Tutor Tips

clipart picture of four adults sitting around a table looking at a piece of paper

Thanks to Sheri Lear for sharing this great activity!

Purpose:  For learners to develop discussion skills and practice citing evidence as they improve their reading comprehension skills

Preparation Time:  10 mins

Materials Needed:  6-10 text dependent reading questions on a handout


cast of a chain link bracelet

Purpose:  Reviewing a text in a small group setting can prompt learners to recall a greater amount of points and details than they would if they reviewed it independently. Additionally, turning the review into a fun and challenging game helps to engage leaners in the reviewing process.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  Reading text


Give and Take spelled out in tiles

Purpose:  To encourage learners to practice brainstorming and interacting with their classmates

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  None


  1. Give the learners a topic, and have them brainstorm a list of words associated with that topic for 1-2 minutes.


Things you find in a school

Fruits and vegetables

a hand being held up to an ear to listen

Purpose:  To give learners practice listening for key information

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Materials Needed:  Several different audio tracks with listening comprehension questions for each of them, mini-whiteboards


a hand tossing a yellow tennis ball

Purpose:  This activity focuses on phoneme isolation and helps learners to become more confident at “sounding out” words when they are writing.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  A soft ball, list of vocabulary words


crystal ball on a yellow background with the word predict in the middle

Purpose:  Fluent readers naturally make predictions about a text before reading. This activity guides learners through the process of making predictions prior to reading a text, and also helps learners to activate prior knowledge about the topic.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Materials Needed:  A reading text with 3 sentences from different parts of the text selected


hands in work gloves holding a trowel and building a brick wall

Purpose:  Saying final consonants and particularly final consonant clusters can be very difficult for learners who are not used to words ending in consonants. Oftentimes those learners struggle to hear the consonants because they are not familiar with those sound patterns. Starting with the sounds at the end of the word can make it much easier for learners to produce final consonants as they build onto them.

Preparation Time:  none

Materials Needed:  Vocabulary words from weekly unit


collage of multi-colored speech bubbles

Purpose:  To help learners build their familiarity with basic parts of speech and improve their writing skills.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes                    

Materials Needed:  Pictures from magazines or printed off from the computer. The pictures should be in color, and have multiple actions happening in them.


Small group pull-outs and one-to-one tutoring can make a world of difference for ESL learners, but preparing the activities and materials for these tutoring sessions can be time-consuming for teachers and volunteers. The new ESL Pull-Out Kits are designed to make preparation for tutoring sessions easier by providing volunteers with complete activity instructions and materials for small-group and one-on-one instruction. The kits also provide structured support for volunteers which helps to develop their confidence, build independence and strengthen their teaching skills.

Scrabble tiles spelling the word pause

Purpose:  To practice noticing and using thought groups. Thought groups are when speakers break their sentences into chunks by pausing after phrases or to add emphasis to their speaking. Using thought groups in speech makes it easier for the listener to understand the speaker’s message.

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  Copies of a reading text




Subscribe to RSS - Tutor Tips