I will begin remedial tutoring with a 14-year-old Grade 7 learner whose reading and writing skills are really only at a Grade 4 level, in the hope that he will make steady progress, ideally gradually catching up to his peers in a few years.
I am not a qualified remedial teacher, but have taught and tutored for many years, so I am mature and experienced. We have agreed that in the beginning (at least) we need to focus primarily on his language literacy, with a secondary, optional focus on homework.
I wonder what materials you have that I could use to develop his reading and writing skills? Please indicate the cost of the materials you suggest.
Apparently he is a confident, articulate and socially able young man.
Here is my advice ~
I am also not an experienced remedial teacher, but I have found that the Charlotte Mason approach works with pupils of all ages, abilities and needs, in a way that is interesting, inspiring and educational. Remedial ed does not have to be “dumbed down” to Grade 4 content, but rather to establish reading, comprehension, narration and writing skills.
- Select a really interesting book and read aloud a chapter (perhaps a shorter passage if he struggles at first) and have your student narrate back orally what you read.
- Narrations are the student’s recall of the details, order of events and words used in the story. It should be as detailed, accurate and flowing as possible. The teacher does not prompt, correct or interrupt, but should smile, nod and reflect interest in the narration. This is a complex skill and takes practice!
- Try partnered reading = where you sit side by side and read aloud together. First you read aloud with him whispering next to you for a paragraph or page. Then his turn to read aloud while you whisper next to him. This reinforces the child’s reading skills and affirms their ability to decode and read more fluently.
- Add expression (inflection, voice dropping down or rising) at punctuation marks; small pauses, voice lowering at commas, longer pauses with voice lowering at full stops, to reinforce grammar rules.
- From oral narrations of small passages, extend the skills to dictated narration notes from longer sections of reading.
- The teacher captures the dictated flow of thought, making no alterations, additions or corrections.
- The teacher reads the narration back to the student.
- The student then may suggest any changes.
- This narration demonstrates the student’s ability and provides excellent feedback for further remedial work that is needed.
- No grammar or spelling corrections at this point. Make note of spelling rules or grammar laws needed and include these in LA passages as described below.
- Pre-reading skills are important. Establish phonic rules and explain any vocabulary that he may come across in the passage before reading aloud.
- From dictated notes, try textmapping, building word banks, writing key phrases on a white board or note paper before asking him to write his own narrations.
- Practice writing with copywork.
- For LA (Language Arts) select a meaningful sentence/ paragraph from the passage and examine its grammar. Simple exercises such as ~
- highlight all the capital letters
- underline all the proper nouns
- tick all the commas … why are they used here?
- circle the phrase in the first sentence. Read the sentence again without the phrase. What happens?
- write adj above all the adjectives that describe nouns
- draw arrows pointing down to all the verbs. Can you think of 2 other verbs that could replace each one?
- Find synonyms in the passage for …
- Write your own antonyms for these words in the passage …
- Add any spelling rules if applicable
- Find all the words ending with -ing or -ed. What does this ending tell us about the verb tense?
- Include a creative writing exercise that flows from the theme or topic of that passage such as ~
- Write your own dialogue between the 2 characters …
- Write a postcard to your best friend telling him what happened …
- Write a newspaper report/ police report of the situation.
- Draw a comic strip of the passage.
- Write a play/ TV drama with the characters and scene described …
- Write your own beginning/ending to this situation.
- Use the computer for writing activities.
- The spell check is very helpful, as are the grammar hints.
- Also, rough drafts can be easily edited and printed without completely re-writing the passage.
- Teach him to use the thesaurus, insert clip art, work in tables and create columns.
Before long, he will confidently narrate and complete LA assignments, and his writing skills should improve dramatically.
You can find very useful information in Ruth Beechick’s books, especially “You can Teach Your Child Successfully“. She lays out really simple, practical advice, lessons and skills that a teacher, mentor or parent can follow. You will find Ruth Beechick’s ISBN book numbers and all my Charlotte Mason posts on my blog.
Apart from the Ruth Beeschick books, you could loan the story books from your local library and there should be no real costs to facilitate a really solid remedial course. Better still, you can use his own magazines and borrow or use books on topics he is passionate about.
Wishing you all the very best,