Adolescents' Comprehension and Content Area Education Students' Perceptions: Benefits from One-on-One Tutoring

Jul. 01, 2011

Source: The Teacher Educator, 46(3):244–261, 2011
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This research study analyzed the effectiveness of content-area education students tutoring adolescents and documented changes in the attitudes of the education students over time.


Research Procedures
The questions that guided this study are as follows:
In what ways did taking the literacy course concurrently while tutoring adolescent students impact the achievement of adolescents?
In what ways might content area education students’ attitudes change if they were able to implement literacy strategies hands-on within the context of one-on-one tutoring?

Education Tutor Descriptions
The tutors were 46 content-area education students , who learned literacy theory and strategies in an adolescent literacy course on campus in a metropolitan, regional university during the fall 2007 and spring 2008 semesters.

The tutors tested the reading comprehension of both the 46 secondary students they tutored (treatment group) and 47 secondary students they did not (comparison group).

Data Sources

Data were collected through several sources:
Reading Interview - the college students used a reading interview to build rapport and discover the tutees’ attitudes toward reading, their interests, and any reading concerns they might have.

Informal Reading Inventory - the education students used the Bader Reading & Language Inventory (Bader, 2005) to find the tutees’ instructional reading grade level and percent of comprehension.

Attitude Survey - to measure the attitudes of the education students related to implementing literacy strategies within the content-area classroom.

and Tutor Guidelines – logs filled out by the tutors which included information about the tutee’s interest and reading level. The tutor filled out a log each time they met.


Results revealed that both the tutees and tutors gained from this experience.
Tutors indicated that adolescents grew in their self-esteem and self-confidence due to the positive relationships that developed throughout the tutoring experience.
The tutors reported that as the confidence and self-esteem of their tutees grew, so did their reading abilities.
The education students found that helping students focus on the material, providing choices, and knowing the adolescents’ reading interests were some of the keys to their successes.

Secondly, significant changes in the attitudes of the content area students toward implementing reading strategies were noted following the one-on-one tutoring experiences and instruction in the college literacy class.
These education students came to understand the need to support students’ in their text comprehension.

Tutors expressed increased comfort throughout the semester as they grew in their ability to present literacy strategies to their tutees and saw them grow in their reading comprehension skills.
The tutors themselves grew in their own efficacy to effectively teach those strategies as they saw their tutees grow and increase in their confidence to read well.

The authors conclude that the results of this research study documented that a literacy course linked to real student learning can prove highly effective in promoting growth in adolescent students’ literacy abilities and can also positively impact education students’ attitudes and comfort levels related to adolescent literacy.

Bader, L. A. (2005). Bader reading and language inventory. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Updated: Oct. 15, 2013