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Tutoring First Graders

  1. First graders need to be correct 95% of the time. Make it simpler until your student is highly successful.
  1. First graders need to be read to. They need to participate in conversations with you. Talk to them and try to stay on topic.
  1. First graders need to hear individual sounds in words.
    • Ball roll: You say “What is the first sound you hear in /ball/” (roll a ball to the student). Student says “/b/” (and rolls ball back to you). Do many repetitions. Use CVC words (three letter word that starts with a consonant, have a vowel in the middle and ends in a consonant). Asking for the last sound in a word is a little more difficult than the first sound, and asking for the middle vowel sound is the most difficult.
    • Say a word in its parts and see if your student can put them together to make a word. “What word is /p/……/a/……./t/” “Pat!”
    • Say a word and see if your student can say its parts. “What are the sounds in ‘can’?” “/c/……/a/……../n/”
    • Brainstorm lists of words that you write down. “What words begin with the /t/ sound?” “Tank, Tommy, Turtle….”
  1. First graders need to be able to write a letter for a sound you say. “How would you write /s/?” Student writes ‘s’.You can also spell and read with word families: “We are going to spell words which end in ‘ip’. I will write that at the top of the page for you.” Then list CVC ‘ip’ words: dip, hip, rip, sip, tip, zip…   You could use these words for a game now.
  1. First graders need to know their vowel sounds! (Make sure you are accurate yourself – when in doubt pair up with a friend.) Work on one or two at a time. Remember – keep them successful.
  1. Again…First graders need to be read to and need to hold a conversation and stay on topic, and First graders need to be successful!!