Cheri’s current tutoring subjects are listed at the left. You
can read more about
Cheri’s qualifications in specific subjects below.
I have been tutoring students at the K-6 age level for about three years. My background prior to tutoring involved 30 years of corporate training in the financial services industry. My career in financial services helped me to keep my writing and basic math skills strong. After that experience, I volunteered in a charter school, The East Harlem Scholars Academy, where I taught math and English to first grade students. I also found my own clientele and was able to get a third grade child through the New York State ELA Test. Subsequently, I joined Wyzant where I have been working with a number of students of varying ages on their reading, writing, grammar, spelling, and pronunciation skills.
The study of English involves the study of grammar, vocabulary and punctuation, i.e. those elements and rules that combine to make strong sentences that tell you something specific in a concise and impactful way. The study of English also involves the study of written English; this involves the structure of paragraphs and the building of paragraphs to create narrative sweep or good storytelling, both of which require strong sentences. Finally, there's the practice of spoken English which in most contexts is more relaxed than written English. No matter where my students need help, I love to help educate them about all of the rules and then help them to put those rules into practice.
My work has included tutoring students whose first languages are Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Russian among others. I work with these students at their own pace, addressing particular needs as they arise, be they pronunciation, comprehension, grammar, writing etc. I always respect the limits of a student to "imitate" the sound of the target language knowing that for some it will take more work than others.
One of the most pleasurable aspects of teaching a spoken language is the ability to be spontaneous and to have the student create the stories or dialogue s/he wishes.
Grammar includes the study of the way words are put together to construct sentences and of patterns in the way words are formed.
I like to make certain that my students have understood the basics of sentence construction before we move into more advanced modes. Likewise, I like to make certain that the most often used tenses are mastered before suggesting that a student use more sophisticated forms.
If a student shows sufficient interest, or has regular assignments, I am happy to go over the rules of grammar as they are described in a workbook or textbook where the student can work on issues to satisfactory conclusion with my assistance. My favorite grammar book is "The Elements of Style," and I will suggest it to any students who are ready for it.
I worked for a full school year in a charter school helping students to improve their reading comprehension, vocabulary, grammar and spelling. For the study of phonics, I like to try to make the work fun by selecting stories geared to teaching them phonics. Many of the stories that I've used include rhyming words and words with similar vowel sounds on nearby pages. I find this strategy works successfully: with enough practice, students are able to pick up books without a "phonics" emphasis and demonstrate greater confidence and fluency in their reading.
I always make sure to explain to my students that they can sound out many of the words in their phonics literature but that other words need to be "memorized" as they cannot be sounded out ("sight words"). I also help students with particular difficulties in phonics by having them pronounce a word after me and then stating it independently. This helps assure that they're feeling supported and independent.
Proofreading is a very important element of good writing and needs to be performed by the student and, if the writing is very long and complex, perhaps by another pair of eyes, be they those of a tutor or an editor. It requires "stepping back" from the writing to check whether the grammar, spelling, punctuation,etc., is correct and that the overall structure of the writing can be justified. For the tutor, skillful proofreading can be a way to help the student craft a good piece of writing into a better one.
Students of all levels need to know how to proofread their work if they are hoping to present their best efforts and, therefore, proofreading must be a skill that tutors have mastered and can teach to students.
I like to have my students read slowly and carefully to me, making sure they can pronounce, spell and understand all of the words they see. I will help them to sound out any words they experience difficulty speaking. Then I like to discuss, sentence by sentence, the subject matter or sense of the material. I am very generous with positive reinforcement and try to inject humor in the teaching in whatever way I can.
Whether helping to build a vocabulary for a child or for an adult, I am enthusiastic about learning new words and am able to convey that enthusiasm to my students. My favorite games are word games and so I like to make sure that my vocabulary lessons are fun. I will be certain to emphasize pronunciation, spelling and to use any vocabulary in sentences so that definitions are clear and words are not just memorized but learned so that they can be applied.
I find that encouraging students to write as they speak can be very helpful. Whatever the writing assignment, I like to ask my students to create an outline of the material they want to cover. Then, I suggest that all research, thoughts and ideas, etc., fill in that outline. In that way, content and structure can come together in a rough draft which can then be used as the basis for a paper, story, presentation, etc.
After my students have been encouraged to work independently to edit their own work, I will help them to rework their rough drafts. I focus on providing suggestions and rules to make sure a piece of writing contains the most clear and concise language with quotations cited, ideas logically stated, and grammatically correct language and spelling used.