Over 20 tutoring hours

Suzanne M.

Kansas City, MO


English Tutor: Literature, Reading, Grammar, Writing, Vocabulary

Background check passed as of 4/12/14
4.0 average from 2 ratings

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University of Oklahoma
English Education
Baker University


University of Oklahoma (English Education)

Baker University (Master's)

About Suzanne

I adore teaching! I love my kids, and I love to read and share literature with them! Unfortunately, because of some physical disabilities, I had to leave the traditional classroom setting seven years ago, and it broke my heart. Now, I am stronger and eager to make a difference in children's lives. As far as I'm concerned, one of the qualities of a good teacher is that she establishes a rapport with her students and builds trust so that when it is time to attack the academic aspects of tutoring, my students do not question 'why' we are doing something. They know that if I think it is valuable, then it is.

I taught 8th and 9th graders for almost 14 years, and by far the biggest thing I miss are my kids. I love Facebook because I am able to keep up with almost 300 of them directly and several others indirectly. One of Miller's Laws is that, "When you're mine, you're mine forever!", so I have 'kids' who are in their early 30s with children of their own who still write and/or call if they need to do so.

During my teaching career, I served on the English Curriculum Team and helped write the English curriculum for my district, 6-12 grade. When the 250+ page document was finished, the woman in charge told our group that someone needed to do a final, grammatical proof read of the entire document. Several colleagues shouted, "Miller!", and I welcomed the chance to do the project, because I am an excellent grammarian, and if my name is on something, I want it to be perfect.

In my classroom I worked with students of all levels, from some students who were in Special Services to other students who were in advanced language arts. In all reality, I approached every student with the same amount of respect and kindness, but I attempted to tailor-make my communications with each student as individual as they were. For my classroom, I was awarded nine Foundation Award Grants from the district, I built a classroom library for students to have access to novels for reading for pleasure, and I covered every wall with inspirational and informative posters and signs. Just inside my classroom door was a mailbox where students could write me a note (to tell me about a problem, ask a question or just vent about a friend), and my kids knew that I would get that message and find time during my planning period to track them down to make sure they were OK.

Outside of my classroom, I was one of the sponsors of Jayreaders, a book club for students. We also worked at obtaining hundreds of YA books for teachers to check out and have in their rooms once the school implemented SSR (Sustained Silent Reading). I also was one of the founding members of The Breakfast Club, an organization that gathered kids from different social cliques to brainstorm and find ways to break down the barriers between different social groups, promote diversity and stop bullying in our school. I also was on the Technology Committee, in Who's Who Among America's Teachers for six years, on the Grammar Subcommittee/Curriculum team, and I was the Renaissance November 2005 Teacher of the Month.

During several summers I tutored kiddos in a variety of subjects. One mother wanted her 8th grade son to improve on his writing skills before going into 9th grade. Another semester and summer, I worked with a 4th grader in reading who was a few grade levels behind, and by the time he hit the beginning of 5th grade, he was at the appropriate reading level. What I know about tutoring is this: First, you must build a level of trust with your kids and get to know them so that you can tailor-make a 'curriculum' for them. Secondly, you must have patience, patience, patience!! You have to have patience to figure out where that child is 'blocked' and figure out creative ways to solve the problem. You have to have patience to work at their speed, which is extremely important and a gift of tutoring, because in the classroom setting, sometimes kids who need more time do not receive it. Ultimately, you MUST show any child whom you tutor that you care about them, not just their skills, lack of skills, or what you are going to report to their parents. Let them know that they are important and together as a team, you will be successful in reaching your goals.
I adore teaching! I love my kids, and I love to read and share literature with them! Unfortunately, because of some physical disabilities, I had to leave the traditional classroom setting seven years ago, and it broke my heart. Now, I am stronger and eager to make a difference in Read more

8 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 20 miles of Kansas City, MO 64119
Background Check: Passed
Test Preparation:
ACT English,
ACT Reading,
SAT Reading
Elementary Education:
Study Skills,

Approved subjects are in bold.

Approved subjects

In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.

ACT English

I have a Bachelor of Science in English Education and a Master of Arts in Education. I worked as a junior high/high school English teacher for fourteen years. I know grammar and writing/usage rules relentlessly, having taught two classes of College Grammar during my student teaching. I also know skills for taking this test, some of which are basic test-taking skills, and some of which are skills for taking a test regarding correct English grammar, that can help students be more successful on this test. Every year I taught school I administered standardized tests. I know how they work, and I know how the test-taking environment will function the day of the test. Learning to deal with those circumstances is just as important as knowing the content. Lowering Text Anxiety is one of the keys to successful test taking, and feeling confident in the content will lower your test-anxiety in multiple ways. You can do this! I can help you!

ACT Reading

First and foremost, I adore reading, and the more a person reads, regardless of the material, the more adept that person becomes at being able to analyze the material and answer questions about it. I have a Bachelor of Science in English Education and a Master of Arts in Education. I taught junior high/high school English for fourteen years. I always used a variety of methods to help kids become better readers, from reading aloud to them without the material in front of them, to reading aloud to them with the material in front of them while they followed along, to having students read in groups and having students read independently. All of those strategies melt into a reading curriculum that help students hear and see the material at the same time, which allows them to better read on their own.

In fourteen years, I administered countless standardized tests in all areas of language arts. I know the strategies for reading tests and the strategies for standardized tests in general. I would work with you to by combining both of those strategy-skill sets to make you the most successful you can be at taking the Reading portion of the ACT. You can do it! I can help you!


I know basic writing formulas that kids need to know in order to succeed from grade to grade. From forming a topic sentence, writing a sound paragraph, constructing a five-paragraph essay all the way to writing a high school, senior-level persuasion essay, complete with internal MLA citation, I have the ability to teach your kids how to master these skills.


During my semester of student teaching 11th and 12th graders, I single-handedly taught two sections of the college grammar class that was offered by the high school. When my District's Modes of Expression Handbook (for grades 6-12) needed a final, grammatical edit, not only did others volunteer me for the job, but I jumped at the chance. I also did a final grammatical edit for one of my former principals for his Doctoral Dissertation (for a fee). I own a 'crown' my students made that declares that I am the Grammar Queen. Once my kids went on to higher grades, many of them came back to seek help with their papers.

Here is the KEY to why I think I reach students on this particular topic: I didn't 'get' grammar until I was a senior in high school. It's a developmental thing, and my brain just wasn't ready to absorb all of the rules, much like math. That did not mean that I lacked skills or ability; it is just a concept that has to be learned and used frequently in order for anyone to retain the information. The best way I learned it was by teaching it. Now I know every punctuation/capitalization/subject-verb agreement, etc. rule in the book. As a rule, I don't correct adults; I think that's annoying and unprofessional. However, I can and have edited a doctoral thesis, Christmas letters, memos to parents or other documents adults have wanted to send but felt better if they got a grammatical double check on it before it was sent. As a teacher, I do not just blindly edit a student's work and then have them make the changes. I often circle the mistakes, and then explain what the mistakes are and help them figure out how to correct them. That is the best way for kids to learn.


Literature: I know the classics well enough, I can read whatever piece of literature your child is reading in class if I am not familiar with it, but I am also a HUGE supporter of Young Adult literature! For those in Missouri, I find out the Mark Twain Nominees and the Gateway Nominees. I have a PASSION for reading! I am not a snob when it comes to what I define is literature. If a kiddo of mine is reading, Yippee! Somehow, I've been successful. If they struggle through the required curriculum, I'm here to help them with that, but I most likely will find current literature that will somehow coincide with the 'classic' literature that is assigned.

Microsoft PowerPoint

One of the classes I took while earning my Master's Degree in Education was a class that focused on PowerPoint. I got to learn about the entire process of creating a PowerPoint presentation: Using a consistent background, using a font that is large and readable from a distance, sharing short and basic information on the slides while knowing that as the presenter you will give the audience additional information. You will learn how to print out note-taking pages where the slides are printed on the left half of the page while blank lines are printed on the right half of the page. This is a way for you to present the basic information from the slide, enhance the information with more details and give your audience a place to write down notes for each slide. I will also make sure that all of my PowerPoint students do not 'overdo' the features by going overboard with the transition features, music that can be added and information that can be provided. While it's tempting to utilize all of the features of the PowerPoint program at once, they can over-stimulate the audience so that the important information can be lost in the midst of the 'whistles and bells'. I know how to make a quality PowerPoint presentation and how to teach the same concept to any of my students.

Microsoft Word

I have used Microsoft Word on a daily basis for over fifteen years. I am a columnist regarding Teen Mentoring in Kansas City, and I type all of my articles in Microsoft Word before I transfer them to the website. I also taught 8th and 9th graders English which included teaching them to use Microsoft Word when they were typing their final drafts of any writing assessments they were completing for my class. Not only that, but during the four years I taught the junior high Newspaper class, all reporters were required to write all of their articles in Microsoft Word and get them edited and re-edited before they were allowed to be transferred to the publishing software. I know Microsoft Word for typing, for making lists, for making bibliography pages, for making outlines, for including tables and charts, for inserting photos...and the list goes on and on. I can definitely tutor a beginning computer user in the ways of Microsoft Word.


During my tenure as a classroom teacher, I could always tell when someone wanted something proofread. A principal or a counselor would walk toward me with a slim file folder, and I knew that inside held a document he or she wanted me to proofread. I did so happily. Sometimes it was a memo to go out to staff or to parents; sometimes it was a person's personal Christmas letter that they wanted to make sure didn't have any grammatical mistakes. I was fine with the concept, because it is a skill that comes easy to me. We all have them. Sometimes, I need someone's mathematical skills that they can provide without any outside assistance. That is what I can provide when it comes to proofreading. Language, vocabulary, word usage, spelling, etc. are all important skills, and you cannot depend upon Spell Check or Grammar Check. Half the time, Grammar Check is wrong, and I have an entire 4-stanza, 16-line poem about Spell Check and how misleading it can be. I always posted it for my kids when we were working on their research papers. Kids need to be able to proofread their own writing for themselves. It is an INVALUABLE skill that will service them all the way through college and beyond!


When it comes to learning to read, every kiddo is different. They are different in their abilities, their speed, their comprehension, their word recognition, their 'readability level' and in so many other factors. By the time students have reached secondary school, if they have struggled with reading, have been placed in one group instead of another, have taken to heart what test scores have told them or had difficult experiences with teachers or other adults who expressed negativity with their reading ability, many teens have already shut down with thoughts that they are not good readers and they never will be. That thought process is SO VERY incorrect, and I have strategies that can help students learn to be better readers.

The strategies that work best for a particular reader will probably be different than ones that work for another; however, one-on-one support and patience will go a very long way in helping your child improve his/her reading skills. Finding the right materials is another crucial step in gaining reading skills, and that can be coupled with the reading that is assigned by your child's classroom teachers--not just English teachers. One of the fundamental skills in every subject is reading, so we would work on reading science texts, social studies texts, etc., and I have strategies that would help students break those reading assignments down into chunks so that they can comprehend the assigned material. I seriously could go on and on, because this is a subject about which I feel passionately, but the reality is that every single child is different and deserves tutoring that is tailor made for his/her needs.

Study Skills

I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in English Education and a Master of Arts Degree in Education. I am extremely organized in my own life and as a professional tutor. For my clients, I will provide Agenda sheets that need to be signed by the student’s parent and teacher. I have created Reading Logs and text connections for my kids. I have attended meetings with my kid’s parents and his teacher, counselor and assistant principal. For every student, I create a binder with dividers to organize what we are doing and to help him organize his school work.


Vocabulary is very interesting, because so many people think vocabulary is just about knowing the definition of a word. The reality is that vocabulary consists not only of the definition of a word, but also it includes usage, spelling, word choice and so much more. A person's Word Choice can completely influence the meaning or significance of a written work, but the writer has to have the vocabulary to choose the best words in the first place. A Thesaurus is a wonderful thing, but it can be misused in so many different ways. Writers need to KNOW and UNDERSTAND the words that they use in order to support anything that they write.


Writing is such a wide and varied topic, to try and categorize it in such a single description seems inadequate. From learning how to write a topic sentence, to writing a solid paragraph, moving on to a five-paragraph essay and 'graduating' to a high-school level persuasive essay complete with in-text citation and bibliography all encompass the topic of writing. Some tips I do know that many do not: In Microsoft Word, Grammar Check is wrong about half of the time. You cannot depend on Spell Check because of usage issues. I can provide a four-stanza, sixteen-line poem dedicated to Spell Check and its many inaccuracies. Anywhere I sit down to write, I always have access to my good old, "Webster's Dictionary" (the title, by the way, should be in Italics, but this program won't let me...), and I'm not one who is wary of technology. I am simply realistic.

I definitely excel in technical writing more than creative writing, but technical writing is usually the area where most kiddos need some guidance. I am adept at the MLA Citation format, which is what most secondary schools require at this time. I have written papers using the Chicago style and the APA style, but those were a time ago, and I would need to refresh my memory. I DO encourage ALL kinds of writing, so if my 'kids' are struggling with some issue, I will often have them write a letter (to me, to themselves, to whomever) to detail the entire situation. Usually, when a teenager thinks a dilemma is beyond all help, once they write it all down and see it on paper, it does not seem like that big of a problem. I have kept every letter every child has written to me, because everything my kids give me goes into my 'shrine', but even if a child did not share a letter with me, they often expressed relief at seeing the issue on notebook paper and finally perceiving that the problem could be handled.

I could write and write about writing; That's the beauty of it. Kids who need it will find it. Kids who struggle with it will need tricks and strategies to help them get the words from their brains onto the paper. I've got quite a few tricks up my sleeve... It all depends on the child.

University of Oklahoma
English Education
Baker University


University of Oklahoma (English Education)

Baker University (Master's)

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $40.00

Cancellation: 8 hours notice required

Travel policy

Suzanne will travel within 20 miles of Kansas City, MO 64119.