Tutoring for 4th Grade English

As a subject, English spans a wide range of skills, including fluency, reading comprehension and writing. If you plan to hire a tutor or tutor your child yourself, consider the following elements so you'll know exactly what your child needs to work on.

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How to Tutor a 4th Grader in English

Identify the Problem

If your child is struggling in English, first figure out what area needs the most work. Begin by listening to your child read aloud. Fourth graders are still learning to read fluently, so listen for choppiness and inaccuracies in your child's reading. If, however, your child excels at reading aloud, then the problem may be comprehension.

Reading and writing are two sides of the same coin. When students can read with accuracy and comprehension, they can apply those skills in their own writing. Most kids at this age need some sort of help in writing, whether it's clarifying main ideas or using diverse word choice.

Fluency

Reading fluently means reading with purpose, expression and accuracy. When students read fluently, they're able to concentrate on the content of the text, rather than the words on the page. By 4th grade, students are able to read various types of text aloud and self-correct mistakes.

To practice with your child, choose a book that he's familiar with and find a passage to read aloud. Model what fluent reading sounds like - and what it doesn't sound like. Ask your child to identify the differences between the two. Then, have your child read the same passage. If he makes a mistake, don't jump in right away. Allowing him to correct himself can help to build confidence and independence as a reader.

Remember to be patient. Learning to read fluently is a process, and it can take a long time to master. Reread the same passage as many times as is necessary. Keep in mind that 4th graders are still developing foundational reading skills, which means they're still learning to read.

Comprehension

Before beginning a story, first look at the title, front cover, table of contents and pictures. Ask your child to predict what the story is about and make connections with her life. These questions will help your child be more active while reading because she'll be looking for other personal connections and wondering if her prediction was correct.

After reading, test her understanding of the plot by having her create a comic strip. The comic should feature the most important events of the story and show a clear understanding of the beginning, middle and end. In addition, ask your child opinion questions, such as 'Who was the best character?' In her response, she should use specific evidence from the text.

Writing

In 4th grade, students have three types of writing assignments: opinion pieces, informative essays and narrative stories. Your child's writing should feature a clearly stated main idea supported by details and evidence. Get your child used to the writing process by providing him with daily writing prompts.

The best way to become a better writer is to write more and reflect on the writing. For each piece, have your child read it aloud. Then, ask him to score his own writing, based on clarity, quality of evidence and overall effectiveness. Go over what he sees as his own strengths and weaknesses, providing your own opinions as well. Finally, develop a plan for improvement. If, for instance, your child notices that he loses focus halfway through his writing, then he needs to create an outline.

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