology in these areas.
Math + Science/ Content Areas
Our tutors provide academic support in Math, including the following areas:
- Grade school and Middle school curricula
- High school Algebra I and II
- Alg 2 Trig
- Calc AB/BC
TVT can support general, college-prep, and honors/AP levels of math as well. TVT tutor Matt Wolszon has a great perspective, “Understanding the building blocks of mathematics and science can unlock a student’s curiosity and potential for a wide range of topics.”
Science tutoring includes the following at general, regular, and AP/honors levels:
- Earth Science
- Environmental Science
- Human Anatomy
We also provide specific study strategies and critical reading and writing skills for Social Sciences (History, Econ, Psych, Government, etc.) and Language Arts (Speech, English, Rhetoric, etc.) Foreign Language tutoring is also available for Spanish, French, and Italian.
Executive Function Skills Building + Homework Support
Executive Functioning is partially defined as being able to put “work before play.” We find that students often need coaching on how to create an environment that maximizes on-task behavior and minimizes avoidance behaviors like procrastination. Our tutors are trained in the Rush Medical/Neurobehavioral Center’s Executive Function Skills Building Program© to help students reduce anxiety and improve academic performance.
Students create personalized plans with their tutors to increase productivity and experience genuine success in school. Support can include keeping their backpack organized, using a planner, or creating a sustainable system of organization. By establishing a routine and learning organizational skills and time management strategies from our certified experts, students are set on a path for success with these critical life skills.
College Consulting + College Support
Similarly to test prep services, our College Consulting services are highly personalized, 1:1 sessions with an expert college consultant, Ann Wilson. She is well informed in many areas related to college including acceptance trends, schools where local students have been happy (or not), opportunities for merit scholarships, and more. Popular areas of consulting include:
- Sessions to determine areas of interest, possible majors, and school climate preferences, followed by research-based recommendations for schools that may be a good fit
- Guidance in writing college essays and personal statements
- Help completing the Common or Coalition Application, individual college applications, and scholarship applications
Once our students are in college, the support can continue through our College Support services. Students can regularly meet with a tutor via Skype or FaceTime to review grades, set schedules, discuss study strategies, and problem solve. Especially for students who struggle with executive function skills, partnering with an expert to set routines and maximize physical and emotional health is proven to contribute to overall happiness and success.
Serving our students and our community is at the heart of what we do at The Village Tutors, and we are proud to offer many services to support academic and learning success. Here is a full list of all of the services we offer, and if you are ready to get started to set your student up for a productive school year, you can contact us. Cheers to a great 2022-2023 school year!
For our high school students and their families, we know how important it is to consider test prep for the ACT and SAT.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article sharing that while college-entrance exams are optional for many schools, some students are opting to take the exams as a way to stand out amidst other applicants. With record competition for college admission and variances in testing policies, the article encourages students to test in order to showcase their abilities in a way that some applicants might not. As Suzanne Petree, The Village Tutors founder, likes to note, “test scores are a part of a student’s compelling story.”
At The Village Tutors, we take a unique approach to test prep that we are thrilled to share with our students. Key features of our test prep offerings include:
Most tutoring centers require contracts locking students into a fixed number of sessions and a fixed price. That is not the case with us. Instead, we recommend 8 sessions to cover all areas of the test – 6 for the reading and 2 for math sections. We can adjust sessions needed based on a student’s needs. Some students come to us to only work on a certain section of the test.
Test prep at TVT is an individual approach, with 1:1 sessions for every student, so feedback is immediate. We know that students learn and prepare in different ways, so one of our exceptional test prep tutors will work with you directly throughout your prep. You can complete test prep both in-person and online. We have specialized tutors for the reading sections and others for the math section, so you are working with experts. An added bonus of working with a test prep tutor is that a student’s critical reading and math skills are strengthened, which in turn positively impacts their schoolwork.
3.Up-to-Date on Test Features & Changes
We can offer advice on which test to take, how many times to take the test, and when to take it. A large part of test preparation is having quality resources and guidance to support you as you study, prep, and then practice. That is the way your student gets the best results. We recommend the Official ACT Guide published by Wiley and the Official SAT Guide published by College Board as practice books. They are both available on Amazon.
Now is the time to start thinking about test prep, to provide ample time for learning and practice. We also offer test prep for the HSPT, SSAT, and ISEE-entrance exams for private high schools. Contact our expert tutors today to learn more about TVT’s unique approach to test prep. We are proud and honored to work with our students, with the goal of customizing our approach to help each student improve their score. Learn how we can partner with you to meet – and exceed – your goals!
As we enter another summer and all of the excitement that comes along – family vacations, gathering in the community together, later bedtimes! – our team is reflecting with gratitude on all of the students and families we have the privilege to serve.
We are thankful for the trust you place in The Village Tutors, every day, to support and guide your child’s learning experiences. From our youngest students preparing for kindergarten and learning how to read, to our blossoming high school seniors beginning college, and finally, our college students blazing new and exciting trails, it is our honor to work alongside them and be a part of their educational journey.
Thank you for trusting us to provide specialized expertise in support of your student’s education, and providing us the opportunity to continue to do what we love! We could not have imagined when we started this business 18 years ago the number of families we would impact while cultivating deep relationships.
Enjoy these months and everything the summer has to offer!
Founder, The Village Tutors
And to my most “esteemed” Village Tutor team, my deepest appreciation…
Maura Abernethy Patrick Hohe Nancy Parkinson
Michael Baron Mia Javanshad Ian Michael Peterson
Beth Bean Pam Keseric Loren Shinn
Molly Branda Peter Kralovec-Kirchherr Mimi Skala
Sandy Brantner Laurie Koshgarian Kyle Soller
Cindy Charters Katie Kramer Jill Suter
Jenny Cushing Susan Kroese Bill Tanguay
Haley Chrestionson Lynn Lach Kelsey Taylor
Emily Fister Lynn Lanese Michelle Vranicar
Keith Friedman Alex Laws Kate Vogts
Leo Gabrek Cynthia Mapel MJ Westlund
Haley Garvin Katie McDevitt Paula Whitelaw
Marjean Gonzalez Marcy McKay Ann Wilson
Sarah Gonzalez Regina Melbourne Matt Wolszon
Camille Harris Lisa Miller Maureen Wygonowski
School is almost out for the summer, which is a really exciting time for our students and their families! For many students, especially incoming freshmen, we often receive requests for additional grammar support prior to beginning high school. We’ve actually recently received so many requests that we’ve decided to offer The Village Tutor’s High School Grammar Bootcamp to meet our community’s needs!
TVT’s Grammar Bootcamp is a basic grammar review for your high schooler before they begin their freshman year. The summer class will focus on the 4 units that many college prep high schools in our area cover during freshman English classes. While it is modeled off of and geared primarily towards Benet students, any student looking to boost their grammar skills and knowledge is welcome! TVT’s own appointed “Grammar Gal”, Lynn Lach remarks, “These basics of grammar are the building blocks for understanding how to write well-structured and coherent sentences. Have a strong foundation and writing becomes easier to organize and revise.”
Curriculum will cover a review of the parts of speech, and then an in depth focus on the following:
-Parts of the sentences
-Phrases (prepositional, appositive, participles, gerunds, infinitives)
We will also focus on diagramming all of these concepts to ensure students have a strong foundation and understanding.
As TVT tutor Haley Burridge Chrestionsen shares, “Grammar is an important tool used to appropriately communicate to one’s audience. Whatever a student wants to be, they will need to learn proper grammar in order to communicate efficiently.”
Here are all of the details you need to know to register and get started:
Class Dates: 4 meetings from 6:30pm – 8:00pm on Mondays beginning 6/20 (6/20, 6/27, 7/11, 7/18) with no class on 7/4
Location: In-person at The Community House in Hinsdale (sessions will also be available via Zoom.)
Instructor: Lynn Lach
We have limited availability, however if we receive enough interest we may add a Tuesday daytime session as well! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more registration information.
The reality is that the end of the school year is next month. Many families are planning their summer calendars and for some students, summer schooling and additional learning support is on the docket. At The Village Tutors, we are here to support students (grade school through college) all year long, and math and science are popular areas of support in the summer.
Seeking Summer Support
We support all content levels in the areas of math and science. Even if your student is not taking a dedicated summer school class this year, some students like to review the previous year's concepts and then work ahead in their upcoming class. As Beth Bean, math/science tutor at The Village Tutors says, “Summer math and science enrichment can be very beneficial, particularly to those students who are not as comfortable with the STEM subjects. Entering the classroom with previous exposure to the math and science curriculum for that school year can take some of the anxiety away from learning these concepts and hopefully make them more enjoyable and interesting.”
Our tutors offer academic support in the following areas:
-Grade school and middle school curricula
-High school Algebra I and II
-Alg 2 Trig
-College level math
-College level science
Partnering with a qualified tutor today is a great way to help your student throughout their summer schooling, and/or set them up for the best possible success for the next school year. Our mission is to empower students and help them on their academic journey, and our math and science tutoring options are a great way to achieve this.
How to Get Started
If you are ready to begin tutoring for your student, reach out to us today to set up an appointment. We would love the opportunity to listen to your student’s unique needs and advise how we can best support them to reach their goals. At The Village Tutors we are proud to support students at all content levels in the areas of math and science. We welcome the opportunity to partner with our students to help them successfully complete summer school programs and set a strong foundation for the next school year. As Peter Kralovec-Kirchherr, math/science tutor at TVT says, “I really enjoy tutoring all levels of math, from Algebra 1 through Calculus. I also tutor all levels of science, with a particular focus on Physics. Students are more relaxed in the summer.”
Contact us today to learn more and get started!
Spring Break is right around the corner, and now more than ever we hear parents and teachers saying that it is challenging to keep students motivated. A lack of motivation often leads to procrastination – with students leaving assignments until the last minute, not preparing for exams well enough in advance, and often feeling a general sense of detachment from schoolwork. We understand that this lack of motivation can be frustrating – for both students and parents – so our expert team of tutors share their insights as to how to best set priorities to remain motivated and avoid procrastination.
Create a Schedule
For those students who have a difficult time planning for long assignments or preparing well enough in advance for an exam, it is important to create a schedule to properly prioritize time. Creating a schedule is a part of executive functioning, a practice we define as being able to put “work before play.” Executive functioning is a critical skill that many students need coaching on in order to create an environment that maximizes on-task behavior and minimizes avoidance behaviors.
Fortunately, there are many fun ways to create a schedule to help students stay organized. As Laurie Koshgarian of The Village Tutors says, “To begin, you first need to break the assignment or task down into sizable chunks that are appropriate for the student’s age. For younger students, we often then make a GET READY – DO – TASK chart like the one below. This chart is a digestible and visual way for students and families to see what work needs to be done and when.”
Partner with an Executive Functioning Expert
Sometimes for students and families, attempting to tackle organization challenges alone at home is not enough. That is why the team at The Village Tutors has prioritized executive functioning trainings and education in order to offer sustainable resources for families. The Village Tutors are trained in the Rush Medical/Neurobehavioral Center’s Executive Function Skills Building Program © in order to support the topics of priorities and procrastination.
For some students, struggles with priorities and procrastination look like having difficulties keeping a backpack organized, not using a planner, or not having an effective system to stay organized and keep track of assignments. These students often have challenges turning homework in on time and find themselves stressed and overwhelmed by their schedules and due dates. Working with an executive functioning expert offers students the opportunity to create a personalized plan to focus on increasing productivity and experiencing success in school.
Improve Habits and Study Skills
As a part of the executive functioning services, The Village Tutors teaches students how to be more thorough in homework completion and create notes to aid in understanding. These important skills help students to develop a long-term understanding of creating priorities in work completion, while also not leaving work to the last minute. The team acts as mentors and partners to build confidence in students and support their development of independent work habits.
By teaching students how to better prepare for assignments and exams, they are subsequently empowered to take ownership over their work. This ownership and pride leads to an increase in prioritization, and a decrease in procrastination. Over time, these necessary skills help students to be more focused in their schoolwork and less anxious overall about what is expected of them.
The Village Tutors is proud to support students and families by offering executive functioning skills support. To learn more, see the services information on the website.
2022 is already proving to be a year of changes, and recent announcements about the SAT are no exception. The controversial standardized-testing exam, which many colleges and universities are removing (or considering removing) as an admission requirement, announced significant changes beginning in Fall 2024. Here’s what you need to know…
What is Changing – and Why?
Many areas of the SAT are receiving updates or enhancements, in an effort to streamline the exam, offer greater access, and reduce opportunities for cheating. Current updates that have been announced include:
-Reduced time of the test from 3 hours to 2 hours
-Embedded digital calculator
-Scores released within days of taking the test versus months
What Does This Mean for Your Student?
We understand that so many changes can be daunting for students and their families. Our team is actively following these updates and will continue to share information as we receive it. For now, a few of our experts provide their thoughts and recommendations.
Matt Wolszon, a TVT math tutor, says, “With the new SAT allowing a calculator throughout, calculator proficiency and efficiency will be more applicable now than in the previous version of the test. Additionally, with the updated SAT in an adaptive format, scores will most likely better reflect the amount of information a student has mastered instead of any advantages previously reflected for test-takers who excel at strategically guessing.”
It appears that the changes to the SAT directly address the challenges students have been facing during the pandemic – difficulty maintaining focus and reading for extended periods of time. As tutor Ann Wilson shares, “Many students state they have trouble focusing for three hours and do not like reading on paper. Since students spend so much time on screens, a digital test will feel more familiar to them and play to how their brains are wired. This may aid in taking the SAT, but will it prepare students for college?”
The updates to the SAT continue to be rolled out and announced, so there is still much to learn about the enhancements. Some of the questions on our team’s minds include,
-Will colleges view the updated SAT as an equal to the current ACT, or will the SAT be considered easier and not as relevant?
-How will colleges compare the SAT to the ACT, in order to convert one score to the other?
-Is this updated SAT a new test altogether?
We will continue to provide updates as we receive them. In the meantime, if your student is ready to begin standardized-test prep, see our services here.
At The Village Tutors, we are proud of all of our students and the many successes they achieve. We are also thankful for our volunteer opportunities. This month, we are featuring Yanfu, who TVT supported as a part of our partnership with the non-profit Green Halo Scholars. Yanfu consistently goes above and beyond in his studies, and his dedication earned him a prestigious QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania. We are honored to showcase his hard work and accomplishments.
Green Halo Scholars is a local organization that helps high-achieving, first-generation and/or low-income high school seniors get to and through college. The Village Tutors fully supports the group’s mission, and our tutors often volunteer to assist the scholars. This is where TVT met Yanfu and had the privilege of playing a part in his story.
Originally from China, Yanfu began working with TVT last summer to boost his SAT reading and writing score. With a very specific number in mind, Yanfu was focused and resourceful in his quest to attain his goal. His commitment and diligence were off the charts (it was challenging to find SAT practice tests he had not already completed!). And, unsurprisingly, Yanfu scored exactly what he wanted on the SAT.
Yanfu continued to carry this work ethic through the college application process, keeping in close contact with his Green Halo mentor. Yanfu applied for the QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship, a highly selective program. Out of the almost 16,500 applicants each year, 6,500 are selected as “finalists.” From that group, only 1,600 are matched with one of the nation’s best universities. The match process includes a four-year, fully funded scholarship that covers tuition, room and board, books, and travel expenses. Yanfu, the first Green Halo Scholar to attend an Ivy League institution, plans to study computer engineering at Penn.
As Sara Miller, the program director at Green Halo Scholars, said, “Yanfu takes so much pride in his work and is more organized than any student I’ve ever met. He had spreadsheets upon spreadsheets to organize his college search (and the endless essays that went with it) and arrived at meetings with questions and topics to discuss. He exudes a contagious enthusiasm that helps him make the most of opportunities (or challenges!). His gracious spirit and quick wit are at the top of the list of traits that make him exceptional, too!”
As Yanfu finishes his senior year of high school, he continues to be involved as the captain of the Lyons Township VEX Robotics Team and Science Olympiad, a math and science tutor, and a member of the track team.
From all of us at The Village Tutors, we thank Yanfu for setting such a wonderful example for his peers and the community. And we look forward to hearing about his continued successes!
It can be challenging as a parent or caregiver to know exactly what support your child needs. When it comes to reading, we understand the difficulties families face - especially if a student has reading challenges. This month, we are featuring the Orton-Gillingham approach as an effective solution to help those struggling with reading.
The Orton-Gillingham approach is a direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive way to teach literacy when reading, writing, and spelling..What does all this mean? It’s particularly effective when teaching these skills to individuals with learning differences, like dyslexia. Always focused on the needs of the individual student, Orton-Gillingham (OG) practitioners design lessons and materials to work with students at their level. Instructors pace the instruction and introduction of new materials based on the student’s individual strengths and weaknesses. When taught correctly, this method can be a powerful tool of great breadth, depth, and flexibility.
TVT tutor Eileen Norton has this to say about the Orton-Gillingham approach, “As a learning tool, reading programs and strategies based on Orton-Gillingham methodology are known to be effective with struggling readers, especially those students with dyslexia. What’s perhaps not as well-known is that there is much evidence that the Orton-Gillingham methodology is effective for teaching many groups of students to read, not just those who struggle. As a result, students in regular classrooms, those who need extra support, as well as those in tutoring situations would benefit from the use of Orton-Gillingham-based reading programs.”
In order to maintain the high standards of the Orton-Gillingham approach, educators and tutors can earn certifications and trainings in order to properly serve students. At TVT, we are proud to have several tutors certified to teach the approach. If you have a student who is dyslexic and struggling with reading, or you want your child to have supplemental reading support within their current curriculum, contact us today. We are ready and excited to support your student on their academic journey!
The school year is well underway, and as the seasons continue to change more families find their activities moving indoors. This change in scenery offers a wonderful opportunity to encourage reading as an indoor activity! Now is a great time to remind your children to curl up with a book and get lost in their story. Did you know there are also tactical ways to improve reading comprehension? Our expert tutors share their tips and tricks for cultivating this skill at home.
Read with Your Child
Reading with your child is imperative to improving reading comprehension. As tutor Michelle Vranicar shares, “One of the best things parents can do to help their child improve reading comprehension is to read to or with their child at all ages. It has been my observation that students who share the reading experience with their families are well on their way to developing strong reading comprehension skills.”
Encouraging reading with your child and as a family fosters quality bonding and discussions, which only further promotes comprehension. Children often learn by modeling what their parents, siblings, and caregivers do, so reading together shows your child the value and importance of reading.
Talk About What They’re Reading
Another step to improved reading comprehension is discussing with your child about what they are reading. Tutor Michelle Vranicar again shares, “For emerging readers, stop often to talk about what is happening in the story and ask questions to model comprehension. For young readers, take turns reading together and discussing key elements of the story as well as unfamiliar words. This will help to build vocabulary skills. Finally, for independent readers, have a ‘book club’ with your child where you each read a chapter and then talk about what happened or what they think might happen next.”
Taking the time to talk with your child about their reading shows them that reading is valuable and special. Having quality discussions about their stories offers them the opportunity to share and verbalize their ideas, while also improving their comprehension.
Encourage Reading Out Loud
If your child is reading independently – or you are enjoying a book together – encourage reading out loud. Tutor Jill Suter says, “I find reading out loud with a student expands their vocabulary, increases their attention span – which in turn improves their comprehension – and helps to develop an increased interest in reading.” Reading out loud also presents your child with the opportunity to sound out difficult words and ask questions about vocabulary or the plot of the story. Providing this comfortable setting to ask questions and discuss their reading facilitates increased comprehension and models for them that reading is an activity that is meant to stretch and challenge the mind.
If you’re looking for additional support, or have any questions, reach out here.