Page Links

Sample Tutoring Lessons: Introduction

Volunteers are more successful when they come prepared. In some situations, volunteers may be following the guidelines or structure of the program or the teacher. In other situations, volunteers may need to develop their own lesson plans with minimal input from a teacher or supervisor. If you are not following a prescribed plan, here is a basic lesson framework that may be helpful. Generally, in a 45 - 60 minute session, it is good to plan 3 - 5 reading, writing and language activities that will occur each time, thus providing some consistency, but also variety. One successful structure includes:

  • Warm up time: friendly chat and oral rereading of familiar book by child(ren) (5 - 10 minutes)
  • Introduction and reading together of new book (5 - 10 minutes)
  • Game, writing or other activity to extend reading experience or reinforce skill (10 - 15 minutes)
  • Reading aloud by tutor (10 - 15 minutes)

Within this overall plan there is room for variation in response to the learners' interests and needs, or the teacher's requirements. At the same time this plan offers a predictable structure so that children know what to expect from their work with a volunteer. Furthermore, this structure is adaptable to various levels. When tutoring, keep in mind that: 

  • Having a lesson plan can provide a predictable structure for you and the student. But remember to be flexible as well.
  • You can include the child by offering some, but not too many choices: "Would you like to read this book about a bear, or this one about Jake who keeps getting into trouble?" "Shall we play a game or write first?"
  • By observing the child and listening for clues to his or her special interests you can show that you really care what he or she thinks.
  • The teacher or child may have some specific assignments that need to be built into the plan as well.
  • Sometimes a simply printed plan, outlining the sequence of activities is useful as a shared reference. You can allow the child to check off each activity as it is completed--this provides some rewarding physical evidence of what you both have accomplished for the session.

Sample plan for Sam:

Plan for Sam:


1) Sam Re-reads "The Cat in the Hat"
2) Sam Reads a new book title: ___________________
3) Sam and Naomi Play Concentration
4) Naomi reads: "Stone Soup" to Sam