A Sample Reading-Tutoring Schedule With Materials for a Kindergartner or First Grader

Updated on October 4, 2017
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Megan writes about health issues, among other topics. She writes about many of the health topics she has experienced and overcome firsthand.

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My daughter recently started 5-year-old preschool (kindergarten), and although we worked a lot on math and reading over the summer, and I see progress since school has started, I still felt like we could be doing more. A few weeks ago, she took her first standardized test, and although she is not behind by any means, I realized that school is getting harder—things rapidly progress from ABC’s to reading and comprehension, and from simple counting to addition and subtraction.

We have spent the last few weeks since then exploring some tutoring options, just to make sure she is keeping up and maintaining confidence in school. We contacted Sylvan Learning Center, Kumon Math and Reading Center, and signed up for a premium membership on Care.com to look for local private tutors. Sylvan was definitely out of the price range for us—a $95 one-time assessment fee, plus a registration fee of $68, plus tutoring sessions of $49/hour. Kumon was much more reasonable, and I liked them much more—it would be around $120 a month per subject, but we would only do reading—and we may explore it in the future.

For the time being, however, we have decided to hire a private tutor, someone who is a certified teacher who can come to our home weekly. The idea of being accountable to someone each week seems to really work for my daughter, and for most kids—they are more likely, I feel, to want to work hard for someone else rather than their parents. This way, with a private tutor, I can also control the lesson plans and objectives myself, and provide the materials I want to use.

I am creating this plan that I intend for the tutor to use with my daughter, and thought it may be useful for other parents or tutors out there as well. It starts assuming that the student knows all of their letter sounds, both soft and hard consonant sounds and short and long vowel sounds.

First, Set Objectives

What would you like to get out of this supplemental work with your child? Do you want them to score better on a test (short-term goal), reach a certain level of reading, or just keep progressing from where they are (long-term goal)? For me, I have the following goals with this tutoring schedule:

  • Improve standardized test scores, to score in the"proficient" or “above proficiency” range
  • Be reading more fluently at a 1st grade level: Read “I Can Read” Level 1 books with little or no help
  • Learn to enjoy, rather than loathe, reading practice

The last objective is the main reason I would like to bring in outside help. I began doing many of these things with my daughter, and at first she was very excited. Now, the “newness” of learning to read has worn off, and she has become a little lazy. I want to spark her interest and motivate her to keep progressing without being forced. I feel that a structured program with goals can do that.

Set Expectations and Incentives for Your Child

Ultimately, it is better for kids to be self-motivated to keep getting better, and not externally motivated by tangible incentives. To get the ball rolling, however, rewards can be a good thing. Let your child know what will follow if they continue giving effort and progressing. Focus any reward, at least at first, on effort and completion of the tutoring session. Later, you can focus on actual academic progress.

Rewards can be anything, but ideally something very small except for huge accomplishments. For violin lessons, we have a simple star chart where we color in a star each day we finish practicing everything we were supposed to. Just the act of getting to color that star and showing it to her violin teacher each week now motivates her to keep practicing every day. If she does something monumental, like learning a new song in just one day, or a great performance at lessons or a recital, we do something like ice cream or a dinner out, her choice. For tutoring, I plan on using a sticker chart, where her tutor can give her a sticker for each session she focuses and completes all the work I leave for them. Once the chart is filled up, we’ll pick a larger reward.

Again, after these early years, I am hoping that she will just be intrinsically motivated to keep reading. For now, though, I think a reward system can really help.

Agenda

Our tutoring sessions will be one hour. We will break that hour up (roughly) into the following segments:

  • 15 minutes: review reading concepts learned in the previous week
  • 15 minutes: learn the next concept
  • 15 minutes: writing prompt
  • 15 minutes: reading out loud

At least for my daughter, I know that it will be quite difficult to sit still for an entire hour with no breaks. It is a good idea to permit small breaks to walk around for a minute or get a drink.

Reading and Phonics Progression of Concepts

The following are the reading concepts I hope to cover in our tutoring sessions:

Consonant-Vowel-Consonant Words

Consonant Blends

Words that End in “e”

Words that End in “ing”

Words that End in “ed”

Words that End in “er”

Plural Words that End in “s”

Vowel Blends: “oa”

Vowel Blends: “ai”

Plural Words that End in “es”

Vowel Blends: “ie” and “ei”

Compound Words

Reading Comprehension

Sight word work will continue throughout. We use Fry’s List.

I also will incorporate these concepts:

Color Words

Writing the days of the week

Writing the months

Writing out numbers

Kumon Reading Workbooks

Grade 1 Reading (Kumon)
Grade 1 Reading (Kumon)

For workbooks, I have explored many options, but the one I like the best are the Kumon workbooks. After touring the local Kumon Math and Reading Center, I decided to see if there was anything that followed their method of repetition that I could buy for home use, and I found the Kumon branded workbooks.

In the reading workbook for 1st grade, each “lesson” is 2 pages. It takes us about 15 minutes to complete a lesson if we are having a good day. The lessons are the perfect length and amount of writing that they are challenging, but not too much. They move in baby steps—there are 4 lessons devoted to just consonant-vowel-consonant words, then a review, before moving on to consonant blends and more complex vowel combinations. Each page offers plenty of opportunities for practice and to master a skill before building on it and moving on to the next.

I also like that these workbooks have smaller lines and spaces for smaller handwriting. Too many first grade levels books I’ve bought only have super wide ruled lines that look like they are for a very early writer. By this level, I feel they should be learning to write smaller, and this book encourages that.

Even if your child can’t read enough yet to read the instructions, they are almost self-explanatory. That is another beauty Kumon: turning kids into independent learners. Myself or the tutor can sit my daughter down by herself and she can figure out what needs to be done.

 
A snapshot of a page from the Grade 1 Kumon Reading workbook. This workbook has proven very helpful for us in learning phonics concepts.
A snapshot of a page from the Grade 1 Kumon Reading workbook. This workbook has proven very helpful for us in learning phonics concepts. | Source

Writing Prompts

Writing prompts will be like a journal entry: a special notebook will be dedicated to these. I will ask the tutor to have her respond to the writing prompt, encouraging her to use words that fall under the concepts learned that week. I’ll also have her to illustrate a picture to go along with it. The following are some writing prompt ideas that are appropriate for this age/reading group:

If I could have one wish it would be…

My favorite food is ________ because______...

My favorite color is ________ because______...

Describe one fun thing you did at school today.

What do you like to do with your friends?

My favorite season is ________ because_______......

You can find 357 more first grade level journal writing prompts here.

Books for Reading Out Loud

After learning new reading and phonics concepts, the goal is to be able to put all of that together and begin actually reading, of course. There are few things more exciting for beginning readers than to be able to say “I read the whole book by myself” In my opinion, even a lot of the first level of the leveled readers are not easy enough for a very new reader to grasp on their own. During this portion of tutoring, which for us will hopefully be about 15 minutes, I want to include a mix of books she can read on her own completely and some she can read with just a little help. The following are some books that you can easily find at your local library, or at a book store:

Books for student to try reading independently out loud:

Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw

BOB Books Sets 1-4 by Bobby Lyn Maslen

Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell

Mittens at School by Lola Schaefer

Biscuit Finds a Friend by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Any “Elephant and Piggy” books by Mo Willems

Books to read together:

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile by Bernard Waber

Curious George by H.A. Rey

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff (or any other “If You Give a Mouse a”…book)

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? By Jane Yolen

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

These books were taken from a combination of my personal preference, the Kumon Recommended Reading List, and the Books Your Child Should Hear Before Kindergarten list. They are just a small sample of books that you could read out loud.

Any “I Can Read” Leveled Readers in the “Shared Reading” or “Beginning Reading” levels are great for students who are just starting to read. These books use well known characters with easy-to-read plots.

Some materials we are using for reading lessons. Bob Books are great confidence boosters--kids can start reading these short books without help early on.
Some materials we are using for reading lessons. Bob Books are great confidence boosters--kids can start reading these short books without help early on. | Source

Conclusion

Finally, I plan on keeping track of what we did using sheets I created on Microsoft word. I will print a new one each week and write down what we need to practice in each area each day. Below is a photo of the template I am using.

Sample Reading Daily Work Log

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Sight Word Rap Song for Kids

Opinion

Have you tried any of these materials to practice reading at home with your beginning reader?

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