Since Banned Books Week happens in mid-September each year, I'd like to talk today about the problem with banning books. Last year, my Bring Your Own Book club's topic for September was to read a banned or challenged book. We had a great discussion during our meeting about common threads in all of the books we read, common reasons why books get challenged, and how that relates to the education system in general. One of the things that kept coming up was that often, the reason the book was challenged is the entire point of the book itself – of course it deals with that; that's the main theme of the book! Whether it's The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Looking For Alaska depicting kids smoking, drinking, and doing drugs, or it's The Giver depicting a fundamentally broken society masquerading as a utopia (psst – that's the definition of the genre – it's a dystopia!), or even a gorgeous picture book called “And Tango Makes Three” telling a true story about a pair of male penguins who...
As I have tutored over time via instant messaging, certain problems come up again and again among the students that I have taught English writing to. As I have corrected student essays over the past few years online, I have developed this set of advice for writers with less experience. Much of this advice is influenced by Strunk & White's and Payne, so I don't claim much originality here.
General organizational advice for essays:
1. Don’t take the reader’s attention for granted. In the introduction, use attention-getting devices, such as a set of leading questions, interesting statistics, a famous quote from a famous person, a striking assertion or claim, etc. The following sentences in the first paragraph should narrow down the topic to the more specific point made in the thesis.
2. Always put the thesis statement, or main point to be proven or explained, at the end of the first paragraph. Aim to write it as a single sentence, not two...
Try this fun English grammar quiz.
Research what you get wrong, then take the quiz again 3 days later.
I got 100% the first time :-)
English. Writing. Creative. Analytical. Technical Writing. Reading. Need to advance your career? Blow your boss away? Get an A? I can help. I do online tutoring and in-person circa 22304 in libraries/public places.
Google Translate is a great way to translate words and short phrases from your native language to English
Build your English vocabulary with fun worksheets
****This is a "living" blog post that will be updated periodically.
I used to teach engineers how to write. I loved it, but it was challenge; engineers are infamous for arguing a point into the ground.
Whenever I taught them Plain Language and urged them to use it, the hair would bristle on the backs of their necks. Generally, the course of events to follow went something like this.
• Using Plain Language would be writing down to their readers
• Making their writing understandable wasn’t necessary, because their audiences already understood the subject matter
• Writing technical documents has always been done this way
• This wasn’t the way they were taught to write
After which, I stand in front of them. I look at them. I finally speak. I say, “Your teachers were wrong.” And, just short of rending of garments and gnashing of teeth, all hell breaks loose. (Did I mention that engineers love to argue?)
Nevertheless, I continue. “It’s all because of a bunch of ancient Roman rhetoricians...
At a conference in town earlier this year, I presented several panel discussions centering around the difficulty of defining and quantifying art. Our discussions in these panels got me thinking about literature, and how one of my main points could apply equally easily to much of the literature that students read in high school. The point in question is this: one of the defining characteristics of art, in my view, is that it is something that creates an emotional response in the viewer. Experiencing it changes you in some way.
This is easy to see when the emotions are ones we generally see as 'positive;' if a play makes your heart swell with hope for the future, or a ballet duet makes you flush with the excitement of new love, or an epic novel makes your heart race with anxiety over the safety of the main characters, it's easy to argue that those works are art and have changed you. But what if the emotions you experience are more negative – what if a novel bores you, frustrates...
The introductory paragraph of a paper or writing should capture the reader’s attention and engage their mind. You should always approach your papers expecting a reluctant or busy reader. Your job is to relate to them, give them useful information, and intrigue them to capture their interest. The first sentence of an introduction can be thought of as “the hook:” The sentence that grabs the mind of your reader.
Who is reading this paper (your audience)?
Is my reader sympathetic or opposed to my view?
What personal experiences or interests will my reader have?
How can I relate to the topics or things that my reader would care about?
What was the most interesting or unexpected fact that I learned?
Tone of Paper
The tone of your paper should determine the hook sentence that you use
For creative writing, you have more flexibility
For informative writings, the tone may limit the options you have
I specialize in teaching essay structure and style. When I began tutoring, I had a vague idea that I'd work with college students like the friends for whom I'd proofread during university: young Americans who've grown up in a public school system which emphasized group work over individual learning, and who therefore never got a chance to develop their writing skills.
I've certainly worked with students from a background very much like this. However, I've also had the pleasure of building a strong ESL clientele. At this point, I've spent enough time with ESL students to have made some observations about the nature of ESL learning and the way it is discussed. I'm certainly no expert, but by now I am a reliable dilettante. I speak with the authority of firsthand experience. From that vantage, I'd like to address one mistake which is frequently made in conversations about ESL learning. It is a very serious mistake and I have to believe that it muddles teachers' thinking considerably...
For most fluent readers, it can be hard to imagine how the sight word "have" can be tricky for emerging readers. Yet many parents drilling the Dolch sight words find "have" is misread over and over again, made to rhyme with "gave" and "behave".
The child is likely making this mistake because he or she is diligently applying the guidance that a silent final E makes the preceding vowel say its name. And for many English speakers, that's the only purpose known for a silent final E. But, that only explains half of the words with a silent final E and has nothing to do with why there is a silent final E in "have".
So, why is there a silent final E in "have"? Check out rule #3 in the list posted here: https://www.logicofenglish.com/resources/spelling-rules. Rule 3 states that English words do not end in I, U, V, or J. The silent final E in "have" is there to prevent the word from ending in V, just as...
Have you ever wondered what spelling bee champs know about spelling? I have, and my research led me straight to the
31 spelling rules as taught in the Logic of English method. These simple yet powerful rules explain 98% of English words when coupled with
74 phonograms. While that may not be enough to win an elite spelling bee, its a huge step forward for everyday literacy.
The 31 rules are posted here:
https://www.logicofenglish.com/resources/spelling-rules. While most are remarkably simple, they are quite powerful. Consider how the very first rule explains the answers to these tricky word equations:
picnic + ing = picnicking
notice + able = noticeable
Rule 1 states that "C always softens to /s/ when followed by E, I, or Y. Otherwise, C says /k/." Thus, picnicking gets its K because without it, the word would say /picnising/. Likewise, noticeable retains its E because without it, the word would say /notikable/.
English is widely regarded as being full of exceptions, and often logical/literal learners struggle with the ways in which it is commonly taught. Fortunately, though, there is logic to our language, and methods have been developed that carefully distill it into a limited number of spelling rules and phonograms. These concepts are quite simple to learn but very powerful in application, transforming English from a confusing jumble of exceptions to a deliciously rich and robust code.
An introduction to these concepts is posted at
The entire video is informative and inspirational, but if you’re pressed for time and want to sample some of the real meat of the content, jump ahead to the 20 minute mark and watch for about 8 minutes.
I'd love to hear what you think. Is this content helpful? Did you learn anything new? Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
I know a lot of you hate hearing your mom or dad tell you that you'll need a tutor because in your mind this means extra work. I mean, come on! You spend 7 hours in school only to be told you need to extend your "classroom time" for another hour or two after school. Not fair! And yet, deep inside you know that putting in the extra time to make your grades even better is worth it, although you probably won't admit it.
I understand since I've been on both sides of the fence. I've been tutored (math and english) and have tutored (math and english), so I know what it's like to be both the recipient and administrator of tutoring services. My teachers always told me that I was smart but easily bored in class. The reason? Classes were dull. My teachers rarely made their classes interesting or engaging, so it was easy for me to "check out" and get distracted. This is why when I tutor I try to make...
Well, hello! My name is Kristina and I'm new to WyzAnt. I decided to start this endeavor because I love English, I love learning, and I love that feeling when you finally grasp a concept. As a tutor, I can share my love for all of these things. I'm new to this, but I'm looking forward to the challenge and the adventure.
WyzAnt wants to know what my five outside the box tips that make my tutoring lessons fun?
1. Music. I like to relate everything to music. Whether it be lyrics or overall themes, connecting pop culture with literary pieces always helps to with retention.
2. Smiling. There's a lot of smiling going on in my lessons. Confidence isn't always easy, but if you start with a smile, you're half way there.
3. Social Media. We're going to be using social media to find relevant topics to discuss and connect with your readings and writings. I'm going to show you...
I have been cleared to teach and work by NJ and NY. If you like, I will gladly take a background check for you. I have a BA in English, and a MS Ed. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, from Bank Street College. I have tutored for many years, successfully. I am patient and kind.
F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby presents the dark side of the American Dream and does so with unusual panache. The shimmering surface of Fitzgerald's prose style mirrors the daylight optimism of the dream, reflecting the ideal of a society wherein talent and hard work routinely get rewarded and upward mobility is based at least as much on merit as on luck or charm or who you know.
Ruthlessness or deceit … but who could need such things?
The narrator, Nick Carraway, likewise begins this adventure with a fair measure of this robust American optimism. He envies the high society spoons in his new top drawer of polished acquaintances, interpreting their frivolity and hedonism as an abundance of life.
Yet as the narrative progresses, this bright-eyed optimism dims. Nick sees, on the one hand, heirs to inherited wealth who are arrogant, bigoted, selfish, and only superficially cultured – Tom Buchanan and his ilk. On the other hand, he sees those who are...
If you're reading this, you will choose me as your next tutor. No arguments or exceptions. I am an English and Graphic Design tutor at Francis Marion University, and my major is Professional Writing. Please hire me as your tutor, I will help you with all your papers and projects no matter how late I have to stay up at night. Thanks for visiting my blog.
While I, as a writer, very much enjoy the act of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, more likely), I understand not everyone is as inclined. In fact, writing can be a very tedious task if you're not invested in your writing, whether an inbox full of emails that need responses or a 10-page paper. But I have a few quick tips that will hopefully make writing more fun for everyone!
Write to a soundtrack. Now, this tip may not be for everyone, as some people find it very hard to focus with any kind of distraction. But I find that music playing softly in the background while I type away takes some of the pressure of what I'm doing, as I'm less likely to track the minutes I spend staring at the same sentence if I have a song giving my work flow and momentum. Pick whatever music you like, but I suggest nothing too catchy that you'll be tempted to stop writing and have a karaoke break. I have a playlist of music without words, which doesn't have to be all classical...
Never have I ever done a tutoring job like this before. I am looking forward to partaking in this website and venture as a side job because it seems like a reasonable way to generate income on the side without stressing yourself out. I'm looking forward to teaching kids and passing on my knowledge of subjects through tips and tricks to make their learning easier, like it did for myself. Most of all, I can't wait to see the results from my students when they receive their grades or start to perform better at the sports I coach them in.
So 100% of my students, grade 3-8, passed their NY State Mathematics, English Language Arts and Science Core exams. Most see improvements in school and a few received Academic Achievement Awards.