New tutoring program lends helping hand to local students

By Megan R. Harrell

Star Staff

Diana Reid was looking for a Community Service project and landed on an after school tutoring program for any student in the Carter County or Elizabethton City School System. As a substitute teacher for city schools and a former tutor, Reid saw the need to meet children where they are on their quest for knowledge.
   A combination of substitute and retired teachers will be working with Reid to kick start the tutoring program. The first tutoring session will be held Tuesday, April 2, at the Redeemer Lutheran Church, 234 W. First St. The cost of the program is $2 per lesson. Classes will be Monday through Friday beginning at 3 p.m. and will run until 5:50 p.m. There will also be a summer session that will run Monday through Friday starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 10:50 a.m.
   The tutoring classes will be set up in small groups of six to eight and will concentrate on a variety of subject matter including math, reading, spelling and social studies. Study and organization habits will also be taught during the 50-minute tutoring sessions.
   The tutoring program is designed to reinforce what students are learning in the classroom at their regular schools. It will help students who are struggling in daily classroom activities or will assist those who want to get ahead of the game. The tutoring will begin concentrating mainly on grades K-5, but Reid hopes to move into tutoring high school students for preparation of the Gateway exams. She is also looking into the possibility of establishing a homework hotline in the future so students may call in for help if they run into difficulties with their work.
   Reid believes there are a number of reasons why the tutoring program is needed in this day and age. She noted the fact that parents are becoming less and less able to help their children at home because of the increasing difficulty level for students at younger ages. "It is not that some parents do not want to help their children, but that they do not know how to," Reid said. "Parents are loosing their ability to tutor their children at younger and younger ages, because they work harder at earlier ages."
   Reid stated the educational structure in many of the local schools leave little time to concentrate on an area if only one student has a problem with it. The tutoring sessions will reinforce the spelling words and math problems that each student is working on in his or her own classroom and additional subject matter will not be introduced. "What good does it do to teach them other things if they need to know this certain thing by Friday?" Reid said.
   Although the tutoring program is looking to assist students who are struggling in the mainstreamed classroom, the tutoring sessions are not geared toward children who have diagnosed learning disabilities. "I began seeing the need for extra help in the classroom," Reid said. "It is not big, huge problems that we are dealing with. It is just the little ones that we can solve such as students needed material to be presented in different ways."
   Local businesses have supported Reid and her colleagues on their educational endeavor. Big Johns donated storage shelves to help the program get under way, while Academy Mobile Homes donated a fax machine and other start up materials. Reid stated that she still needs copy paper and reading books. Individuals interested in making donations may reach Reid at 542-4991.
   Registration for the tutoring program begins today, from 3:20 to 5 p.m. at the Redeemer Lutheran Church, 234 W. First St. Parents and their children can register tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, and Monday, April 1, from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at the same location.
   Reid's experience with tutoring in the past has taught her just how much the children benefit from one on one attention. "The kids are so appreciative and understand that this is going to help them," Reid said. "It helps to understand the classroom situation and to know exactly what they are going through in there."