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Last Monday, one of my most pleasurable tutoring experiences came to an end--my 8-year old student returned with her mother to their home in Korea. For part of July and entire month of August we met in a public library three times a week for 1.5-hour sessions. Her mother wanted to concentrate on writing, public speaking, spelling, and American/English expressions, sayings, and idioms. A typical session would include these core elements: she would read aloud a story she had written, and we would critique it for organization and grammar; she would present a talk about a story she had read from "The Children's Bible," and we would critique it for organization and body language; she would explain the meanings of three-to-nine assigned expressions, and I would explain their origins and common usage. Her mother felt that understanding the dominant religion in a country was important to understanding the culture and values shared by most people in that country... read more

I'm now helping a French-American student write her personal "Statement of Interest and Intentions." This will be part of her online application for admission as an undergraduate into the University of Washington. She wants to transfer there from another college. I have helped three other students write similar statements for admission to Indiana University (business school); Parsons The New School For Design (graduate degree in Fashion Design and Society); and University of Washington (dental school). One person is Chinese, one Russian, and one Filipino, and all are women.

So far, most of my English students have needed help with writing. Several also worked with me on reading, editing and speech. Of course, whatever the English application, it involves vocabulary, grammar, spelling, punctuation, idioms, syntax, pronunciation, penmanship, and more. My students have ranged from 8-year olds to middle-aged adults in graduate school doing properly annotated research papers. Besides Americans, their nationalities include Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Filipino (2). Words are fun and sometimes beautiful.

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