The deb website has decided at this stage not to create a list of recommended tutors or educators. Let me explain why recommending a tutor is not the same as recommending programmes. When we recommend a programme, we are saying it is evidence-based and is in-line with the science of reading in its approach. However, the way that programme is then delivered by a teacher or parent is the part we can’t control – how well people stick to and deliver a programme may vary hugely. If we recommend a tutor, we are making a claim about how well and how faithfully the material will be delivered; this is not something that we can do as a website, in the same way that we can recommend the content of a programme.

There are some good tutoring providers and good qualifications to look for in tutors, but many tutoring service providers have huge variation in what materials their tutors actually use and how well they use them, and the same can be said about people with various qualifications. To avoid the issues involved, we’ve made a decision as a website not to recommend specific tutors or specific tutoring services.

We will provide you with the information and questions you will need to ask when choosing a tutor/educator for your child.

The Australia Dyslexia Association has a directory which lists educators who have been trained in evidence based approaches.

SPELD New Zealand is another excellent association .They also have our dyslexic children at the heart of what they do and all educators are educated in evidence based practice.  SPELD NZ hold their own list of fully trained tutors in New Zealand you can contact them here 

What should I ask a tutor/educator to check if they are using an evidence based approach and are a good fit for me and my child?

What up to date qualifications do you have for teaching people with dyslexia? 

Are you registered under? 

  • Australia Dyslexia Association    
  • International Dyslexia                      
  • SPELD                                                 
  • Other                                                   

Can you provide your registration number? 

Note: When you are asking if the tutor/or educator is registered you are checking for registrations related to dyslexia training, as all New Zealand teachers  are given  registration when they complete teacher training in New Zealand.

Which provider did you train under in New Zealand?

  • Liz Kane Literacy Professional Development 
  • Learning Matters Professional Development
  • SPELD: Teacher Level 5 NZQA   
  • LETRS: Accredited by the International Dyslexia Association
  • ISMLE: Accredited by the Australian Dyslexia Association after doing 12 months accreditation. 
  • Orton Gillingham: 5 Days Training only (not all OG course are accredited by the IDA and ADA) 
  • Orton Gillingham:  Accredited by the International Dyslexia Association after doing 12 months accreditation. 
  • Sounds Write Training Course 
  • Seabrook Mackenzie:  Teacher Level 5 NZQA   

What Scope and Sequence do you use for reading and spelling?

Here is a list of most of the scope and sequences that are used in New Zealand. 

  • A scope and sequence based on the training course  –
  • iDeal from Learning Matters 
  • The Code from Liz Kane Literacy 
  • LETRS  Scope and Sequence 
  • All about Reading and All about Spelling 
  • Orton Gillingham scope and sequence based on the training course 
  • Sounds Write    
  • Sunshine decodable books  (reading scope and sequence )
  • Little Learners Love Literacy (reading scope and sequence)

It is important when you choose an educator/tutor for your child that has done the training on how and why we use a scope and sequence for dyslexic children.

Other questions to consider asking:  

  • Do you teach the 44 sounds and spelling rules as part of your scope and sequence?
  • What resources do you use for phonemic awareness?  
  • Do you teach the 6 syllables of English– Open, Closed, Silent E , Vowel Team, Controlled R and Consonant LE 
  • What Decodable books do you use?
  • What approach do you use when teaching irregular words? 
  • Do you use spelling words from school that relate to PM reader books also known as the essential list?  
  • Do you charge extra for an assessment to assess my child and do I receive a copy of this assessment?
  • Do you offer a service to work with the child’s teacher, if so is there an extra charge?
  • Is there an option, if the school allows for you to work in the school? 
  • How long is your session and how much do you charge? 
  • If my child is sick do you offer catch lessons? 
  • Can I sit in on the lesson? 
  • Do you offer a service to support me in IEP meetings? 
  • Do you teach grammar and writing? 

Charges for lessons vary on location and training and can range from $60-120 an hour so please take the time to find out what you are paying for is indeed what is recommended for your dyslexic child. 

It is concerning that there is no regulation or register to assure parents that tutors are fully qualified. Anyone can open a tutoring business and start charging for lessons without any training on how to teach a dyslexic child. We know dyslexic children need a Structured Literacy approach that follows the science. Unfortunately we are finding many who offer services do not have the experience or training on how to implement an evidence based approach for dyslexic children.  

We have also come across businesses who falsely state they are using an evidence based approach on their websites and Facebook pages only to discover they are using a mixture of balanced and Structured Literacy. 

Please take the time to read through all the information and ask as many questions as you need until you feel comfortable with their answers.

We hope you find  this document helpful in finding the right tutor for your child.




This document was created by Sharon Scurr founder of the deb