Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"The student and I began by reviewing her summer reading. She seemed to recall much of the story, including many details and plot points. We then read some from "The Secret Garden." We reviewed what we had learned about new characters (Martha) and how we viewed those characters. We then discussed several confusing terms and expressions while reading; she was encouraged to think about what they might mean in context (having a "stomach for your meat," for example, likely meant "being hungry" in the context of the sentence). She was generally able to get the main point or idea of difficult or outdated terms and expressions by thinking about the context. We then read the first few pages from "From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil." Our objective was to analyze the character of Claudia. The student read several paragraphs and had to decide what Claudia's character traits were, and why. She also had to analyze what she thought was motivating Claudia (why she was running away). She had to cite what it said in the text, and then explain why she agreed with, or did not agree with, Claudia's choice to run away. We also identified and discussed the narrator character, who made their presence known very early on. We then did a Reading Comprehension exercise. The reading was a narrative describing two friends, with one friend running for student government. She was easily able to answer questions regarding the main idea, details, and even character-related questions (why certain characters thought/did what they did). I then read "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" aloud to her. I read slightly slower this time and gave a few more pauses, allowing her to follow the reading more carefully. She caught more of my errors this time than in any previous time. We then read a poem "When my Ship Comes In." We discussed what she thought the literal meaning of the story was (a man stranded on a beach waiting for a ship to rescue him). Getting her to see a more metaphorical meaning was challenging. We tried to discuss what we thought the ship might symbolize. At first, she didn't know. With prompting and review of several stanzas, she decided it might indicate a man waiting for a love (or wife) to come into his life. We discussed how poems, and reading, can have multiple meanings, and that there were multiple interpretations of the poem. We then did her speed reading and vocabulary. Her speed reading ended in the mid-200's with single words; she seems to be recognizing the words well, and appropriately slowing down or speeding up when needed. We discussed all answer choices in her vocabulary before she selected a word (eliminating some and using what we knew about word parts), and this helped with appropriate vocabulary selection. The last few minutes we spent spelling the words. I will be emailing her mother several links and exercises for the student to continue during next week. She also has her note-taking exercise (one paragraph a night) and her Secret Garden summaries to do (though she was told her summer reading should come first). Her fluency is gradually improving, and she is constantly monitoring her reading and self-correcting if errors are made."
"For this session, the student continued work on his summer reading packet. This packet is due after our next session. Mostly, he read silently and then completed sections of his packet. We discussed a few elements of the story to work on reading comprehension. We also would make revisions to his work together. He is remarkably better at writing complete sentences now, which is great! He does still struggle with some basic spelling and capitalization errors. For the most part these slips ups are minor and will go away with time. One area that needs improvement is his ability to communicate his thoughts clearly. When we discuss the text, his understanding is generally very good. However, when it comes time to answer questions on the reading, he struggles to articulate himself well. He struggles with writing down complete answers that convey his thoughts. When I point out examples of this to him, he does understand and then is able to improve them. I think that with additional practice and focus on directly answering prompts he will improve."
"Both students are reading confidently. We read five chapters of The Wizard of Oz. They worked together to write down unfamiliar words, and we looked them up in the dictionary. They also completed several pages in their workbooks."