For 18 years I have worked with students who struggle with the basics of reading and writing. I use some materials that are unique to my tutoring process and also use some standard workbooks (i.e. SRA, Merrill,and others.)A lot of support and patience will do wonders for the worried student. Using a blend of sound, sight, and writing, the student gains familiarity with words and sounds, building vocabulary and comprehension in small building-blocks.
English is the ability to let your reader know what you know and why you wish to share this information. This can be poetry, prose, history, fact, whimsy and so much more. Learning about the literature of a certain language and culture is essential for fitting in and for understanding. Taking apart the English written piece and then putting it back together with one's own background and interests make for a rich experience through the ages and through imagination. The ability to analyze information makes for an exciting life!
I have taught ESL in a class for kindergartners and have also taught a class for working adults. I have also taught ESL to Kurdish women. Used some original materials and some preprinted textbooks in combination. I include conversation, writing, pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.
The GED will test what should have been learned in high school. Using test prep examples and breaking down word phrases for clarity, it is possible to detect the strategy for each question. Once the underlying meaning of the question has been deciphered using language, math, grammar and literature experiences, the student can determine the type of question and answer involved.
Grammar is the skeleton onto which the writer puts his or her thoughts. It is the standard form and pattern which is agreed upon by all users of a given language. Without it, words would confuse instead of educate. Granted, some grammar seems dull at the outset, but once it becomes a tool instead of a problem, it makes writing a simple and fun task.
The works of a particular culture draw the people together in collective memory. The writings show a path into the mores of the times, the customs, expectations, and requirements of that society. Contemporary as well as future generations can understand the mood of the times when studying a chosen piece carefully. Discussion often brings lively debate and insight to the enjoyment of the work being studied.
Phonics, the practice of joining sound and symbol together is the most effective way to learn to read. Previously unknown words become manageable and ready for correct use when the student realizes how the sounds are strung together for meaning and comprehension. I use several texts and manipulatives to reinforce correct associations for the student. After the student catches on, he or she can suddenly dissect and reconstruct any word and make it a personal tool.
Reading is the foundation for all communication. Without this skill a person cannot fill out a job application, read for pleasure, get through school or make sense of the world around him or her. Reading comes easily to many but is a sheer terror to students with learning difficulties. Often it is a matter of needing extra time and practice for a student to feel confident to even try. Some students need extra learning tools to gain the skills for reading. Patience and respect are the keys.
To accomplish mastery of the SAT reading section demands, it is necessary to understand the constructs and strategies used most often by the test developers. Often taking the time to practice techniques allows the student to relax before the test. Pressure and panic will ruin the student's ability to concentrate. A knowledge of the formats common to the test will make the experience less frightening and more successful.
Spontaneous writing, such as is required on the SAT, can be exhilarating when the writer is prepared. Some simple rules for writing combined with some rules for organizing outlines and thoughts can prove to be the tools which will take the student to new levels of confidence and expression.
Spelling is a large problem for so many students. Perfectly bright students are reduced to tears because of the troubles with spelling issues. Add to this, learning difficulties, auditory issues and testing panic and the student has a problem. So many of our words come from so many different languages and this is one more difficulty to handle. However, standardized spelling is a tool for communication worldwide and must be mastered. There are numerous tools for developing this success.
Study skills are at the heart of successful work at home, between class sessions. For many years I have worked with students on how to streamliine and identify work. This includes strategies and plans of attack for the workload facing the student. Most students discover that once they break assignments into smaller do-able units, the work can be done in a more timely and more coherent fashion. Planning and building an organized notebook is one aspect of making study time more productive. Charting reasonable reading units and making useful notations are also important. All of this,and much more can be demonstrated and explained to the student.
How can a student tell you what is on his or her mind without words? Vocabulary should be expanded daily throughout life. When this ability and joy is not in good working order, life loses practicality as well as whimsy. As a child learns how to learn new words,the world takes on new possibilities. There are several techniques that can make vocabulary a marvelous tool instead of a dreaded assignment.
Writing is a method of preserving thoughts and information for society to consider. Some people find this a daunting task. However, with the tools of grammar, vocabulary, understanding of the subject and confidence for the task,something exciting and interesting can be produced. Learning the nuts and bolts of the language will give the student proper preparation for writing assignments now and throughout life.