Date of Award

8-1998

Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

First Advisor

Nancy Meltzoff

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to answer three research questions. 1) What are the positive and negative aspects of peer tutoring? 2) What are the added benefits, beyond literacy acquisition, for the tutor and tutee? and 3) What type of organizational structure and environment is most conducive to literacy acquisition in a cross-age peer-tutoring program? My research addressing these questions was based on the work of several researchers, in particular Robert Slavin (1990, 1991) and the analysis ofl.Tudge (1990) of the work ofL.S Vygotsky. Their theories propose that students learn best when working with peers who are older, but close enough in age to participate in the learning process as well. This study took place in a Literacy Lab within an elementary school serving grades one through five. The participants represented each of the five grades. The . methodology I used was observations, note taking, and taped interviews with the director of the Lab. In order to protect the participants' rights to privacy and anonymity, I have not used any actual names nor disclosed any locations. After collecting and organizing field notes and interviews, I found that my own research indicated that cross-age peer tutoring is a beneficial and effective means of reading instruction for children. In addition to academic benefits for both tutors and tutees, there are social gains that may be achieved as well. My research also revealed that an important aspect in a cross-age peer tutoring program is a setting which supports all the possible benefits within this type of program.

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