Keep things light and comfortable during the tutoring session. Converse with the student. Explain slowly and carefully. Bring in current events -- something amusing that happened in the news. Look at maps in an atlas for any geographical concept that may arise during reading or social studies. Show a chart or drawing you have made, or draw a picture together of something in a story, or just something in nature, like a tree or flower. These things help to bring out a shy student, or one who may feel embarrassed or humbled by poor grades they've made. Respect the student and help them learn.