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Lesson Plan

Exploring Cross-Age Tutoring Activities With Lewis and Clark

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Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute tutorial sessions, plus preparation time for high school students
Lesson Author

Debra J. Coffey

Knoxville, Tennessee


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



In this lesson, cross-age tutoring gives high school students the opportunity to guide elementary students (in grades 3 to 5) to a deeper understanding of the adventures of Lewis and Clark. Students use the book How We Crossed the West by Rosalyn Schanzer, along with interactive activities and websites, to explore the events of this expedition. Social interaction enhances critical thinking and literacy skills as students collaborate to create adventure stories based on the expedition of Lewis and Clark. The lesson culminates in a festival in which elementary students share their adventure stories with the high school tutors.

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  • Story Map: With this tool, students can easily create and print original stories.

  • Timeline: This timeline makes it easy to plot events and create a visual aid to help students better understand the text.

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Jacobson, J., Thrope, L., Fisher, D., Lapp, D., Frey, N., & Flood, J. (2001). Cross-age tutoring: A literacy improvement approach for struggling adolescent readers. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 44, 528536.

  • Cross-age tutoring provides opportunities for older students, working under a teacher's guidance, to help younger students practice skills and concepts.

  • Planning instruction for others enhances long-term retention and comprehension of texts.

  • Cross-age tutoring promotes critical thinking skills through collaborative interaction.

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