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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

In 2014, every child that I have taught has been familiar with using a SmartPhone, an IPad, a laptop, etc...  This is the age of technology, and for students to compete with their international peers, they will have to learn how to navigate the Internet and various functions of the new-age portable computer-like devices.     However, I have found that the increase in the use of technology has created two major learning deficiencies amongst our young people.   Firstly, I have noticed that many young people expect to get the "answer" instantly.  They often do not want to use the strategies that have been provided; not because they do not work, but because it takes them longer to "get to the answer".     For example, when teaching phonetics, I use a tap-it-out method for decoding and blending phonemes.  One of my students absolutely HATES to tap it out because he wants to say the word correctly instantly... read more

In my experience tutoring students in both essay writing and test prep, one of the most difficult and tiresome challenges for both student and tutor is vocabulary improvement.  Because the ideal way to improve one's vocabulary includes reading a variety of sources over a long period of time, the optimal strategy for vocabulary improvement is often not available to students who have a very compressed schedule in which they must improve.  Many of my students have needed to show marked improvement in vocabulary within 2 weeks to a month, due to a looming deadline, so I have had to get creative to find efficient, effective techniques in vocabulary training.   One of the most important lessons when it comes to vocabulary is that multiple approaches are key.  Students should engage with the material using as many senses as possible.  This means not only reading a word and its definition silently, but also reading them aloud, hearing them read by someone else,... read more

Most high school students have required summer reading for their upcoming Fall English class. Sometimes, students have a particular book (or even two books) they must read, while other times they may be offered a number of books from which to choose. When the entire class must read the same book, students can usually expect to discuss the book in class the first week of school, take a quiz, and write an in-class or take-home essay. These focused assignments pose a challenge but also present a great opportunity to create a favorable impression with the teacher. First impressions are especially important in English, a subject which, even with rubrics, involves subjective grading.   I work with students on their summer reading to be sure that they begin reading a few weeks in advance of school, annotate the book thoroughly, discuss the book effectively, and write a short essay. This work prepares students to meet the actual discussion and writing assignments set by their... read more

It is all too tempting to throw the books out the window as soon as summer vacation hits. As a student, I understand that temptation but, as a teacher, I know that you're not doing your future-self any favors. The best, and most obvious, way to keep from losing everything you've just spent a whole school year learning is to read.   When it comes to school, reading is one of the most fundamental skills to have, because you're going to be reading things in every single class, at home, hanging out with friends, and so on. You're always reading directions, messages, and interesting information, so keep practicing that skill even when you're not in school. But the real value isn't just in reading the words on a sign or a menu or a text message: the real value (and a skill that even some adults haven't developed enough) is in thinking about what you're reading.   Netflix and movie stores are full of movies based on books. One good way to practice your reading... read more

I am very excited about the opportunity to work with your child or children. I love to take students from where they are and bring them up from there!  I have over 10 years elementary teaching experience from prekindergarten to fifth grade!  I love working with math and reading with students. I love watching a child's eyes light up when they learn something new!  I always try to use different strategies with students to match their learning style.  I would love to add your child to my tutoring profile!  I have availability this summer and fall during the weekdays and can also on some weekends! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. 

While in our everyday speech we may speak casually, for a student who wants to develop his intellect as much as possible, vocabulary should continually be built upon.  Any time a student encounters a word that is unfamiliar, that student should write that word down, look up its definition, and use it in a sentence.  Keeping a vocabulary notebook is a super idea for any student, even adult students.  A good way to develop one's vocabulary speedily is to read certain authors who use lesser-known words.  An example of a current author is Charles Krauthammer who recently published "Things That Matter."  Even an educated person will find words in this series of essays that can be learned.  Never underestimate the power of a strong vocabulary!

Once school is over, students are ready to toss away their textbooks in exchange for a swimsuit and towel. Who can blame them? The summer is a time for having fun and relaxing after a long year of hard work. However, this often means going back to school in a bit of a lazy-haze. Without five days a week of educational stimulation, it is easy to forget all the history facts, and numerical equations. So, how can we stay sharp but not miss out on all the fun?   My advice:    1. Read. Reading will always be a great way to keep your mind sharp, no matter what the book's content. Read a magazine or a book about pirates. No matter what, you are engaged and using your brain.   2. Games. There are tons of card and board games that are both fun and engaging. For example, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, and Yahtzee. Put down the remote and invite some friends over for a game.   3. Make a goal. Pick one skill or topic you want to learn more about... read more

One of my tutoring students had a bookmark that said, "Reading is boring." Although M told me that wasn't REALLY what she thought, I didn't believe it. When we began tutoring together, M was not participating in class, lacked confidence in her comprehension of materials, and did not see why reading and writing mattered. As I am passionate about reading and writing, I was determined to turn this situation around.   We began with engaging with the writing viscerally as I encouraged her to experience what she was reading with her five senses. For example, if the character was eating dinner, we talked about what it would taste and look like. I find it's important to show students why reading and writing are relevant. We practiced punctuation and emphasis, and dramatized verbs with our voices. For example, what does anger sound like (louder, sharper)? Is sadness soft, halting? We talked about characters and plot lines, exploring M's opinions and overlapping experiences... read more

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