How long is the average program at Summit?
The average program is 40 to 60 hours. Some students may need as little as 20 or 30 hours. Some students may need 120 or more hours depending on their difficulties. No matter the challenges, change is often noticeable in the very first day with a shift in attitude toward reading and learning.
What makes Summit different than other tutors or learning centers?
We build fundamental literacy skills, we do not just help students get through schoolwork or help them master a subject. We don't give students worksheets and we don't run them through a prescriptive program. We identify specific, individual deficits in the reading process, whether phonological, visual, or conceptual, and then work with students one-on-one to fill the gaps quickly and effectively. Our approach is diagnostic, meaning we figure out what areas a student needs help in and focus on that. We use pre- and post-assessments to measure progress and provide accountability for the outcome of our work.
How do you assess progress?
Monitoring progress is an important part of an effective learning program. First, there is an initial evaluation that provides a baseline assessment. Our evaluation is more extensive than what is done in the schools but less intensive than assessments an educational psychologist does. It shows specific strengths and weaknesses in language processing ability. The evaluation is given again at the mid-point of a program and at the conclusion. Progress is assessed continuously throughout a program. This is what allows us to target specific skills for each individual student.
How are you alike or different from Orton Gillingham or other programs?
Our focus is on reading, not dyslexia. While our approach is based in and consistent with the highly structured Orton–Gillingham approach, we serve all students, not just dyslexics. Like other OG programs, it's “multisensory” which means it connects the sensory processes used in reading: sight, hearing, and concept imagery or comprehension. Our approach is more modern and comprehensive and is appropriate for more than dyslexic students including students with hyperlexia and those on the autism spectrum. The programs we use have extensive scientific research to validate them. It is important also to note that a knowledgeable and skilled instructor with a history of success is more important than any program. Our director, Nic, is knowledgeable about reading and the brain. He has 15 years of experience helping struggling readers. He is a licensed teacher and a former licensed therapist. He is a former literacy consultant in Colorado public schools.
Do you only work with dyslexic students?
No. We teach literacy skills that are useful for everyone. The word dyslexia helps people find us but beyond that, it is not that helpful as it does not tell us anything about what that student is experiencing besides difficulty. Students may have weaknesses in auditory or visual processing, comprehension, attention issues, or often a complex mix of all of the above, all of which can get the label of dyslexia. Some of our students are ESL students or have brain injuries. Our job is to find and fill any and all gaps based on the student's needs, no matter what it is called. Plenty of people struggle with reading that are not dyslexic.
Do you diagnose dyslexia or other learning disabilities?
No. This is best done by a clinical psychologist or physician with experience and knowledge in diagnosing learning disabilities. It is important to note that many students who struggle with reading are not dyslexic and a label is not needed to work with us. It is important to note that dyslexia is not just one thing. It is much better to identify the specific issue whether it is auditory, visual, or conceptual. Individual students deserve an individual approach. We work to find the root of the problem and treat it regardless of labels.
Do you only work intensively?
No. While many of our students do come to us for intensive remediation, we also work with students as coaches or mentors throughout their education. We work with everyone as an individual. There is no such thing as "one-size-fits-all" at Summit.
I am a teacher or other school staff member. How can I learn more about what you do and if we can implement it in our classrooms?
We'd be happy to help and suggest you email or call us. Chatting with us is always free of charge. We can also help you implement a program and train teachers if you want to go the next step further. Here is what the IDA (International Dyslexia Association) says about the importance of Structured Literacy in schools.
What diagnostic tools do you use?
We use a battery of tests that are common in psychoeducational evaluations. They are nationally normed and show strengths and weaknesses in underlying academic skills. Our tests include GORT-5 (Gray Oral Reading Test - 5th Edition), PPVT (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test - 3rd edition), TWS-5 (Test of Written Spelling - 5th edition), TOWL-4 (Test of Written Language - 4th edition), CTOPP-2 (Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing - 2nd edition), and various other subtests. Our evaluation is in-between what a school does and that of a neuropsychologist or educational psychologist. Our evaluation lasts about 2 hours and includes a summary of the findings. The results provide the basis for us to design an individualized tutoring program. Parents can also use the summary of our findings in an IEP meeting as a third-party gauge on whether the IEP is appropriately targeted and realistic for meeting the student's goals.
What ages do you serve?
We have experience working with students of all ages. Most of our students are in elementary and middle school. We are experienced working with emerging readers as early as 4 years old. We are experienced working with older students and adults as well. The way for you to know if it is a good fit is to call us or schedule a consultation.
Can you come to our child's school or home?
Yes, but additional charges may apply for travel expenses and some school districts require third party professionals to visit outside school hours.
Do you work with homeschoolers?
Yes, our programs are a great supplement to homeschooling! Teaching is hard, let us do some of it for you! We have served as an alternative to regular school for a number of homeschoolers with a complete reading, writing, and math program in just 3 hours a day.
Will you train parents or grandparents to do what you do?
Yes. A basic level of training is included with all program purchases. We can go beyond the basic level of training for an additional fee.
Can the school district pay for the tutoring?
It's possible. If a parent can make the case that the school doesn't have the resources or ability to help the student themselves they can ask that the school pay for outside help. There is funding for this in the Colorado READ Act. Contact your school.
Every program is individualized and personalized.
All students begin with a diagnostic evaluation.