Eye on the Sky Project FIRST: Fostering Reading Through Science and Technology
 Home > welcome
tutor techniques
Updated: 04/23/02
Objectives of the Tutor Guide

This training guide has been developed to serve a range of early literacy intervention programs. Our goal was to create training materials which are broad enough in scope to be adapted to a variety of program setting, and yet remain focused on best practices that characterize successful early literacy programs. To maximize the adaptability of the materials, we have developed numerous PDF files that can be edited to meet the specific needs of your tutoring programs.

The materials have been developed by teams of educators over several years and have been used with a variety of tutors: university students, community college students and community volunteers. With an eye toward flexibility, we have structured the training so that you can select from a menu of topics depending on your program goals, time allowance, and tutor population.

Edited from materials created by

Academic Partnership Student

Assessment and Training Project

West Contra Costa Unified School District

America Reads

Banks Street College

Teaching and Reading Development Program


Project FIRST, UCB School/University Partnerships Program

Contributors to Tutor Training:

Yvonne Brisard, Contra Costa College

Sally Feldman, Washington Elementary School

Barbara Grillo, Contra Costa College

Ruth Paglierani, UCB, Project FIRST

Chris Simpson, Peres Elementary School

Intisar Shareef, Contra Costa College

Connie Whitehurst, Contra Costa College

Susan Zec, Peres Elementary School

steps to success for tutoring programs

When designing a tutoring program, keep the following points in mind:

Connect tutoring to classroom teaching
Work closely with the classroom or reading teacher at your school or program site. When tutoring supports the classroom reading practices students perform better than when tutoring is unrelated to classroom instruction.

Train and support tutors
Tutor training is key to program success. Initial training should be intensive and as complete as possible. Ongoing tutor training, support and feedback are critical for tutor success and increased student learning.

Structured and consistent tutoring sessions
Structure tutoring sessions so that tutors and students know what the component parts of the tutorial are. Maintaining a structured tutorial program enhances student achievement.

The tutorial should include:

  • Word analysis in isolation and in the context of a reading text.

  • Student Reading

  • Student Writing

  • Tutor Reflection

Provide tutors with language to deliver their instruction
Train tutors to respond to student questions. Developing familiarity with age-appropriate language leads to tutor success.

Monitor and reinforce student progress
The most successful tutors reinforce their students’ progress. Effective tutors provide numerous reading and writing experiences moving students from being fully supported to working independently. Assessment of student progress should be ongoing.

Meet frequently and regularly with students
Tutorials can run from 10 to 60 minutes. For young readers (grades 1-3) 30 minutes seems to be an optimal length. The more often you can met, the better. Twice a week results in increased student achievement—more sessions a week result in even greater gains.

©2002 UC Regents
tutor guidelines student activities resources