Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make


My son has started tutoring in reading. He’s not as strong a reader as we’d like, or as strong as he’d like. So twice a week we take him to a reading expert. She’s a former Peninsula teacher, and is actually someone my wife had as a child.

His enthusiasm is striking, because when I was a kid, getting tutored was a Bad Thing. Certainly you didn’t look forward to it, or expect it to be fun. I don’t know if this is a general change in kids’ attitudes, or something specific to this area, or an extension of their general Peninsula-bred love of school. My kids look forward to Monday coming around so they can go back to school, and my daughter and her friends always complain about the end of the school, so those attitudes probably influence their attitudes toward turoring. And my son has known Marion (her tutor) for ages, and that made him more excited to be working with her.

And while I haven’t done any surveys, my sense is that a lot more of my kids’ friends are doing that in an earlier age might have been seen as remedial, and not talked much about. At least two or three of my son’s friends have worked with Marion, which goes a long way to normalizing it. And for kids who already are taking music lessons, are in swimming clubs or little league, or doing lots of other scheduled things, tutoring or speech therapy probably doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

So he’d better be reading Tolstoy by September, or I’m going ask for my money back.

1 Comment

  1. I am the learning specialist at a progressive school in SF and am doing a presentation on learning differences/tutoring in progressive schools at the PEN conference in DC this Oct. I would love to interview Marion so if she is interested she can email me
    I may also quote this post in my presentation.
    Thx so much,

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