About Our Founder
Kristen Carder has a passion for helping people learn. From 2000-2004, Kristen tutored for a private reading specialist in Bucks County, PA, where she successfully employed the Orton-Gillingham and Wilson method to tackle dyslexia and reading issues. After moving to Berks County, PA in 2004 and providing customized one-on-one tutoring for several years, Kristen discovered the PACE (Processing and Cognitive Enhancement) program - the premier one-on-one brain training curriculum available. Kristen was amazed at how quickly learning and reading issues could be solved for people of all ages with the PACE program, and she has been using this curriculum ever since with exceptional results. For the last 9 years as a Licensed PACE Provider, Kristen has helped student after student become happy, independent learners and readers. In October of 2008, Kristen established The Brain Gym in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania and just recently has transitioned the business to Beyond Tutoring LLC.
Q & A with Kristen
Tell me about one of the most rewarding experiences you've had working at The Brain Gym with a student.
Being a part of a positive transformation in someone's life is the reason I love my job! Recently I worked with a 16 year-old girl who was struggling to stay afloat academically and terrified of going to college. Her science grades had always been low, but this past year her Biology class was just killing her. Even though she studied really hard, she never performed well on tests. She was very discouraged when she started our program, but by the end of her 3 months with us, she achieved phenomenal final results. Her biology grade went up to a 92% and she is now an academically successful student-athlete at a local university.
Why did you decide to change your name from The Brain Gym to Beyond Tutoring: Center for Learning, Reading & Attention?
As a Type A creative person with ADHD (diagnosed not once but twice), I am rarely satisfied with the status quo, and am always looking for ways to do things better; I am always working toward the next best thing. As The Brain Gym continued to grow, and as my own children got a bit older and more independent, I felt that we (The Brain Gym) were ready for the next step. I enlisted the help of several consultants to figure out our next step, and a name & location change just made the most sense.
We were often confused with Brain Gym: Educational Kinesiology, and I really wanted to differentiate from that company. Additionally, in the future, I would like to offer services that go beyond the scope of brain-training, such as tutoring and SAT Prep (for those that have gone through our brain training program), and support services for families with kids that struggle with ADHD. Really, I wanted to expand our service options AND expand the scope of whom we could help at the same time.
Beyond Tutoring LLC: Center for Learning, Reading & Attention came out of about a six-month process of digging deep. I spent hours leaning into hard questions: Who am I? What do I want out of life? What is my purpose? And then applying the same questions to The Brain Gym: Who are we? Why are we here? How can we improve? It was a difficult, yet thrilling process. I am so excited to offer the community of Wyomissing and the greater Reading Area the unique services that we provide.
If you could share one piece of advice to encourage parents whose child is struggling, what would it be?
Parents, there is hope for your frustrated child; the cycle of tension, tears and turmoil can stop. Your kid does not have to constantly be frustrated and you do not have to continue to argue with them about academics! Refuse to accept the painful, seemingly unending hours of schoolwork each night as "normal." If your child is not able to succeed without accommodations, something needs to change. If you feel like you've tried everything up to this point, don't be discouraged, you've come to the right place. For most students, we can permanently solve the underlying learning issues that are holding them back from succeeding.
Why does what you do matter so much?
At Beyond Tutoring, we treat the real cause of the problem, we don't just put a BAND AID on the symptom. Our results are permanent, so unlike tutoring, kids do not have to be dependent on our program year after year. From time to time, most kids do struggle in school - that's normal. However, if a child has a history of constant academic struggle, we can help. The intervention programs offered by Pennsylvania's public schools are fantastic, and I hope you're taking advantage of them if your child qualifies. However, no one should be permanently dependent on interventions, whether through the school, a tutor or even parents. At Beyond Tutoring, it is our mission to create independent learners and readers who can succeed with minimal frustration.