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Tutor Tip of the Month: Tips from Tutors

(from Contra Costa County Library’s Project Second Chance)

Learn some successful strategies from Bay Area tutors. Have a tip to share you’d like to share with the literacy community through BALit’s tutor tips? Email it to BALit!

These ideas are all from PSC tutors.

1. Do you spend time chatting with your student before the lesson starts? Try writing your greetings and your questions and answers on a white board. It makes good teaching use of those first minutes of lesson time. The writing is non-threatening, since all mistakes get erased right away! Vincent Wong

2. Is your student reading independently?
Does she have trouble focusing, either in speech or in writing? For each chapter she reads, have her write two main ideas — or three at most — on a single index card. The index cards should allow you to follow the progress of the story without reading the book. Nancy Hugman

3. Have your student bring in the lyrics to a favorite song. Help him read them. Put any hard, new, or interesting words in his notebook. He’ll remember them better because of the association with the song! Shayna Olesiuk

4. When you’re working with a language experience story (or any other text), try looking for words that fit in certain categories. You might look for compound words (fullback, floodlight, cupcake); for words with a silent E (like, cupcake, hopeless); for words with an ING (things, driving, running); for words with a suffix (driving, running, hopeless). Notice that several words will be listed under more than one category. Each time we identify one more thing about a word, we get one more "handle" on it to help us remember it. Donna McCarter

5. After your student decodes a word, have him use it in a sentence. He may be confusing it with another word (PLANT /PLANET). Not being able to hear the difference between two words that sound almost alike is at the root of many language problems. Nancy Hugman

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