Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Tutoring Older Students: 12 Tips for Success
This is part two of a three-part series on tutoring by guest blogger Geraldine Haggard, author of  our Kaleidoscope Series  books  Helpers Four Seasons Seeds , and  What Is a Friend?   To see her other posts, click here !

12 Tips for Tutoring Older Students

1)   Use independent level reading material to help student focus on the comprehension strategy.

2)   Always include vocabulary modeling and released responsibility activity (context clues, base/root word, affixes, multi-meaning word, figurative language, etc.). Use a dictionary and/or thesaurus when needed. Teach the student how to use these tools.

3)   Before reading nonfiction, ask the child to share what he knows about the topic. Remind him that he may have to use some of that knowledge to understand the text and make inferences.

4)   Begin the session's reading by asking the child to read the first and last paragraphs, scan the sub-headings, and study any graphics. The child can then predict what he or she will probably learn from the story or nonfiction selection. This will help the student monitor his or her reading.

5)   Include some oral and some silent reading. This will help you define any special needs of the student—fluency, rate, structural analysis, syntax, etc.

6)   Emphasize only one or two comprehension strategies per session. Modeling by you and then released responsibility to the student are keys to success. You talk through the strategy, telling the child how to use the strategy. The child then uses what you modeled as he or she reads further.

7)   Include fiction and nonfiction. Poetry and plays can also be included. The last two genres are now part of many states' testing programs.

8)   Use subtopics to model and help student search for answers and work with sequence, details, and main idea.

9)   Rereading parts of the text to check comprehension and/or look for special information is important. Help the student see when this is important and how to scan.

10)   As you conclude the session, select one strategy that you modeled and then use it to guide the student later in the session. Ask the student to put into his or her own words how the strategy was used.

11)   Gradually increase the reading level of the passages as the student demonstrates an ability to successfully use the strategies of comprehension.

12)   Massive amounts of private reading by the child at the independent level are still needed. This time spent with reading can increase the rate and fluency of the student's reading. Both are essential to success as a successful reader.


Dr. Geraldine Haggard is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent thirty-seven years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.


To learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection series of books, which includes four titles written by Geraldine Haggard,   click here to visit the Kaleidoscope page of our website , or click the image below to download an information sheet with highlights of the series.