Structuring Successful Homework Help and Tutoring Sessions

Academic Support

This Click & Go will help program directors, site coordinators and other program leadership staff establish quality and student-centered out-of-school time (OST) homework help and tutoring sessions in face-to-face and socially distant learning environments.

After completing this Click & Go, learners will be able to:

  • Identify and apply key elements for establishing effective homework and tutoring sessions
  • Structure student-centered homework help and tutoring sessions to maximize their learning
  • Incorporate student-centered research-based practices that actively engage and support students in learning
  • Access, use and develop supplementary materials (including education websites, online courses, videos, lessons, real-world projects) to support student learning across various content areas

Zip Link (81 MB) Click on the link to download the resources for this Click & Go! 


Academic Support Mini-Lesson

Structuring an Effective Homework Help and Tutoring Session From Beginning to End

In this first podcast, you’ll hear from a site coordinator and homework help facilitator as they discuss planning for effective homework help sessions, and the solutions to common challenges they’ve faced along the way. [Download Transcript]

Increasing Student Self-Regulation and Self-Monitoring Skills

Listen in as a program director and one of her site coordinators discuss the skills necessary for students to be successful during homework and tutoring sessions: the abilities to self-regulate and self-monitor. [Download Transcript]

Vetting and Selecting High-Quality Supplementary Homework Help and Tutoring Materials

In this final podcast, listen to site coordinators from two different organizations share ways to better incorporate school-day materials and other supplementary resources into homework and tutoring sessions. They also discuss strategies for keeping students interested and engaged throughout those sessions. [Download Transcript]


Encourage or reward students who complete their homework with time on BeepBox. This is a free online music platform where students can create their own instrumental songs and melodies. LINK


CommonLit is a nonprofit education technology organization dedicated to ensuring that all students graduate with the reading, writing, communication and problem-solving skills they need to be successful in college and beyond. CommonLit offers a free online library of digital fiction and nonfiction that is standards-aligned as well as leveled texts for students in grades 3-12. LINK

Family Math Card Game Booklet

This Math Card Game site is designed to help children from pre-K to Grade 2 learn important math skills using only a regular deck of playing cards. LINK

Harvard Teaching and Learning Partnerships: SmartTALK Homework Support for Kids: Staff Guide

This guide provides information about building supportive relationships with students and includes helpful strategies to make homework time effective. It includes learning topics and learning center materials to support engaging and enriching homework help experiences. LINK

Learning Library by

This website provides more than 30,000 free worksheets, online games, lesson plans, exercises, songs and stories that can be used to support students in your afterschool homework help or tutoring program. LINK

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

These websites offer interactive lessons, activities and information about Space, the Earth, the Solar System and the Universe. The Explore NASA.STEM site includes activities for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for students of all ages. Spaceplace: LINK  STEM: LINK 

The National Center for Quality Afterschool

The National Center for Quality Afterschool helps state education agencies and local practitioners develop quality out-of-school time programs. This training toolkit includes videos and resources to develop strong homework help and tutoring sessions. LINK

Read Theory

Read Theory provides personalized reading comprehension exercises for K-12 and multi-lingual learners. It’s a completely free, adaptive tool for assessing and tracking student reading performance throughout their time in your homework help or tutoring program. LINK

The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

This Learning Lab was developed to inspire the discovery and creative use of rich digital art materials. There are more than a million images, recordings and texts on this site. LINK


SPARK is a collection of free K-12 physical education and physical activity downloadable lesson plans. They include fun games, instructional skill cards and engaging afterschool fitness activities that will enhance any homework help or tutoring program. LINK

Storyline Online

Keep students engaged in learning with Storyline Online before or after their homework help or tutoring session is completed. This site offers free online stories being read aloud by actors, as well as book-related activities for children. LINK

U.S. Department of Agriculture Kids's Corner

This site links to interactive websites and games during your afterschool homework help or tutoring session that help to teach children the importance of nutrition and physical activity. LINK

The program director should ask their principal how the school’s data sharing policies apply to the 21st CCLC program. Use your program’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with each campus principal to outline your grant’s data sharing requirements. Develop a form that outlines the data and information you will gather and from whom you will gather it. Have families sign the form as part of the enrollment process.

Keep in mind that effective homework help and tutoring sessions function as an important point of connection between school-day staff and out-of-school time staff. When building your program team, be sure to include school-day staff as well as key partners and stakeholder groups, including families. Invite them to participate in the planning and ongoing oversight of the program. The team will help establish a shared understanding of the purpose and goals of your program and its practices. They will also assist with generating ideas for gathering and sharing resources. Establish a calendar with agreed-upon dates for regular check-ins and program updates.

Most schools will require that every student’s guardian sign a form allowing them to share information with an OST staff member. During the RFP/RFA process, the grantee should have signed a data-sharing agreement or Memorandum of Understanding with the schools and/or districts they serve. Begin by reviewing that agreement and circling back to the district’s signatory as needs arise.

When students come to programming with little or no homework, it’s a good idea for staff to be prepared with supplemental academic materials. These materials can be compiled in grade-level binders and include incentives to be used during homework help or tutoring sessions. Resources for study skills, real-world project ideas, books or articles can also be collected in advance to help support student interest and learning. Remember, there is no need to recreate or develop these materials. Teachers often have resources that they will be glad to share with OST staff. There are many free academic materials and websites offered by the U.S. Department of Education and state education departments. Be sure to use student goals and priorities as a starting point.

Establishing communication processes with school-day teachers and families during the first weeks of programming is crucial for ensuring that students are completing and submitting homework. First, ask if the school-day teacher has a system for students to track their homework. If so, the program’s homework facilitator should check the tracking log — such as a homework journal or task book — every day. If not, create one that can be used by program students and share it with the school-day teacher. Be sure the homework facilitator has a system for determining which students have homework and for ensuring the homework has been completed and put away. Connect with family members early in the program year to be sure students are not leaving the program with incomplete homework. Encourage families to reach out if they receive any notices from the school regarding late, incomplete or missing homework assignments. Be sure to conduct periodic check-ins with school-day teachers and families. It’s important to learn before report card time whether a student is not submitting completed homework.