- One tutor asked why his learner may still be having trouble decoding simple sight words even after the tutor points out the error.
A discussion followed about the importance of repetition and ongoing reinforcement of basic skills in the tutoring sessions. For most learners, it is not enough to address an error on a one-time basis. Instead, the problem words should be worked on at each session until the tutor is convinced that his/her learner can successfully decode and spell the word. In this effort it's important for the tutor to utilize multi-sensory techniques so that the learner is not only seeing the word on flash cards but also hearing it, and working with it in a kinesthetic, or tactile way (Scrabble tiles, tracing letters on desk or in the air, etc.). As tutors we sometimes forget that learners have a lifetime of making the same errors over and over because they never learned the basic skills necessary to be successful readers and writers. We can't expect them to learn these skills if we only address them once in a while during the tutoring sessions. It's the tutor's responsibility to create a lesson plan based on the needs of the learner and to follow through with that plan, providing the necessary repitition and reinforcement, at each meeting.
- Another tutor at the Round Table asked for ideas she can use to address her learner's goal of reading for pleasure.
One tutor suggested that she talk with her learner about getting involved in the Wednesday Night Readers Book Club. Even if some of the books being read are a bit challenging for the learner, she/he can also listen to the recorded book (also provided FREE to all learners) and still participate in the monthly book discussion. The learner-friendly environment of the book club is a wonderful opportunity for learners to express their thoughts about what they have read and hear differing opinions from their fellow learners. The book club experience can really enhance the reader's enjoyment of a book. Previous book club selections, both books and tapes, are also available in the Project Read office to be checked-out by tutor-learner teams. For the October 25th Wednesday Night Readers meeting, learners and tutors are reading Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (books & tapes still available in the office). For the November 29th meeting, the group will be reading God Rest Ye Merry Soldiers: A True Civil War Christmas Story by James McIvor.