Early Literacy Tutor Training Recipe Book


This Early Literacy Tutor Training Recipe Book is part of the National Student Support Accelerator’s Professional Learning Toolkit for Early Literacy Tutors which consists of the following three sections:

This training recipe book offers:

  • Suggested pre-service learning goals and rationale for why those should be prioritized 
  • Concrete, open-source resources an organization could have tutors use to meet those goals
  • Ways organizations might prioritize resources for three different lengths of training time

All resources included in this recipe book have been made available by organizations as open-source tools, for free use by all. We have vetted and selected resources for inclusion because they meet two or more of the following criteria:

  • Early literacy tutoring providers or early literacy experts recommend them.
  • They align with an evidence-based, structured literacy approach to language and literacy instruction. 
  • They include resources related to important educational needs of the whole child, beyond language and literacy, and they are evidence-based and honor the child’s full humanity.

Where possible, we offer multiple resources for each learning goal from multiple sources and often in multiple formats (text, video, infographic). You will need to choose resources that are most appropriate for your tutors, given their background knowledge and experience, the communities you serve, and the amount of training time you have available. Additionally, you’ll need to provide and train tutors on the instructional materials and relationship-building routines they’ll use with students. You can use all of these resources to develop online early literacy pre-service training modules, or you can blend face-to-face and online learning modalities, as you prefer. 

We include online courses from the Cox Campus, a free learning portal designed to distill the science of reading into actions adults can take when interacting with children. These Cox Campus courses are accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training, and if tutors complete them, they will receive a certificate that shows their continuing education credit from an IACET accredited provider. Many states and school districts require teachers to use IACET CEUs toward license or certification renewal, and some birth through pre-K teachers can also apply their certificates for professional development requirements.

This recipe book does not outline all the topics on which you may need or want to train tutors (e.g., program expectations; safety; technology; etc.) but offers guidance on topics specific to teaching early literacy to young children in a culturally responsive and sustaining way. Reference the Training & Support section of the Accelerator’s Toolkit for Tutoring Programs for guidance on other training topics. 

Finally, we recommend that you determine tutors’ entering knowledge, skill, and mindset and then assess their development as they progress through training. By understanding what tutors know when they enter, you can adjust the resources and practice you offer them in training. A differentiated training experience will maximize their time and model the type of individualized instruction they will strive to provide to students. 

To monitor their learning as training progresses, consider embedding checks for understanding within asynchronous online modules and developing criteria to evaluate their practice of instructional routines. The language in the suggested learning goals and the information within the resources themselves can be useful to you in crafting these. You’ll also need to find or develop organizational systems to track tutors’ progress and completion of work.