Successful Approaches

Ice Breakers for the First Night

  • Tell each other why you’ve come.
  • Ask what the student would like to do.
  • Read the Tutor Handbook to learn more about the Club together.
  • Give a spelling test; offer a choice of “easy” or “difficult” words.
  • Tell each other what your days were like, whom you know here or how you found us.
  • Instead of asking for oral responses, have the student write answers to your questions.
  • Have the student fill out the Tutor Report Form, with proper grammar and punctuation.

Diaries to Improve Writing

  • Dictate: have your student dictate a diary to you.
  • Read: have your student keep a diary and share excerpts from it.
  • Write: have your student write with your help.

Books and Magazines

  • Take turns reading a story or magazine article and discuss what you’ve read.
  • Keep lists of words you’ve learned together.
  • Note dialects in stories. Compare them with those you know.


  • Trace familiar routes: from home to school or to the Club. Find a new route to a familiar place.
  • Follow directions: give oral or written directions for student to follow.
  • Explore bus and subway maps.

Flash Cards (Use the Library’s or make some together)

  • Beginning/ending sounds
  • Alphabetization
  • Vocabulary
  • Spelling
  • Parts of Speech
  • Pronunciation
  • Size/relationships
  • Syllables

Paper and Pen Games

  • Divide words or names into syllables.
  • Make new words from given sounds.
  • Write a true experience.
  • Dictate stories to each other.
  • Write sentences.
  • Identify consonants, vowels.
  • Write or outline a story.

Opportunities to Learn
Since many of us are fairly new to D.C., we have much to learn about our home city. Here are opportunities for you to learn from and with your students. They can be leaders: Who is your student’s school named for? Why? Can your student stump you with a quiz? Take you on a tour of sites that are important to him or her?

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