10 Things Tutors Can Do That Books (And Computers) Cannot…

AmeriCorps Member reading a book to a girl on MLK Day1.       SMILE!

 2.       Read aloud together.  Fluency (reading smoothly and with correct inflection) is very important to reading comprehension, but only speaking with other human beings can fully build this skill.

 3.       Model curiosity and inquiry. Being a good tutor isn’t about what you know; it’s about showing how you know and showing others how to learn.  Demonstrate the use of reference materials, and ask open-ended questions that make you both think a little deeper about a topic.

 4.       Figure out how the skill is relevant to the learner’s life. Every person has different goals and life experiences.  Ask your learner “What should I know about you?”  Write down what you hear, and then connect that information to what you are learning together.

5.       Use concrete, 3D objects to introduce concepts. The more senses someone uses, the more she or he will remember.  Use TOUCH to bring concepts to life.

6.       adult learner and tutor reading togetherIdentify what a learner already knows.  Humans retain new information by connecting it to what they already know.  A good connection is often more memorable than a good explanation.

7.       Mentor how to apply critical thinking skills to everyday incidents.  A learner’s life experiences are not distractions from learning…they are opportunities to learn and apply things like writing skills, time management, prioritizing lists, and evaluating information.  The ultimate goal of education is for learners to have a better quality of life and relationships.

8.       Make practice fun through enjoying games and repetition.  Practice makes perfect, but no one wants to do the same worksheet 15 times.  Use puzzles, flash cards, friendly competition, or quick “warm ups” to make the necessary repetition fun.

9.       Take a vacation.  Books don’t need a break to take care of themselves & their loved ones.  You do.  We will miss you, but don’t expect you to be there every single day. 

10.   LISTEN!

This list is meant to be fun and easy to remember, but these are also research-based tips to improve learner engagement and outcomes.  Happy Holidays & thanks to all the great tutors out there!

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