How Much Does a Reading Tutor Cost?

By Gregory Bertsch, M. Ed.

Posted: October 3, 2023

reading tutor cost for kids

Finding the right reading tutor for your child can be challenging and stressful. In recent years, more and more families have been seeking tutors to help fill learning gaps caused by the pandemic or other issues.

As a parent, you likely have many questions: Where do I find qualified tutors? How much should I expect to pay? Should my child work one-on-one or in a small group? Is in-person or remote tutoring better? How many sessions per week does my child need?

There are three main tutoring options to consider:

  • Remote Online Tutoring: This allows for flexible scheduling and no transportation needed. Costs tend to be lower. Building rapport remotely can be more difficult.
  • Private In-Person Tutoring: One-on-one attention in person can be very effective. Transportation time and costs need to be factored in. Rates are often higher.
  • Corporate Tutoring Centers: Small group tutoring may cost less per hour. There is less flexibility in scheduling and curriculum. Transportation is required.

In this article, we’ll review some of the factors that influence reading tutoring costs, how much you should really spend and the pros and cons of different options. Don’t be afraid to trial a few sessions with different tutors to find the best fit. With some diligence, you can find the right tutoring solution to support your child’s academic growth.

Factors That Influence Reading Tutoring Costs

There are several essential areas to consider when searching for the right tutor for your child. Much of the decision-making process revolves around choosing a person you feel has the right qualifications, the best background experience, the right price, and the person that fits your child’s personality and learning style.

Not all tutors are created equal and vary widely based on their work experience, educational background, teaching style, training, and licenses.

Prices for remote reading tutors can vary from $15 an hour to $150 an hour. Prices vary widely depending on where you live and the background and education the tutor has.

1. Tutor’s educational background and credentials

A reading tutor’s educational background and credentials play a significant role in determining the cost of their services. Tutors with advanced degrees in education, literacy, or related fields often command higher rates.

Additionally, certifications in specific reading instruction methods such as Orton-Gillingham or Wilson Fundations. can further increase a tutor’s value and rates.

Working with a tutor who has a license and a master’s in reading instruction will be more expensive, but the quality of the learning experience will be a lot higher and faster. There is a big difference between an educator who has worked with children learning to read and an actual reading specialist.

A licensed reading specialist has been professionally trained in all aspects of reading instruction and can diagnose your child’s reading gaps and help them get back on track rapidly.

Parents seeking specialized expertise may expect to pay more for tutors with such qualifications.

2. Experience and specialization

Tutors with extensive experience and specialization in areas like dyslexia or working with English as a Second Language (ESL) students typically charge higher rates.

This expertise can be crucial for effectively addressing specific learning challenges. Specialized tutors often have a deeper understanding of the unique needs of their students, which can result in more tailored and successful tutoring sessions.

An example of this would be my certificates in ELL instruction and further training in Fundations, a specialized approach to teaching children with reading disabilities.

3. Location

The location where tutoring takes place can significantly affect costs. Urban areas tend to have higher living costs; consequently, tutoring rates may be inflated to match the cost of living.

Conversely, tutoring rates may be more affordable in rural areas or regions with a lower cost of living. Rates can range from $25-$100 per hour, depending on the background and experience of the teacher.

Many families might think $100 per hour for 1-1 elementary reading instruction may seem like a lot, however, a child’s reading ability is usually set by the 4th grade. So, the SAT that is worth paying a tutor for will not matter if your child does not have a solid foundation in reading from their elementary instruction.

A good tutor will spend time planning lessons that fit your child’s specific needs each week. Learning centers cost less but they use lessons in a box that are one size fits all.

4. Mode of tutoring

The mode of tutoring, whether online or in-person, can influence the cost of reading tutoring.

Online tutoring is often more affordable as it eliminates travel expenses for both the tutor and the student. In-person tutoring typically requires the tutor to factor in travel time and costs, which can lead to higher hourly rates.

However, the convenience and personalization of in-person tutoring may justify the increased cost for some students.

5. Session length and frequency

Longer sessions or more frequent meetings with a tutor may incur higher fees. Some tutors offer discounted rates for longer sessions or package deals for regular tutoring, which can be cost-effective for students requiring extensive support.

Parents and students should consider their budget and learning needs when determining the optimal session length and frequency.

6. Group vs. One-on-One tutoring

Group tutoring sessions are generally more affordable than one-on-one sessions.

In group settings, the cost is typically shared among several students, making it a cost-effective option for those on a budget. However, one-on-one tutoring offers a more personalized learning experience, allowing the tutor to focus exclusively on the student’s individual needs.

As a result, one-on-one tutoring tends to be more expensive due to the undivided attention provided.

Online vs. In-Person Tutoring

Convenience and flexibility

Online reading tutoring offers a high degree of convenience and flexibility. Students can access their tutoring sessions from virtually anywhere with an internet connection. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for individuals with busy schedules or those living in remote areas where in-person tutors may not be readily available. It also allows for scheduling sessions at various times of the day to accommodate students’ preferences.

In-person tutoring may be less convenient due to the need to travel to a physical location. This can be time-consuming and may lead to scheduling challenges, especially for students with packed schedules. In-person sessions are also typically limited to specific time slots, which may not align with all students’ availability.

Overheads and logistics

Online tutoring tends to have lower overhead costs. Tutors do not need to maintain physical spaces or commute to meet students, reducing their expenses. This often translates to more competitive pricing for students. Additionally, online platforms usually handle scheduling, payment, and communication, streamlining logistics for both tutors and students.

In-person tutoring involves higher overhead costs, primarily related to maintaining a physical tutoring space, travel expenses for both tutor and student, and potential administrative tasks. These costs may lead to higher hourly rates for in-person tutoring services.

Access to resources and tools

Online tutoring provides access to a wide range of digital resources and tools. Tutors can utilize interactive learning platforms, multimedia materials, and specialized software to enhance the learning experience. Students can easily share documents and access digital libraries during sessions, promoting a dynamic and resource-rich learning environment.

In-person tutoring relies more on physical resources and materials. While tutors may bring printed materials and books, the range of resources available is somewhat limited compared to the digital landscape. However, in-person tutoring allows for hands-on activities and face-to-face interaction, which can be particularly effective for certain students.

In summary, the choice between online and in-person reading tutoring depends on individual preferences and needs. Online tutoring offers greater convenience, flexibility, and cost-efficiency, making it an attractive option for many. In contrast, in-person tutoring may provide a more traditional and personalized learning experience with the benefit of physical interaction. Consideration of these factors alongside one’s own learning style and logistical considerations can help determine which mode of tutoring is the most suitable for a given situation.

Additional Costs to Consider

Books and reading materials

Reading tutoring often involves the use of various books and reading materials to enhance the learning experience. These materials can include textbooks, workbooks, novels, and other printed resources tailored to the student’s reading level and goals. While some tutors may provide these materials as part of their services, others may require students to purchase them separately. It’s important to budget for these costs, as the selection of appropriate reading materials can significantly impact the effectiveness of the tutoring.

Online platforms and subscriptions

Many reading tutors leverage online platforms, software, or subscriptions to supplement their tutoring sessions. These digital tools can include interactive reading programs, assessment tools, and access to extensive libraries of e-books and educational resources. While these resources can enhance the learning process, they may come with subscription fees or one-time purchase costs. Students and their families should inquire about these potential expenses when considering online reading tutoring services.

Commute (for in-person sessions)

For students opting for in-person reading tutoring, it’s essential to factor in the cost of commuting to and from the tutoring location. This expense can include fuel costs, public transportation fees, or parking fees. The distance to the tutoring location and the frequency of sessions will determine the overall impact of this cost. In some cases, the commute cost for in-person tutoring may outweigh the convenience of online alternatives, so it’s crucial to weigh this factor when making a decision.

In conclusion, while the hourly rate of a reading tutor is a significant consideration, it’s equally important to account for these additional costs associated with reading tutoring. These costs can vary depending on the specific tutor’s requirements and the mode of tutoring (online or in-person). By budgeting for books and reading materials, online resources, and potential commuting expenses, students and their families can make informed decisions and ensure that the overall cost of reading tutoring fits within their financial plans.

Is Online Reading Tutoring Worth It?

Determining whether an online reading tutor is worth it depends on various factors, including individual learning preferences, convenience, and the quality of the tutor.

Online reading tutoring offers significant advantages in terms of accessibility, flexibility, and often lower costs. It can be especially valuable for those with busy schedules or limited access to in-person tutors.

However, its effectiveness hinges on the tutor’s expertise, the suitability of the online platform, and the student’s ability to stay engaged in a digital learning environment.

To ascertain whether it’s worth it, prospective students should carefully research and choose a reputable online tutor with a track record of success, consider their own learning style, and assess whether the benefits of convenience and flexibility outweigh any potential drawbacks associated with online learning.


Finding the best reading tutor for a child involves considering various factors, including cost, qualifications, experience, location, mode of tutoring, and additional expenses.

Online tutoring offers convenience and cost savings but highlights the importance of the tutor’s expertise and the online platform. In-person tutoring provides a personalized experience but involves commuting costs and other drawbacks.

Ultimately, the choice between online and in-person tutoring depends on each child and family’s individual needs and preferences. It’s essential to research and select a reputable tutor, consider your child’s learning style, and budget any additional expenses. Investing in your child’s reading skills is an investment in their future, with vast benefits.