For many kids, reading is a daunting prospect. For a young reader, even the simplest books may seem overwhelming if they cannot read the words. As kids get older and are required to read more advanced passages, it’s difficult for them to retain information as they move from one sentence to the next.

While this may create a stressful reading environment for your student, there are many ways you can help foster a love of reading during the tutoring hour:

[onethird] [/onethird]

Before You Read
1. Let your child pick a book that interests him. As the saying goes – those who don’t like to read just haven’t found the right book yet.

2. Make sure the book is appropriate for your student’s reading level, not just their age or grade level. Have him read through the first page of the book. If he misses no words, the book is too easy – and if he misses many, it’s too hard. Make sure the book is challenging enough to help improve your student’s reading ability but not so difficult that he becomes discouraged.

3. If your student feels overwhelmed by being asked to read an entire book out loud, take turns reading every other sentence, paragraph, or page. Also, never be afraid to read a book out loud to a student, even if they’re in high school – children of every age like to be read to.

4. Before you begin the story: Read the title, examine the cover, and look through the illustrations or chapter titles together. Have your student predict what the book will be about by asking questions such as:
          – Have you ever read another book by this author?
          – What do you think will happen in this book?

While You Read
5. As you read together, emphasize previous connections your student may have with the subject matter of the story. Asking questions such as, “Has anything like this ever happened to you before?” will keep your child connected.

6. Check comprehension as you go along by asking questions related to the story. If your student doesn’t seem to understand what they have read, have them read it again. Many times, students can’t concentrate on the content of what they’re reading because they’re so concerned with pronouncing the words correctly. If your student stumbles over a word, don’t have him sound it out. It seems counter-intuitive, but it will help him more in the long run to figure out the meaning from context clues.

After You Read
7. Have your student summarize what he just read. Ask basic questions like, “What was the main idea of the story?” or “In your own words, what happened in the story?” This will help with retention. You can ask more story-specific questions as well.

8. Have your student draw a picture of part of the book.  They could choose to draw the main theme, or their favorite part of the story.  This will help assess reading comprehension and is also a great tool to help a child with learning disabilities by demonstrating successful completion of a book or story.

9. Most importantly, make sure you praise your student’s reading constantly. Praise encourages confidence, which will make your student more likely to read to you (or another tutor) in the future!

Have any other strategies that have worked in your tutoring session, or at home? Comment below and share them with us!
Want to know learn more tutoring strategies? Check out our other Tutor Tips blogs or our Youtube channel.