Implementing the ClassWide Peer Tutoring Beginning Reading Program           

How does the CWPT: BR program work? 

ClassWide Peer Tutoring has been proven effective with students from pre-school age to high school age levels, and has been successfully used with regular, special education, limited English proficient students, attention deficit disordered students and students at risk for academic failure, regardless of ability levels.

The primary goal of the CWPT: BR program is to facilitate students' achievement, acquisition, and mastery of the basic skills needed to learn to read. It incorporates a stimulus-response, error correction, tutoring technique and game format that benefits both the tutor and the tutee.


Rank and Order the Students by Their Ability Level 

Prior to implementing the CWPT: BR program, the teacher needs to rank and order the students on ability level, from the highest to the lowest to create teams of equal ability as possible. The teacher can use the partners/team chart form to plan out 3 weeks of different team configurations in advance.

Click here to view a sample of the partners/team chart form.

Once ranked, the teacher places the highest ability student on team one, the second highest ability leveled student on team two, third highest on team one, fourth highest on team two and so on, alternating the students to the first team and then to the other team. With this configuration, the teacher will create 2 teams of equal ability of high, average, and low students on both teams. If all the higher ability students are on the same team, they will win every time and that would defeat the purpose of the two competing teams. The teacher must create teams where both teams have an equal chance of winning on any given day.

This partner/team form automatically determines which child on each team stays in their seats and which students move to get to their partners when instructions to move are given.

Steps in Implementing the CWPT: BR Format 

CWPT: BR is taught and implemented in a series of steps. Students are taught to perform each step through the following instructional lessons or training sessions as outlined in the CWPT: BR teacher's manual. Those sessions are:


Session 1: Standard Pre/Post Assessment Procedures 
Session 2: Learning in a large group format including sitting properly 
Session 3: Learning about ClassWide Peer Tutoring: Beginning Reading
Session 4: Working with a Partner and Being Part of a Team
Session 5: Performing the CWPT: BR Procedures
Session 6: Reporting Points Aloud
Session 7: Oral Sound Blending or Oral Reading Practice and Comprehension Questioning
Session 8: Awarding the Winning Team

CWPT: BR Basic Instructional/Lesson Format 

Every CWPT: BR lesson is designed to stand-alone as a comprehensive instructional unit or module. The program assumes that the implementer has at least 40 minutes to an hour or more for the core subject area of language arts development and/or reading instruction. Each module's lesson covers 5 major instructional components for delivering basic content to be mastered. The 5 major components are pre-assessment, mini lesson, CWPT activity, suggested activities, and mastery post-assessment.

  • Pre-assessments (7 to 10 minutes). Pre-assessments are critical to the program because they allow the teacher the opportunity to probe his/her students to determine the entry level of every student and determine, what, if any of the content to be taught is already known, and exactly who knows what in advance. The pre-assessment results also inform the teacher what needs to be taught or re-taught so that every student masters the material.
  • Mini lessons (10 to 20 minutes). Each mini lesson allows the teacher the opportunity to model the task/skills that the children are to perform so that they are familiar with what they are to do, and how they are to do it. The mini lessons are conducted in a close informal group format so that the teacher can conduct informal assessments of the group's overall understanding of what is to be done, and which students are having difficulties.
  • CWPT activities (5 to 10 minutes). Every student is paired with another student to learn and practice the content that was introduced or reviewed in the mini lessons. The time is divided equally between both students, and each student performs in the role of a tutor and a tutee during the peer tutoring sessions. Suggested tutoring time limits by grade level are as follows:
    Pre-school - 3 to 5 minutes each round (total of 6 to 10 minutes)
    Kindergarten - 5 minutes each round (total of 10 minutes)
    First Grade - 5 to 7 minutes each round (total of 10 - 14 minutes)
    Second Grade - 7 to 10 minutes each round (total of 14 - 20 minutes)
  • Suggested activities (8 to 10 minutes). Each individual module or unit provides the teacher with suggestions of additional activities that they can have their students engage in to demonstrate individual learning, mastery, and skill application on an individual basis.
  • Mastery post-assessments (7 to 10 minutes). The post-assessments are vital to the program because they allow the teacher to determine which students have mastered the material at or above the acceptable criterion level and how much gain the students have made since the pre-assessment. The results of the post-assessments will also guide the teacher to know how to proceed with the next instruction. The results will indicate whether or not the teacher should proceed with the next level of instruction (if all students master the material) or whether there is need to re-teach the material (if many of students fail to master the material).


The Daily Instructional Format of CWPT: BR 

The entire instructional format is intended to maximize the content covered, student engagement, and acquisition and mastery of the material/skills being taught. CWPT: BR's daily instructional format includes the following:

  • The assessments, both pre and post (Mondays or Fridays only)
  • The review of procedures
  • The preview of materials/skills (group participation)
  • The partner practice (peer tutoring)
  • The independent practice of skills/oral reading and comprehension
  • Suggested activities

To start the CWPT: BR program, the teacher would conduct several lessons on explaining how the CWPT: BR game works as outlined in the manual. The teacher would have the children listen to, review, and practice the CWPT: BR rules, so that students learn the appropriate behaviors during the CWPT: BR procedures.

Click here to view a sample of the rules chart.

When students have learned to perform the rules and know the roles of both the tutor and tutee, CWPT: BR may officially begin. The teacher uses a large replica of the student tutoring placemat to conduct each "mini lesson".

Click here to view a sample of the teacher and student tutoring placemat.

During the mini lesson, the large placemat chart is used to show the students were the flashcards go, where the help card is, and how it is used.

Click here to view a sample of the help cards sheet.

The smiley face on the large chart and tutoring placemat indicates where the tutor stacks the flashcards that are responded to correctly, and any incorrect responses to flashcards are placed on the question mark (?). The bottom portion of the teacher's placemat chart has a couple of rows of the students' smiley face point sheet so that the teacher can demonstrate how to award points for each correct answer the tutee gives.

Click here to view a sample of the smiley face point card for preschoolers and kindergarten students.

Click here to see the numbered point card that is used in first and higher grades.

Administering a Pre-Assessment 

The teacher would begin by administering a pre assessment prior to any teaching or tutoring. Each pre-test group assessment should be conducted weekly and should take approximately 6 -10 minutes per assessment. The procedures for administering the pre assessment are outlined in great detail in the CWPT: BR teacher's manual. This assessment can be created with the customized assessment feature of the CWPT: BR assessment Generator software. The pre-test should contain items that reflect the content to be tutored for the week and be given prior to instruction.

CWPT Activities 

In a CWPT: BR classroom, students are paired up with a same-aged peer to work together to learn the academic task at hand. In each pair of students, one performs the role of the tutor (the teacher role) by providing the content stimulus via flashcard to the other student to provide the proper response. The other student (the tutee) performs the learning student role by responding both orally and in writing the responses (when appropriate) for the tutor to monitor and assess the correctness of their responses.

Click here to view a sample of the student writing worksheet for preschoolers and kindergarten students.

Click here to see the worksheet first grade and older students use if a written response is required.

Each writing worksheet is divided into 4 columns with grids. CWPT: BR is based on a game format with the entire classroom being divided into two equal ability teams who are competing to be the winning team by earning the most points during the tutoring process. During a tutoring session where written responses are needed, the column on the far left is used by the tutee to make their first attempt at responding to the tutor's flashcard prompt. Let's use spelling as an example of a tutoring task that needs both oral and written responses. The tutor says, "Spell the word cat". The tutee, says aloud (as they write in the far left column of the first row), "Cat, c-a-t". The tutor says, "Correct", and says, "Give yourself 1 point on the tutoring point sheet". "Spell will". The tutee says and writes in the far left column of the second row, "Will, w-e". The tutor immediately says "stop" the correct spelling of will is w-i-l-l". "Practice it 3 times". The tutee moves to the second column of the second row and says and writes "w-i-l-l, (moving across to the third column) w-i-l-l, (moving across to the final column of the second row), w-i-l-l". Tutor says, "Very nice job" and places the flashcard on the question mark side of the placemat, since the tutee made an error on that word. One point was awarded for any assisted answer the tutee correctly practices three times in both the oral and written form.

This tutoring exchange continues through as many flashcards as possible until the timer sounds the end of the tutoring session for those students. The teacher then re-sets the timer for the same amount of time, and the student who was the tutor now becomes the tutee and vice versa, so that the second student has a chance to practice the content and to earn points for his/her team. At the end of the second round of tutoring, the points earned from all members of the two separate teams are tallied to determine the winning team for the day. Scores are tallied after every peer tutoring session and the team who has the most points at the end of the week is that week's winner. Each team should have won several times during the tutoring week.

Post-Test Assessment 

The post-test assessment should be given after the week's instruction and tutoring sessions over the same tutored material. This assessment can be created with the customized assessment feature of the CWPT: BR assessment Generator software. Each post-group assessment should be conducted weekly and should take approximately 6 -10 minutes per assessment. The assessment covers the same content as the pre-assessment, but must be given in a different order or target different content items from the pre-test assessment. The post-test assessments will determine the gains the children are making and whether or not more teaching of the concepts need to be done or to proceed on to new material.

Once very young students begin to actually read, teachers can conduct the classwide peer tutoring sessions as outlined in the "standard" CWPT program. At this point when students are older, they are taught how to ask each other comprehension questions at the end of the oral reading CWPT session. The tutor simply has a prompt card of questions to ask the tutee after they have read a particular passage or story.

Click here to view a sample of the Comprehension Questions Prompt Card sheet.

To assess individual oral reading rates and fluency, teachers can use the Reading Evaluation Form.

Click here to view a sample of the Reading Evaluation Form.

The CWPT: BR program also outlines suggested activities for every teaching module to reinforce the learned skills and allow the students to apply their learned knowledge independently. Suggested activities include accompanying worksheets, journal writing activities, and oral reading practice and review.

The CWPT: BR program is a fun way to develop and build on the basic skills needed by young children to become proficient readers.

Where can you find more information about CWPT: BR? 


Juniper Gardens Children's Project 
The CWPT program was researched and developed at the Juniper Gardens Children's Project in Kansas City, Kansas through grant initiatives affiliated with the University of Kansas. 

Sopris West Publishing Company 
The Sopris West Publishing Company is the publisher of the "standard" CWPT program called "Together We Can" and the "Together We Can" CWPT-LMS manual and computer software.

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