What is the Difference Between Stowell Learning Center, Sylvan, and Kumon?

“Reading is a nightmare for my child!  I need to get some tutoring, but there are so many learning centers out there, I don’t know where to turn.”  Sound familiar?

In our area, there are learning centers everywhere and more and more parents are asking us to explain the difference between Stowell Learning Center and Sylvan or Kumon.

The Starting Point

I think the biggest difference is the starting point.

Most learning centers, large or small, provide tutoring, which typically focuses on academic skills or school subjects.  This gives students more practice in areas such as reading and math in which they are either struggling or want to excel.

Many families seek traditional tutoring when their child is struggling in school. Unfortunately, if tutoring is used to treat a learning or attention problem, it is likely to end up being a never-ending proposition.

In most cases, learning problems are the result of weak or incompletely developed learning skills. Just as a carpenter needs a set of tools to build with, we need a strong set of mental tools, or learning skills, to think and learn with. 

These tools include such things as memory, attention, auditory and visual processing (or being able to accurately think about and make sense of what we see and hear), organization, decision-making, reasoning, and processing speed.

Weaknesses in any of these areas can get in the way of easy, enjoyable learning, causing the learner to have to work too hard and too long, and maybe not “make the grade” anyway.

Traditional tutoring assumes that these underlying learning skills are in place. Working on the academics without a solid foundation of learning/processing skills is like spinning your wheels. It may cause students to wonder what is wrong with them that they always have to have tutoring and can never seem to learn to do the job on their own.

At Stowell Learning Center, our goal is to create comfortable, confident, and independent learners.  The way to do that is to develop the weak underlying skills that are not supporting the learner well enough and then remediate the academic problem areas in reading, writing, spelling, or math.

Whenever possible, we will work on the underlying skills and the academics together, but we know that without a solid foundation of mental tools or learning skills, the academics will not stick or will be far too effortful.

Apples and Oranges

So the answer to the question is apples and oranges.  Most learning centers, including Sylvan and Kumon, provide extra drill and practice in academic skills.  They may help students with homework and may work with a variety of subject areas including high levels of math.

Stowell Learning Centers focus on identifying and developing the weak underlying skills (skills such as memory, attention, auditory and visual processing, processing speed, language, phonological awareness, and executive function), and then remediating the basic academic skills. 

Our focus is not on homework or subject areas such as Science or Calculus, but on providing students the tools they need to be good learners who can do their homework on their own and work comfortably and independently at grade level or at their potential.

Join us for a FREE Parent Information Meeting- To understand more about what is keeping your child from learning as easily and independently as he could be and what can be done about it.

Click here:  https://learningdisability.com/parent-info-night/ for dates and location.






“Helping smart but struggling students dramatically improve or completely correct their learning and attention challenges by developing the underlying learning skills that are not supporting the learner well enough.”

We serve children and adults with diagnosed or undiagnosed learning and attention challenges including learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, auditory processing disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.

Jill Stowell, M.S.

Founder and Executive Director – Stowell Learning Centers

#1 Best-Selling Author:  At Wit’s End A Parent’s Guide to Ending the Struggle, Tears, and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities

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Speak to a Learning Specialist to learn more about the results from students and parents at Stowell Learning Centers.