Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Review: Tutor in a Book

It's the third week of school. How's it going?
School is a struggle for many boys. But that doesn't mean your sons are doomed to a lifetime of sub-par academic achievement. The key is understanding your son. What makes him tick? How does he learn? What obstacles are blocking his success?

Alexandra Mayzler, founder of Thinking Caps Tutoring, has written a new book to help all students reach their academic potential. Tutor in a Book: Better Grades as Easy as 1-2-3 features interactive quizzes to help you assess your child's learning style and situation, as well as real-life case studies and dozens of practical tips designed to boost your child's organization, time management and study skills.

Recently, I talked to Alexandra about the best ways to help boys learn:

Why do so many boys struggle in school?

I think that boys have a lot of energy, and it takes a lot of willpower for a middle school boy to hold that in while sitting in a chair for a whole lesson. Asking any child to sit quietly for a long period of time is a challenge, but boys, from the beginning are encouraged to be active, so honing focus is an even bigger challenge. Also, in the middle school years, a boy might be more inclined to rebel, so the consequences of rebellion may play out in school work.

Boys often have difficulty with the classic sit-down-and-learn approach that's so common in today's classroom. Are there any techniques that you find particularly useful when tutoring boys?

Make class interactive. Encourage boys to come up to the board and write answers. If there is time, start or finish a class period with an activity involving movement, such as stretching or a partner activity. Try hands-on projects such as diagrams or making boardgames. We also like to have boys do homework in non-traditional spots such as on the floor. As long as they stay organized and keep track of the materials, changing the homework spot can help boys stay focused.

So often, homework turns into a battle. What's your #1 homework tip for parents of boys?

Who knows your boy better than you do? Adapt a homework approach that fits his needs and lifestyle. If he needs to move around a lot during homework time, schedule short, frequent breaks. Communicate your goals and expectations before there’s a problem and hear what your son has to say about his hopes for the school year. By personalizing the study process and keeping communication lines open everyone can have a successful year!

Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of Tutor in a Book.


  1. movement helps the brain learn!

    good book review.

  2. I remember those days with my youngest son. Now 16, he chose a private military school in New Mexico and loves the discipline.