Tutor and Faculty Resources : Annotates Bibliography

As a resource for tutoring at the Stony Brook University Writing Center, we have listed readings that we typically use for staff development meetings during the school year. Although this bibliography is partial, it includes passages that will apply to a variety of tutoring sessions and types of students. Copies of these readings are available in the Writing Center. If you want to suggest additions to our list, please email or contact us.

Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2000.

"The Tutoring Process"
Gillespie and Lerner discuss the differences between editing and tutoring and explain that tutors do not have to consider themselves experts; suggest several strategies available for tutors to use, such as asking questions, and reading aloud; and give detailed samples of how to organize a tutoring session (including its opening), how to decide on an agenda, and how to close the session.

"Taking Notes"
Gillespie and Lerner explain the use of taking notes when working with students; give various examples of student essays and accompanying tutor notes to draw on.

"Working with ESL Students"
Gillespie and Lerner analyze some of the misguided "myths" surrounding the abilities of non-native speakers of English in regards to their writing abilities and dispel the idea that tutors necessarily have to approach every non-native student in an exact fashion. They give examples of dialogue between tutors and non-native students.

"Reading in the Writing Center"
Gillespie and Lerner propose that talking with students about their reading habits will allow a tutor to suggest other strategies that can improve their reading concentration and help them develop a better understanding of what they have read, in turn creating more knowledgeable sounding papers.

Harris, Muriel. Teaching One-to-One: The Writing Conference. Urbana: NCTE, 1986.

"Shapes and Purposes of the Conference"
Harris examines the different roles a tutor can take during a tutoring session, such as "coach," "commentator," "listener," etc; suggests how to, along with the student, create and maintain a workable agenda; and talks about the "stages" of a tutoring conference.

"Conference Activities"
Harris covers the ways in which tutors can communicate with students during the session, such as engaging in conversation to "observe" and diagnose" students' writing concerns, and using the "showing" and "telling" types of methods and the effects of and when to best use each. It also explores some of the numerous problems that may pop up during a session and the limits of using a lot of questions when working with students.

Meyer, Emily, and Louise Z. Smith. The Practical Tutor. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

"Promoting Fluency"
In this chapter, The Practical Tutor addresses the different methods students can use when approaching the writing process. Tutors need not enforce a structured linear process (i.e; writing the introduction, body, and conclusion in that order without straying from it) on every student because some, if not most, do not benefit from writing that way. It shows that tutors can make students aware that there are many different ways and strategies available to help them compose essays.

"Helping Writers Form Concepts"
In this chapter, The Practical Tutor covers a few methods a tutor can use while assisting students in making their papers more cohesive and thought-provoking. It suggests and explains how to employ free-writing exercises, "glossing," and asking questions such as "how does who do what and why?" The overall goal is to help students fully develop their essays.

"Tutoring Revision Through Paper Comments"
In this chapter, The Practical Tutor focuses on deciphering and working with students' papers that are covered with a professor's comments. It also stresses the importance of revising, and suggests that tutors emphasize "re-envisioning" their papers rather than just making quick fixes per their professor's remarks. It includes a sample paper that is all marked up for reference and for use in a practice exercise.

"Sentence Level Errors: Making Connections"
In this chapter, The Practical Tutor deals with surface errors in syntax, grammar, and sentence structure. It includes scenarios of interactions between students and tutors, and suggests ways of phrasing questions and comments so that students are not overwhelmed by technical, sometimes confusing and intimidating grammatical terms.

"Meeting the Writer"
In this chapter, The Practical Tutor provides suggestions for tutors to use during the initial stage of meeting and working with students. It discusses: establishing a good rapport; identifying students' strengths and weaknesses as writers; dealing with uncomfortable situations; and maintaining effective communication. The scenarios that are included help tutors get an idea of the types of situations they may find themselves in.

 

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