Western Kentucky University

Poster Title

Tutor in a Bag: Reaching Struggling Readers

Institution

Western Kentucky University

Abstract

This project introduces an evidenced-based reading tutoring system that could be used by minimally trained volunteers to improve at-risk Kindergarten students’ reading skills. The presentation is a description of the ongoing project. Kindergarten students were selected as highrisk for reading weaknesses in a metro school with high diversity. High risk was defined as weak skills in letter recognition, word recognition, letter sounds, phonological segmenting skills, low scores on kindergarten screening, and teacher recommendation. Four children were selected for this pilot study to receive a structured tutoring program created on evidenced-based reading instructional methods and delivered weekly by volunteers. Four volunteers completed a two-hour tutor training session demonstrating the components of four reading activities created for 30 minute, after-school tutoring sessions. Volunteers also completed district training in confidentiality and obtained background clearance. The four types of activities selected were phonemic awareness games for manipulation of sounds skills; letter identification and sound relationships; sight words; and reading a book. Resources and materials were chosen, labeled, and given to the tutors in a backpack for each set of activities. During each session tutors selected a variety of activities to address each of the four components using a brief lesson plan format and student feedback system. Students and volunteers evaluated each activity as very good, okay, or not happy with this one. This pilot study is in early stages. Plans for new volunteers in the spring 2016 are in place.

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Tutor in a Bag: Reaching Struggling Readers

This project introduces an evidenced-based reading tutoring system that could be used by minimally trained volunteers to improve at-risk Kindergarten students’ reading skills. The presentation is a description of the ongoing project. Kindergarten students were selected as highrisk for reading weaknesses in a metro school with high diversity. High risk was defined as weak skills in letter recognition, word recognition, letter sounds, phonological segmenting skills, low scores on kindergarten screening, and teacher recommendation. Four children were selected for this pilot study to receive a structured tutoring program created on evidenced-based reading instructional methods and delivered weekly by volunteers. Four volunteers completed a two-hour tutor training session demonstrating the components of four reading activities created for 30 minute, after-school tutoring sessions. Volunteers also completed district training in confidentiality and obtained background clearance. The four types of activities selected were phonemic awareness games for manipulation of sounds skills; letter identification and sound relationships; sight words; and reading a book. Resources and materials were chosen, labeled, and given to the tutors in a backpack for each set of activities. During each session tutors selected a variety of activities to address each of the four components using a brief lesson plan format and student feedback system. Students and volunteers evaluated each activity as very good, okay, or not happy with this one. This pilot study is in early stages. Plans for new volunteers in the spring 2016 are in place.