Literacy Tutoring: Principles and Practices

January 26, 2001

Center For Public & Community Service
237 Schine Student Center
Office Hours: M-F 8:30 – 5:00
Kathleen A. Hinchman
Reading & Language Arts Education
201 Huntington Hall
Office Hours: M, 1 – 4 and by appt

“In that one hour, such a difference was made. It’s a good feeling; it makes me feel that this program and volunteering as a whole is a worthwhile and productive thing. “

“I can’t believe weeks are passing. I’m fortunate for this experience.”

It is said that up to 23 million Americans cannot read and write sufficiently. Estimates suggest that roughly 45,000 Central New Yorkers cannot read and write at levels demanded by many activities. Even workers with college degrees are said to lack the critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary for the U.S. to remain competitive. The economy in Syracuse is changing from an industrial base to a service base, with numbers of jobs for the unskilled diminishing by the hundreds each year.

Participation in EDU 300 will allow you to consider “literacy” in an active way, by doing something about the above problem. The class will involve you in the formal study of adult and children’s literacy education and in tutoring adults or children, primarily using the Literacy Volunteers training model. Your work will help to change the lives of literacy students in the Syracuse community. It will also help you to learn about yourself, your own learning, and your potential as a teacher.

OBJECTIVES

As a result of participating in EDU 300, you will:

    1. Gain knowledge about the nature of literacy and literacy instruction.

 

    2. Increase proficiency in providing literacy-related, tutorial instruction.

 

    3. Increase understanding of the learning needs of individuals from diverse educational and socio-cultural backgrounds.

 

    4. Recognize current literacy-related trends.

TEXTS (at SUB)

READ

Tutor: A collaborative approach to literacy instruction OR Helping a child learn to read
Literate America Emerging
OR Children’s Voices: Children talk about literacy

Articles to be shared during class

CLASS ORGANIZATION

This semester-long, three-credit experience is divided into two main parts: class sessions and field experience. Class sessions involve learning how to teach reading and writing in a tutorial setting and discussion of broader implications for such work. The field experience will involve ongoing tutoring of at least one student, general tutoring/ helping site teachers address classroom questions, and working on special site-based projects.

ASSIGNMENTS

1. Class Participation (20 points). A portion of this grade involves session attendance and participation in discussions related to class content, reading, field experiences, and course evaluation (8 points). Reading and homework exercises are also required (4 points), including one student report of 3 literacy related journal articles (4 points), and one student discussion of a literacy-related nonfiction text (4 points). To achieve maximum points, these activities should show initiative, nuances and thoughtful insight, and completion of required work according to deadlines.

2. Tutoring (15 points). Once placements are made, students will document a minimum of three hours each week at their tutoring site; an additional three hours of preparation, reflection, and travel time is also assumed. Students will be visited during scheduled tutoring during the semester for student questions and an attendance check. Students will ask site hosts to complete the attached feedback form, due the last day of class. To achieve maximum points, participation in tutoring should show initiative, active processing of new ideas, nuances and thoughtful insight, and completion of required preparatory work.

3. Journal (15 points). Students should prepare a dated, written reflection after each class (5 points), each visit to the field (5 points), and each reading assignment (5 points), to be handed in during each class and kept together in a folder. Entries should include response to class and readings as well as plans, summaries of what happened, and reflections on each tutoring session.

4. Short Papers (50 points). For Imagine a Lesson (15 points), students should submit a three- to five-page well-written paper describing the objectives and activities for and assessment of an imaginary first lesson. For the Tutoring Profile (15 points), students should submit a three- to five-page well-written paper about a tutoring relationship, including a description of the learner, a summary of tutoring activities, and a discussion of what was learned by both members of the partnership. Students should use pseudonyms for learners and be prepared to discuss the project in class, according to the course outline, below. For Definitions of Literacy (20 points), students should submit a five- to seven-page well-written paper, using class texts, supplementary articles, and other outside resources to address the question, “What are three key aspects of the literacy problem,” and how does “literacy instruction” address these elements?

GRADING
Student journals and papers will be evaluated for the thoroughness of reflection on substantive issues, including use of outside readings and class citations. Ninety to 100 points will yield an A, 80 to 90 a B, etc. Student products may be used for course advertising, evaluation data, or other publications about course activities, but student names will be removed so that confidentiality is insured.

COURSE OUTLINE

Part 1: Initial Training

8/31
Literacy Issues

9/7
Listening Skills, Language Development, including Language Experience & Modeled Reading
Due : Tu. Or wed. Helping a Child. ch. 1-4; Literate America OR Children’s Voices, 3 student choice chapters

9/14
Reading, Comprehension, & Fluency
Due: Practice Language Experience Story

9/21
Decoding & Vocabulary
Due: Tutor ch. 5-6 OR Help a Child. ch. 5

9/28
Writing Process
Due: Practice Error Analysis, ch. 8 OR TBA article on children’s writing

10/5
Error Analysis & Interactive Writing
Due: Case study simulated plans; Begin placements

10/12
Goals & Lesson Plans
Due: Tutor ch. 7,9, 10 OR Help a Child. Appendices F & G; Imagine a Lesson

10/19
Choosing Materials

Part II: Beyond the Basics

10/26
Reports from the field, select 3 articles

11/2
Assessment of concepts of print, word knowledge, fluency, comprehension, and writing
Due: Read manual

11/9
Other: Storytelling, Books on Tape, Puppets, Readers Theater, Poetry

11/16
Article Reports

11/23 Tutoring profile presentations
Due: Tutoring Profile

Part III: Perspectives on Practice

11/30
Discussion of Literate America OR Children’s Voices Due: Definitions of Literacy

12/7
Closure: Lunch, invite site hosts to CPCS, course evaluation, Due: Cumulative journal, teacher feedback form

School: Syracuse University
Professor: Pamela Kirwin Heintz
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