Lesson 13 - Goal Setting and Lesson Planning Illinois State Library
Planning a Tutoring Session
Page 2 of 2
A tutor planning a session's lesson needs to know about the learner they will be tutoring. The tutor may have had a first meeting with the new learner where the Volunteer Coordinator introduces the new learner to the tutor. This is a good opportunity to discover the information a tutor needs to plan the first tutoring session.
What does a tutor need to know? A tutor needs to know this information about the adult learner:
- What is the learner's reading level?
- What does the learner already know?
- What does the learner think he or she needs to learn?
- What are the learner's long-term goals?
- What does the learner want to achieve in the end?
- What are the learner's short-term goals?
- What does the learner want to achieve on the way to the long-term goal?
- What does the tutor want the learner to achieve during this session?
- What does the learner want to achieve during this session?
- What are the learner's interests?
- What is the learner's primary learning style?
If you don't yet know this information, then plan to discuss these questions with the learner at your first session. All of the listed items have bearing on planning a tutoring lesson.
Getting specific about planning a tutoring session. Information about the learner informs the planning of the tutoring session. But, in addition, a tutor planning an upcoming session faces several decisions about the topic itself.
- What topic will you concentrate on?
- What are your learner's strengths and weaknesses on this topic?
- If you don't know, how will you find this out?
- What skills will you practice within this topic?
- What supplies and instructional materials will you have with you?
- Have you identified suitable written material for the learner to read?
- Where do you get these materials?
- What instructional strategies will you use?
- How does your learner's learning style relate to the strategies you will use?
- How does this topic relate to the learner's goals?
Example — Using a Learner's Goals in Lesson Planning
GOAL: To use the telephone book.
Task Analysis: This method breaks the goal down into tasks to be accomplished. The result of using a task analysis is that you develop a list of learning tasks to achieve to reach the goal. What you teach will be determined by what you and the learner want to accomplish by the end of the session. Here are examples of some tasks:
Steps toward the achievement of that goal:
- Learner will be able to alphabetize through 3 letters.
- Learner will be able to alphabetize first names.
- Learner will be able to recognize telephone numbers.
- Learner will be able to use guide words on the page.
- Learner will be able to explain abbreviations used in a phone book.
- Learner will be able to find categories used in the yellow pages.
- Learner will be able to find other sources of information in the phone book.
Skills needed to be taught:
- Alphabet recognition.
- Reading skills on elementary level.
- Number recognition.
When you can use a learner's goals as the foundation for your session, it will be more effective.
Begin sessions with a short review of material already mastered. This starts the session on a positive note. Also, review any home practice. Learners who practice and apply new skills between sessions will progress faster.
Reading and Writing
As you plan each session, write down objectives, such as:
- Read all the words on an employment application.
- Write a letter to a child's teacher.
As you teach, break the skills into steps small enough to be thoroughly mastered and reinforced in a session or two. Adjust your plan as you go along. Each session provides the basis for planning the following sessions.
Language experience stories may give insights into learners' interests. Samples of reading and writing may reveal strengths and weaknesses in word analysis and comprehension. Writing samples may reveal strengths and indicate needs for instruction in spelling, punctuation, grammar usage, and vocabulary.
Include in each session:
- discussion for comprehension.
- assisted reading.
- practice on needed skills.
- reading for pleasure.
Also include everyday activities that reinforce the skills learned, for instance games, maps, computers, newspapers, and puzzles.
Other activities are:
- Notes and Lists
- Journal Writing
- Adding New Vocabulary Words
- Library Use
- Sequencing/Following Directions
- Silent Reading
Assignments for Practice/Home Study
Help the learner plan take home work each session. Learners may not have much time to devote to studying, but they should try to read something every day. Some examples are listed below.
- Take a copy of their writing home to reread every day.
- Practice word cards from their personal word list.
- Read a page or a chapter from a library book every night.
- Read for ten minutes every day and keep a record of what is read.
- Write in a journal three or four times a week, even a sentence or two.
- Prepare a meal following a recipe.
- Make a list of things to do or items to buy at the store.
- Play a word game with a family member.
- Fill out a sample application for a library card or bank account.
- Write a message on a postcard and mail it to a friend.
- Circle all the m's (or any other letter) on a newspaper page to review the sound or see the letter in everyday use.
- Read the words on a menu from a local restaurant.
- Work on the computer at the library.
Reading for Pleasure
Use the last 5-10 minutes of each session to read aloud to your learner. Choose a short article on a subject of interest to the learner. Do not ask questions at this time, just let them enjoy it. You could tape any of these readings for learners to review at home. This emphasizes that reading can be fun.
Wrap-up and Evaluation
Discuss what the learner has accomplished during this session. Identify specific achievements and celebrate them. Work toward enabling the learner to identify his or her own achievements each session. Identify and quantify progress towards the learner's goals. Decide together what the objectives of the next session will be. Solicit the learner's opinion about the session. What worked for them? Was there something they particularly liked and would want to do more? Was there something they particularly disliked and would not want to continue? Was there something they didn't understand and need to spend more time on? Mastery is always the ultimate goal for any skill.
After the Session
Write notes about your learners' progress on the day's session plan. Write any comments, evaluations, and future plans. These progress notes should be written down immediately following the session. Progress reports are important for several reasons. Progress reports document the adult learner's improvement for the learner, for the Volunteer Coordinator and for the funding agency. It is often a requirement for the agency to report learner's progress in aggregate form to their funders. It is certainly important that as your learner passes the markers that measure their movement towards their long term goals, that the tutor recognizes each achievement.
More information on developing a lesson plan can be found in Chapter 7 of Demystifying Adult Literacy for Volunteer Tutors.
Planning a Tutoring Session - Reflective Activity
Take a minute to reflect on the information you just read. Submit a reflective email on the following topic.
Joe, your adult learner, has the goal of improving his reading skills. He is currently at a beginning reading level. He is a young farmer with an interest in the outdoors. He wants to read and understand the newspaper. Create a lesson and plan a tutoring session that will help Joe reach his goal.
Compose an email to your trainer. Put the title Planning a Tutoring Session - Reflective Activity in the subject line. Copy and paste the paragraph into the body of the email. Then type in your answer and send it. Completing this assignment is a requirement of your training. Your trainer will respond to you through email.
There is no Learning Check with this Lesson.