Hi friends! This blog is for teachers and families- all for the sheer joy of literacy. When we are enthusiastic about reading and writing our students and our own kids become excited to read and write. I hope that we all can be models for those in our care- how did you show your passion for reading, writing, learning, language, or words today?? It's in those small, daily moments that we teach kids to love literacy.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tips for Reading Tutors

My aunt and uncle are literacy heroes (woot, woot) as they have been investing a great deal of their personal time tutoring reading to kids and adults in their local community. I thought it may be helpful for them (and to any other reading tutors out there) to share some tips and links on reading tutoring.

The tutoring experience can be really rewarding to both parties involved. And to make the most it, here some of my ideas:

1) Learn about your student's background. This will help to motivate your student to be engaged in your time together. It may be fairly obvious- but knowing your students interests will help you to know what type of books or reading material to expose them to. Get your student excited about reading and help them find the books that are just right for them!!

2) Learn your student's reading needs. This will help you target your tutoring support to meet your student's needs. While you probably won't give a formal reading assessment on your student, you can tell a lot about someones reading just by having them read to you. Have this checklist in your head as you read with your student (some of this list has been taken from Hopelink) and take stock of his/her biggest areas of need:

Does your student:
  • Read aloud fluently, with no difficulties in pronunciation?
  • Read aloud fluently, with correct phrasing of the text and with pauses and emphasis placed correctly?
  • Decode words well (break apart unfamiliar words or use words they know to help them read words they don't know)?
  • Use reading strategies (rereading, questioning, etc...) to help them when they're stuck?
  • Draw conclusions?
  • Find the main idea?
  • Read for specific information/details in the text?
  • Sequence material?
  • Make inferences, including text predictions?
  • Summarize what has been read?
  • Activate and use prior knowledge?
  • Visualize information?
  • Understand and use new words?
  • Understand text read silently?
Make sure to focus on only a couple of your student's reading needs at once! It's too daunting, both for you and the student, to tackle everything at once!

3) Use a lesson plan to focus your time with your student. After you have gotten to know your student personally and academically, you'll want to create a general lesson plan to make the most of your time together. Every time you meet together you should keep your lesson plan fairly similar. Here are a couple of ideas of how to organize your time with a student.

Lesson Plan Idea 1- For a student with fluency and comprehension needs:
(For a 50 minute tutoring session)
5 minutes- Listen to student reread text from last time (1 Chapter/1 Book/1 Text Section)
10 minutes- Practice fluent reading with poetry (tips: improve rate by timing your student, improve phrasing of the text by marking when you should take pauses, improve expression by performance, etc..)
5 minutes- Pre-teach harder concepts/words in new text
10 minutes- Have student read new text out loud
10 minutes- Discuss text while focusing on a comprehension strategy (tip-have the student explain their thinking, do not do all the thinking!)
10 minutes- Read to the student (Tip: think out loud as you read, so the student has a model for good reading)

Lesson Plan Idea 2- For a student that is learning English:
(For a 30 minute tutoring session)
5 minutes- Listen to student reread text from last time (1 Chapter/1 Book/1 Text Section)
10 minutes- Word Work (playing word games, doing concept and spelling pattern word sorts, etc..)
5 minutes-  Pre-teach harder concepts/words in new text
10 minutes- Read and Discuss new Text

Lesson Plan Idea 3- For a beginning reader:
(For a 50 minute tutoring session)
5 minutes- Listen to student reread text from last time (1 Chapter/1 Book/1 Text Section)

5 minutes- Practice sight words (their, there, about, enough, etc...)
10 minutes- Word Work (playing word games, doing concept and spelling pattern word sorts, etc..)
10 minutes- Have student read new text out loud
5 minutes- Have the student retell text- talking about the characters, problem, setting, etc...
15 minutes- Read to the student (Tip: think out loud as you read, so the student has a model for good reading)

Your lesson plan can look completely different than these, and that's okay. But make sure that you are consistent, intentional, and that the student is reading a lot. Target your support to address the student's biggest reading needs. Many kids and adults struggle with reading because they are not reading! The more you read, the better you get at reading!

For more information (and fancy pamphlets), check out these links:

Thanks to all of you out there who are working to improve literacy! Thanks for the inspiration AFE and UA!

Read on!


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