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Progress Meetings Tips for Tutors Using the Barton Program


Here are some tips for creating successful progress meetings with families.


The FIRST STEP is for the parent to observe about 20-25 minutes of the tutoring session. Try to keep this exactly the same as you normally would tutor but DO NOT do sight words. We want them to see more of the actual teaching process. If you have overly anxious kids, ask the student if they would like to do a previous lesson so it’s a little easier.


The SECOND STEP the student can go do their own thing because it’s usually very stressful for them to sit and listen, but they can stay if they want. This is where you pull out the completed PROGRESS FORM, the BARTON SKILLS ASSESSMENT GRAPH, and the PAST ASSESSMENT.


Always Always show the Scope and Sequence of the Barton System. You can keep a saved document for each student with dates written on there as they move through each level. Give a rough estimate to the parent about POSSIBLY when the student may complete their current level and POSSIBLY how long it may take to complete the next level. Always looking forward.


Here are some questions that the parents may have along with some potential responses:

  • What kind of books can my child read or not read? We recommend audiobooks or reading TO your child. We don’t recommend that they do independent reading UNTIL they get to the end of Barton BOOK 4. This is because until they reach that level in the Barton system, their decoding skills are not strong yet, so they will rely on a lot of GUESSING, which we are trying to teach them not to do.

  • Suggestions for my child who has completed BOOK 4? We have a PDF of some ideas of good decodable books that we can send to you. Also, just go off of your child’s interests and let them read anything they want.

  • What happens after BOOK 8?? Books 9 and 10 are more middle school and high school level vocabulary. We HIGHLY recommend these if your child is at that age. This helps them with comprehension of longer and harder texts that they are reading at school. It helps to tie together the whole Barton program and cement in the knowledge from all previous levels. Many of our students take a break for a year or two and then come back to complete BOOKS 9 and 10.

  • Is my child on track? How do I know they are making progress? They are still not scoring very well on the school tests and not reading very well yet. This type of teaching does not follow what is taught at school. We teach the rules of the English language. Schools teach grade-level material.

  • Is my child’s IEP/504 Plan appropriate and/or helpful? As a general rule, the kids that decline intervention on their IEP make MUCH better progress than those who don’t. It is too much cognitive effort for them to be in both programs. Refer to Joy if necessary. Fill out THIS FORM for a free discovery session.

  • Why is my child scoring poorly or inconsistently on the Barton Skills Assessment? The test is just a quick snapshot on ONE day, and so lots of factors can play into how they perform. Also, the scores can be greatly affected by a student’s inability or deficiency in ONLY ONE area.

  • Are you finding that his attention skills during tutoring are okay? We try to find a balance between proper pacing (speed), making sure they are enjoying tutoring, and still learning what they need to learn. Almost 100% of our students have some ADHD, so we are very used to that and comfortable with that. We don’t find that it affects the quality of this curriculum or their progress when we take breaks to talk about their hobbies, or give them time to get their wiggles out, play games, etc.

  • When will my child master the spelling rules? Spelling always takes longer to master than reading. We typically see that reading skills drastically improve after the first year of tutoring. Spelling normally comes after about 2-3 years of tutoring. The rules that they learn in book 3 will become more automatic usually towards the end of book 4, the rules they learn in book 4 may show up more consistently in book 5 or 6, and so on and so on.

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