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Students benefit from my background as a professional writer (non-fiction) and teacher because I provide PRACTICAL techniques for improving their skills. Most students are expected to prepare fact-based, non-fiction essays -- the writing environment in which I was trained. My goal as a teacher in the 21st century is to make certain the student understands the essential requirements of an academic essay (including citations) and is able to move on to higher-level skills of word-choice, emphasis, varied sentence structure, transitions, and effective conclusions.
Reading for information is another area in which students often need specific development. Most of a student's formal instruction in reading concentrates on fiction and literature. Textbooks in the early grades focus on locating the answer. Often students lack training in the next steps -- getting the main idea, summarizing the facts, drawing conclusions, and identifying inferences. These are necessary skills for progress in any field of endeavor.
As a teacher, I start at the student's comfort level and work to the next level of competence. My academic degree is in history; prior to completing a master's degree in teaching, I worked in advertising and public relations. In addition to academic writing (the 5-paragraph essay form and research papers), my experience includes advertising, public relations, and business writing in Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C.
The SAT reading test requires more than basic comprehension -- the student must clearly -- and quickly -- understand the question and be able to identify the best answer. Vocabulary is important both for sentence completion and for reading comprehension. My teaching focuses on vocabulary, comprehension, and strategy. The student and I work to refine existing skills and and to learn specific strategies that will result in success.
SAT writing focuses on specific areas of grammar and usage so my teaching targets the questions a student will actually find on the test. I make sure that the student knows how to analyze a question and how to implement strategies that will lead to the best answer choice.
I specialize in helping students with both the content of their writing and with the style of their writing. Grammatical issues are sometimes a concern so I am patient in explaining the rules simply and clearly. Organization is always important and good organization helps the student focus on expressing thoughts and ideas. I help students figure out what they're trying to say and how to say it best. I've taught SAT/ACT writing and grammar for six years and I have fifteen years of experience in teaching research and academic writing.
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