Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/ADRA/Literacy

General Conference
Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 2005

1. Be at least in the 8th grade.


One must have a certain level of academic achievement and maturity before becoming a tutor, so this honor is reserved for those in 8th grade or above.

2. Describe the social conditions that make it more difficult for underprivileged children to achieve basic reading and math skills during elementary school.


Underprivileged children have several disadvantages that can affect their school work.

Poor nutrition
This affects overall health, cognitive abilities, school absenteeism, and may cause a child to become emotionally needy which leads to disruptive behavior.
Overcrowded Schools
Urban areas suffer from overcrowding in public schools. Teachers are forced to spend a great deal of their time administering discipline or working to keep the students safe from other students rather than in educating. These schools are usually underfunded as well, since most school funding comes from local sources, and these schools are located in places where funding is extremely difficult to come by. Thus, these schools are often poorly equipped.
Absent Parents
Many underprivileged children do not have the opportunity to spend much time with their parents, as their parents must spend a lot of time out of the home to earn enough money just to meet the basics. Children are thus often left to fend for themselves and do not benefit from parental guidance. These parents are often uneducated themselves, so even if they were able to stay home, they may not be equipped to help their children with their school work. The types of jobs available to the uneducated often require the parents to work odd hours, so when the children come home from school, the parents are at work. When the parents and children are home together, the parent is often exhausted to the point of collapse, or preoccupied with other problems (how to pay bills, deal with drug problems, etc.). Parents under such stress often become abusive. Two-parent families are rare in urban neighborhoods, so the child may have never lived with his or her father, and may have never even met him.
English as a Second Language
Many underprivileged children come from homes where English is not spoken, so they have to learn the language outside the home. They may not be accustomed to hearing English spoken with grammatical correctness. In many underprivileged homes, newspapers and books are rarely seen.
Living Conditions
Urban areas are very dense, with a lot of people crammed into a very small area. Large (or multiple) families are forced to live in two- or one-bedroom apartments, so there is not much room for privacy, or a quiet place to study. Noise from adjacent apartments easily transmits through the walls, so when there are no fights going on in the child's own home, there may be fights going on in an adjacent apartment. Conflict can be heard at all hours of the day and night.
Poor Self-Image
Children raised in the environment described here may have a very poor self-image. They are accustomed to failure and may have accepted it as their unavoidable destiny. They may not care if they fail and may take no pride in their work.

3. Explain the major types of community-based tutoring programs


a. In-school, cross-age tutoring


In school programs are managed in a variety of ways. One common way is cross-age tutoring. In this case students, normally of a higher grade level, tutor other students in the areas where they need assistance. There are many advantages of this type of one on one peer tutoring: often the tutor has recently completed the same classes having a perspective on the unique issue a particular class presents, comradery can be formed quickly which often promotes the tutored to relax and lower their guard creating a better learning environment. Cross-age tutoring offers the tutor the opportunity to develop social skills and management skills not often developed in the school years of youth, giving the tutor an added benefit as well.

b. After-school or weekend program


This type of tutoring program is perhaps the most common. They are often organized by church-related groups or community organizations. Adventist Community Services (ACS) most often participates in after-school or weekend programs. These programs meet once or twice per week and make use of volunteer tutors.

c. Community homework center


Community homework centers are not common to most areas. These centers often operate in the inner city of metropolitan areas as a haven for students who would otherwise be distracted by the environment around them. Centers such as these are normally not-for-profit corporations that are open to all youth seeking a place of refuge to study and socialize, their continuance is dependent upon the generosity of the community and the dedication of what is often one or two full-time staff members. Peer tutoring and assistance from staff are available at these locations, and the staff often fill a parent-like role for students who are often neglected at home. In addition to a safe a proper place for study, such centers usually offer some recreation and community service opportunities to the youth who use them. These non-study activities help to develop social skills and skills in cooperation, self control, and problem solving as well as provide a special sense of accomplishment to youth who otherwise have no purpose in there lives.

4. Explain the difference between one-on-one tutoring and small-group classes, and list the pros and cons of each approach.


In a one-on-one tutoring session the tutor helps only one student at a time. In a small-group tutoring session, the tutor helps two or more (but not very many more) students at a time.

In a one-on-one tutoring session, the tutors attention is undivided, the student gets more tutoring time, instruction is tailored to the student, and it moves at the pace set by the student. In a group setting, the amount of time the tutor can spend per student is more limited, the tutor must balance the needs of all students, and some students may slip into a non-participatory role. However, students can benefit from the questions asked by other students - questions the student was afraid to ask, or questions that the student didn't think of. A wider variety of information is shared in a group setting.

5. List the basic functions included in the job description of the volunteer tutor in a community-based tutoring program.


The tutor must first work to establish a relationship with the child. It is very important to establish trust. Do not talk down to the child. Listen carefully to the child and try to figure out what he enjoys (this will help when selecting reading material later).

Next, the tutor should determine the child's reading level. This can be done by bringing several short books (or booklets) that you think might interest the child. Spread them out on the table and ask the child to select one and read it out loud to you. Then have him choose another. The child's reading level will be the most advanced book he can read comfortably. You may wish to allow the child to bring one of the books home to keep as his own.

As tutoring progresses, you will need to find creative ways to encourage the student to achieve his goals. When the child is discouraged, it will be up to you to cheer him on - but do not do the work for the student. Validate the child's feeling that he work he is struggling with may be difficult, but stress that the child is capable of doing it. Suggest alternative approaches to problem solving.

Finally, it is critical that the tutor become a reliable partner in the learning process. If you must miss a tutoring session, try to notify the child ahead of time. Do your best to keep appointments. Failure to do so will undermine your influence with the child and reinforce the child's concept that no one can be relied upon.

6. Describe the resources or tools that a volunteer tutor uses in a community-based tutoring program.


A variety of reading materials should be on hand for the child to take home. Include biographies, books on sports or hobbies, stories, magazines, comic books, and newspapers.

Workbooks filled with puzzles are also available, and many allow you to photocopy individual pages to hand out to the student.

Find ways that mathematics relate to real life and use those. Games such as monopoly require the ability to add and subtract, and at times do multiplication and comparison (such as when you draw a real estate tax card - pay $1500 or 10% of the value of all property owned).

You could also set up a store and use play money for "purchases". Allow the child to be either the store keeper or the customer.

Flash cards can also be very helpful.

Younger children need a frequent change of pace. If you can alternate between "quiet" activities and physical activities, you may find that the child is able to work out his energy and then stay better focussed.

A good library of reference materials is also most helpful, and would include dictionaries, a set of encyclopedias, an almanac, and a thesaurus.

Refreshments may also be useful, and you may be able to get local businesses to donate them for the tutoring program.

7. Complete at least ten tutoring sessions with a younger child.


Volunteer at a tutoring place or ask schools in your area if they know of anyone who would like a tutor. You may be required to go through some training before you can begin your work as a tutor. Treat this as a valuable learning experience (after all, if you are unwilling to learn, you are most likely not fit to teach!)

Be sure that you can commit to at least ten tutoring sessions. It is extremely unlikely that you will be able to accomplish anything meaningful with a child in fewer sessions. If you are not committed to tutoring at least ten sessions, it would be better for the child if you did not begin at all. Indeed, it would be morally reprehensible for you to engage otherwise. Remember that a lack of commitment can be damaging to a vulnerable child, so there is a lot more at stake than whether you earn this honor or not. A child's future may hang in the balance, so stick to it!