Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"Today's focus was intentional/meaningful and expressive reading, with an emphasis on rhyming. I brought two fresh Level 1 books for the student to tackle with my support, but before engaging in these I thought we'd start with some rhyming practice. To start with, I asked the student if he had practiced rhyming in the past. He said, yes, that he had practiced before with Dr. Seuss books and specifically mentioned "Hop on Pop". Given the excitement in his voice, I suspected he enjoyed reading it -- had previous experience reading it. I asked if he had a copy at home, at which point he asked if he could retrieve it from his room and read it to me. What was great about this particular read is that the student read it at a steady (not rushed) pace and took time to relate what he was reading to the pictures and comment on his favorite pictures. He was able to recognize that page to page words rhymed and that it was their common endings that made it so (e.g., 'all' in "wall" and "ball"). Towards the end of the book, I aimed to extend this notion by talking about the strategy I use for delivering rhyming words (switching out the first letter of the word, using the alphabet as a guideline; keeping the common ending). This is a work in progress, but it's safe to say exposure is the first step in helping him become more cognizant of word manipulation/formulation and how to define what it is to rhyme. Before reading the two books I set expectations: that the student would properly introduce the books, make predictions, and take time with each page -- sound out unfamiliar words, examine the pictures for support, ask questions about unknowns. During the first read, we took turns reading sentences, which helped with his level of engagement, and we both made predictions about what was to come two pages in. His pacing and articulation are slowly but steadily becoming better. The last third (or so) of the session, we completed the project we began last week (relying on the pages of categories of words/descriptors I had created and asked the student to add to: animal, language, country, feeling, number, etc.). We took turns filling in the blanks of a story with the examples of descriptors we had put together earlier. What was interesting about this exercise is that the student had difficulty extracting words from the appropriate page or category without losing his place in the story, to the point where he asked if he could write out the story. This is the first time I've heard him ask if he could write something and do so with conviction. He took special pride in his work because he got to see how his earlier word choices/contributions could fold into his story making. At the conclusion of the session, he excitedly took the story he wrote to read to his mom."
"In our first session, the student completed reading, writing, and math exercises. In the first exercise, there was a set of words that were all missing their first letters. He had to write in the first letter of each word and then write the completed word beneath. He did well in this exercise. The next exercise consisted of a set of words that were all missing their last letters. In another exercise, he colored and labeled a picture of a butterfly. He had fun identifying the two words in "butterfly," another compound word. Then I asked him to complete a couple math exercises in addition. He did very well in these exercises but sometimes wrote his fours and fives backwards. He also did a couple writing exercises, practicing his numbers, letters, and writing his name. In the number writing exercise, I asked him to point out his age and then see if he could point out mine. I had a lot of fun with him in our first session and look forward to working with him! I noticed that he has a hard time pronouncing hard "c," "k," and "t" so we will practice speaking those sounds together. He also frequently confuses the letters "b" and "d" so we will focus on distinguishing those letters. I think the most important area he needs to improve in is phonics. We will work to improve his phonics as this will help him tremendously in his reading."
"We began new topic of persuasive writing and speech: the sales pitch. The student was given the assignment of coming up with a new product, invention, or idea, and then crafting a sales pitch to promote it. There were no limitations as far as technology, budget, or feasibility. The only limitation was that he had to be able to dream it up, design it, and account for drawbacks. The sales pitch addresses why his idea was an improvement, useful, needed, etc. My job is to challenge or debate the merits of the idea. We brainstormed ideas and the student came up with two: a flying car to replace other forms of transportation and an alternative energy source derived from harnessing the power of lightning. The student drew up a blueprint of the flying car, in addition to a logo and a business strategy. We discussed its benefits (faster and more convenient than other forms of transportation) and drawbacks (expensive to manufacture and purchase). We discussed ideas and strategies for the sales pitch."
"We reviewed a writing assignment I'd given to the student the previous session. We discussed punctuation and details. I explained specifically what was meant by "details" and gave him examples. We talked about the need for details to create a picture for the reader. The student was provided two types of writing planners and we went over how they could be used with examples. He started a new writing assignment. As he started the prewriting, we discussed ideas for adding details. He was also given a reading assignment: the first story in his textbook. We'll review it next session along with reading comprehension. The student also briefly worked on his handwriting."
"Today we did things a little differently than what we do within our typical routine. I started the student off with reading from the third book in the "Magic Treehouse" series. After reading the first chapter of this, we switched to a self-evaluation activity that asked him to rank his skills in various aspects of fluent reading. Next, I had him think about his favorite book he's read this year and write a strong, five-sentence paragraph summarizing the most important aspects of the plot line and main message of the book. He then did an activity that involved reading slowly through the fluency passage he has struggled most with, first without the timer, and then once again with the timer. He received his best time yet for this passage. Finally, he read another chapter of the book we'd started with before we ended for the day."
"The student and I worked on gathering and organizing all of his papers to turn in on Thursday for his history art portfolio. We actually found all of them! We even put them in a portfolio, and he created a cover sheet so it is will be turned in TWO days in advance! We also worked on his health assignments that are due next week, and made sure that they were all organized. His group project is coming along nicely, and the group has finished their cover art, a beat, and now they're working on lyrics. He is really pulling everything together and making these last few days count!"