Tutoring and the process of questioning

On October20th my tutee and I met to discuss her Anne Frank reading. Athough Kim didn’t add to her journal after our last meeting, her fabulous ability to ask quesyions was enough to drive our time together to great depths! I came with a link ready and quotes from a book about Otto Frank. Both sources addressed questions Kim had raised last week.
One question that I found especially brilliant was:
If Otto Frank was German, why was he forced to leave?

Well, an author by the name of Carol Ann Lee asked that very question! I didn’t hesitate to share Kim’s brilliant ability to ask questions with her! We read quotes that indirectly answered her juicy questions and discussed our understanding of how the quotes related her question. We used context clues surrounding uncommon words and analyzed quotes based on who said them and how the source related to Otto Frank. We asked the question is this quote reliable? Would this person know the details of Otto’s life?

The readings I brought were well beyond a level 5, which is where Kim tested. However, the ability to read for particular information as well as our discussions and word analysis helped Kim along. What resulted from our time together? – more questions!
– If Otto had known his family perished while he was in the concentration camp, would he have given up and succumed to death himself?
-Did the role as champion and spiritual coach to Anne, in turn help to keep Otto alive himself while in the camp?

The moral of the story / tutoring session is…

Despite reading at a level 5, Kim has a very bright, inquisitive mind. By discussing new, challenging words and working through useful strategies while reading together, Kim was able to read text beyond her grade level. Text that challenged her to think beyond the black and white words under her nose and ask challenging, critical questions that require higher level thinking skills. The book Kim is reading is more at her level, however supplementing this topic with texts that challenge her even more is equally important! The higher level reading provides opportunities to model and practice skills that Kim will need when independently tackling more challenging texts. Kim’s capacity to think beyond the text is especially important because otherwise she may get stuck at this level 5 not only in her reading ability, but sadly also her ability to think critically. I love discussing our reading together! Kim has a passion for this tooic and she is brilliant in her questioning surrounding the juicy issues of this time in history!


2 thoughts on “Tutoring and the process of questioning

  1. Yes, passion drives the enterprise. As you mentioned, it is important to challenge students as well as letting them read at their instructional level. Both are needed, and if the material is engaging, as you have shown, students will be willing to accept the challenge.



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