When learning is hard, many families and individuals look to tutoring for help. Tutoring allows struggling students to benefit from one-on-one instruction from a teacher (or even a more advanced student), and can be particularly helpful when missed curriculum needs to be redelivered.

For example, if events like moving or illness have caused someone to miss class, hiring a tutor to help that student “catch up” on missed instruction can be invaluable. Or if circumstances prevented the information from being delivered well the first time (for example, if a teacher gets sick and the material is presented poorly in his or her absence), hiring a tutor can fill that gap.

Sometimes, however, students struggle for another reason that has nothing to do with whether or not information was delivered or delivered well, but instead has to do with the cognitive ability to receive that information and receive it well.

Cognitive skills are the foundational skills the brain uses to learn, read, reason, and pay attention, and when those skills are weak, processing incoming information can be impacted. In cases like these, tutoring typically addresses the symptom of the problem, but not the root cause. Addressing the root cause requires targeting and training the weak skills.

Read more about the tutoring options parents have when a child is struggling in school, the effects of tutoring programs, and how to determine if tutoring or cognitive training will be most effective.