Theresa is approved to conduct lessons through Wyzant Online. Wyzant Online allows students and tutors to work remotely via video, audio, and collaborative whiteboard tools. For more information about how online tutoring works, check out Wyzant Online.
If you’re interested in online lessons, message Theresa to get started.
Southern CT State University (Theatre Arts)
University of California, Riverside (Other)
While growing up, and as an adult, I have worked with children and adults of many ability and disability levels. My parents adopted 14 special needs children with various disabilities, and as the oldest daughter, I was there to assist them in learning life skills, scholastic skills and interpersonal skills. It was at this time I learned to implement some of the teaching methods I employ, which incorporate elements of Orton-Gillingham and the work of Dr. Glenn Doman; that is, a multi-sensory approach that uses right and left brain balance.
As an adult, I have continued to teach and assist others, teaching subjects from Languages to the Arts, both visual and performing, as well as serving as a Sign Language interpreter in the public school system.
In addition, I have acted as a research assistant to professional fiction and non-fiction writers, college and high school students.
I am a working artist and writer, and maintain my own online galleries, as well as providing artwork for private collectors, corporations and non-profits.
I have been involved in theatre, dance and music from the age of 6, and have acted professionally on both coasts, as well as studying in the UK with a member of the National Theatre in London, performing at Yale University, and in television and radio advertising.
I believe in life-long learning, and continue to seek out and hone new and better skills in all my pursuits. I am currently training as a Certified Life Coach with the Fowler Wainwright organization.
I have a criminal background check on file. While growing up, and as an adult, I have worked with children and adults of many ability and disability levels. My parents adopted 14 special needs children with various disabilities, and as the oldest daughter, I was there to assist them in learning life skills, scholastic skills and interpersonal skills. It was at this time I learned to
Gas prices being what they are, my rate may need to be adjusted for long commutes. If requesting tutoring for a small group, a discounted rate per student will be charged on an individual case basis.
Theresa is approved to conduct lessons through Wyzant Online. Wyzant Online allows students and tutors to work remotely via video, audio, and collaborative whiteboard tools. For more information about how online tutoring works, check out Wyzant Online.
If you’re interested in online lessons, message Theresa to get started.
Theresa has been working with my 9 year old son for almost a year. She is very knowledgeable in many areas. In addition to academics, she has been helpful to my son in developing his executive skills. She is wonderful at adapting her approach as she develops and as she receives input from us and from his teachers. She has been a wonderful asset in my son's improvement in his performance.
She helped me understanding a lot of words and she read everything with me. She was really patient and listened to everything I said, put a lot of attention on my reading and corrected me every time I said something wrong.
This was our first visit and I was pleased. Theresa gave us ideas to do with our child until the next session. I got insight into my kids brain that I never knew before. I'm happy with our choice. Thanks Theresa!
Theresa is an awesome person. She is very welcoming and my daughter loved the fact that there was someone to sign with her. With Theresa's help our family is using sign language and speech at the same time. We can't wait for another lesson. Highly recommended
She was very patient with my child. He absolutely loves going to tutoring!! We are pleased with her services! I would recommend her to anyone.
My experience has been enlightening, direction driven, strengthening, and encouraging. My tutor has a genuine appeal and I like her decentralized approach to studying. She has helped me to connect the dots to my own areas of weakness, and provided me with constructive guidance to a check and balance study style that will measure ones outcome. I have noted her constant evaluation of me in each tutorial session which has given me insight to her customized approach based upon individual needs vs. a standardized study plan.
My son (age 9) loves working with Ms. Theresa. I thought he would complain having to do tutoring two days a week but he looks forward to her coming. He realizes she is here to help him be successful. Thanks.
Theresa has been great for our son who is ADHD and Dyslexic. She knew right away how to find the various areas that he needed to strengthen and they hit the ground running. She has worked extensively with Dyslexia and it shows in her ability to provide him with the tools he needs to move forward through his learning difference as well as 'reel' him back in when he loses focus or "leaves the room" as she calls it. We have seen improvement in his spelling, memorization, word comprehension, retention of what he is learning and overall reading which is getting quicker along with reading comprehension. All of this in less than two months! We have also seen a difference in his self esteem, and that is great for any child! Theresa is great and we look forward to a long tutoring relationship. As she always says, she works herself right out of a job! What a great approach to getting every child past issues and on with life.
I'm calling Theresa a "coach", because that is the capacity for which I am hiring her for - a life coach. Theresa quickly deduced various aspects of my personality from an email I sent her before our first session. She hit it right on the money.
She will be happy to know that I completed my homework assignment within 24 hours after our session, instead of waiting until the last minute before our next session, as is my usual method. I hired her because I need someone to essentially hold my hand and show me another and better way until it becomes the new me. And she has already suggested a timeline, giving me the expectation that some day down the road I will be on my own.
I always seek instant gratification, and that has never served me well in life. In our first session, Theresa addressed that issue. In fact, as I write this, I can hear the voice in my mind saying "I hope this coaching doesn't take too long, because I don't have a lot of time. I have so many things that I want to do, and I don't have forever." Yes, there is some work to do. I get the strong feeling that Theresa is very patient. She'll hang in there with you until that ah-ha moment arrives. And that's when she will slide her chair back, gently stand up, smile, and give you a humble standing ovation.
"Well done. You're ready."
Theresa has made a wonderful change in my son's academic life. He started tutoring in preparation for his ISEE test and we decided to continue seeking her help thereafter. She has become part of his academic success. Theresa is very patient and finds the student's strength to better understand the topic on hand. My 15-yr old son is comfortable to make questions and uses his time wisely. We will continue to seek her help because she is also very reliable, she will work with the student's schedule the best way she can. We have only positive remarks to make about Mrs. Theresa, she is a great tutor.
Theresa has been an amazing tutor for our 6-year old granddaughter. The last five sessions with our granddaughter has been very successful. She has moved up to the next reading level in her class, as well as developed a love and appreciation for reading. We have seen a great improvement in her blending, reading, spelling, and recognition of words. We have been impressed with Theresa's talent and her tender, compassionate interaction with our granddaughter. Our granddaughter looks forward to each of her sessions with Theresa. Theresa has also given our granddaughter's parents very helpful and practical tools to help our granddaughter focus and progress forward.
When we first sought out a tutor in March, our granddaughter's teacher had just suggested to her parents that she might need to repeat Kindergarten if she did not pass the state-required TPRI test. We are happy to report that our granddaughter's teacher recently sought out her parents to let them know (1) how impressed she was with Ireland's improvement, (2) that our granddaughter passed the TPRI test, and (3) she received a score of Developed in all areas of the test. We know this was made possible by Theresa's tutoring. It's given our granddaughter a new confidence in her learning abilities. It's exciting to see her pick up books on her own now and read them all by herself!
We look forward to continuing with Theresa's tutoring, and are excited to see our granddaughter's progress as she moves into first grade under Theresa's guidance.
Thank you so much for your kind words! Your daughter, like so many children, is a bright and curious child whose learning style is as unique as her fingerprint. The key to reaching her is the same key I try to use with each of my students. I come into my tutoring obligations with two goals in mind: first, to find what is lovable in the student and encourage them from the heart, and second, to put so many tools and skills in their own hands that I eventually put myself out of a job.
This was the first tutoring session my daughter had and I felt so good after their session. Theresa is really awesome. She came prepared and very understanding of my daughter's dilemmas in math. I look forward in continuing the tutoring sessions for my daughter with her. She is so awesome! Thank you Theresa! You are awesome!!!
Since Theresa has been helping my daughter with her math she seems to be a little more confident about her work. She still has trouble but seems to tackle it in a better way. Theresa is such a God send. She really has such great patience with kids. Right now it is difficult for both my kids as we just moved. Theresa seems to understand and has patience of iron!! I still think she is an awesome tutor and hope to continue with her as long as my daughter needs her. Thank you Theresa!
Thanks so much for your kind words! It is great when a tutor can work with a student who can accept that she needs help, and then embraces it as well as your daughter. It's a privilege to work with her!
I want to thank the people of WyzAnt. I have learned so much from Theresa in these past few weeks. She really has opened up my eyes and has truly believed in me and the goals I am trying to achieve. I couldn't have asked for a better, more qualified educator to help me become an excellent educator in my field. Thank you so much
My daughter is really enjoying working with Theresa! She is very patient and has unique ideas to get kids involved and interested in exploring their creative side. You can tell she truly cares about her students.
I want to thank you, WyzAnt, for sending the best teacher, ever. I have never, ever had as much learning in my life as I have had since I met Theresa. I love reading more, I understand how to spell better, as well. I'm learning a lot about writing good lesson plan and how to do different things on the computer. I have learned more in 3 months than in the past 45 years of my life. If I had all this knowledge from an early age. I would be a better person now. Miss Theresa is the type of person who makes you want to go higher and higher in education. I don't want to stop learning here. She is the best teacher ever. I recommend that WyzAnt acknowledge her. Thank you very much. She is the best....
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.
I have been working with children and adults with ADD/ADHD, including members of my own family, for many years. I have studied the works of Dr. Edward Hallowell and others, as well as receiving hands-on training in the public school system. In addition, I have worked with my own children, three of whom are ADD/ADHD, and many students with this situation.
As an undergraduate studying Studio Art, I was required to take Art History I. I loved it, and took Art History II the next semester. I did very well, and had an A+ average. I was called to a meeting with the Art History professors, where they implored me to change majors to Art History. I stuck with Studio Art and Theatre but I did take more Art History courses, notably in Architecture at Richmond College in London, during which stay I was also able to view many historical buildings and visit some of the major Art museums and galleries in both England and on the Continent. I continue to collect and study works by the masters (the digital images of them, I should say), and to stay current with art trends (especially in liturgical art) that are evolving in the Art world. I have a great understanding of traditional symbols, emergent art media and historical influences that make my understanding of Art History one that is rooted in ambient culture and psychology, and can "read" paintings and other pieces, making sense of those pieces that many people look at with puzzled faces and shake their heads. Let me help you see, interpret, and remember.
I have worked extensively, and with great success, with ASD individuals. I have been able to assist them in establishing a relationship to the world around them, and translating what they experience into comprehensible units. I have taken a course on brain differences at University of California, Riverside ("Anatomical and Physiological Factors in Behavioral Development"), and have a brother who is Autistic and Aphasic. In addition, I have homeschooled a young man on the Autism Spectrum and have helped him develop meaningful relationships, engage in job training, and learn to operate more independently. I feel that I am uniquely qualified to assist ASD individuals in bridging the gaps that often occur when they try to make sense of the world around them.
As a small business owner, free-lance artist and writer, I can help you bring your business to the internet and get paid more money for it. From setting up the very basic necessities, such as business e-mails to social media management, to blogging, to affiliate marketing, I can make whatever you do more profitable. I am a member of the Baby Boom generation, and as such, I am very understanding of the dilemma of those who grew up with manual typewriters and three channels of black and white television, who now want to enter - and profit from! - the information age. I will walk you through all the processes you need to learn, all the skills you need to practice, either on your own computer, or at the library or internet coffee house (my favorite kind!). I am low-key and approachable, and your experience will be custom-tailored to your needs.
So, if you are a small business owner, a writer, an artist, or even just want to participate online in a social way and get paid for it, call me and I'll help you out!
I have been drawing all of my life, and have designed logos, theatre programs, copyright submission drawings and illustrations for various individuals, schools and organizations. I studied Studio Art at Southern CT State University with Keith Hatcher, Arthur Guagliumi and others, as well as privately with illustrator Karen Wheeler. In addition, I apprenticed with dinnerware designer Lesley Roy. I believe in lifelong learning, and continue to study both independently, and in cooperation with other professional artists.
In addition, I have taught art at New Haven Department of Parks and Recreation during a summer youth theatre program, at Visual Expressions Art School and Gallery in Cedar Hill, Texas, and privately. I have been an Art Speaker at Bowie High School (Arlington, Texas Independent School District)in "faux encaustic techniques".
My preferred drawing media are: pencil, pen and ink, and mixed media. I use pencil drawings as the basis for my painting and encaustic work, as well as my glass etching work. I also use watercolor pencils to enhance my paintings. I am never without some sort of drawing material.
I have been working with Dyslexic individuals from an early age, both in the public school setting, and in personal relationships within my family. I have informally studied the methods of Drs. Doman and Delacato, as well as the Orton-Gillingham method. I believe my approach is very common-sense, very effective and very encouraging for the student. My students also seem to think so.
As the former homeschooling mother of five children, I have experience in tutoring all elementary subjects, and in drilling and pre-testing, as well as report-writing, note taking and study skills. I also worked with my parents' large family (20 kids, both biological and adopted), which included many children with disabilities and learning differences. I was considered a "mentally gifted" student, and began tutoring other children as early as 5th grade, and had a reputation even then for helping them bring their grade point averages up significantly.
When I was a child, I had trouble learning elementary math as it was taught in the schools. It seemed like a series of codes that didn't mean anything to me. It was only when I was taught to use movement, movement, and stories to learn what these formulas meant that I was able to become "fluent" in math! When a student is having trouble understanding elementary math, I use the ways that helped math make sense to me, and quite often I find that my student is the same kind of learner that I am, and needs to know why, to anchor the information with muscles, music, and the creative mind before they can master the material. But, once that happens, a sort of magic occurs: the student knows their math facts as well as they know their name!
Nothing comes closer to the perfect English tutor than a writer who is the daughter of writers! That is what I am. In addition, I have been a research assistant for writers, a book editor, and I have been tutoring for many years. I have a multilingual background, and can enrich your understanding of writers meanings and usages, symbolism, foreshadowing, character arc, and much, much more! Let's work together!
Since the late 1970's, I have been helping non-English speakers learn English. I began by working with Vietnamese families brought over to Camp Pendleton and have gone on to teach English to Japanese foreign exchange students to deaf individuals born overseas, who have had no spoken or signed language to use. My approach is very simple: begin with the concrete and use a multi-sensory approach to learning while encouraging early use of expressive language. I use actual objects, pantomime and as much of the native language or another shared language as I can, while encouraging proper grammar, syntax, and pronunciation. If appropriate, I use the visual phonics alphabet to assist in proper pronunciation skills. I make use of music, art and other creative means to instruct the pupil in a significant, imperative and personal way. I encourage the student to keep a notebook of new words and phrases in English, with pictures, photos or other (non-native language) reminders of what the words mean. In this way, they learn to think in concepts and express the concepts in English rather than doing simple "single-word to single-word" translations. I speak English, French, American Sign Language and some Spanish.
After growing up in the film studios of Los Angeles, as the daughter of a film writer, I majored in Theatre Arts and minored in Fine Art. I have taken classes in Dramatic Analysis, and have taught classes in Film Evaluation along a major theme.
Since temporarily losing my hearing at age 9, I have been signing. My family all learned to sign to some extent--my parents even adopted a deaf son, whom I have helped to tutor throughout his school career. I have worked as a sign language interpreter and language facilitator in the public school systems in California, Pennsylvania and Texas, from pre-school to high school levels, and have taken a course in Visual Phonics as part of the training in assisting Deaf students with their speech skills. I worked as a Pastoral Minister for the Deaf in the Diocese of Orange, California, and helped organize the 2002 Pastoral Week for for Deaf Catholic Ministry which took place there. I now lead the Sign Language Choir at St. Michael's Church in Grand Prairie, Texas, and do private interpreting.
I have tutored many students in test-taking of all types with great success. I teach question/problem decoding, question types and elimination by the Socratic method, as well as logical essay-question construction. I have made consistently high scores on tests in my own academic career, thus proving my point: I know how to help my students succeed!
I was raised on Jesuit logic, taught to me by my Jesuit-trained mother. In addition to the lively debates of my youth, I also aced my college Logic course, and have continued to keep my wits honed with syllogistic arguments and Venn diagrams.
I have been crocheting, doing cross-stitch and other handwork/sewing all my life. At age 10, my hand-crocheted baby shoes were being sold by a local fabric store! I have gone on to produce many afghans, garments, original patterns and other home decor items. I embroider, crochet, make crocheted jewelry and do other related and integrated crafts.
I am training as a Nutritional Health Coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (certification pending September, 2016), which includes lectures by top nutritional physicians. In addition, I have been studying cellular nutrition and supplementation as an Independent USANA Health Sciences Associate for the last 13 years. I have used this information and training to assist private students in improving their health, losing weight, and becoming more confident in their life choices.
With experience in acrylics, watercolor, inks and experimental materials, I am able to instruct students on the proper care and maintenance of materials, the selection of paints and brushes, the effects of lighting and angle, as well as good subject selection. I can help a student set up a painting for the best possible composition, as well as providing help with Color Theory, exercises in picture development, and use of a picture morgue (filing system), either online or in a filing cabinet. I can also assist the artist in setting up a workspace for the best, least restrictive outcome. Painting is not just putting paint on paper or canvas. I can show you the skills that will bring out the art within you.
For children or adults who need help with "sounding it out," I have a set of fun and easy tools to use that make phonics into a game that is fun and compelling. With pictures, flash cards, mnemonic devices and other tools, we can play at phonics and make hours seem like minutes, you'll be having so much fun! I encourage my students to take an active hand in helping personalize their own study tools, so that there is real ownership, not only of the information, but of the learning devices. I provide on-going incentives and rewards for success, and make reading fun and enjoyable for kids and grown-ups alike!
As a professionally trained stage and voice-over actress, I can help you in all aspects of public speaking, whether it is giving a presentation at work, memorizing a role for a play, or just being comfortable in a sales meeting! My more than 20 years of sales experience, coupled with my theatre and media (television, video and radio) experience means that if you want to be comfortable presenting to others, I'm the person to call! I can help with acquisition of various accents and dialects, or help you to minimize any foreign accent you might have that is limiting you. I can help improve your phrasing, impact sounds, and supporting hand and body gestures, as well as eliminating frustrating habits that take away from your presentation.
While tutoring students in reading, I have used methods as diverse as phonics, whole language, A-Beka, visual phonics, the manual alphabet, Braille and a hodge-podge of several all together. I find that when working with young children, using concrete examples and personification can be very helpful, while with older students and adults, tying reading concepts to their own lives, school experiences and workplace concerns is helpful. I try to make the reading experience about really understanding what words are, where they come from, and which words are related to other words, so that even after our tutoring relationship come to an end, my students will be able to read a word they have never seen before and figure out its meaning based on these relationships and the knowledge they have gained under my tutelage. That sort of lifelong learning opportunity would indicate a successful use of our time to me.
I have done test preparation tutoring for individuals studying for the verbal/writing part of the SAT, for the ISEE, and for the TExES, as well as for Special Ed. Certification. I have also taught an SAT verbal/writing class for the Nepalese Society in Irving, Texas. As a published writer and researcher, I am eminently qualified to help students achieve their highest potential as writers, and as observant and critical readers.
I have been sewing since I was a child of 10,\ and have made clothing, interior decor, and costumes for Theatre (both educational and professional)including taking measurements, making alterations and redesigning and combining pattern pieces from different clothing patterns. I designed, drafted the patterns for, and built the window treatments for the Istanbul Cafe in New Haven, Connecticut. I also have done soft sculpture, fabric pictures, and quilts of my own design. I am adept at both machine and hand sewing, including cross-stitch, embroidery and mending. As far as skill in fabric arts, I have sheared the sheep, carded, spun and plied the wool, made the fabric and sewn it into a usable, wearable garment. I am an excellent, caring and patient teacher.
Since an accident at age 9 temporarily diminished my hearing, I have been signing. I have worked as a sign language interpreter at the preschool, elementary, junior high school and high school levels in California, Pennsylvania and Texas, and at present run my church's Sign Language Choir. I worked as a Pastoral Minister for the Deaf in the Diocese of Orange, California and helped organize the 2002 National Pastoral Ministry Conference of the Deaf which was held there. I continue to do private interpreting and tutoring. I have used my sign language skills with Mexican signers, in France with French signers and in several regions of the United States, and have completed a course on Visual Phonics. I am currently working on a multi-media project which uses sign language as a support tool for public speakers, by teaching what I refer to as "sign language phonics."
First, let me say that I am the third child, eldest daughter in a family of two saintly parents of 20 kids, both biological and adopted. My mother, some of the biological kids, and virtually all of the adopted kids had special needs, ranging from deafness to blindness, autism/aphasia to amputation and burns. Many of the kids had learning disabilities and emotional/psychiatric issues, as well. I never saw them as "disabled people", but as people. Everyone's got something to face in life, after all. I attended IEP meetings and Special Olympics events before I had any kids of my own, and since having my own, I have continued as a sign language interpreter, job coach and tutor, to encourage people with special needs to excel.
Secondly, let me say that because of my life experiences, I don't pull any punches. I don't give my students excuses to fail because of their disabilities. I show them how to work around them. I am incredibly creative and innovative, and don't spoil people by letting them use crutches they don't need. What I mean to say is this: If Johnny has no arms and he has to learn how to write his name with his feet, I may help him alter his pencil, or change chairs, but he'd better work on that penmanship! (I have, in fact, had this situation, and the individual involved has gone on not only to work as a data entry clerk - typing with his feet - but has a deaf roommate, with whom he signs!) "Excellence According to Capabilities" is my motto.
Thirdly, I want you to know that I am a fun and funny person, and prefer to work with a student by accessing them where they live. For example, if they love cars, we'll build our lessons around cars. If it's "Hello, Kitty," then we go with that. But, the outcome is improved skills, no excuses and excellence.
As a writer myself, and a research assistant for professional writers and students at all levels,I have developed ways of acquiring, sorting and accessing a knowledge base quickly and easily. From pencil and paper note-taking skills, to the profitable use of electronic media, to presentations, papers and projects that knock teachers' and professors' socks off, I am the person to call.
In addition, once the project is done, I can also assist your student, if he or she wishes, in publishing their paper, selling their artwork or bringing their ideas to market. Students, especially at the high school and college level, can use their assignments to earn money to fund their tuition with my help, which can, in turn, motivate them to do better work, and to look forward to their studies.
I have always made high scores on standardized tests, and teach test preparation for them, including question/problem decoding, question types and elimination by the Socratic method, as well as logical essay-question construction. My own children have received TAKS scores that are consistently in the Commended range, some of which demonstrate complete mastery through a perfect TAKS score.
I have tutored many students in test-taking of all types with great success. I teach question/problem decoding, question types and elimination by the Socratic method, as well as logical essay-question construction. I have assisted several students with TEAS test preparation in Special Education Certification, and in Vocational Education Certification. I have made consistently high scores on standardized tests in my own academic career, thus proving my point: I know how to help my students succeed!
I have been performing, both in the United States and abroad, since I was six years old. I have done Mime, Musical Theatre, Drama and Comedy. I have performed on stage, in videos and on television. Whether as part of a traveling troupe, a voice-over talent, or a stand-up comedienne, I have spent years honing my craft. I have studied under Ann Ayars, former prima soprano of the New York City Opera, Bud Barth (voice over of Fred Flintstone, Chester Cheetah and others), Gordon Jump (WKRP and the Maytag Man), Jeff Teare (National Theatre of England), Leila Haller (New Orleans Civic Ballet)and Stanley Meyer (scenic designer for the Broadway production and tour of "Beauty and the Beast" and for the Steve Miller Band 2010 tour "Bingo!") I have acted as an instructor at Del Mar Media Arts in Irvine, California, the Department of Parks and Recreation in New Haven, Connecticut, and for Visual Expressions Gallery in Cedar Hill, Texas, as well as a dialect coach for private students in Grand Prairie, Texas. I have taken classes in acting, improvisation, directing, dramatic analysis, as well as many forms of dance and vocal music.
So, what can I do for you? I can help you select and practice an audition piece, complete with phrasing, impact sound suggestions and blocking. I can explain what those Shakespeare words and phrases mean. I can help you memorize and personalize your part in a play (even a non-speaking part!). I can help you plan and record a voice-over demo CD, and find a reputable studio to record it. I can help you develop improvisational "bits" so that you are a seamless improvisational performer. I can help you put together a stand-up routine and find an open-mike venue to perform it, then critique it with you afterward. I can help you develop stage make-up skills and specialty stage make-up, including latex prostheses (false noses, warts, scars, etc.). I can help you develop period costumes, fantasy costumes and special effects costumes. I can help you design and build scene models and plans. I can help you put together your theatrical program and find/build illustrations and graphic layouts for the program, poster and flyers.
In addition to being a published author in my own right, I have acted as a writing tutor and research assistant to University students (to Masters' level) and professionals. I come by my writing talent naturally, being the daughter of Science Fiction author Simon Lang. I have assisted IB students in researching, writing and editing their Extended Essays, and tutor students preparing for standardized testing, such as the ISEE and the SAT. I approach tutoring with a full arsenal of helpful tools and skills, and a love of literature that becomes contagious!