Writing is important because when we write, we put our thoughts, our feelings, our beliefs, everything that makes us who we are on the line. That's scary so we want to put our best effort out there for others to read. Everyone can write, but not all of us write well. Good writing comes through hard work and multiple trials. Good writing consists of well developed sentences, good word choice, and correct grammar. One of my professors was an evaluator for SAT writing, and he used those standards when teaching us what good writing looks like. Literature is a writer sharing what he or she thinks, feels, and believes. In order to help us understand literature, we need to understand writing. Why did the author choose a particular word? What do the short, choppy sentences reveal especially as everything else flows? Understanding the nuances of writing help us to understand literature.
Unless I've been hired for a focused session, I begin by gaining a writing sample and evaluating the writing. I then make a determination of where to begin and plan out my strategy. I prefer to share this with both the student and the parent so both are aware of what my goals for the session(s) are. The number of sessions is dependent on how tight the subject focus and how quickly the material is mastered.
With reading, I expect the student to demonstrate his proficiency and be able to explain what is giving him trouble. This is another evaluation because I always ask students to explain why they think the way they do about the literature. Students who have trouble articulating their answers do so because they're unsure of what they're reading, and usually these students have trouble writing about the literature.
In addition to all of this, I'm a state-licensed English teacher. I've successfully worked with failing students in credit recovery programs. I can help with that writer's block, learning how to begin your paper, learning how to determine for yourself if your paper is good, learning how to turn your poorly written paper into a good paper. What I won't do is your work for you. I expect my students to put forth the effort that learning requires as I will be putting forth the effort to teach.
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