My student only talks when no one else is around

Challenge:
My student only talks when no one else is around

Scenario:
My student seems to be very excited to work with me and when no one else is around, she is more than happy to talk, albeit in a very, very, quiet voice. I am having a hard time thinking of games to play with her. She loves to read to me, but games such as the alphabet game previously described won’t work with her. When we work together, we are in the classroom so it’s hard to get her to speak up and each time an adult passes by she stops talking completely. Can anyone think of a game I could play that is quiet and won’t make her feel overwhelmed? I am also having a hard time leaving when we are done with our session. I feel as though she gets upset and I know she doesn’t feel comfortable with her regular teacher.

Possible Strategies:
1. I can’t remember what level your tutee is at, but the game from page 120 in the Claire book, was a quiet game where she can read the sentences to herself and decide which word completes the sentence. She really doesn’t have to speak out loud unless she has a question, and your role is to prompt her if she needs it to figure out what would fit at the end of the sentence. It was not too challenging of a game, and it helped with simple vocabulary, and my tutee loved it.

2. I can’t think of solutions to your problem, but the good thing is that she feels comfortable with you and you have to run with that! Maybe sit down with the teacher and talk about her behavior, because I cannot imagine that the teacher doesn’t find this strange? Just remember that you are giving her a great adult role model and that she feels connected with YOU!

3. Perhaps you want to try to write commercials together or write a sequence to a story you have read together and then ask her to narrate the different captions, all in a “quiet” voice. In general, you need to choose activities where she can demonstrate understanding without having to speak. I know this is hard, but do it until she feels more comfortable with you. Bingo is also a good game to play, you can help her learn lots of vocabulary she needs. It’s ok to feel uncomfortable, frustrated, or unsure of what you are doing. Even with great resources you may not have enough ideas. Remember, that as you are helping them you are learning so much in the doing. This is one of the main objectives of this experience. If you were experts you would not have to do it. Just know that you are not alone in your emotions about this experience.