The America Reads Challenge: An Analysis of College Students' Tutoring

CIERA Report #3-007

Martha A. Adler
University of Michigan

CIERA Inquiry 3: Policy and Profession
Do college-age tutors use their training as they work with young children? How do tutors implement recommended lessons and materials? What insights for future development of programs and materials can be gained from examining how tutors carry out their training?

The America Reads Challenge Act of 1997 created a nationwide effort to meet President Clinton's challenge for American citizens to volunteer as reading tutors "to ensure that every American child . . . learns to read well and independently by the end of third grade" (USDOE, 1997). Research has shown that volunteer tutors can be effective in reading to children, providing supervised practice in oral reading, and engaging children in enriching conversation. Much has been written about the training of tutors, but little mention of materials and the tutors' application of their training has been made. This report documents the first year of an America Reads program at a midwestern university where federal work study students were trained as reading tutors. The study provides a broad overview of the training provided to approximately eighty federal work study university students and their reported implementation of tutoring components. It also includes an in-depth examination of the yearlong tutoring sessions of two tutors and their three tutees.

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