Sunday, August 23, 2009


In addition to selecting texts and compiling resources, a second part of planning the reading and writing activities of a tutorial session involves choosing an instructional strategy or approach.

Four Reading Strategies

Reading Aloud: Here, the teacher or tutor reads a text out loud to students. This allows tutors to model reading, engage students in a text that may be too difficult for them to read on their own, and let students sit back and enjoy the story.

Shared Reading: In shared reading, tutors and children read together, thus allowing students to actively participate and support one another in the process. Tutors point to text as they read to build word recognition. And tutors also read slowly to “build a sense of story.”

Guided Reading: Guided reading prepares tutees with strategies that allow for more independent reading. In guided reading, tutors create purposeful lessons that extend beyond the story. These lessons challenge tutees in a number of areas: vocabulary building, character comparisons, story structure comparisons, relating text to personal experience, and so on. The goal is to provide tutees with strategies that they can repeat independently.

Independent Reading: Even those who support transactional definitions of literacy typically also engage students in independent reading since successful independent reading strategies will help them succeed in school. Students read by themselves or with partners, choose their own texts, and employ strategies that they’ve learned through other reading activities.

Four Writing Strategies

Shared Writing: In shared writing, tutors and children compose texts together — often with the tutor writing the text down. The tutor-as-scribe can write words that challenge children just beyond their existing familiarity with words. This instructional approach is commonly used with children who are just learning how to write, but the approach is also valuable when introducing new words and new textual structures to older children. As with shared reading, shared writing lets tutors model writing lessons for tutees to imitate later.

Interactive Writing: This approach increases the active participation of tutees in the actual writing. Tutors again serve as models and supports, but this time tutees practice writing — practicing spelling, connecting sounds with letters, understanding how words work with one another, etc.

Guided Writing or Writing Workshop: With tutees increasingly gaining familiarity with writing, they can then be guided through more specific lessons. In this approach, they learn strategies that they can later use independently. This approach allows tutees more freedom to explore their imaginative ideas and their opinions.

Independent Writing: Finally, independent writing offers tutees opportunities to combine and practice the strategies learned in previously more supportive settings. Given their repertoire of writing strategies, tutees need to decide which textual organizations, which words, and which tones of voice are more appropriate to a given assignment.

Taken from

After you have read these strategies, decide Which Reading/Writing Strategy to Use of course, depends on the goals of your class session.

Consider the following questions:

  • Do my students require more support or more independence in this session?

  • Which strategies have my students responded to most favorably in the past?

  • Do some strategies complement the chosen text more than others? For example, “reading aloud” may be more appropriate than “guided reading” when teaching a poem that imitates jazz rhythms.

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