Thumbnail Image

Strategies and characteristics of effective one-to-one literacy tutors

What makes an effective one-to-one tutor of literacy is unclear. Researchers (Anand Bennie, 2004; Chapman, Tunmer, Prochnow, 1999; Holland, 2004; Oliver, 2000) in New Zealand have investigated the effectiveness of one-to-one tutoring programmes; however there are very few studies on tutor effectiveness especially in the context of New Zealand education. The present New Zealand study explored the strategies that effective one-to-one tutors of literacy used as well as the observed and perceived characteristics distinctive to effective one-to-one literacy tutors. Three effective tutors were observed at the Hamilton Children's Reading Centre during their regular tutoring with two of their tutees over a period of four weeks. To determine the strategies used and the characteristics distinctive to the three tutors, tutoring sessions were audio-tape recorded, and observational notes were recorded. The time spent engaged in various teaching activities was recorded and tutors were required to comment on the successes and challenges of the session in a journal entry after each tutoring session. Individual and group interviews with the tutors were conducted to gain further insight into observational data and journal entries. Numerous strategies were identified during observations of the three effective tutors; the use of these strategies was further explored during individual and group interviews. The majority of each one-to-one tutoring session focused on the teaching of direct letter-sound relationships, listening to tutees read, and phonemic awareness activities. Open questions were asked more frequently than closed questions. Tutees were praised frequently. Scaffolding was observed regularly throughout tutoring sessions. The effective tutors used Questioning as their most frequent type of help and used Demonstrating least frequently. High levels of engaged teaching were maintained throughout tutoring sessions. A higher percentage of words were spoken by the effective tutors than the tutees. Written planning did not appear to play a role in the effectiveness of the tutor. Role reversal was a strategy used frequently by one of the effective tutors. Effective tutors used a variety of ways to motivate tutees to read, complete homework, and remain on task. Many characteristics of effective tutors were revealed during observations and journal entries. The perceived characteristics of effective tutors were explored during interviews with the three tutors. The ability to establish positive, caring relationships appeared to play a major role in the tutees' learning and confidence. The tutors believed being responsive to tutees' emotional needs was the most important characteristic of an effective tutor. The tutors ensured that the sessions were positive and laughter was frequently observed. Good communication was maintained with parents and tutees. The effective tutors were flexible during tutoring sessions, yet consistent with routines. The three effective tutors were knowledgeable and experienced in working with children experiencing reading difficulties. They believed effective tutors are aware of their tutees' areas of greatest need, understand their tutee, and maximise all teaching opportunities.
Type of thesis
Bennett, T. S.-A. (2007). Strategies and characteristics of effective one-to-one literacy tutors (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2414
The University of Waikato
All items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.