How to Tutor a Child

By David B. Ryan
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Tutors develop a personal technique that meshes instructional technique with the personality and age of the child. Everyone, regardless of age, learns better when the instruction involves high-interest information and a bit of fun, but creating tutorials that do both takes time to plan. Tutoring also requires a major element of patience and compassion. It's easy to forget the time and challenge involved in learning the simplest lesson. Tutoring plans have the same basic technique for all new learners, but the approach and content change with the age of the learner.

Step 1

Determine the session length and select a quiet location for the tutoring session. Children develop individually, and you'll need to determine the capacity your young charge has to sit, focus and pay attention. School counseling instructor Dr. Carl Sheperis tells "Parents" magazine readers to begin with the child's current attention span and build the focus time for sessions by using constant praise for positive actions.

Step 2

Determine the reason for the tutoring session before the session and develop a written lesson plan to address the child's need. Divide your plan for the tutorial into a beginning, a middle segment and a final assessment period. Develop an activity using manipulatives to grab the child's attention in the beginning step and use other activities throughout the middle section to teach key concepts. Focus on a variety of different approaches to teach key ideas. Develop an assessment for the materials taught during the tutorial as part of your written plan. This final tutorial step helps you judge the effectiveness of your teaching session. It asks the child to use the knowledge in a practical way to evaluate the effectiveness of your tutorial.

Step 3

Collect the materials necessary for the tutorial, using your lesson plan and manipulatives, and test the plan in a practice run-through session to make sure you have everything necessary to complete the tutorial. Make additional notes to help guide you during the tutorial session with the child.

Step 4

Conduct the tutorial session using your lesson plan, and make notes of the activities that worked well as you progress. The activity notes offer a guide for future sessions.

Step 5

Follow your written plan for the session, but if the tutoring session becomes disorganized or the child has trouble focusing, take a short break to clear minds and make a fresh start.

Step 6

Give praise during the tutorial and end on a positive note that itemizes the things the child did well during the session.

About the Author

David B. Ryan has been a professional writer since 1989. His work includes various books, articles for "The Plain Dealer" in Cleveland and essays for Oxford University Press. Ryan holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati and Indiana University and certifications in emergency management and health disaster response.