||Reading with your student is an important
part of the tutoring session. Below are some techniques
for helping students get the most out of their reading.
Good readers rarely pick up a book and simply start
reading. Here are some suggestions for increasing
student comprehension. Dont forget--reading
is not just decoding, but understanding what is
Your Student Starts Reading
- Talk about
the title, pictures, and author and illustrator
of the book and ask children to guess what the
book might be about.
- Do a Picture
Walk to get students familiar with the book.
Go through the book, looking briefly at each
page. Make predictions as you go through the
your student to connect the book to her own
experiences. Have you ever done anything like
what you see on the cover?
your Student Reads
- When your
student comes to an unknown word, encourage
her to give it a try.
- Let your student
make some effort and finish a sentence before
you stop and correct.
- Give your
student a prompt to help figure out a word.
- Ask children
to tell in their own words what they just read.
- Talk it over
and ask questions--
Who was your favorite character, why?
What was interesting to you?
How else could this story have ended?
Why do you think certain events happen
in the story?
Were your guesses about the story right?
- Add information
about the subject to enrich background information.
- Scan the story before you
start to read with your student.
- Identify the words your
student may not know.
- Pre-teach the unknown words.
- There should only be a
few unknown words. Make sure that the book is
not frustrating to your student.
- You may want to read part
of it aloud before asking him or her to read
- Keep interruptions to a
minimum. Only correct those miscues which affect
the texts meaning.
- Try to make a note of consistent
errors to work on later after the reading is
- Look at pictures
in the book for information about the story
and clues about what a new word might be.
- Look for a
known chunk or small word (e.g., child
- Read a new
word using only the beginning and ending sounds.
- Think of a
word that looks like the difficult word (e.g.,
if the word is bat, think of a word that looks
like this word, only with a different first
- Find the small
words in the big word (e.g., book
and case in bookcase).
- Skip the unknown
word and read to the end of the sentence. Go
back to the beginning of the sentence and try
the word again.
a word that makes sense. Think about the story,
does the word you are using make sense? Does
it look right, does it sound right?
- Link to prior
knowledge about the book s topic.
- Predict and
anticipate what could come next.
C., Gillmeister-Krause, L., and Vento-Zogby, G.
(1996). Creating support for effective literacy
education. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann
It is a good idea to ask questions
before, during and after a story is read.
Ask students to make predictions about what they
are reading. You can ask questions like
What do you think the story is about?
Who do you think is the main character?
What do you think will happen? Why do you
Asking questions as students read is appropriate
for all readers, but it is especially helpful
for more independent readers. These questions
encourage students to continue reading for a purpose
and help them to comprehend the text. These questions
should be used at important points in the story.
Examples of questions are:
What do you think will happen next?
How do you think the problem will get solved?
Why do you think the character decided to
do what s/he did?
Asking questions at the end of a story allows
the student to reflect on the reading and to relate
it to her own experiences. It also allows you
to see how well the student has understood what
she had read and whether she has grasped the main
Tell me the story in your own words.
Were your guesses right?
What surprised you the most in the story?
What did you like best about the story?
Who was your favorite character? Why?
How would you change the ending?
- The questions
should be brief and more like a discussion or
conversation. Your student should not feel like
they are taking a test!
- Pose questions
that invite a personal responsefor example,
What would you have done if you were the
main character in the story?
What have you ever done that is like the
should help student make connections between
the reading material and experiences she has
- Ask students
to infer something from their reading.
- Ask students
to put themselves in the shoes of another character.
- Pose open-ended
questions and avoid those with a yes or no answer.
many ways to work on reading with students
- They can read
aloud to us
- We can do
a shared reading
- We can read
Most students really enjoy reading
with a tutor in a supportive learning environment.
But as they become more competent readers, it
is important to encourage students to become independent,
successful readers. Our goal is to help students
internalize good strategies for reading and understanding
when they are reading without our help.
Here are suggestions to encourage independence
with more advanced young readers--
In the tutorial:
- Select a book
and do a picture walk. The content area should
be familiar to your student. Ask your student
a few questions about the book, encouraging
him or her to make predictions. Work on enriching
background information before you start reading.
- Ask your student
to read silently. You will have to judge for
yourself how much to read. Start with a short
passage, or perhaps a page or two and see how
much your student understood. You can read along
- Assess your
students comprehension. Ask your student
to retell what they just read and ask questions
to check for comprehension.
- Your student
can then read the passage to you and you can
go over it together. You can talk about strategies
for reading by yourself and discuss what you
do when you read alone.
- Start a dialog
journal. Begin by giving your student a writing
prompt. It can be connected to what they have
been doing in your tutorials or more personal
(birthdays, losing a tooth, things to do on
- Ask them to
write at home and bring it back for the next
session. You then write a short response to
their writing and a dialog begins.
- Give them
the journal with your comments at the end of
your next tutorial and ask them to respond to
you. This encourages them to read and write
on their own about things they like.