Summer Tutoring: Reading Strategies

I tutor every Monday and Wednesday and I love it.  The little girl I'm tutoring does not go to my school, and she loves the strategies we are working on! They are all new to her (which keeps her very engaged, but makes me sad that she hasn't been taught these strategies). I'm using ideas from Strategies that Work, as well as a strategy I learned in college..."Stop & Retell!"

Stop & Retell is pretty easy and it works.  I place little stop signs in the book and when she gets to a stop sign she has to stop and retell what she read. When I've done this with students at school, in the beginning we stop at every page. In addition to using Stop & Retell, we also use use sticky notes to monitor comprehension.  Stop & Retell and sticky note coding help monitor comprehension, and then we practice using fix-up strategies when she doesn't understand something she's read.
Some fix-up strategies we are using are the following:
-is it a specific word that caused the problem, if it is, we look up the word together
-sometimes we have to build background information (we use the Internet)
-read more to see if that helps
-try and make connections to what we are reading
-use text features
-looking at story structure (problem-solution, cause-effect, sequence)

The Busy Teacher Cafe has great reading comprehension resources for monitoring and fixing comprehension.

**This mat was given to me years ago by my husband's aunt who is a reading specialist. I love it because it has all the comprehension strategies we are working on in one place.  I have no idea who made it, and I wish I could give them credit!!!! Right now since it is summer, and I'm tutoring at home, I keep this mat in a page protector, because I don't think it would match my kitchen decor if I taped it to the table ;) We place sticky notes all over this mat as we are reading.  If she reads more than a page without using a strategy, I say something like, "I had a question on this page, did you?"  or "I was able to visualize something on this page, were you?"  If she says no, then I tell her my thinking and she writes down my idea :)
We are also using Making Big Words to help with spelling and word patterns. 


  1. It sounds like you have some great strategies set up! I start tutoring 2 students tomorrow. One of the girls is Hispanic and has really struggled with learning sight words. do you have any suggestions that might help her?

    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  2. I have found that the best way is to group by patterns.
    can, an, and, an
    he, she, we, be, me
    his, him

    Then lots of practice writing them, finding them in books, and playing sight word games.

    I like The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson for specific sight word activities. My copy is at school, but the activities help build students visual memory.

    I also like having a grid with all of the sight words, and as students master the sight words, they can color in the word on their grid. This way they can see their progress.

  3. Some things are timeless...I love the mat and I love that you have that connection to it. It's perfect. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners


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