How To Choose Effective Summer Tutoring Programs For Your Students

Summer tutoring programs are helpful for students who may experience learning loss, also known as the “summer slide,” over the extended summer break. summer tutoring programs help improve academic skills and provide students with a boost of confidence to better prepare them for the upcoming school year.

This article explores the benefits of summer tutoring programs and details what to look for when choosing a summer tutoring program for your students. 

What are summer tutoring programs? 

Summer tutoring programs are part of a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS). They offer individualized learning and instruction to ensure that students retain the knowledge and skills acquired during the year. Summer tutoring services target students’ areas of weakness and provide additional practice during the summer months. 

Summer tutoring sessions ensure students retain their learning from the previous school year and prepare them for the upcoming school year.

Benefits of Summer Tutoring Programs

Despite taking up some of students’ summer break, summer tutoring presents many benefits for students in the upcoming school year. Students already receiving Response to Intervention, Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3 intervention will likely benefit the most. 

Here are four benefits of implementing a summer tutoring program for struggling students.

1. Prevents learning loss

Each year, students learn brand new content that builds upon the content learned in the previous school year. But learners can experience the summer slide and forget some of the knowledge and skills learned during the summer break.  

While students in middle school and high school can experience the summer slide, elementary school students are more prone to it.

On average, students lose 17–34% of the previous school year’s learning gains over the summer months. 

Summer tutoring programs reduce the summer slide and help students catch up and maintain a strong foundation of the previous year’s material. Well-designed programs also help prepare students build upon their learning during the next year. 

2. Improves academic skills

Summer tutoring programs prevent summer learning loss and help students gain skills and confidence and secure concepts that are areas of weakness. 

Students who may not achieve proficiency on state assessments during the school year can receive extra help and practice with the concepts they struggle with most before the upcoming academic year. This helps to: 

  • Secure understanding
  • Build confidence
  • Catch up on the previous year’s curriculum

An independent study found that one 45-minute session per week with Third Space Learning helped students achieve 7 months of math growth in 14 weeks.

one on one tutoring helps accelerates math progress

3. Enhances confidence and motivation

Students who struggle in some areas during the school year can be apprehensive about moving to the next grade. They are introduced to a new and possibly more challenging curriculum which can be intimidating. 

Maintaining regular academic practice during the summer break helps these students feel more secure in their knowledge and skills. In turn, this makes them feel more confident overall. 

As students’ confidence grows, their motivation to continue practicing also grows.

4. Helps prepare students for standardized testing

Many students use the summer months to prepare for standardized testing in the upcoming school year. Summer tutoring programs focus on the skills needed to perform well to reinforce study skills and provide test prep.  

How to implement effective summer tutoring programs

Not all summer tutoring programs are equal. Choose the summer program that is best suited to your student’s needs.

To have the highest impact on student learning, the summer tutoring program must:

1. Include standards-aligned programs

The summer program you choose should be a pre-designed, well-thought-out, planned program. 

Some programs offer tutors who “make it up” as they go and plan their tutoring sessions from week to week, often just before the session. 

An unclear path of progression can lead to confusion for the student, missing out on areas of weakness and a lack of progress. 

Additionally, ensure the tutoring program is aligned with your state’s standards with a clear path of progression so tutors can accurately address student learning gaps. 

Current and former math teachers design Third Space Learning’s summer tutoring programs with a clear curriculum and best practices in mind. 

Course creators have years’ of experience planning a cohesive math curriculum for different states. They ensure lessons are aligned to specific state standards and Common Core, and cover the broad range of standards.  

New York crosswalk with Third Space Learning
Crosswalk of the NGMLS and Third Space Learning’s math tutoring sessions
Evaluating expressions using the order of operations lesson
Third Space Learning lesson “Evaluating expressions using the order of operations” aligned to Common Core Standard 5.OA.1 and New York’s standard NY-5.OA.1.

2. Recruit qualified tutors

Summer tutoring sessions require learners to take time out of their well-earned summer break to attend educational classes. Ensure tutors are highly-qualified so learners get the most out of their tutoring sessions. 

Tutors at Third Space Learning are undergraduate or post-graduate STEM or math specialists. Their math knowledge is of the highest level to ensure the best experience for learners. Each tutor must pass assessments for subject knowledge, communication skills and teaching ability. They only begin tutoring once they have passed the intensive initial tutor training program.

Every tutor must go through a rigorous selection process, which involves a background check, Police Clearance Certificate and the importance of safeguarding and student wellbeing.  

Ongoing tutor professional development from qualified math teachers includes knowledge and understanding of US standards, how to use effective teaching techniques and how to address misconceptions.

Tutor background
Breakdown of Third Space Learning’s tutors

3. Provide one-on-one tutoring

Tutoring programs typically offer small-group tutoring or one-on-one. While both types of programs have benefits, research has shown that one-on-one tutoring has a much larger impact on student growth, learning, and understanding. 

One-on-One Tutoring

• Personalized to each student’s areas of need
• Focuses on each students learning style
• Tutors adapt to students pace and pitch
• Can provide real-time, personalized feedback
• Accelerates growth more quickly
• Builds tutor/student rapport
• Improves student confidence
• Can be costly 
• Can limit the number of students receiving tutoring

Small Group Tutoring

• Usually a lower cost
• Peer collaboration
• More students receive tutoring
• Students may feel more comfortable in a group setting

• Less impact on student learning and growth
• Less attention on individual students’ needs
• Tutor may struggle to manage different learning styles and pace
• Harder for students to maintain attention and focus

The personalized nature of a one-on-one summer tutoring program allows tutors to target each student’s needs. Tutoring session follow student’s learning style and pace, which has a greater impact on the student’s learning. 

While one-on one tutoring can be costly, Third Space Learning’s summer tutoring program is the most affordable of its kind. Sessions start at just $16 per student making it 2.4 times more affordable than the average cost of one-on-one tutoring. 

Every student enrolled on a summer tutoring program receives a high-quality headset free of charge. Schools have an unlimited number of staff accounts and receive regular reporting on student progress.

Summer tutoring programs pricing table

4. Progress monitoring for schools

When students receive tutoring from an external provider, class teachers receive little feedback or communication from the tutor. Consider a tutoring program that allows classroom teachers progress monitoring opportunities for each student’s tutoring sessions. This allows the teacher to keep tabs on students’ improvements and remaining areas of weakness. It also allows the teacher to understand the impact of the tutoring sessions on the student.

After each one-on-one math tutoring session, schools receive reports for every student. This is helpful with summer tutoring programs as teachers can see the progress students made over the summer break and the concepts learned. 

Regular session reports provide immediate feedback on what each student did well and what they may have struggled with.

one on one tutoring student report

Tutors should also monitor students’ progress across the program. One-on-one tutoring allows tutors to use assessment for learning to adapt the lesson pace and pitch in real-time to meet the student’s needs. 

As part of the extensive tutor training at Third Space Learning, tutors learn how to assess student understanding in real-time during each session. Each tutor provides ongoing assessment during the tutoring session allowing them to adapt and change the lesson and their teaching techniques as needed to best target that student’s needs.

How Third Space Learning’s summer tutoring programs can benefit your students

Identify student needs and goals

Each Third Space Learning lesson is aligned to a Common Core State Standard or a specific state’s learning standards to meet the academic needs of each student. 

When enrolling students in the tutoring program, school leaders can select the math concepts students struggle with most, or choose a program with a pre-selected set of lessons.

Tutors can focus on concepts students struggled with during state testing in the previous academic year, serving as test prep for the upcoming school year.

Every session involves ongoing assessment from tutors. In addition, each session begins with a pre-assessment question and ends with a post-assessment question to track student understanding and ensure mastery of the content.

Personalized learning plans

Learning plans are personalized for each student enrolled in Third Space Learning’s tutoring program. Sessions with the same tutor mean they adapt teaching and learning strategies to meet the needs of the learner and are aware of student progress. 

Progress monitoring and reports help identify any outstanding learning gaps the student still has and guide the learning plan for the next session.

Tutors assess student’s prior learning at the beginning of each session and the learning goal of the current lesson to ensure a strong foundational understanding of grade-level content. 

Lessons finish with an enrichment activity to extend learners’ skills and understanding further.

One-on-one math tutoring 

Students participating in the summer tutoring program are assigned one tutor they will meet with for every session. This allows the student and tutor to build a rapport and establish a connection.

Sessions are one-on-one, meaning tutors can adjust teaching to meet the specific learning styles and pace of every student they work with.

As sessions take place online, multiple students can access tutoring simultaneously at a time suited to school schedules. Schools can choose the time, session length and program length for each student.

Flexible scheduling and pricing

Fun technology in summer tutoring

Tutoring sessions take place online in an interactive classroom complete with interactive tools to ensure students actively participate in sessions. The interactive tools require students to draw, type, and talk directly to their tutor.  

An online math intervention makes learning more fun for students, especially over the summer break while allowing tutors to assess students understanding using a variety of assessment methods.  

Read more: 

Third Space Learning’s targeted summer tutoring programs

Third Space Learning offers flexible summer tutoring programs for elementary and middle school students in 2nd to 8th grade. Programs are tailored to meet the needs of each student and address learning gaps. 

Choose between a 4-week program or 6-week program, depending on the needs of your students.  

Research shows the higher the frequency of the tutoring sessions, the higher the impact on student learning and progress. But, session dosage is completely flexible with sessions occurring 2, 3, or 5 times per week depending on how much students need to catch up over the summer break.

Find out more about middle school summer online tutoring programs for 6th to 8th grade students. 

Or elementary school summer online tutoring programs for 2nd to 5th grade students. 


Research shows summer tutoring programs are highly effective at reversing or preventing the “summer slide.” High-quality summer tutoring prevents knowledge loss and helps students retain skills gained during the previous school year. 

Summer tutoring programs also prepare students for the upcoming school year and even state assessments.

When looking for a summer tutoring program, remember to: 

  • Identify personalization 
  • Check for tutor qualifications and training process
  • Look for assessment and progress reporting
  • Make it fun for students 
  • Assess student comfort and satisfaction 

Third Space Learning offers affordable, high-quality standards-aligned summer tutoring program. Students receive one-on-one tutoring sessions from highly-qualified tutors. 

Sessions are flexible and fun for students. The personalized nature of these tutoring sessions improve students’ educational outcomes. 


Is summer tutoring a good idea?

Summer tutoring is an excellent strategy to address summer learning loss and any knowledge gaps or areas of weakness from the previous school year. Enrolling students in summer tutoring helps address their educational needs and prepares them for the next school year. Tutoring can take place in-person or online, depending on the needs of the student.

What do tutors do in the summer?

Tutors help students beat the summer slide during the summer break and retain knowledge from the previous school year. They fill any learning gaps and ensure students feel prepared for the coming year. 

Why is tutoring so expensive?

Many factors contribute to the high cost of tutoring such as the cost of living and demand for private tutors. Third Space Learning believe that tutoring should be accessible to all students. That’s why sessions take place online rather than in-person. Summer math tutoring starts from as little as under $17 per student per session.

Do you have students who need extra support in math?
Give your students more opportunities to consolidate learning and practice skills through personalized math tutoring with their own dedicated online math tutor.

Each student receives differentiated instruction designed to close their individual learning gaps, and scaffolded learning ensures every student learns at the right pace. Lessons are aligned with your state’s standards and assessments, plus you’ll receive regular reports every step of the way.

Personalized one-on-one math tutoring programs are available for:
2nd grade tutoring
3rd grade tutoring
4th grade tutoring
5th grade tutoring
6th grade tutoring
7th grade tutoring
8th grade tutoring

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