It’s Monday morning at 10:00am and you receive your first phone call from a parent requesting a reading tutor. Finally!! You have a new reading student, but what do you do now? How do you prepare for your new student? What materials and resources do you need to make sure your student is successful? How will you conduct your tutoring session? As a new tutor, it can be a daunting task to prepare for your first reading student. You are unsure about what materials you need and what questions you should ask the parent.

Here are some tips to help prepare for your first reading student:

Discuss the student’s reading weaknesses with the parent:

Ask the parent whether the student has struggled with reading in the past. Also, ask the parent specifically what the child is struggling with. Does your child comprehend what they are reading? Is your child skipping words in a sentence? Is he/she guessing unknown words rather than sounding them out? Does he/she know the sounds associated with all the letters? Can your child accurately summarize the text? The parent will be able to provide you with insight about reading issues the child has at home. You should also ask the parent whether they read with their child on a regular basis to encourage reading in the home.

Communicate with teacher:

Communication with the teacher is important to the student’s success. Please make sure you have permission from the parent before you communicate with the teacher. Email communication is appropriate since teacher’s have busy schedules. The student’s teacher and reading teacher will be able to provide you with specific details about their reading weaknesses. They also have reading assessment results, such as DIEBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) they can share with you to help write your tutoring lesson plans.

Give the child your own reading assessment:

Create a grade level appropriate reading assessment to administer to the student. Make sure your assessment addresses the weaknesses discussed with the parent and teacher. The assessment should be short and give the opportunities to read aloud. Read aloud allows you to gauge the child’s ability to reading. The use of a Reading Running Record will help you determine the “thinking process” of your student as they read the text. A quick Internet search will give you plenty of Reading Running Records. Also, make the assessment is kid-friendly, fun, and include a few interactive learning activities.

Create a learning plan for your student:

After the assessment, create a weekly learning plan that addresses the weaknesses based on the assessment. The learning plan should also include grade level objectives based on Common Core Standards. Also, briefly discuss learning activities the student will complete during the plan. Create kid-friendly activities and use the library as a source for age appropriate books. The Internet has interactive Reading Comprehension activities that enhance tutoring sessions. Give the child a mini-assessment at the end of the learning plan to measure their competency in the areas of weaknesses. The learning plan can be adjusted based on the results from the learning plan assessment.

These tips will help you as you prepare for your first reading client! Remember….have fun and provide the best learning environment for your student!

Quinn Jones has extensive training in education and has experience teaching in the public school system and tutoring students. She is the Director of Rising Star Educational Services, which is a tutoring company that provides tutoring to students in grades K-12. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina and a Masters of Education degree in Educational Management from Strayer University in Washington, DC. Her love of learning and teaching drives her to help motivate the success of her clients.

You can connect with Quinn on Facebook or find her at

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