A Typical Online Tutoring Session Sneak Peek

One of the best things about being an online tutor is that I get to individualize instruction to each student’s needs.

I am not tied to the constraints of a strict curriculum. While I like to follow a basic structure for my sessions, each student has different gaps and therefore the lessons all look a little different.

 In order to determine these gaps, I use the Qualitative Reading Inventory-5 or QRI-5 during the initial reading assessment along with other tools and simple assessments as needed.

Most struggling reading students require sight word instruction, fluency instruction and practice, phonics and comprehension instruction. I follow that guideline for most students and add in letter recognition, spelling and vocabulary as needed. 

I begin each session by checking in with the student. I build rapport and develop a connection with the student by learning about them. What did you do today? What was the last thing you read? Do you have any pets or siblings? These are all examples of questions I might ask the student.

Young girl shows ten toes to make the sight word “ten” on the opposite screen.

Using Warm Up & Sight Words To Develop Stronger Reading Habits

We then move on to a warm-up activity or game. It’s a quick and simple way to start.

I use Fry’s sight word list and start teaching at a level that I determined during the assessment. I have one word per slide and have the student read the word. We usually practice between 10-15 words at a time.

Once they have the word memorized we remove the word and add new words. If needed, I have students use the word in a sentence and sometimes we select a picture to help the student remember the word.

Repeated Readings Build Fluency

Fluency is often an area of need for struggling readers. When I am working on fluency with the student I begin by using a fluency passage from www.readinga-z.com that is just below their independent reading level.

We do several reads with coaching throughout. This allows the student to improve their rate of reading and develop confidence in their ability. I like to use songs and poetry when teaching fluency as well!

Phonics study is incorporated into each session.

During the Free Reading Assessment, I am able to determine a student’s instructional reading level and then assign them books at their level. My students have their own student account on Raz kids. Phonics study is built into this time. I collect words that students are struggling with and provide instruction on those vowel patterns or types of words.

Positive Rewards and Incentives

Hangman is a fun and easy brain break.

It’s sad, but true, that many struggling readers have low confidence and self-esteem. Part of my job is to encourage hard work. This looks different for each student. It might mean throughout the lesson we take short breaks for a fun game or activity. For another student, we play a game at the end of the session or I might allow the student to show me something from their home. 

This is an example of a typical lesson, but as I mentioned before, each student has different gaps and the lesson is customized to their needs.  Through many amazing tools and technology, I’m able to do all of this online via a video conference with the student. My lessons are interactive, individualized, fast-paced and fun!

I love answering questions about what I do and I love hearing from you! So leave a comment or question and I’ll personally respond to you.


About the Author Ashley DiMercurio