How Do Institute of Reading Development Programs Compare to Private Tutors?

If your child starts to struggle as a reader, your first reaction may be to start looking for a private tutor. You know your kid needs help, and you’re willing to do everything you can. What you may not know is that Institute of Reading Development programs may actually be a better fit. Our programs offer many benefits tutors cannot, at a cost that won’t break the bank.

A Teacher Who Specializes in Reading Development

Hiring a tutor requires a lot of trust, mixed in with a bit of luck. While many are talented individuals who know how to teach reading, others come with little expertise or experience. It’s up to you to differentiate. With the Institute of Reading Development, we take care of that for you. Our selective hiring process and rigorous training ensure that each teacher is qualified and knowledgeable and is able to inspire students to love reading. Our teachers work with students of all ages – from pre-K to high-schoolers – so they have an excellent understanding of reading development and are able to make sure every student gets what he or she needs to succeed.

Engaging Classes

Individual work with a tutor is great, but there’s one thing it doesn’t provide: a shared experience of reading and discussing books. In Institute classes, students participate in lively discussions led by an experienced and inspiring teacher. Books come to life in these discussions, allowing students of all ages to deepen their connection to the story and explore ideas that are meaningful to them. Along with the core reading skills we teach, this experience has a big impact on students—it turns them into strong readers who look to books for knowledge and pleasure. In fact, our students tell us that discussing books with other kids their age was one of their favorite aspects of the program. In addition to teaching classes, teachers are available to work one-on-one with their students, and all students have access to our on-demand reading and homework helpline. That means you get the benefits of individual support and of a dynamic class experience.

Proven Curriculum

The Institute of Reading Development has spent more than 50 years developing an effective, time-tested curriculum that has turned over three million kids into skilled, enthusiastic readers. We offer research-based instruction and activities in all core reading areas—phonics, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and nonfiction and textbook strategies—as well as writing for upper elementary and secondary students. Our top-notch team of curriculum developers creates lesson plans and interactive online skills lessons that keep students engaged and learning the right skills at the right age. Even the best private tutors don’t have access to resources like these.

Great Books

Our curriculum team also carefully selects books at the right difficulty and interest level for every age group. The books we provide for younger students are written at a level they will succeed with, with funny characters and great illustrations. The children’s novels that older students read have interesting characters, exciting storylines and themes students really connect with. And unlike many tutors, the Institute is able to provide students with the invaluable experience of reading and discussing a book from cover to cover. This is the only way to truly track plot and character development, explore themes in a holistic way, and form a connection with a book. And that’s exactly what our students do! The vast majority of kids rate our books at either a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1-5. That means kids aren’t just learning skills, they are learning to love books and become lifelong readers.


Finally, the Institute’s programs are affordable. We are able to offer our programs at a comparatively low cost of under $50 per week for live online classes, interactive online skills instruction, books, individual support from a teacher, and access to our reading & homework helpline. At the end of each six-week session, parents get a progress report with recommendations for what to do moving forward. A really good private tutor, by contrast, can be very expensive, without all of the resources and services we provide.

Get the skills, books, and reading experiences your child really needs for less than $50/week.

Our Mission

The Institute of Reading Development was founded in 1970 with one core mission that hasn’t changed: teaching students of all ages the skills they need to become strong, enthusiastic readers with the habit of reading for pleasure. While a tutor might help students with reading, we take it one important step further and turn kids into lifelong readers with a love of books. The rewards of this, both personal and academic, last far beyond any school year.

Give your child a big head start on the next school year with our convenient and affordable programs.

Our programs feature live instruction from a knowledgeable, encouraging teacher and lots of opportunities to build new skills. Between classes, interactive online lessons reinforce and enrich what students have learned.

Early Fall Session

Available After-School or Weekends Starting in October.

Winter Session

After-School or Weekend Classes Enroll Now for January & February

Academically Endorsed Online Reading Programs

As leaders in online instruction for kids, we’re proud to offer programs with university partners nationwide.

Time-Tested Reading Skills Programs from Experts in Online Instruction