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Karen M.

Reading, Writing, Singing, Studying, Psychology!

Granada Hills, CA (91344)

Travel radius
20 miles
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Karen M. passed a background check on 1/7/14. The check was ordered by Karen through First Advantage. For more information, please review the background check information page.

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I'm a certificated teacher (Standard Secondary, a lifetime certificate) for secondary English and music. I eventually moved from public school teaching to working as a licensed psychologist. I taught English to mostly middle school students (grades 6-10), including limited English speakers, basic skills students, and Gifted and Talented Education (GATE)students. I've also taught Freshman Writing at USC and tutored at USC's writing center.

I have an MA from CSULA and a PhD from USC in psychology. I like to help kids of any age who are having trouble studying. Since I am mostly in private practice now, I haven't used statistics in a long time! But I can assist with other psychology subjects.

As a former teacher of choral music (I also have an MA in choral music) and a current choral music singer, you may find that I can be of assistance with some music subjects, as well!

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Karen’s subjects

College Counseling

I have noticed that students sometimes request "college counseling" to mean two different things. The first meaning involves a request for help with the college application process itself. Students need assistance in organizing their search and in filling out applications to college, particularly with the essay requirement in most applications. As an experienced writing teacher, I can help with that particular need, and with any other aspect of the application process.

The second meaning refers to a request for counseling after the student has already been admitted to college. The topic may be handling the logistics of college life, or something more personal. I am also a licensed psychologist, so I am available for that type of counseling, as well.


I can help you with reading comprehension, critical thinking and essay writing, other writing assignments, vocabulary, grammar, spelling and other English assignments that may be causing you difficulty.


I have taught students with limited English proficiency--students for whom English is a second language, but who can communicate to some degree in English.

I would be a good tutor for students who need help in school or college classes because of their current language limitations.

We would look together at your textbook and assignments, and help you improve your performance.


Passing the GED is a terrific goal for all aspiring students of any age. I am able to tutor for all portions of the exam in terms of content and study skills except math. For the math section, I would work with the student to find resources and strategies for correctly solving math problems.


Grammar--wonderful training in organization, structure, and logic--but unfortunately not taught well in many schools, and not understood well enough by countless current and former students.

Good grammar gives clarity and polish to all forms of communication. Understanding the grammar of one language helps to understand the grammar of another language, too, even if it is quite different. Last but not least, getting better at grammar can boost your self-confidence and improve your self-presentation.


I will tutor students for Verbal Reasoning and Analytical Writing. These are my strengths, which also correlate with test-taking skills.

It's a good idea to have review materials specific to the GRE on hand, and to take practice tests. As a tutor, I would be able to focus especially on those areas that give you some trouble. I can explain concepts and give rationales for the right (or best) answers.

Difficulties may lie in the content of a question, the way the question was written, something the test-taker missed when reading the question, or in a test-taker's unfamiliarity with certain methods, particularly in analytical writing. These difficulties can be the focus of tutoring sessions.


I love tutoring English literature. I know that students are sometimes puzzled by questions that typically follow literature selections in classroom textbooks. However, we can figure them out together! I can also help students with assignments from their teachers, whether the questions focus on comprehension or interpretation of a given text.

Music History

I have a Master's Degree in Music. My emphasis in undergrad and graduate school was in voice and choral music. I taught music in secondary school and also became a certified Orff teacher for elementary school students. Today I sing avocationally in church choirs and occasionally with an international choir that travels to different countries. We specialize in early music, which generally refers to music through the Baroque period. I know quite a lot about music history!


Proofreading is often considered to be the last step in the creation of a piece of writing, but it can also be done at other times, since the writing process is so often "recursive"--meaning that it is circular, from brainstorming to drafting to editing/revision to proofing and then back again to some earlier step.

Writers sometimes confuse proofreading with editing or revision. What's the difference? Proofreading examines the text for obvious errors, such as typos, punctuation errors, and spelling errors. An intermediate type of text examination is sometimes called copyediting. It examines text for grammatical errors, inconsistency of style, and accuracy of facts, as well as sentence ambiguity and poor wording.

Full editing can involve rewriting entire paragraphs and omitting sentences to improve the flow and quality of writing and to eliminate any points of confusion.


I have an MA in General Psychology, with a record of high performance in all the academic areas of psychology. I also have a PhD in Counseling Psychology, with more work in advanced areas of research and therapy.

In order to study psychology, it helps to develop a strategy, and sometimes a dose of imagination, too!

Public Speaking

In several ways, public speaking uses skills similar to building a written essay. The style of your speech will vary in formality, depending on your audience and your topic. It is part of a well-rounded language arts program, which I have taught (reading, writing, speaking)for almost two decades.

I can help you organize your thoughts, feel comfortable speaking in front of people, and sound good, too.


There is no one method to tutor a child in reading, but having one-on-one time is definitely essential! It will enable me to see what specific difficulties a student may be having. Is it sounding out the words themselves, figuring out words by looking at them in context, or is it possibly comprehension of a passage as a whole? A student in a classroom does not often receive the time needed to analyze his or her particular difficulties, which is the step needed in order to devise a plan for improvement.

SAT Reading

SAT Reading involves more than straightforward comprehension alone. The successful test-taker also considers such things as plausibility, consistency, and elimination of alternatives.

I have taught English to Gifted and Talented Education students, other secondary students, and college writers. With practice, you will become comfortable with the reading tasks presented in the test material.

SAT Writing

I have taught essay writing to college students and have tutored in the Writing Lab at USC, so I can help your SAT Writing student.

SAT Writing taps into the writer's ability to craft readable sentences and paragraphs, to spot poorly written ones, and to know which revisions will improve the writing in question. It also integrates the test-taker's knowledge base across several areas, such as grammar and vocabulary.

For longer pieces of writing, organization often reflects a thesis statement and its supporting details. Different types of essay writing serve different purposes, and I can assist the student write for purpose and meaning.

Sight Singing

I have a Master's Degree in Music. My emphasis in undergrad and graduate school was in voice and choral music. I taught music in secondary school and also became a certified Orff teacher for elementary school students. Today I sing avocationally in church choirs and occasionally with an international choir that travels to different countries. There are some basics involved in sight singing that can be extremely helpful in learning most music quickly.


Spelling rules in English are full of exceptions, but exposure through practice and reading really helps! I think that tutoring in spelling should take these two factors into account.

A student should have enough familiarity with how sounds and letters go together in general. Then, the exceptions are recognized for what they are, and the student can acquire them without being confused.

Study Skills

I have helped many students develop study skills, which can be applied to any subject matter. I have worked with students in public schools and in college. Sometimes a student needs to improve attention and focus; sometimes it is a matter of strategy and planning. Many students get discouraged because the task at hand seems too big or confusing, but there are ways to cut that task down to size!


Vocabulary study is one of those practices that enriches all facets of a literate, educated life. It increases understanding and communication in reading, writing, and speaking. It shows up in both the nuance and the specificity of a person's use of language.

Yes, vocabulary is learned through study lists, but also by listening to adept speakers and by reading a wide variety of well-written materials.


I taught writing for many years, to English classes in middle/secondary school (using a Writing as a Process approach)and to USC students (Freshman Writing I and II). I've helped graduate students with their writing, as well.

Writing involves thinking about your topic; it's a process of discovery as well as logic. Words, sentences, and paragraphs can be added, subtracted,and rearranged over and over again. Most writers do just that!

Read all subject qualifications »

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Smith College

Caifornia State University Los Angeles (Master's)

University of Southern California (PhD)

Very helpful! Karen is a great tutor. She's very patient, helpful and involved. I didn't think I could get an A in a long college research paper. With Karen's help the entire process was easier and I wrote an excellent paper that my professor loved. I got an A and my professors comments were: excellent paper, very good examples, good intro, good conclusions. I learned a lot from my sessions with Karen and will ...

— Annie from Van Nuys, CA on 11/7/13);

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $55.00

Cancellation: 12 hours notice required

Travel policy

Karen will travel within 20 miles of Granada Hills, CA 91344.

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