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Frequently Asked Questions

What would you like to know?

How does online tutoring work?
Step 1:

We begin our process by assessing your child to find out what level your child is reading on and where the gaps are in each of the five areas of your child’s reading.


The five areas include:

  • Phonemic awareness

  • Phonics

  • Fluency

  • Reading comprehension

  • Vocabulary


Step 2:

After the your child's assessment, a report is complied that explains the results as well as well as the customized plan that will be used to close the reading gap.


Step 3:

A meeting takes place with the parent/guardian about the results and what is observed and recommended for a tutoring schedule that will best fit your child’s needs and goals.


Step 4:

Afterwards, the tutor meets with your child weekly. A tutor is matched based on a student’s learning style, personality and scheduling needs.


Step 5:

Every 3 months your child will be reassessed to find out what gains have been made and what changes need to be made, if any, to continue to close the gap for your child in the

most effective way possible.


Call today to learn more about our packages that will best fit the needs of your child.

How long is a tutoring session?

Online tutoring session length is determined by a couple of factors.

  1. Child’s age

  2. Child’s attention span

  3. Availability and scheduling


Recommended Tutoring Session Times:
  • K-1st Grade: We find that children in Kindergarten and first grade work best in twenty-five (25) minute sessions.

  • 2nd Grade and Up: For kids in grades 2nd and up, usually 50 minute sessions work well and allow for more to be accomplished.

  • Students with ADD or ADHD: Also, students with ADD and ADHD sometimes do better with shorter sessions.


Sometimes students’ schedule and the tutor's schedule have unique needs that determine whether a 25 minute or 50 minute session would be better.


In order to ensure lasting progress and growth, we do require that you commit to at least a total of 50 minutes of tutoring per week even if that means splitting the time between two days.

What are the common signs of dyslexia?


Common signs: Preschool

  • May talk later than most children

  • May have difficulty pronouncing words, i.e., busgetti for spaghetti, mawn lower for lawn mower

  • May be slow to add new vocabulary words

  • May be unable to recall the right word

  • May have difficulty with rhyming

  • May have trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, days of the week, colors, shapes, how to spell and write his or her name

  • May have trouble interacting with peers

  • May be unable to follow multi-step directions or routines

  • Fine motor skills may develop more slowly than in other children

  • May have difficulty telling and/or retelling a story in the correct sequence


Common signs: Kindergarten through fourth grade

  • Has difficulty decoding single words (reading single words in isolation)

  • May be slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds

  • May confuse small words – at/to, said/and, does/goes

  • Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including:

  • Letter reversals – d for b as in, dog for bog

  • Word reversals – tip for pit

  • Inversions – m and w, u and n

  • Transpositions – felt and left

  • Substitutions – house and home

  • May transpose number sequences and confuse arithmetic signs (+ - x / =)

  • May have trouble remembering facts

  • May be slow to learn new skills; relies heavily on memorizing without understanding

  • May be impulsive and prone to accidents

  • May have difficulty planning

  • Often uses an awkward pencil grip (fist, thumb hooked over fingers, etc.)

  • May have trouble learning to tell time

  • May have poor fine motor coordination



Difficulty with reading

  • Difficulty learning to read

  • Difficulty identifying or generating rhyming words or counting syllables in words (Phonological Awareness)

  • Difficulty with hearing and manipulating sounds in words (Phonemic Awareness)

  • Difficulty distinguishing different sounds in words (Auditory Discrimination)

  • Difficulty in learning the sounds of letters

  • Difficulty remembering names and/or the order of letters when reading

  • Reverses letters or the order of letters when reading

  • Misreads or omits common little words

  • "Stumbles" through longer words

  • Poor reading comprehension during oral or silent reading


Difficulty with written language

  • Difficulty putting ideas on paper

  • Many spelling mistakes

  • May do well on weekly spelling tests, but there are many spelling mistakes in daily work

  • Difficulty in proofreading


Difficulty with oral language

  • Late in learning to talk

  • Difficulty pronouncing words

  • Difficulty acquiring vocabulary or using age appropriate grammar

  • Difficulty following directions

  • Confusion with before/after, right/left, and so on

  • Difficulty learning the alphabet, nursery rhymes, or songs

  • Difficulty understanding concepts and relationships



If you feel your child is showing any of these signs, start your free assessment and get expert advice from our Reading Interventionist.

How much tutoring does my child need?

The amount of time it will take to close the reading gap for your child depends on a couple of factors.


  1. Learning speed

  2. Dyslexia or other learning disabilities

  3. Consistency


Smart Start Tutors is typically able to close a 12 month reading gap with only 8 to 12 hours of instruction. Example: if your child is two years behind and you schedule one-hour sessions each week, your child will be at grade level in six months. If you choose to do two hours of tutoring a week, then it will take only three months.


Learning Speed

Factors which can affect quick progress is learning speed. Some kids just need more repetition than others. In these cases it may take a bit longer to close the gap.


Learning Abilities

This schedule varies if your child has dyslexia, because it depends on the severity of the dyslexia which can range from mild to severe.



Sometimes life gets in the way of students being able to show up for their tutoring sessions. If students miss too many sessions, then it becomes harder to close the gap. The more consistent we both are, the better results your child gets.


If you would like to schedule a call to learn more, we're available for a Free Discovery Call for new clients.

What is the average hourly rate for tutoring?

Our tutoring rates are based on a package model. At Smart Start Tutors, we believe in high quality tutoring. To us this means we provide a wealth of value for the investment that you are making. 


We know that you have many choices when it comes to selecting the right tutor for your child and we thank you for considering us. Our packages start at $540 per month, but exact cost depends on your child’s needs and goals.


  1. Our Team's Experience: Alexa's credentials and the credentials of the tutors at Smart Start as well as our experience have shown that this is a reasonable rate to charge. You can think of Alexa and her team as doctors for reading. We are able to find out what areas your child struggles with and close the gap in those areas.

  2. Most Affordable & Efficient Solution: If you are looking for the quickest and most effective solution available, Alexa and her team are the best option. Our efficiency in closing the reading gap for children means we are ultimately one of the most affordable options available as well.

    • ​​Example: Sylvan tutoring centers claim that they can close the reading gap a full year with 36 hours of instruction. They charge $50 an hour. In the end that costs $1,800 to close the gap one year. With Alexa and her team, it would only cost $1,080 to close the gap a full year.

    • Even though Sylvan charges less per hour, it is going to take them three times the amount that it will take Alexa or a member of her team.

  3. Free Tools & Resources Customized to Your Child: Smart Start Tutors provide you free tools that other companies will not give you. 

    • You will get books right at your child's reading level. As your child progresses you will be able to have books that are just right. This is a total value of $200 absolutely free.

    • I also give you access to subscriptions that your child can use outside of sessions to continue their learning and to help speed up the rate and which we are able to close the gap.

Since our ultimate goal is to close the gap for every child and because every child is unique, this requires that we adjust our interventions to meet the unique needs of each student. This often means purchasing additional resources, games, etc. to make the sessions customized and appropriate for your child. 


All resources that we purchase specifically for your child are included in the monthly cost of tutoring. Most Reading Specialists will not throw this in for free like we do.


Get started today with a free discovery call. 

Do you offer summer tutoring?

Yes, Alexa and her team offers summer tutoring.


We work all year long and work hard to tailor a summer reading program specifically for your child. Summer is the time of year where kids will suffer from summer reading loss if they are not consistently reading.


It is important to us that our students do not miss out on this opportune time to close the gap and be secure in reading for the following school year.


This is why Alexa and her team have created and stay committed to a strong summer reading program.

Why do you teach reading online as an online reading tutor?

Alexa is a reading specialist that started tutoring kids online because she has 3 children of her own. She found a way to incorporate her passion of teaching kids with balancing her responsibilities as a mom.


Once she started tutoring reading online as an online reading tutor, she found that she was able to close the gap even quicker online and she really enjoyed working with kids from all over the world.


The flexibility that online tutoring allows benefits both students and the tutors at Smart Start. Our students can even go on vacations and travel and still work consistently on their reading tutor.

How does online tutoring work?
How long is a tutoring session?
What are the signs of dyslexia?
How much tutoring does my child need?
What is the average hourly rate for tutoring?
Do you offer summer tutoring?
Why do you teach reading online as an online reading tutor?

Ready to Get Started?

Book your free Discovery Call where we will discuss your child's needs and goals for tutoring, provide recommendations for next steps, and schedule your child's initial assessment. 

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