Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What is tutoring? What is reading?

I tutor. What does that mean?  Tutoring to many people means doing the same thing that has been done before just working at the material until it is learned.  This does seem to work for some people.  However, it does not work for too many.  When I do not understand what you are telling me, saying the information many times or in a louder voice does not make me understand.  It can make me feel that I am not really smart.  Some of my students are reading the book The Turkey Walk.  It is about a 15 year old that has been in the third grade for 4 times.  It is fiction and written during the time of walking animals to market.  There was a time that turkeys were walked to market. 
I am using this book to work on reading.  Saying a word without understanding the meaning is not reading.  Understanding a word or meaning and not being able to say the word is not reading either.
Both the ability to sound out the word or say the word and understanding the meaning of the word in the sentence is reading. 
Working with children who would learn regardless is not the way to teach children that struggle to learn.  Usually, as parents or teachers we expect a learner to be able to read a paragraph at a time.  This is the goal. Then we go on to longer reading selections as we succeed.  When a child can say the words but does not understand the meaning of the information, a paragraph is too long. 
When grammer is taught, a sentence is a complete thought.  When reading is taught to a struggling learner, one thought at a time is needed.  This is why I read a sentence and the learner reads a sentence.  We take turns reading a sentence at a time, so the thoughts are separated. This is to help them understand that each sentence is a thought.  Too many are missing this concept.  As the reader reads better, they get to read longer.  Sometimes, I forget and read too long and the learner gets lost.  Then instead of saying you missed the information, I accept the reality that I went too fast and did not teach the material in a way that the learner could learn it.  This can be slow and can take some time.  Using the balance boards again usually helps this.  I have to remember to take the time to use them. Is this my fault or the learners fault? Sometimes it is no one's fault, it is just a reality of working with someone who is learning or teaching.

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