Tutors, you probably will ask yourself the following question sometime during a tutoring session: What do I do?
Thank goodness, there are plenty of strategies and support to assist tutors in supporting LEARNING SUPERHEROES. And chances are, your question probably will be answered among the following bullet points and websites.
GENERAL TUTORING TIPS AND STRATEGIES
Here is a list of suggestions you may consider utilizing during your tutoring sessions:
- Connect with your student. Spend some time at the beginning of your tutoring session asking questions and getting to know your student. Building a connection will help the student feel safe and comfortable and your tutoring session will be more productive.
- Give children limited and sensible choices — we need to work on _____ and _____ today. Which do you want to start with?
- Have a work plan. Today we are going to ____ and ____. Give the student the opportunity to add to the plan. Write it down and let the student check things off as they get done.
- Vary the sessions.
- Respond to the student’s interest. Bring a book about football or animals.
- Acknowledge when things aren’t going well. This is hard — that’s okay.
- Involve the student in the problem-solving process.
- Assume that when a student doesn’t understand something you have to find a better way to explain it. If a student is really stuck — move on. Often the more you stay on one point, the more anxious it makes the student. Children learn best in an environment they perceive to be safe.
- When you know a student is pressing your buttons — be an actress and don’t let on. Once you are in a power struggle, you have lost — even though you might win.
- Articulate the issues for the student. “I have noticed that it takes you a while to settle down. Why don’t we spend the first few minutes talking about your favorite TV show or something fun you have done recently.” Remember that reading is a language-based skill. Any time spent talking with a student is helpful.
- If a student comes to tutoring and is obviously upset about something, ask her if she wants to talk about it. Acknowledge the feelings the student may be expressing.
- Take a break. If the student is really having trouble staying on task, take a short break. Have the student stand up and stretch or walk to the water fountain.
RESOURCES FOR TUTORS
Here are some suggestions for websites that provide more information about tutoring:
From Fellow Tutors:
From Northfield Teachers:
- Literacy Tutor Training by Becky Gainey
- A Volunteer’s Bag of Tricks for Working with Small Groups by Tania Will
- Classroom Volunteer Expectations by Tania Will
- Motivating and Managing Students by Jen Winterfeldt
- Introduction to Response to Intervention(RtI) Tutoring by Diane Torbenson
- Reading Comprehension Strategies
- Reading Accuracy Strategies
- Reading Fluency Strategies
- Reading Vocabulary Strategies
From Northfield Reads and Counts:
- Tips for Reading with Children
- Language Knowledge
- Keys to Reading Comprehension
- Grade-Level Reading Expectations
- Communicating with Children
- Listening, Questioning, Correcting Strategies
- Reading Strategies from Bank Street College of Education
From the Corporation for National Community Service:
- Working with Children at Different Stages of Development. What to expect in behavior from certain age groups of students and some suggestions on how to handle these behaviors.
- Tips for Motivating Struggling Students
- Ready-to-Use Tutoring Activities
- Putting Research to Use by Amy Blake. Some research findings and activity ideas.
- Tutor Mentor Connection. A website that functions as a network of research, resources, and advice for individuals who tutor and mentor students.
- Corporation for National Service Knowledge Networks. A series of websites about various topics, including tutoring, that have lots of great information and links to other good resources.
- Minnesota Literacy Council. This organization has some great resources ranging from lesson plans and activities to try for small groups to one-on-one strategies.