AfterWords: October 2009
October 2009
The Learning that begins after the bell
Afterschool News, A Newsletter of the SEDL National Center for Quality Afterschool
Afterschool Tutoring

For afterschool and expanded-learning programs that strive to boost student academic achievement during the regular school day, tutoring programs can play an important role in reaching this goal. The components of a successful tutoring program are the same regardless of the content area:

  • Communicate with school-day teachers about each student’s tutoring needs.
  • Encourage students to discuss what they are studying and the areas in which they might need additional assistance.
  • Set aside enough space and supplies for tutoring sessions.
  • Provide positive feedback.

The Afterschool Training Toolkit, developed by the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning, contains several free resources for afterschool tutoring. For an overview of tutoring in afterschool, visit the homework section of the toolkit. The different toolkit content areas also have suggestions for how to provide tutoring in specific subject areas like literacy, math, and science.

Literacy. Encourage tutors to incorporate a wide range of literacy activities into the tutoring sessions. For example, discuss with students what they are currently reading, use drawing and writing activities, act out stories, or play literacy games. Recruit a school reading specialist, teacher, or retired teacher to provide tutors with the support they need to reflect on their work with students. Learn more.

Math. Once afterschool instructors and students have identified specific math skills to work on, determine short- and long-term goals. For example, if a younger student is struggling to add two-digit numbers, a short-term goal would be to master equations using base-10 blocks or other manipulatives. A long-term goal would be for the student to be able to add without using manipulatives. Learn more.

Science. Students may find it easier to break down challenging informational text found in science books if they are able to read about and discuss real-world problems related to science. In addition, try creating activities that let students measure and represent data using tables and graphs to help students develop the math skills that are critical to success in science. Learn more.


The SEDL National Center for Quality Afterschool helps state education agencies and local practitioners develop high-quality programs for academic enrichment as well as youth development activities.

A teacher offering homework help to a student Recommended Resource
Stories from the field

Student working on a computer with a teacher
Like any type of tutoring, technology-based tutoring is most effective if the activity focuses on a specific instructional goal.

Tutoring With Technology
Beyond Video Games

Technology can be a valuable tool for afterschool tutoring programs. Tutoring Web sites, or even games, can offer a fun way for students to improve academic skills while also giving them a break from the daily classroom routine. Web sites like include resources like virtual flashcards, a game room, and even a homework helper. If you are focusing on literacy tutoring, consider Students who need help with a specific problem can try ask-an-expert Web sites like Ask the Grammar Lady for language arts questions or Jiskha Homework Help for assistance with a variety of academic subjects.

How can you ensure that students are learning from a computer and not just playing video games? Like any type of tutoring, technology-based tutoring is most effective if the activity focuses on a specific instructional goal. Afterschool instructors might also want to limit the amount of time students spend on computer activities so that they quit before they become bored or restless. Once students have finished a computer activity, encourage them to reflect on their learning and plan a follow-up activity.
The Building Skills and Understanding practice in the technology section of the Afterschool Training Toolkit provides ideas and guidance for using technology to reinforce academic skills. Click on the resources tabs for a list of tutorial Web sites for different content areas and English language learners.

In Your Words Training tip Events Calendar

To participate in this survey and view results, submit your vote now.

What type of tutoring does your afterschool program offer? (Select all
that apply.)

Get It in Writing
If you want to find ways to engage students in a tutoring or homework activity in your afterschool program, you might want to consider having the student, afterschool instructor, and parent or guardian sign a tutoring or homework help agreement. This agreement can outline the expectations for each person involved and can also provide an opportunity for students, parents, and instructors to express any questions or concerns. The homework section of the Afterschool Training Toolkit has a sample agreement that afterschool instructors can download. For additional information on communicating about homework and student progress, see the homework section of the Afterschool Training Toolkit.

Apr. 19–21,

National Afterschool Association & Afterschool Alliance National Convention
Washington, DC

April 28–
May 1, 2010

Boost Conference
Palm Springs, CA


This e-mail was sent by:
Laura Shankland

Editor: Laura Shankland
Contributor: Joe Parker
Designer: Shaila Abdullah

National Center for Quality Afterschool

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Copyright © 2009 by SEDL.