The Handbook for Training Peer Tutors and Mentors is a must-read resource for postsecondary faculty and learning center professionals who hire, train, and supervise tutors and peer educators. The Handbook for Training Peer Tutors and Mentors is designed to inspire development of training programs that meet the high standards of CRLA's certification initiatives: International Tutor Training Program Certification (ITTPC) and International Peer Educator Training Program Certification (IPTPC).

In 111 modules by 106 authors, the CRLA Handbook for Training Peer Tutors and Mentors provides what you need to create or improve your training program:

  • Theories underlying postsecondary tutoring, mentoring, and training
  • Modes of tutor and mentor training (day camps, conferences, training courses, blogs, and more)
  • Program management (design, funding, staff selection, evaluation, and more)
  • Training ideas (communication and relationships, rights and responsibilities, student populations, strategic learning, and more)

Handbook for Training Peer Tutors and Mentors

Table of Contents



Foreword, Rick A. Sheets

Introduction, Russ Hodges & Karen Agee

Preface, Jeanne L. Higbee


Photo Credits


Chapter 1:  Theories Underlying Postsecondary Tutoring, Mentoring, and Training


Peer Tutoring and Tutor Training: A Historical Perspective, Rick A. Sheets

A Discourse Mismatch Theory of College Learning, Eric J. Paulson

Understanding the Role of Epistemological Beliefs on Student Learning, Jodi Patrick Holschuh

Using Foundational Student Development Theories to Guide Practice, Jeanne L. Higbee & Ellyn K. Couillard

Applying Recent Student Development Theories to Tutoring and Mentoring, Ellyn K. Couillard & Jeanne L. Higbee

Modeling Self-Regulation: Vygotsky and Bloom, Julianne Messia

Integrating Theory and Research With Practice, Martha E. Casazza 

Strategic Learning: Helping Students Become More Active Participants in Their Learning, Claire Ellen Weinstein, Taylor W. Acee, JaeHak Jung, Jaimie M. Krause, Breana Sylvester Dacy, & Jennifer Kay Leach

Motivational Perspectives on Student Learning, Taylor W. Acee, Claire Ellen Weinstein, Breana Sylvester Dacy, Cheon-woo Han, & Daniel A. Clark

Self-Regulated Learning: Helping Students Manage Their Own Learning, Taylor W. Acee, Claire Ellen Weinstein, Michelle E. Jordan, Jeremy K. Dearman, & Carlton J. Fong

The Brain’s Natural Learning Process, Rita Smilkstein 

From Learning Styles to Learning Systems, Patricia A. Maher

Andragogy and Self-Directed Learning, David L. Reedy


Chapter 2:  Modes of Tutor and Mentor Training


Scenario Training: Grounding Tutor Preparation in Real-Life Experiences, Pamela Way

Tutor Training Day Camp and Beyond, Darla H. McCann & Jan R. Pomeroy

Training Conference, Nancy Effinger Wilson, James Mathews, & Carol Dochen

Constructing a Training Course: Foundations for Course Development, Jody L. Owen

A Three-Credit-Hour Tutor Training Course, Lisa Cradit

Creating an Academic Course for Peer Tutor and Mentor Training, Preston C. VanLoon

Using a Web Dialog Forum to Support Critically Reflective Dialogue, David Hayes & Kathryn Crisostomo

The Tutor Revolution Will Not be Televised; It Will be Podcast, Todd S. Phillips

Virtual Environments: Have You Met My Avatar? Thomas C. Stewart

Interactive Tasks: Engaging Peer Educators as Trainers, Nathalie M. Vega-Rhodes

Role-Playing Activities in Tutor and Mentor Training, Amanda L. F. Weyant

Effectively Onboarding New Staff, Kathryn Van Wagoner

Tutors Mentoring Tutors, G.Mason Tudor


Chapter 3:  General Training Topics


A.  Communication and Relationships

The Woo-Hoo Welcome: Creating Rapport With Students, M. E. McWilliams 

Creating Rapport With Neurolinguistic Programming, Sara Weertz

Positive and Supportive Communication, Diana Calhoun Bell

Communicating Across Cultures, Anita H. Ens

Effective Cross-Cultural Communication, Linda T. Barr

Practicing Nonverbal Communication Skills and Referrals, Mark F. Daddona

Active Listening Training for Multimodal Learners, Anne Vermont Shearer

Active Listening in Different Contexts, Richard George Johnson  

Politeness Theory and Effective Tutoring and Mentoring, Diana Calhoun Bell, Holly Arnold Laue, & Rebekah Haddock 

What Everyone Needs to Know About Sex: Gendered Communication Styles, Robin Redmon Wright  

Conflict Resolution for the Pre-Professional, Melissa Thomas

Conflict Resolution, Howard Y. Masuda & Reyna I. Torres

Using Probing Questions, Rebecca Daly Cofer

Codependency in Education: Training Tutors and Mentors Not to Rescue, Karin E. Winnard

B.  Rights and Responsibilities

Confidentiality for Tutors and Mentors, Randy E. Dale

Learning Center Emergency Preparation, Michael Ruwe

Medical Situations Awareness, Howard Y. Masuda & Reyna I. Torres

Reaching a Consensus on Ethics, Eric Dunker

Applying Ethical Principles to Tutoring and Mentoring Scenarios, Mark S. May

Quaker Values and Learning Center Ethics, Carol E. O’Hara

Using Case Studies for Tutor and Mentor Training on Plagiarism, Anne Vermont Shearer

C.  Resources

Thinking Critically About the Internet as a Tutoring and Mentoring Resource, Nancy F. Mills

Identifying and Using Campus Resources, Pamela Czapla

Making Informed Referrals, Suzanne Ponicsan

D.  Student Populations

The Power of the Testimony: Motivating Reluctant Students, M. E. McWilliams

Preparing to Work With Student Athletes, Thomas C. Stewart

Using Scouting Reports to Teach Student Athletes Notetaking Skills, Penny Turrentine

Developing Deaf Awareness, Katherine A. Firkins & Aileen M. Rolon

Tutoring and Mentoring Students with Disabilities, Jane E. Varakin

Adult Students, Suzanne Ponicsan

Andragogy: Tutoring and Mentoring Adult Learners, Leah Allen Jones

Scaffolding Understandings of Students Identifying as LGBTQ, Annemarie Mulkey

Graduate Students: Defining Need and Providing Appropriate Assistance, Melissa Thomas

E.  Learning

Executive Functions and Self-Regulated Learning, Anna Z. Crockett

Self-Regulated Learning: A Scenarios Approach to Training, Janice B. Heerspink & Thea J. Brophy

The Self-Regulated Learning Workshop as a Training Tool, Mark F. Daddona

Self-Regulated Learning: Rewards and Consequences, Patricia Fullmer

Use Chess to Illustrate Differences Between Novice and Expert Learners, Kathleen Speed

Learning, Tutoring, and Mentoring Styles, Cindy Walker  

Learning Styles: Contrasting Models, Preston C. VanLoon        


Chapter 4:  Tutor Training Topics


A.  Tutoring Sessions

Getting Hands On With Learning Center Philosophy, Ali Mageehon

Tutoring Dos and Don’ts, Linda Stedje-Larsen & Roberta T. Schotka

Beginning and Ending Tutoring Sessions: A Customer-Service Approach, Suzanne Ponicsan

Beginning and Ending a Tutoring Session: Incorporating Active Learning Strategies, Maija M. Braaten

Clarifying Goals for a Tutoring Session, Mark S. May & Jacqueline Harris

Setting Goals for the Tutoring Session: Evaluating Tutees’ Needs, Monique Idoux

Training for Online Tutoring, Johanna Dvorak & Kevin Roessger

Embedded Tutoring, Loren Kleinman, Candice Kaup Scioscia, & Roseann Torsiello

Dealing With Difficult Tutoring Situations, Wendy L. Wilson

B.  Strategic Learning

Using the Structure Matrix to Determine Appropriate Tutor Support, Marcia L. Toms

Summarizing for Strategic Learning, Nicole Foreman Tong

Reading Assignments, Anita H. Ens

Critical Thinking Within the Reading Process: Creating Desire and Enhancing Skills, Melissa Thomas

Taking Lecture Notes, Diane Van Blerkom

Preparing for Exams, Monique Idoux

A Metacognitive Approach to Taking Exams, Rick A. Sheets

Taking Exams, Monique Idoux

Setting Goals, Patricia Fullmer

Developing Relationships With Faculty, M. E. McWilliams

C.  Tutoring Subject Areas

Tutoring and the Writing Process, Timothy A. Hopp

Tutoring Writing With Formulas, Suzanne Ponicsan

Read Aloud Without Looking: A Strategy for Tutoring English Language Learners, Peggy J. Fish-Oliver

Tutoring Literature: Negotiating a Literature-Response Discourse, Elizabeth J. Threadgill

Tutoring Foreign Languages, Carmen Christopher Caviness

Tutoring History With PERSIA, Thea J. Brophy & Janice B. Heerspink

Tutoring Music, Michael Ruwe

Effective Mathematics Tutoring Strategies, Lorraine Steiner

Tutoring Mathematics, Nathalie M. Vega-Rhodes

Analyzing Text Graphics for Tutoring Chemistry, Barbara Ryan Hausman


Chapter 5:  Mentor Training Topics


Mentor Roles and Responsibilities, Lisa M. Johns

Establishing Goals for the Mentoring Session, Colleen Rustad-Sampson & Kristine Noll Carnes

Practicing the Mentor’s Role, Ann M. Koefer

Time Management and Goal Setting, Jennifer L. Smith

Dealing With Difficult Mentoring Situations, DeLandra M. Hunter

Helping Students Explore Career Choices, Mark F. Daddona

Sustaining Students Through Crisis and Failure, Jennifer E. Bruce


Chapter 6:  Training Programs


Designing and Implementing a Holistic Mentor Training Program, Colleen Rustad-Sampson & Kristine Noll Carnes

Institutionalizing Tutor Training, Patricia Fullmer

External Funding for Tutor and Mentor Programs, Emily Miller Payne

Group Interviews: Selecting the Right Staff With the Right Stuff, Lisa N. Putnam Cole & Kimberly K. Kelley

Considerations in the Selection of Tutor Staff, Richard George Johnson

Selecting Tutor Staff, Eric Dunker

Observing and Coaching Tutors, Patricia Fullmer

Tutor and Mentor Training Program Evaluation, Emily Miller Payne

Evaluation of Tutoring and Tutor Training, Jan Norton

About the Contributors

About the Editors


Here are comments from noted authorities in the profession on the Handbook for Training Peer Tutors and Mentors.

"Karen Agee and Russ Hodges have produced a handbook that contains over one hundred modules produced by 106 authors, most of whom are luminaries in the areas of learning strategies and study skills. . . Anyone who has struggled with how to make training activities engaging and lively will find what they need in this book. Every institution engaged in training peer tutors and mentors should have several copies of this resource in its library. I can assure you that the books will NOT sit on the shelf collecting dust! – Dr. Saundra Maguire, Professor of Chemistry and former Assistant Vice Chancellor, Louisiana State University, Amazon Review, August 2013
"Each contributing article is short, concise, and easy to read in a few moments.  It is clearly organized for a busy professional who is looking for specific help—quickly—that can be implemented easily and presented with confidence. . . . Quite simply, this handbook is a must-read." – Dr. Christine Reichert, past editor of The Learning Assistance Review (TLAR)and former director of the Academic Enrichment Center at the University of Toledo Health Science Campus, from a review of the Handbook in the Fall 2013 issue of TLAR, 18(2), pp. 33-34
"Please use this handbook as a resource to expand your own knowledge base, repertoire of strategies, and best practices in academic support and learning assistance." – Dr. Rick Sheets, Coordinator of International Tutor Training Program Certification (ITTPC) for the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA)
"This publication . . . will be valued by educators working in a wide range of academic support programs and services." – Dr. Jeanne Higbee, Chair of CRLA’s Media Advisory Board and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
"It is a big book filled with ideas from many perspectives. Readers will find a variety of approaches on some topics and unique takes on others. As a whole, the book constitutes a wealth of support for trainers of peer tutors and mentors and opens new vistas for exploration. We wish for readers of this handbook the thrill of new discoveries and the joy of continued professional development." –Dr. Russ Hodges and Dr. Karen Agee, Editors of the Handbook