Staying Sharp Over Summer Break

Tavia Young is one of the most sought after educational experts in the Greenville, South Carolina, area and is changing families' lives with her unique and innovative approach to tutoring. In fact, her company Young Learning is growing so fast that she frequently has to turn families away, which is something she is not okay with.  “It kills me to have to tell a parent that I cannot help their child who may be struggling or recently diagnosed with a learning disability,” she tells The Mom Report.

In an effort to reach even more families, she created a digital platform for Young Learning where she shares her proven tools and techniques with parents looking for ways to address the academic and developmental needs of their children.

"There are many things that parents can do with their young children to help provide strong foundations to build upon.  We also, as parents, need to take initiative in our child’s educational well-being. Every child learns differently and needs you to help foster this love of learning.  We are their strongest advocates."

We at The Mom Report are extremely inspired and impressed by Tavia’s work and want to share this great resource along with some ideas for summer learning with our readers.  

What is it like to work with a tutor like yourself?

When I tutor a child, I am not just their tutor, I become a part of their team.  I communicate regularly with their teachers, attend conferences, and update the parents as often as possible.  The parents, teachers, and myself are all working to bring hope and the feeling of success to these children.

What is the most common topic parents reach out to you for?  

I mostly get requests from parents seeking help for their child in reading.  The parent could be reaching out because of a recent diagnosis or the parent could simply be worried that his/her child is behind in learning to read and is seeking additional help.

When do you know a child is ready to read and how do you start teaching them?

A solid phonemic awareness (hearing sounds in words) is the foundation of reading.  This is not taught much anymore, but I feel as if it is just as important as anything else.  I have a series of 3 videos on my Facebook page (Young Learning) on how parents can teach this at home.  Once the child has a good understanding of phonemic awareness and knows his/her letter sounds, reading is usually next.  Parents can help by providing books with easy CVC (consonant vowel consonant) text. Bob books are usually a great starting point!  The key is not to jump into reading too soon.


If your child is reading, do not encourage him/her to read harder and harder books.  Children often jump into chapter books because they can read the words but this doesn’t mean the vocabulary in the book is developmentally appropriate for the reader.  There is so much more to reading than just reading words. We want to support their development of comprehension and fluency. Reading harder and harder books doesn’t help with the development of these skills.

Since we are jumping into summer break, what are some fun ideas to keep the kids academically sharp over the summer?

Students are exhausted during the school year and have so many other things on their minds.  During the summer months they’re rested, relaxed, and ready to learn! Although it may seem like it’s time for a break, it’s actually a great time to spend 20-30 minutes a day reviewing old material.  

Below are some helpful hints to make sure your summers with your children are constructive, yet fun!

  • Summer work packets (sent home by teachers) are great for reviewing old material.  Don’t complete the whole packet in the first couple of weeks. Try to stretch it out so that he/she is getting the most from it.  

  • There are workbooks for every subject and every grade for summer practice as well.  I love the Spectrum workbooks, the Test Prep series in particular because they cover all subject areas!

  • Summer Camps are wonderful and fun, whether staying away for a week or going to a day camp, they’re worth it!

  • At the beach or away from home?  Not a problem! Write letters, words, or math problems in the sand, take a small whiteboard and markers for the car, pack magnetic letters to use on the frig, bath crayons are great to use in the tub, pack or download some Leapfrog videos (Letter Factory, Storybook Factory, Phonics Farm, Math Circus), or download some audiobooks on Audible.

  • Look for books on your child’s reading level.  Book levels (BL) or Reading Levels (RL) are usually printed on the back of books with the grade level and month, for example, a 3.8 is a third grade eighth month.  If the BL or RL is not listed, you can usually find the level on

  • Keep a summer journal.  A few of your days during summer break could be journaling about an experience you’ve had, a book review or summary of a book you’ve read, a letter to your teacher, etc.  Younger ones can keep a picture journal of things you’ve done, whether it be real photos or drawings, along with one or two words to describe the picture.


Tavia graduated from Clemson with a degree in Early Childhood Education and a Masters of Education from Southern Wesleyan University.  She taught Kindergarten and first grade for 10 years in the public schools and for 5 of those years she would teach all day and tutor at night.  Tavia was trained in Orton Gillingham, which is a teaching approach designed to help kids with difficulties in reading, spelling, and writing, in 2010.  After realizing that her passion was working with kids individually, she decided to follow that dream and pursue tutoring.

Thanks again to Tavia for taking the time to share this invaluable information with readers of The Mom Report!


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Kellie Smith