ARHedrick asks:

I am a volunteer parent tutoring a 4th grade student who is reading at a 1st grade level. I need ideas to help her pass 4th grade.

She is a motivated student struggling to read. Her parents speak mainly Spanish in the home. Dad works 4A-4P. Mom works 4P-4A. In order for me to tutor her, she eats her lunch in the library while I read out loud. Then she misses recess to read to me. I have approx. 45-50 min. 3 days a week to help her.
The reading specialist set up a lesson plan as follows: 1. I read out loud while she eats. I ask her questions to make sure she comprehends what I am reading. 2. She reads to me from a set of books at the 1.5 level. 3. She writes three sentences to summarize the story. 4. She rereads a book she has read to me already. 5. Flashcards introducing 3 words/day. This did not seem to interest her a lot. I asked her what she would love to hear me read--so I am reading a Vampire Weenies book. I brought some of my daughters books in for her to try out. I think they are level 2, 2.5, and 3. She is VERY interested in tackling those books but does have trouble with them. I made her a set of Flashcards to take home and work on. She says she uses them a lot. She seems to prefer my approach but I am not sure if I am helping her or not. She is a beautiful, shy, sweet girl. I desperately want to do this right because the principal says he will not pass her on to 5th grade if her reading isn't improved. PLEASE give me some feedback on this. Failure IS NOT an option. Thank you so much.
In Topics: Helping my child with reading, Recommended Books, Working with tutors
> 60 days ago



Feb 24, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

Thank you for volunteering!  This young lady is lucky to have you there to help her out.  

There is a lot to be said for interest.  So if the girl enjoys hearing or trying to read the Vampire Weenies, then I would keep that piece in place.  Research has shown that students will get through difficult text if they are interested.  After reading, instead of asking questions, have a conversation - like a book talk.  For example start by saying which character you like or what it is you wonder about.  Then have her share her thoughts.  This is less stressful and more real-world.

I would double check with the reading specialist before changing the rest of the session.  You might ask if you can bring in more age appropriate text that this girl would be more interested in reading.  I would also ask what the girl's problem really is: phonics, fluency, comprehension, etc..  If you can then ask another question what materials or strategies would best fit this particular child, we can come up with additional ideas.

Continue to send home flashcards.  Chances are she is probably showing them to her parents and they are learning English.

Once you find out some more information about what the girl is struggling with, I can give you some more information.  Please feel free to email me directly.

Barb K

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Additional Answers (1)

karinhultst... writes:
She is blessed to have you seeking answers on  her behalf.  I realize that this post is several months old but I have some input for the future.  If at all possible I would allow struggling readers to utilize a program like Raz-Kids where they can hear a story first, then read and answer comprehension questions after independent reading.  The books begin at aa and progress through the levels and there is high interest because there is often animation, inflection by the reader and special text features to hold interest and Raz-Kids just feels like something special because it utilizes the computer which is motivating to students.  If this is not a possibility, I have found that allowing a friend  read with a struggling student and work on activities with them is more motivating at this age than working for the full 3 hours with a teacher.   Test the student on sight words, make up cards for what she does not know, perhaps  doing a version of a four-square with a picture, definition and synonym of more advanced words that occur in her reading, modeling reading by you or a peer, having her read from a book she chooses, then having her choose a book that she has already read and having a frank talk with parents about what she needs to do to move to the next level is needed.  Another year in fourth grade would not hurt her as she will likely keep falling farther and farther behind as she moves through school.  She also needs remedial reading 5 days a week as her inability to read properly will affect every other subject.  Her frustrational level will continue to increase if she keeps getting moved along.
> 60 days ago

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