Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student and I reviewed vocabulary for the second passage on Ecosystems (this passage focused on the role of plants in ecosystems). I asked her to read 12 terms and their definitions aloud. For the next 10 words, I asked her to use the Rewards decoding method. I allowed her to stop at 5; she used the method correctly. I asked her to decode the remaining five words for homework. I asked her to match words from the vocabulary list to their definition. I gave her 90 seconds to look at the word list; then, she had one minute to match the words to their definitions. I wanted to see how well she could focus under time constraints. I also wanted to see how well she could use the context and explicit cues of the text (all the vocab terms were written in bold-type text). I asked her to finish the vocabulary for homework. Before reading the passage, I asked her to preview it. I reminded her that previewing means reading the headings, looking at the pictures and drawings, and reading the captions (if there are captions). When she finished previewing the passage, I asked her to make a prediction about the passage. I modeled whisper reading (reading aloud quietly) while reading the first paragraph. She whisper read the first paragraph. Note: I used two pieces of yellow construction paper for purposes of contrast; that is, I placed the white paper on which the passage was written on yellow construction paper to make the writing stand out more, visually. I thought the visual prominence of the text may increase her reading time. She read fairly well. She paused frequently when moving from one line of text to the other. I am designing an intervention that may help her track across the text more consistently. I asked her 7 comprehension questions as we read aloud (one question for each paragraph). Her answers were correct. Interestingly, she used vocabulary from the prior passage in her answers for this passage, which suggests that she is able not only to comprehend a text, but to express the concepts of the text in the specific terms of the subject. Next, we used the Rewards strategy to answer multiple-choice questions. In this method, students are encouraged to read the question carefully, and reread if necessary for clear understanding. The students then read each answer choice carefully, and then carefully consider the reasons each answer could be right or wrong. The one question she missed asked her to choose a title for the passage. She chose a title with the words "plants"ù and "photosynthesis"ù in it; this was an attractive choice, because photosynthesis was a prominent topic of the passage, but it was not the sole topic of the passage. The passage talked about how plants use photosynthesis and cellular respiration to play an important, producing role in an ecosystem. I explained this point to her, and she changed her answer to the correct choice. I asked her to complete three short-answer questions related to the passage. For each question, she must write in complete sentences to either affirm or refute a statement made about a topic from the passage. I reviewed the questions with her and asked her to write her answers as complete sentences. Lastly, I asked her to complete a short answer vocabulary activity. In this activity she will have to write complete sentences to place vocabulary words in the correct context. This activity tests a student's understanding of vocabulary beyond memorizing the definition; the student must place the word in a real-world context. I think she will answer each of the three questions creatively; this may be an opportunity for me to show her the appropriate way to use imagination when reading and writing."
"For our first session, the student and I got to know each other a bit. I asked him about his family and interests, and then we read a book he said was one of his favorites. He reads well above average for his age and seems to actually enjoy reading. His reading skills are far better than I could have ever expected for a 5 year old. His reading comprehension was pretty great as well."
"The student had three tests scheduled at school the next day, so we spent the session studying for those. First, we did spelling--24 words. He only missed four, which we reviewed many times, initially and again before I left. He had them correct at that point. Next, we worked on geography. He had to know the states in the southern and western region of the US, be able to place them on a map, and put in their state capitals and abbreviations too. He knew the states, their abbreviations, and placements; he had some hesitancy with a couple of the capitals and difficulty with spellings of the states and their capitals. So, we spent more time on that. When we moved on, he had all but the spellings correct. He seemed to think his teacher wouldn't hold them accountable for the spellings...I hope not. However, we needed to address the third study area: LA definitions. His teacher had made some very fine study aides for the student, which we used in both the geography and the LA reviews. He knew most of the definitions, if you matched the definition to the term, e.g., hyperbole. Yet, he had little understanding of the terms or of how to pronounce several of them. Consequently, we went over pronunciations and examples of them. He caught on pretty quickly and we looked for examples in poems his teacher had given them. Also, we made up our own for a number of the terms. He enjoyed that a great deal. For homework, I asked him to choose five words from his spelling list and write a sentence using each one."