Great Leaps to Go! Digital Tutoring in NYC - Academic Success Blog

Great Leaps to Go! Digital Tutoring in NYC - Academic Success Blog

What does Dunkin Donuts, a library, a hotel room, Times Square and my home office all have in common?

Places that I have remotely used Great Leaps!

Now, this is nowhere near a comprehensive list. When I first started tutoring Great Leaps it was before the digital version of the program had been released. I would work with my student at his kitchen table on my way home from my day job. Well, usually. Sometimes he would forget and I would find him a few blocks away at the park. Books and timer in hand I would call to him and he would tell his friends he would be right back and we would do our probes right there in the park. Or if we missed a day during the week we would work together at church (I figured it was okay to do Great Leaps work on Sunday- if it’s okay to heal someone on the Sabbath surely it’s okay to teach them to read!)

And then that student moved away, several hundred miles away. And naturally we stopped working Great Leaps together. Only he hadn’t made it all the way to the finish line of independent reading and he slid back again. With the advent of the digital program we once again began working together, only now the places we could be had grown exponentially! Now, I could be in a hotel room and he could be at football practice. I could be home in my office and he could be at camp. The possibilities were endless.

As were the unique ways we met challenges. When I first started using Great Leaps Digital my student did not have internet at home. So, for the first two months I was using the digital, and he was using the book form of the program and we used a cell phone to connect the two of us. I had the advantages that digital tutoring offers (Great Leaps Digital does the charting, or record keeping, for you) which was a great benefit when using a phone to connect with my student and because I was using a tablet I didn’t have to worry about how to turn pages while holding a phone. My student was able to use the book form of the program to work from, enabling him to continue working on his reading when and where he wanted without internet. The results we got were exactly what the results historically are when you are working across a table with a student—he jumped more than two years in his reading grade level in those first two months!

A few weeks ago I was in New York City for business and there was no way I was going to be back home in time to work with my students. I try very hard not to cancel and, as the trip was last minute, I did not have a substitute teacher lined up (another thing that is enhanced by Great Leaps Digital - a substitute teacher need not be local to you or to the students, the world is a lot smaller with the digital version of Great Leaps!) As it was raining on and off I had to go inside but there was room to set up in Starbucks at their Times Square location and set up we did. Grabbed the hotspot off of my phone to run the computer, plugged in headphones to cancel out the background noise for my kiddos and we were off! My students did not miss their sessions and I got to have a good cup of coffee and Junior’s Cheesecake while I was in the city that doesn’t sleep!

Truth is, with the addition of Great Leaps Digital the possibilities are endless. Have a student that is home for an extended amount of time? No problem. Have a shortage of reading specialists for your schools? No problem, instead of tutors traveling to the students in each of your schools that need help you can connect them via technology you already have and they can work with students in each school without having to leave their office! Tutoring a child that spends summers with the other parent? Now they do not have to forego their reading remediation to spend time with their family. Each session takes around ten minutes of their day and is not burdensome no matter where you are!

Give us a shout to let me know the different places you have used Great Leaps! My most unique location is Times Square and the student that “travels” the farthest to work with me is 1000 miles south of my office. Where are you and where are your students? With Great Leaps Digital  distance is no longer a factor when finding students to tutor!


By Lisa Skisland


  • Lisa,
    Did we meet at an Everybody Reads Illinois Conference in Naperville? You and Ken were at your exhibit and I was just across the aisle at the Learning Disabilities of Illinois info table. Let me know. I loved talking and getting to know a bit about Great Leaps and especially the digital version. Game changer! Been thinking about it ever since, especially when I meet a distraught parent with one or more struggling kids.

    Was that you?

    Audrey Gorman
  • How do I become a tutor?

    Ashley Falkos

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