Posts Tagged ‘grade level reading’

Summer Learning Loss

June 28, 2013

summerreading1The American ideal of lazy summers filled with fun has an unintended consequence: If students are not engaged in learning over the summer, they lose skills in math and reading. For over a century, scholars have recognized that summer vacation is a period when students’ rate of academic development declines relative to the school year. Summer learning loss varies across grade level, subject matter, and family income.

Research shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer vacation. According to a report by the RAND Corporation, the average summer learning loss in math and reading for American students amounts to one month per year. On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.

Furthermore, the learning loss is cumulative, summer after summer. It has a tremendous impact on students’ success, including high school completion, post-secondary education and work force preparedness.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Consider enrolling your child in Optiminds’ Cognitive Camp this summer to keep them mentally challenged. Or you might consider an Optiminds’ Reading/Writing or Math Strategies program.

Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at:

Tutoring Can Help Foster a Love of Reading

February 22, 2013

boysread2Helping a child become a reader is one of the greatest gifts that an adult can give, a gift that continues to pay dividends throughout life. Children who acquire strong reading skills at an early age often enjoy a more successful academic experience.

But getting children to read is becoming more difficult with the proliferation of movies, television shows, computer games, sports and after school activities vying for kids’ attention today.

Instilling a love of reading comes as much from reading to your children when they are very young as from your child’s own confidence in his or her reading skills. If you feel that your child may need help with their reading skills, tutoring is a great way to support and cultivate a love of reading. And remember, reading skills can be improved at any age.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds specializes in tutoring reading at all levels. Dr. Stewart and her staff will develop a customized, results-oriented reading program tailored to your child’s needs. One-on-one instruction in a comfortable atmosphere will quickly help improve your child’s reading performance, comprehension and vocabulary. With newfound confidence in their reading abilities, your child will be well on their way to becoming an avid reader.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at

When to Consider Tutoring for Your Child

November 25, 2012

With the school year getting underway, many parents are looking for ways to help their children gain an academic edge whenever possible. Not long ago, needing a tutor was viewed as a sign that a child couldn’t keep up with his peers. Today, tutoring is an accepted—even expected—part of middle and high school education. Parents are often surprised to learn how common tutoring is, not only for children who are behind academically or have a learning disability but also for those who are bringing home good report cards.

Some points to consider if you are trying to determine if tutoring is right for your child:

Kids who are gifted are prime candidates for tutors because they are often not challenged enough in the classroom. A tutor can create a customized program that is both challenging and stimulating to help renew your child’s enthusiasm for learning if it has fallen by the wayside.

With states requiring testing of students every year in reading and math from grades three to eight, many parents are using tutors to improve their child’s performance. Often the scores from these exams are used to determine whether a child gains admission to a selective public middle or high school or whether a child is put on a vocational or academic track at school.

There is a higher expectation today to know more at earlier ages. Because standardized tests are so important, schools start prepping kids for them sooner. As a result, many middle school children are doing what once was considered high school work, while many high schoolers are taking college-level courses. Tutoring can help students keep up with things and meet the challenge of these higher expectations.

Tutoring can help fill in the gaps in classroom curriculum. Some states no longer emphasize spelling or grammar since that knowledge is not required for state tests. As a result, middle school children may know the definition of SAT vocabulary words such as “perambulate” and “quiescent,” but they don’t know how to spell such basic words as “independence” or when to use commas or semicolons. Parents turn to tutors to help their kids bone up on these fundamentals.

With competition to get into a good college so great today,  many families turn to tutors to help boost grades and SAT scores. If your teen is preparing to take the SAT this year, a tutor can help them prepare for the exam, identify types of problems they will encounter, and equip them with essential test-taking skills. Often, scholarships are directly linked to a student’s SAT scores. So it makes sense to invest ahead of time in tutoring so your child does better on the SAT and has a better chance at qualifying for a scholarship.

When it comes to tutoring services in metro Detroit, Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at

Early Tutoring Can Be a Real Asset

September 22, 2012

An important resource in ensuring your child’s academic success is getting the help of a tutor. Dr. Jane Stewart offers tutoring services for students of all ages at her two locations—Optiminds in Southfield and The Brain Development Center in Novi.

Tutoring used to be thought of primarily as a remedial tool. If a student was struggling or made some mistakes  along the way, working with a tutor was a way to get help and make a fresh start. But nowadays, working with a tutor is often treated like having an academic personal trainer and, as such, is enlisted by even the best of students. Good students know how to take advantage of the possibilities of good tutoring and to get started early in the semester before trouble starts.

With the new school year just getting underway, here are some reasons why starting tutoring early can help:

  • Real learning takes time and starting early gives your student a chance to learn concepts slowly and solidly.
  • By being proactive, your child has a chance to grasp foundational concepts on which more difficult work is built.
  • Student and tutor have time to get to know one another and establish the rapport that can make a difference in how they work together.  The more a tutor works with your child, the more they get to know strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles.
  • Early work means that early homework assignments will be done correctly. This translates to a higher grade average and less jeopardy occurring later in the semester.
  • A tutor will hold your student accountable for completing work.
  • A tutor provides constant feedback on the work, which helps a student stay on track with subjects.
  • Tutoring builds confidence in a person’s learning abilities, increasing motivation to continue to do well.

Dr. Jane Stewart specializes in helping people of all ages improve their study, reading and cognitive skills at two locations: The Brain Development Center in Novi and Optiminds in Southfield. Contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at:

You can learn more about The Brain Development Center at: and Optiminds at:

Optiminds—Professional Tutoring Services in Metro Detroit

March 16, 2012

Optiminds is a professional tutoring service serving people of all ages in the metro Detroit area, including, Berkley, Bingham Farms, Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Farmington Hills, Franklin, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Oak Park, Redford, Royal Oak, Southfield and West Bloomfield. 

We will identify problem areas and design a customized tutoring program to help your student in a wide range of areas, including these key areas:

          Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary

         Writing and Grammar

         Logical Thinking

         Algebra, Geometry

         Test Preparation (including SAT and ACT tests)

 Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping to improve the study, reading and cognitive skills of clients of all ages. Find out more about Optiminds brain fitness programs and cognitive skills training by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: And be sure to visit our website at

Coming Soon: Optiminds© Cognitive Camp 2011

April 20, 2011

“My child improved so much we had to  rewrite the IEP goals in the Fall.  He loves going to camp. This will be his third year.”—Suzanne, a camper’s mother

If you are looking for a fun way to help your children keep their brains in shape over the summer, it’s time to register for the 2011 Optiminds Cognitive Camp.  Held at the Birmingham Covington School, the camp offers individualized programs that are customized by skill level.

The upcoming session of our Cognitive Camp is June 28 through August 13. Hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 12 Noon.

Here is a sampling of what’s in store for campers:

  • Handwriting—Manuscript & Cursive (NEW for 2011)
  • Math, English, & Language Arts
  • Pre-learning in Social Studies & Science
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Individualized Cognitive Training
  • Social Skills
  • PCI©Reading Program
  • Orton Gillingham© Phonics
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Using Puzzles & Games

Camp fees are $55/day and $220 /week.  A $55 deposit must be included with Registration.

Birmingham Covington School is located at 1525 Covington Road, Bloomfield Township.

Optiminds is a Cognitive, Professional Brain Training Skills Center owned and operated by Jane Stewart, Ph.D.

Visit us at:, give us a call at (248) 496-0150 or email us at:


March 9, 2011

I would like to share with you some great insights from the The Annie E. Casey Foundation: Make Reading by the End of Third Grade a National Priority.


Two out of every three fourth graders overall are not proficient in reading according to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Worse, four of five fourth graders from
low-income families are also not proficient in reading. The failure to help children from low-income families reach this milestone cements educational failure and poverty into the next generation. The Annie E. Casey Foundation is focusing attention on the critical importance of achieving grade-level reading proficiency for all children by the end of third grade. The ability to read is central to a child’s success in school, life-long earning potential, and the ability to contribute to the nation’s economy and its security.

This call for a renewed emphasis on reading success is introduced by a special KIDS COUNT report, Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, and is supported by a broad coalition including, America’s Promise Alliance, Mission: Readiness, and United Way Worldwide.

“Until third grade, children are learning to read. After third grade, they also are reading to learn. When kids are not reading by fourth grade, they almost certainly get on a glide path to poverty,” said Ralph Smith, Executive Vice President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Poor reading test scores are profoundly disappointing to all of us who see school success and high school graduation as beacons in the battle against intergenerational poverty.”

Recognizing these and other challenges, the Casey Foundation’s Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters has identified four steps to close the gap and raise the bar:
1. Develop a coherent system of early care and education that aligns, integrates, and coordinates what happens from birth through third grade so children are ready to take on the learning tasks associated with fourth grade and beyond.
2. Encourage and enable parents, families, and caregivers to play their indispensable roles as co-producers of good outcomes for their children.
3. Prioritize, support, and invest in results-driven initiatives to transform low-performing schools into high-quality teaching and learning environments in which all children, including those from low-income families and high-poverty neighborhoods, are present, engaged, and educated to high standards.
4. Develop and utilize solutions to two of the most significant contributors to the under-achievement of children from low-income families—chronic absence from school and summer learning loss.

“Because grade-level reading is such a strong predictor of future problems, philanthropy is putting a stake in the ground on ensuring that children are able to read at grade level by the end of third grade,” said Michael L. Eskew, Casey Board Chair and former CEO of UPS. “The research is clear and compelling. And it affirms what common sense tells us. In a knowledge-dependent world and global economy, no city, no region, no nation — including our own — can compete successfully without attending to the basics. And that starts with reading.”

The Annie E. Casey Foundation is a private charitable organization, whose primary mission is to foster public policies, human-service reforms, and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of today’s vulnerable children and families. For more information, visit

Optiminds can help your child achieve better reading results.



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