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Reading Clinic turns to remote tutoring

A charity committed to childhood education managed to help a majority of pupils with their studies throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Reading Clinic tutored 75 of the 88 pupils they had at the start of the year, despite restrictions brought on by the lockdown and other safety regulations.

Glenn Faries, the executive director of The Reading Clinic, said that remote tutoring had been so successful that it could become a permanent option for pupils.

He explained: “In our Core Reading Programme, we are able to provide modified end-of-year testing to students, which will allow us to gain insight into how effective the online platform is at assisting our students to master the tools and skills that will allow them to successfully navigate their learning difference.”

“We have noticed that, due to different learning styles, online tutoring works very well for some students but not for others.

“It is not in our plan for online tutoring to replace our standard method, but it will be offered in certain circumstances and for certain students.”

Mr Faries said that the charity closed their Pembroke location shortly after the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Bermuda.

He explained that they purchased and installed software that allowed staff to work from home and made sure that tutors were trained well enough to comfortably use the software.

Mr Faries added that tutors had to be further trained in how to tutor and test pupils in an online environment, as well as how to make sure that pupils felt safe online.

He said: “We knew we needed to figure out how to make it happen, how to make it safe and how to make it as effective as possible. “We researched other organisations overseas that provide online Orton-Gillingham Academy tutoring in order to assist us with this process.

“We then communicated with all parents to offer this format of tutoring to them and within the space of less than a week we were providing this service.”

Mr Faries added: “We needed to make sure that parents were on board and that the students were ready to add this modality of distance learning into the already full schedule that they were receiving from their schools.”

Mr Faries said that The Reading Clinic tutored as many as 85 per cent of the schoolchildren they had at the start of the year, with about 13 children opting out of the online programmes.

He explained that their success hinged on the dedication of all staff members to help as many children as they could.

He added: “We are honoured to number ourselves among the many groups and individuals in Bermuda who are committed to education — including other non-profits in this field, school systems, teachers, administrators, donors and countless others.”

Mr Faries said that The Reading Clinic, like many other non-profit organisations, also faced a lot of financial uncertainty because of the pandemic.

He explained that many donors had moved their donations towards Covid-19 relief efforts, while others had held off on donations altogether.

Mr Faries added: “We have been working very diligently to curtail expenses while at the same time still providing the services for which we are well known and respected throughout Bermuda.

“We are fortunate in that we have a diverse income stream, but things are still tight financially and we are closely monitoring our income and expenses.”

Online platform: Glenn Faries, the executive director of The Reading Clinic (Photograph supplied)

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Published July 08, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 08, 2020 at 8:51 am)

Reading Clinic turns to remote tutoring

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