Reading/Writing Tutoring

A Parent's Guide

General Information

Your child has been selected to participate in a joint tutoring program in reading/writing between Southern Methodist University (SMU) and Robert E. Lee Elementary. The tutors will work one-on-one with your child under the guidance of a member of the SMU faculty. The tutors are undergraduate and graduate students in Education at SMU. he tutoring session will be conducted with your child for one hour per week during regular school hours at Lee Elementary. The program is designed to enhance your child's reading/writing skills using research-based techniques with the hope of reaching the benchmarks set by the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for English Language Arts and Reading.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)

The format of the tutoring session will be as follows:

Warm Up/Assessment (5 minutes)

These 60-second assessments allow the tutor to obtain an understanding of your child's strengths and weaknesses in reading. This enables the tutor to plan the tutoring session in a way that is most beneficial to your child.

Assessments used:

DIBELS Phoneme Segmentation Fluency:

The DIBELS Phoneme Segmentation Fluency (PSF) measure is a standardized, individually administered test of phonological awareness (Kaminski & Good, 1996). The PSF measure assesses a student's ability to segment three- and four phoneme words into their individual phonemes fluently. Phonemes are distinct units of sound in a specified language that distinguish one word from another.

EasyCBM Word Reading Fluency:

Reading Fluency is defined as the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Students are shown one side of a single piece of paper on which a series of words are written in a chart format. As the student reads from left to right and top to bottom, the words increase in difficulty. The assessment allows the tutor to measure the students progress in reading.


Phonological Awareness


Word Practice (20 minutes)

In the first five sessions, the tutors are required to use an activity called Mondo bonus lessons, which is a scripted, research-based activity designed to improve a student's reading skills. Also, if time permits, tutors will play the "Stop and Go Game," which is a game of word sounds with increasing difficulty. In the last five sessions, the tutors are allowed to integrate other word study activities with SMU faculty approval.

Mondo Bonus Lessons:

  • Build, write, and read words with short vowel sounds.
  • Read six sight words (high-frequency words that typically cannot be "sounded out").
  • Read three sentences with decodable words (words that can be "sounded out") and sight words.

Stop and Go Game:

Other Word Practice Activities

Reading (25 minutes)

Interactive read-alouds are one of the best-documented ways to improve a child's oral language skills. The tutor brings an age-appropriate book and reads the book using a dialogic reading style.

The format is as follows:

  • Before reading: Tutor previews book (reads the title, identifies author(s) and illustrator(s), has the student make predictions based on the cover and/or illustrations) and reviews important vocabulary.
  • During reading: Tutor reads text with expression, stopping to: ask for/confirm predictions, ask questions, prompt for connections, reference print, and review key vocabulary.
  • After reading: Tutor helps student construct a retell of the text and make connections to what was read.

Text-related activity: The tutor engages the tutee in a text-related activity before, during, or after reading. This activity can consist of a word sort, sequencing events, writing, or other activities to engage the student.

Interactive read-aloud example:

Word sort explanation:

Parents guide to the interactive read-aloud:


Dialogic Reading

Oral Language

Writing (10 minutes)

Developing good writing skills can strengthen vocabulary, comprehension, and spelling skills. The tutor can instruct the student to write one or two sentences in their own handwriting regarding the story. The tutor may also choose to do other activities as well, such as writing worksheets.

Writing worksheet sample:

Contact Information

For any questions or concerns, please contact Ms. Jane Doe at the email address below.


DIBELS phoneme segmentation fluency. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2015, from

Genishi, C. (n.d.). Young Children's Oral Language Development. Retrieved from

Kaminski, R. A., & Good, R. H. (1996). Toward a technology for assessing basic early literacy skills. School Psychology Review, 25, 215-227.

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Reading Fluency. (n.d.). Retrieved December 3, 2015, from

Stop and Go Directions for Literacy Acquisition I Practicum. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Tips for Teaching Your Child About Phonemes. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Training on administration and scoring: Word weading. (n.d.). Retrieved December 4, 2015, from