Charles S.

American Fork, UT


Social studies, language and more, all ages


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University of Pittsburgh


BYU (Linguistics)

University of Pittsburgh (Master's)

About Charles

I take to heart Maria Montessori's prayer: "Help us, O God, to enter the secret of childhood so that we may know, love and serve the child . . ." I empathize with and understand young people in an extraordinary way. Besides various volunteer teaching going back to 1999, I started tutoring one-on-one for pay in 2005. Mostly I've done this with middle and high school students, some of whom struggled seriously with their grades. I hold a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh (2006), a Bachelor's in Linguistics with a Spanish minor from BYU (2001), and I read like Hermione Granger.

Before moving back to my home in Utah I lived in Idaho, where I worked for a school district. Though not a teacher, I acted as a guerrilla educator, taking opportunities to interact with and teach young people throughout the K-12 range. This included volunteer Spanish instruction for grades 3-5 during my lunch hours; and history, percussion and calligraphy lessons at the Blackfoot Community Center in my spare time. School librarians and volunteer coordinators repeatedly asked me to come read to children at special events. My empathy and respect for the youth of the district gained me their trust and respect in turn. I am often told that I should be a teacher because I have such a good connection with the kids, even the difficult ones. I hear this from adults and youth alike. I'll never forget the face of one young man during one of my visits to a high school detention room, as I engaged him and his friends in conversation about digital media. You could see the light turn on in his head. “What am I witnessing here?” he said. He was witnessing what happens when an adult keeps close his memories of half a life away, to reach out to those still going through that time. He was witnessing a heart of rare empathy armed with a mind of (I don't like to brag, but) remarkable intellect. He was witnessing the gifts I would bring to my interactions with your child.
I take to heart Maria Montessori's prayer: "Help us, O God, to enter the secret of childhood so that we may know, love and serve the child . . ." I empathize with and understand young people in an extraordinary way. Besides various volunteer teaching going back to 1999, I started tutoring one-on-one for pay in 2005. Mostly I've done this with Read more

Travel Radius
Travels within 10 miles of American Fork, UT 84003
Psychology, Sociology
ACT English, Bible Studies, English,
ESL/ESOL, Grammar,
Proofreading, Public Speaking, Reading,
SAT Writing, Vocabulary,
Test Preparation:
ACT English, SAT Writing
ESL/ESOL, Russian,
Classics, European History,
Government & Politics, Political Science, Social Studies, World History
Elementary Education:
Public Speaking

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.


English has been my best subject since second grade, when I constantly aced spelling tests. I read voraciously through school and started writing for fun when I was in fifth grade. I'm always reading several books at once, most of them nonfiction, and for years I've been working in jobs of which writing and editing are major components.

Studying Linguistics in college helped me understand better many of the peculiarities of English that trap so many young learners, especially spelling. I helped my daughter learn to read by age five by patient practice and explanation of how sounds and letters work.

European History

This has been one of my favorite subjects for nearly my whole life. I've read widely and intensively in the subject for fun: classics like Braudel's Civilization and Capitalism; the Durants' Story of Civilization; Montesquieu's Greatness of the Romans and their Decline; and many other works, as well as some analytical reading of historiography during graduate school. Medieval and early modern history have long been my biggest fascination, but recently I read Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities and was riveted by its account of the rise of modern nation-states.


When I grew up I fell in love with maps and became intensely, perpetually curious about the world. I've spent hours of my free time getting acquainted with biomes, investigating and thinking about natural resources and economies, and following the change of political boundaries across the same areas of land.


Call me old-fashioned if you like, but I have a great respect for the medieval Trivium of Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric. Years of experience writing and editing have solidified my sensibility for these, particularly grammar. One of my favorite books is a collection of essays on the necessity of grammar for clear thought.

My study of Linguistics led to a hobby of conlanging - inventing fictional languages - which I've carried on for over 10 years; I find this an entertaining way of fortifying my understanding of grammatical principles with a diversity of contexts.


I read Thomas Mallory's _Morte d'Arthur_ in fifth grade and Jules Verne's _20,000 Leagues Under the Sea_ - unabridged, mind - in sixth. Soon after I followed with other classics by Verne and Wells. I grew up hearing the King James Bible and occasionally Shakespeare at home, so tackling the standard Shakespeare plays in high school was not difficult for me.

School courses of literature vaguely presume a canon, and administer it in the sense of a satirical song I once heard: "Culture is something good for you, like liver, spinach and beets too." I don't subscribe to this point of view. In my mind, reading should be enjoyable, and - here is the key point - what people have written in other times and places is enjoyable. Engaging a challenging text is interesting and fun, because it broadens my understanding of what life is, what it means to be human. Textbooks seek, clumsily, to guide students through processes of analysis that I find quite intuitive, and that I believe that human beings do naturally. My goal is to get past distractions to help people recognize and remember this.


I taught my child to read by age five, using a combination of classic children's books, my linguistics expertise, and plenty of patience and persistence. I myself learned to read quite early, with a combination of comic books and the Bible. I have read voraciously ever since, and I intuitively and unconsciously analyze everything I read on many levels.


I studied Russian in high school and college, and lived for a while in the Russian House at BYU. I want to make it clear that I am not fluent, but if there's someone beginning (like in high school), I can help at that level.


I learned Spanish in 1996 and spoke it daily for two years while living in Puerto Rico. Since then I've studied it in college (I earned a minor in it) and continued to speak it. I taught Spanish to elementary school classes as a volunteer one year.


People have often told me I'm quite erudite, but it hasn't always been meant in a complimentary fashion: children on the school playground taunted: "Charles reads the dictionary every day." When I took the ACT and SAT as a teenager, I was surprised at how many of the vocabulary words I knew already. I don't say this to boast: I love words. I love sifting them and deploying just the right one for the occasion.

World History

I've read around enough to hold a workable sense of the patterns of world history to orient any detailed investigations I might undertake. Some of the particular areas I've been interested in reading into have included China, central Asia and Siberia. Minorities and migrants, obscure groups on the fringes of history, have always attracted my curiosity: Maronites, Nestorians, Assyrians, Copts, Druzes, speakers of obscure dialects in Switzerland and central Europe, Chinese railroad workers in the US, etc.

Some of the best ways to investigate world history, I find, are to follow the stories of a certain field of knowledge, ideology or commodity: chemistry, Buddhism, salt . . . history is intertwined with everything else, and I share Neil Postman's opinion that every discipline should be taught historically.


I started writing creatively in elementary school, as a hobby. I've pursued it with mounting seriousness over the last 10 years, as I've earned my living at times by writing other things: research guides, scholarly articles, biography, journalism.

They say that to become a good writer you need to write a million words. I estimate I'm about three-fourths of the way there. I've taken part in NaNoWriMo since 2006 and am currently revising a novel which is over 200,000 words long (I expect to split it in at least two books).

University of Pittsburgh


BYU (Linguistics)

University of Pittsburgh (Master's)

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $33.00

Travel policy

Charles will travel within 10 miles of American Fork, UT 84003.