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Hello. If you are reading this, then you most likely have some questions about school and education, and how to improve in the academic world. I really can help you do that. Like anything, school requires certain "bottom line" results- it seems unfair to me that we tell our students to "try harder" and to "put more effort in to your work," because in real life, some people DO try hard, and DO put a great deal of effort into their work- and yet, if they don't get results, they don't succeed. What any student needs comes down to the tools to achieve academic success. I can give you simple tools- such as how to take notes, how to read a textbook, how to study for a test. I can also be subject specific- I am able to tutor a student in a number of different subject areas, and I work with students with learning differences as well as students without any diagnosed learning disabilities. Please contact me if you have any questions. Best, Nivison...

I am a firm believer that technology is the way to a learners heart. We are a society that lives and breathes technology. When we get some new technology 'toy', who can program it, get the settings done quicker, and find the awesome games that are a part of it first? Yes, of course, it is your child. Children are natural techno geeks. Why not use their love for it to increase their Reading fluency and skills.    The links below are just a few items that can help you support your student(s) in their quest for Reading excellent on the iPad.    Using iPads to Improve Reading   15 of the Best Educational apps to Improve Reading   Fluency Timer Pro   One Minute Reader App   I would love to hear your thoughts, obstacles, successes, favorite apps, etc. regarding Reading using technology.    Cara

Years ago, there was never any dispute: when you listed a bunch of things in a sentence and finished with the word 'and ________.', there should always have been a comma before the 'and', i.e. "I have lived in France, Germany, Italy, and China." The modern grammarians (is that even a word, haha) seem to think that the final comma should be omitted because they claim it is redundant. They claim that without the comma, everything should be adequately clear, for example: "I have lived in France, Germany, Italy and China." Is that really clear? I beg to differ, and for two reasons. First, the comma's use is not just as a separator of things; it is also used as a pause device. Without the last comma, that sentence reads: "I have lived in France (pause) Germany (pause) Italy and China (said quickly together)." That's not correct at all and we all know it. It should read: "I have lived in France (pause) Germany (pause) Italy (pause)... read more

As a child, I did not like reading! We were taught using the sight word approach. We had to memorize every word read. The books we read were Alice and Jerry and later on, Dick and Jane. I laughed at the ridiculousness of the controlled vocabulary "Look, Alice look! See Spot run! Run, run, fun!" I use to think, "This is not how we speak, this is so boring!". I had no desire to read. That was a contributing factor in my becoming a reading specialist. I knew how it felt to not want to do the first thing I was asked to do in school. This so colored my attitude toward learning! Now I am a certified reading specialist with a B.S. and M.S. in reading and an additional certification in the WILSON Reading System. I have worked with elementary students for 25 years. When I am introduced to a child who's only experiences in school have been negative and he or she feels so horrible about themselves because they know how hard it is for them and not... read more

Hello! I wanted to share something with everybody which seems obvious to me, but I'm not sure everyone is on the same page. Have you ever had a terribly boring school teacher? I bet you have because we all have at some point! It doesn’t mean that these teachers are all uneducated in their subject, (although they might be…) it just means that either: A. They aren’t involved enough in their field to have passion for it or B. They don’t know how to transmit that passion to students effectively To be able to have fun or at least gain respect, understanding, or interest in a subject - the subject must be presented in an interesting way. It seems obvious when you put it that simply, but some or most teachers don’t care enough to even pretend to be excited, passionate or involved in their field. This makes learning from these teachers very difficult, especially if the students are self-sufficient learners. ——That is where... read more

My approach to each Physics Chapter: As I read the chapter I look for definitions - many times the text is in italics I work with 3 by 5 index cards and note the chapter and the definition of a new concept I also look for identified equations and write them on equation cards by chapter describing what the equation represents and the units I make unit cards which include the Physics term and the units and their equivalent in each unit system As I work through the chapter I read each sample question and try to do it without looking for the answer Then I check the answers and the methods used - sometimes my methods are different but the answers are the same This shows there are sometimes more than one approach to a problem When I finish a chapter I try the odd problems since they have answers in the back When I can not solve it I check the answer and try to work backwards. Unit analysis helps. Although... read more

If your child has not succeeded in any school "reading pull out" programs or traditional reading tutoring, stop the torture!  Your child likely needs an Orton-Gillingham based reading program that is multi-sensory, systematic, and does not encourage guessing at words.  Please do not let your struggling reader stay involved in any program that encourages "guessing" at words.  This will only serve to confuse and frustrate your child more.  Rote memorization of spelling words is also not an effective strategy for a dyslexic student.  Contact me if you'd like tips or more direction on how to really help your child excel in reading/spelling and self-confidence.

1. Hopscotch Draw a hopscotch outline with chalk or tape and write the letters of a spelling word in the squares. Your child says the letters out loud as he hops. Erase one letter at a time until he can successfully spell the word without hopping, and then move onto the next spelling word. 2. Ball Toss Toss a ball back and forth to reinforce spelling in a fun way. Each time your child catches the ball, they say the next letter of the spelling word. 3. Hide and Seek Write their spelling words on note cards, and tape them in unusual places, such as on the back of cabinet doors, in your child's closet or in her pencil or jewelry box. When they find a word, they bring the card to you and spells the word. 4. Street Signs/Store Names   Have your child learn to read street signs and store names around your neighborhood. This will help them learn where they live, colors and sight words all at the same time!  ...

I recently read an article which reported the favorite books of 50 celebrities (actors, musicians, politicians, etc). I noticed that several of them mentioned that they started out hating reading because it seemed to always reminded them of schoolwork and school until they made a special connection with a particular book. After that, reading became a joy!   I've long found this attitude surprising because I can't remember a time (after I learned to read, of course) when I didn't love to read. Weird, right? I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority here, but I think I can explain why reading has just never felt like a chore:   1. My parents never placed restrictions on what my siblings and I could read.   This may seem like a terrible idea to parents wary of their children getting their hands on "Fifty Shades of Gray" and similar age-inappropriate material, and I can't blame them. While my parents did not place formal restrictions, they made... read more

There are several points in grade school that involve a critical shift in the thinking that is required in the school work.  Parent's should be aware of these points as they navigate through the abyss of raising a school-aged child and supporting the child as he/she moves forward through the grades.   3rd Grade - The third grader is transitioning from whole number thinking into understanding the concepts of parts.  They are exposed to fractions, decimals and percentages.  This is a major paradigm shift.  Students are also exposed to long division at this point.  Supporting children in this phase requires an emphasis on helping the child conceptualize whole things being split into parts.  In addition to homework support, tutoring, and supplementary work, parents should introduce cooking chores to children at this time, and make them follow a recipe that has precise measurements.  Reading comprehension and writing is also an issue here... read more

This is a question I find a lot of people grapple with, whether they be adults, teenagers or children. The love of reading, of transporting yourself into a different world, is a way to escape. Writing, whether it be an analytic essay or the next epic adventure, requires the ability to reach into your mind and actively confront yourself – and that is not an easy feat to manage. Part of being able to write is to have your thoughts organized in your mind. This actually may prove incredibly difficult for a reader to do. Our minds are often going all over the place at any given moment, reliving stories or day dreaming some of our own. Readers are dreamers so it makes sense that our thoughts naturally flow and are sometimes difficult to pin down. That’s okay – that’s what lists are for! In order to better organize your thoughts, start out simple. Make a list of what you really think about the subject you are about to write about. This works for anything, whether it be a... read more

Hello everyone! Hola a todos!   Learning a second language like  Spanish or ESOL can be boring and frustrating sometimes. You just get sick of reading your textbook or completing worksheets that your teacher gives you. But believe it or not...there are several ways to make learning a second language fun no matter what age you are! You're probably thinking right now..."how?" I'll tell you how. First, think of something that you like to do in your free time like listening to music, watching a movie or reading. Say if you really enjoy listening to music...look up one of your favorite genres and see what pops up for Spanish or English music in that genre. For example, Spanish pop/rock - the Colombian artist Juanes will pop up. Check out some of his songs on youtube. Once you find a song that you like, look up the Spanish lyrics online, print them out and then try your best at translating them into English. See if you can figure out what the song means because... read more

"Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds in spoken words." In order for a student to be able to read words off the page they must understand how words are made up of individual sounds called phonemes. Phonemic awareness is not something that comes easy for all children but if a student has a strong foundation in their phonemic awareness it will propel them forward in reading and writing. Playing with words and their sounds, for example, substituting sounds, deleting sounds, and adding on sounds will help students build that foundation.    Examples: Subbing sounds: "Change the n in nap to c. What word do we get?" "cap"   Deleting sounds: "take away the s in slip. What word do we get?" "lip"   Adding on sounds: "Add a s to the beginning of mile. What word do we get? "smile"   Make sure you model these... read more

I have found that many students know the words because they understand it by using it. However, they often do not know how to read the word. Please check out this amazing site that will use videos in sentences to teach over 1,000 words.  There are so many ways this site can prepare your child for reading.   http://www.gcflearnfree.org/featured/learnenglish/simpleenglish   ESOL see below   http://www.gcflearnfree.org/learnenglish

The best advice I can give any student heading into the college admissions process is to read much and read often.   Chances are, you haven't read much of the printed word this summer. Now that it's August, it's the perfect time to pick up a book or a copy of the Times, or even check out a savvy pundit's blog.   Reading helps you brush up on skills you'll need for essay writing and the SAT: Critical reading & reading comprehension Grammar & usage Vocabulary   Besides improving these skills, reading helps you become a more well-rounded, informed, and conversant applicant.   Whether you're just beginning the application process or you just need an extra set of eyes on your essays, you'd do well to contact a professional tutor today.  

An article on math education in the NY Times (July 23, 2014) wrote this about our teacher quality and resulting education: " In addition to misunderstanding math, American students also, on average, write weakly, read poorly, think unscientifically and grasp history only superficially." I would like to focus on my area of English: writing and reading. The article discussed teacher training and techniques to improve teaching results. I would like to add that for us tutors also, techniques to present our subjects are critical to help students. Some tutors are former or current professional teachers; others may be retired people from business, housewives earning extra money, college students, or even working professionals in various fields. It's fine to teach business skills to graduate students if you are an executive, swimming to children if you are a swimming coach, or history to high schoolers if your major is history. Yet, simply tutoring in your major field may not be... read more

I recently came across this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education, urging college professors to fight grade inflation in the Humanities. As a college-level Instructional Assistant, I see this all the time. Students feel that their grade in their Anthropology course should reflect only effort and completion, not the content and understanding. This a trend that is not seen in the STEM fields as readily. As a result, professors are pressured to do just that; grade distribution in nearly all humanities classrooms do not follow a standardized bell curve as they might in a science or math classroom.    This sort of behavior not only devalues the importance of the humanities in our society, but also puts our students at a disadvantage. The humanities (Reading, Writing, and the Social Sciences) not only teaches us valuable lessons about communication, and how to connect with other human beings, but allows as a venue to contextualize the STEM fields as they relate... read more

The pressure can be high on kids to be productive in the summer, and to make the most of their free time.  One can understand where such expectations come from -- after all, summer is also prime time for the feared "achievement gap" to sneak in between kids who do nothing academically-stimulating, and those who continue their educational pursuits.  However, you don't have to go to an exotic summer camp to learn new things; you don't even have to leave your house.   What I suggest is not limited to the simple adage that reading a book will take you to new worlds (though that is absolutely true).  Rather, I encourage kids of all ages to see learning as a state of mind:  if you are looking to learn, then you can cultivate your mind almost anywhere, doing almost anything.  Books are in fact a great place to start:  try the thirty-second exercise of thinking of something which fascinates you and doing a google search for books on that... read more

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