Practice in Action
One-on-One and Small-Group Tutoring entails working with students on a particular reading or writing skill. It can take the form of one-on-one or small groups, with attention focused on building students' strengths, or helping them improve their skills in areas that challenge them.
Connect with school-day teachers to identify tutoring needs. Try to make sure that students meet with the same tutors at the same time, day, and place from week to week. Encourage tutors to incorporate a wide range of literacy activities into the tutoring sessions. For example, discuss with students what they are currently reading, use drawing and writing activities, act out stories, or play literacy games. Recruit a school reading specialist, teacher, or retired teacher to provide tutors with the support they need to reflect on their work with students.
The following PDFs may be helpful in organizing and managing your tutoring program:
Tutoring Receipt (PDF) records a student's participation in a tutoring activity.
Tutoring Log (PDF) can be used to record information about a student's work over time.
Tutoring is most effective when it is tied to the school day. This allows students to practice and reinforce what they are learning in the classroom. Students who are behind grade level in reading or other subjects benefit from the focused attention of regular tutoring. Research indicates that one-on-one tutoring may be the most effective afterschool activity for improving academic achievement.
To best support ELL students, tutors should have a general understanding of the factors that influence second language development and make every effort to identify individual students' varying levels of background knowledge and English language proficiency. Because ELLs draw on competencies and experiences in their primary language as they learn English, tutors should also determine whether the primary language has a Roman alphabet and written form, and if the student can fluently speak, read, and write in his or her native language.
Tutors should learn as much about the student's cultural background as possible, and use instructional approaches that actively value students' cultures and home languages. This will help to forge meaningful connections between literacy practices at school, home, and in the community.
Planning Your Lesson
Great afterschool lessons start with having a clear intention about who your students
are, what they are learning or need to work on, and crafting activities that engage students while supporting their academic growth. Great afterschool lessons also require planning and preparation, as there is a lot of work involved in successfully managing kids, materials, and time.
Below are suggested questions to consider while preparing your afterschool lessons.
The questions are grouped into topics that correspond to the Lesson Planning
Template. You can print out the template and use it as a worksheet to plan and
refine your afterschool lessons, to share lesson ideas with colleagues, or to help in professional development sessions with staff.
Lesson Planning Template (PDF)
Lesson Planning Template (Word document)
What grade level(s) is this lesson geared to?
How long will it take to complete the lesson? One hour? One and a half hours? Will
it be divided into two or more parts, over a week, or over several weeks?
What do you want students to learn or be able to do after completing this activity? What skills do you want students to develop or hone? What tasks do they need to accomplish?
List all of the materials needed that will be needed to complete the activity.
Include materials that each student will need, as well as materials that students
may need to share (such as books or a computer). Also include any materials that students or instructors will need for record keeping or evaluation. Will you need to store materials for future sessions? If so, how will you do this?
What do you need to do to prepare for this activity? Will you need to gather
materials? Will the materials need to be sorted for students or will you assign students to be "materials managers"? Are there any books or instructions that you need to read in order to prepare? Do you need a refresher in a content area? Are there questions you need to develop to help students explore or discuss the activity? Are there props that you need to have assembled in advance of the activity? Do you need to enlist another adult to help run the activity?
Think about how you might divide up groups―who works well together? Which students could assist other peers? What roles will you assign to different members of the group so that each student participates?
Now, think about the Practice that you are basing your lesson on. Reread the
Practice. Are there ways in which you need to amend your lesson plan to better
address the key goal(s) of the Practice? If this is your first time doing the activity, consider doing a "run through" with friends or colleagues to see what works and what you may need to change. Alternatively, you could ask a colleague to read over your lesson plan and give you feedback and suggestions for revisions.
What to Do
Think about the progression of the activity from start to finish. One model that
might be useful—and which was originally developed for science
education—is the 5E's instructional model. Each phrase of the learning
sequence can be described using five words that begin with "E": engage, explore, explain, extend, and evaluate. For more information, see
the 5E's Instructional Model.
Outcomes to Look For
How will you know that students learned what you intended them to learn through this
activity? What will be your signs or benchmarks of learning? What questions might you ask to assess their understanding? What, if any, product will they produce?
After you conduct the activity, take a few minutes to reflect on what took place.
How do you think the lesson went? Are there things that you wish you had done differently? What will you change next time? Would you do this activity again?
If your afterschool program has access to a computer lab, remember that the Internet offers a variety of free, interactive games and activities that help students practice specific reading and writing skills. See the activities and resources at the site below. Add a projector and an interactive whiteboard so that a small group of students can work on their spelling, phonics, and other literacy skills with their tutor.
Online Literacy Activities http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/student-activities
Abt Associates Inc. (2001). AmeriCorps tutoring outcomes study. Washington, DC: Corporation for National Service.
Elbaum, B., Vaughn, S., Hughes, M.T., & Moody, S.M. (2000). How effective are one-to-one tutoring programs in reading for elementary students at risk for reading failure? A meta-analysis of the intervention research. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(4), 605-619.
Fashola, O.S. (1998). Review of extended-day and after-school programs and their effectiveness. Report 24. Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk, Johns Hopkins University.
Lauer, P.A., Akiba, M., Wilkerson, S.B., Apthorp, H.A., Snow, D., and Martin-Glenn, M. (2003). The effectiveness of out-of-school-time strategies in assisting low-achieving students in reading and mathematics. Aurora, CO: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.
- Fountas, I. & Pinnell, G. (1996). Guided reading. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. A comprehensive resource for implementation of guided reading activities
- National Research Council. (2000). Starting out right: A guide to promoting reading success. Washington DC: National Academy Press.
- Braunger, J. & Lewis, J.P. (1997). Building a knowledge base in reading. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. This synthesis of research on how children learn how to read provides a baseline for educators and policymakers to consider in helping all children to meet higher standards.
- Novick, R. (2002). Many paths to literacy: Language learning and literacy in the primary classroom. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. This resource provides guidance on selecting children's books, and specific strategies to build comprehension from emergent literacy to independent reading.
- Curtis, M. & Longo, A. (1990). When adolescents can't read: Methods and materials that work. Cambridge, MA, Brookline Books.
- RMC Research Corp. (2001). Put reading first: Helping your child learn to read. A parent guide. Preschool through grade 3. Washington, DC: National Institute for Literacy.
Describes the kinds of early literacy activities that should take place at school and at home to help children learn to read successfully. Designed for parents, based on the findings of the National Reading Panel.
- Armbruster, B.B., Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2001). Put reading first: The research building blocks for teaching children to read, kindergarten through grade 3. Washington, DC: National Institute for Literacy. Summarizes what researchers have discovered about how to teach children to read successfully. It describes the findings of the National Reading Panel Report and provides analysis and discussion in five areas of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension.