One-on-One Peer Tutoring for Our Scholars

Are you looking for a way to provide extra support for your special needs and at risk scholars? One strategy proven by research to be very effective is one-on-one tutoring. This can be accomplished by using older scholars in your school or by adult volunteers.

I would like to share my heartwarming experience as a coordinator of a peer-tutoring program. There are two successful agencies that will train a person to coordinate the tutoring program that can be scheduled before, during or after school. (Brochures are attached for each program). After my training, I had to decide first and foremost, where I would get volunteers who could come to the school consistently 4 days a week at a specific time to work with my scholars. I spoke with another Cleveland intervention specialist, Carmen Woody, who had been trained previously to coordinate a tutoring program. Carmen shared that she used the middle grade scholars as tutors and it worked well in her school. This was the perfect solution to having volunteers available daily at the same time.

I began by talking to the middle school scholars in their classes about the benefits of tutoring younger scholars. Afterward, teachers made recommendations of interested scholars and training started during their lunchtime on how to use the Reading Tutors materials from Learning A-Z. At the conclusion of their initial training, tutors were given a K-4 tutee to begin tutoring sessions. The middle school tutors continued to be “professionally developed” on how to be an effective peer tutor and the correct use of the materials throughout the school year. This tutoring program was extremely enjoyable and successful for everyone. Other middle school scholars began to ask if they could become a tutor or tutor assistant. The tutors were asked to write about their tutoring experience and some of the comments were, “I love tutoring because I like to help younger kids learn to read”; “I love it because I like being an older responsible role model”; and “I love tutoring because it is a good experience for me to see if I would like to go into teaching”. Other tutors indicated, “It has shown me how I can make a difference in someone’s life as well as one tutor shared, “I love this program because when I teach, I learn with the tutee”. One 8th grade tutor’s comment summed up the importance and benefit of the program when she wrote, “I love tutoring because kids are our future and our future should be bright”.

Another exciting part of the one-on-one tutoring that we have in Cleveland is a Parent Engagement training for parents in the use of the same materials for their children. As we all know, parents are our scholars first teachers and providing them with ways to help enhance their children’s performance in school is a very valuable component to any program.

To explore more information on the effectiveness and benefit of peer-tutoring, there are two articles that describe some of the research that has been done on the value of peer-tutoring. These articles are, “Peer Tutoring Facts” from the National Tutoring Association (NTA) and “Research Spotlight on Peer Tutoring: NEA Reviews of the Research of Best Practices in Education” by the National Education Association (NEA).

In conclusion, if you are interested in implementing an excellent and exciting tutoring program for your special needs and at-risk scholars along with parent involvement, please contact me and I will share in depth, “How to Professionally Develop Middle School Scholars to Become Outstanding Reading Mentors” for our young scholars as well as train parents or family members to mentor them at home.

Helen Robinson is an intervention specialist (K–3) at Wade Park. In previous years, she was a Title One reading teacher for elementary grades, a Reading Recovery teacher for first grades, and an early literacy small group teacher. She previously taught at John D. Rockefeller. As a Reading Recovery teacher, Helen co-authored a book, “Home Link: Home Activities for the Emergent Reader” with other Reading Recovery teachers under the guidance of teacher leader, Libby Larrabee. As an intervention specialist, Helen was the coordinator of a tutoring program called Project MORE (Mentoring in Ohio for Reading Excellence) and presented during Project MORE conferences at Bowling Green State University on “How to Professionally Develop Middle and Junior High Students to Become Outstanding Mentors” for special needs and at-risk students. Helen is very passionate about teaching. She is dedicated and committed to developing life-long literate and strategic thinkers and learners in the academic and social emotional areas as well as promoting a growth mindset and high expectations of achievement for all of her scholars. Helen also believes in continuing her learning through various types of professional development, reading, and collaborating about education with colleagues. She truly believes the words of the motivational speaker, Les Brown, “You can always better your best.”