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From a Tutor's Point of View: Project Summer Stride

This post was written by Julia Dixon, a Project Summer Stride tutor.

Today I began my first tutoring session with Summer Stride. I was greeted by staff and volunteers who directed me to many books and materials such as papers, crayons, and dry erase boards to use with my tutee. The session began with the children coming in and then sitting on a blanket where they listened to and answered questions about a story, played name games, and then sang some more children’s songs. Meanwhile, many other tutors started coming in and prepared books to use during the session. Then, as story time ended, the tutors and tutees found one another and walked hand and hand to their work space. Both had wide smiles on their faces as they began conversations before reading.

Next, I met the boy I would tutor today. He is a rising first grader who said he learned how to read at home with his mom. He read to me a beginning reader book, and then together we read Five Little Monkeys and Big Cat, Small Cat. With the first book, I taught him a tracking print strategy of pointing to the first letter of each word he reads and reinforced a comprehension strategy of checking the picture to make sure the sentence makes sense. Then, when he could not decode a word by using the picture, I taught him a blending strategy. I wrote the word on the paper and put a dot under each letter for him to touch as he said the sound. Then, after saying the individual sounds, he dragged his finger across the dots as he slowly then quickly blended the sounds to say the word. Last, he practiced listening for the pattern of rhymes in the two remaining books as I read aloud. He completed the sentences with the rhyming words, and he needed a bit of help with new vocabulary words. Practicing rhyming words supports phonological awareness, the ability to manipulate sounds, which is an important skill for beginning readers.

At the end of the session, we exchanged our good-byes. The boy went back to the blanket with the other children to wait as the adults set up a lunch, and a gentleman in colorful clothing set up a variety of drums on the stage for their next activity. Meanwhile, the tutors spent the remaining time writing notes summarizing the session and some even began preparation for next week.

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