Tag: knowledge

Help your child learn

This article is full of tips that every parent can strive to do to help their child with learning. I write plenty about how reading to your child can make a huge difference, but there are more ways to help your child learn.

How does this help with reading?

This article and the others I have linked here further explain these tips. I have also noticed these practices to be true in my experience as a tutor. It was the student who had a variety experiences with loving care givers that made progress with learning and that were open to learning.

How could you help your child?

  1. Bring balance to your child’s day. Limit screen time, provide outdoor experiences and exercise.
  2. Make sure your child is well rested. “Sleep serves to reenergize the body’s cells, clear waste from the brain, and support learning and memory.”
  3. Do make time for play in your child’s schedule. I can’t stress enough the benefits of play for a child’s overall development.
  4. Take care of the basics. Give your child healthy food habits. Kids that eat well, learn well. I’ve seen this from early childhood to teens. Be a model for them by eating good greens and fruit daily.
  5. Learn together. If something makes your child curious, take a moment to take a closer look, Find a book on the topic, a museum exhibit, or an educational website.

Thanks for stopping by.



Good struggle

I’ve been tutoring young students for over a year and with each new student, I gain more knowledge about how to tutor and how to make the most of the hour I spend with each student.

One thing I’ve noticed in some of the students I tutor is the lack of decoding skills when encountering a new word. Most of the time, a student will either substitute a similar word, or attempt to sound out, but give up too quickly. It’s hard as a tutor to allow a bit of struggle (at first) because a good tutor knows that there’s a fine line between struggle and frustration. And it takes some time to help a student unlearn the fear of struggle and instead to face the struggle a little bit at a time.

It’s in the struggle that a student can gain confidence. But, in order to face the struggle, a student must first be taught how to use strategies for decoding. One way I found to teach strategies is to deconstruct words. I show a student a “difficult” word and show them how to divide by syllables or to see if there are any pre-fixes or suffixes. But also, it helps to use pieces of nonsense words to practice sounding out. Like putting consonants and vowels together and saying letter sound by letter sound. P-r-o….or f-l-a…

I am encouraged when a student pronounces, even incorrectly a difficult word. This is okay and should be encouraged. Sometimes when a student does this, I say, “hmmm… try that again,” or I say, “Does that sound like a word you know? And other times, I encourage a student to re-read the sentence and when the word is reached again, the word can often be decoded by combining the meaning of the sentence with the decoding. When I reach this point with a student, I’ve met my goal of reaching what I call, good struggle.

Good struggle is facing, without too much fear or frustration, something that is hard with increasing confidence. Once I see a student reach this point, I introduce books at the instructional level. I define this a book in which a child is interested in reading, but also expected to run into some unfamiliar words, but not too many that meaning gets lost in the struggle.

I may clarify this post at a later date or update it as I work on this goal my students. For now, and always, thanks for reading.

~Peace in the struggle.



Good Tutoring Sessions

Here are several key “ingredients” for good tutoring sessions:

  1. Building rapport-This may involve a few visits, but it’s important. The students I tutor are young, and often anxious at what tutoring is until after a few visits. They learn pretty quickly that tutoring is simply a time of focused reading with a teacher. I try to ask a few questions to find interests. I know that children are unique and so I try to make sure to bring books to the sessions that will motivate them to work at reading. It’s also nice to throw in some humor to let them know that tutoring can be warm, fun and a nice time even though we’re working together. Finally, using stickers, fun, colorful pencils and small whiteboards help the “work” seem more like play.
  2. Setting-If possible, minimizing distractions is vital. So, I have found that tutoring in a quiet room or living room is best. The library is good, but might have too much noise for some students. A couch is good, but a table is even better. For some reason, couches can be too comfy and I end up with children upside down or squirming on pillows and cushions. Tables can hold books, workbooks, markers, iPad and the many other random items I bring to a session.
  3. Time of day- I have found that evening after dinner to be a good time to tutor. It could be that the student has had enough down time after school and also the distraction of hunger has been taken care of. The next best times are mornings (but not too early) on the weekends.
  4. A Schedule– I find that when I bring in a child friendly task student-task-list and stick with it that a student knows what to expect, a sense of accomplishment when checking off items and a routine which minimizes anxiety.

What I would like to add more of in my sessions:

More hands on learning of words, phonemes, word families, and games. I use workbooks, but I’d like tutoring to look different rather than similar to what might be done at school. The Teachers Pay Teachers website has been a valuable tool for me as well as other websites which have games, resources and others for their free reading passages.

~Happy Reading!




Outcomes of Targeted Tutoring

After a year of tutoring children in reading, I’ve learned a great deal and have experienced the difference reading tutoring can make. While the tangible goals of improving fluency, comprehension and decoding are significant, and certainly strong part of my program, it has been a joy to see other equally, if not more significant outcomes develop as a result of one-on-one tutoring. Increased confidence, attention and focus while reading or being read to, and the student’s discovery of learning and enjoyment through good books.

Each student is unique in his struggle with reading and learning, but each student I’ve tutored has achieved success after 6 months and some cases a few months. I’m excited to report these outcomes and hope that I could offer my services to other struggling children as I learn to promote my business in the year 2017. That is another learning goal of mine.

~peace readers.