I'm so excited to share with you my experience tutoring a young man. He is just 5 years of age and entered kindergarten in August 2012. Being a lefty posed him a huge problem when he began his handwriting lessons in class. That's when his mom found me on this website! I am blessed to be her son's private tutor and look forward to working with him each week.
We began focusing on this bright boy's handwriting skills in the first few sessions. We quickly realized that in order to get him up to speed with his class, he would need two sessions per week with me. My happy little tutee has quite a personality, and although I thought I was teaching him, he has also provided me with a lesson or two. My tutoring this child has broadened from just handwriting to phonics, reading, spelling, math, writing (composing) and art! I am a creative tutor and incorporate whatever means I feel is needed into my sessions. When he became bored with handwriting we started a book together. His imagination brought him a character (a pig) that he could write about. Incorporating his new learned vocabulary, the kindergartener added a page to his book each session. As he began reading, we worked on spelling as he would hand write each page he composed for "his book".
Rewarding the young man with the opportunity for a fun activity; using markers on a completely blank white page, he illustrated his book too! With my prompting, he imagined a story for his character (Santa Pig) and took him from the grocery store to the North Pole. I've enjoyed this young boy's enthusiasm each session as he asks me, "is it time to write in my book yet?" I typically leave this fun activity to the end of the session and he anticipates this. I like giving him structure and allowing him to know how many more minutes he needs to work. I gently guide him through his homework (math: addition/subtraction), then we usually do his reading assignments. I positively reinforce his new vocabulary with handwriting practice. Recently, I introduced him to the whiteboard. He loves to write and draw, compose and count for math, using markers on the board! This also saves valuable time (not erasing his pencil on paper). He is quite meticulous and doesn't like making mistakes. We accomplish so much more now that erasing takes a jiffy!
It was terrific at the end of the 9 weeks when his mom showed me his report card. He had improved in all but one area! When my student returned to school after the lengthy winter break (we took two weeks off tutoring also) he received praise from his teacher. She had written a note to his mom, "He did an awesome job in reading today! He is the 1st one on our "neat work" board!" As this young boy saw his mother showing me his teacher's praise, he just beamed with pride. With a smile as wide as the Mississippi, my heart skipped a beat knowing how happy he was at his own success. I did not teach him anything his teacher hadn't taught, I simply reinforced the knowledge, providing him with guidance, creative activities and encouragement to do his best. I look forward to his progress these next 8 weeks and in helping him to develop his new-found love for reading and writing!