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Have you always struggled with spelling words correctly? Would you be lost without the spell-check feature? There is one trick with spelling that I have taught students young and old: Find the word within the word that you know how to spell, then work on the parts you don't know. For example, the word reconfigure. You may not know how to spell configure or figure, but maybe you know how to spell fig. Start with that simple word and add onto it. Most know the spelling of "re-", and the word "con-". Now you have reconfig-. If you sound out the ending, you should be able to add the '-ure" without any trouble. Unfortunately for many, this "trick" isn't even considered until later in life and many have already become super reliant on the spell-check (our technological savvy generation, right?). Tackle those big words one little step at a time. Take those bigger words apart to make smaller pieces, and you'll be on your way to better spelling...

I remember a public service announcement about reading from my childhood. I don’t remember the images, but the message said, “Reading is fundamental.” Growing up in a book – filled home with a family of readers and frequent library trips, I naively thought everyone knew this. I was saddened to learn that not everyone loved to escape into fictional worlds of words as much as we did. This article gives parents five tips for helping their kids learn to enjoy reading and become lifelong readers. 1. Let kids make their own reading choices. Young children enjoy the bonding experience that comes from hearing their parents read stories aloud. Just about anything will do – as long as it’s read somewhat dramatically. They will sit and listen intently. However, pre – teens and teenagers want independence. Parents can use this to their advantage to help get their older children to enjoy reading. This does not mean parents should let their children read inappropriate material. Provide reasonable... read more

Massachusetts Specific Resources: · · · · · Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: · · · General Learning Disabilities Information: · · · · · · ADHD/ADD: · · · · Dyslexia: · · www... read more

The start of a new school year is full of changes and new challenges. In my experience, depending on the student's age or academic level, he or she should set goals starting with the most difficult subjects or classes. These are the steps that I usually advise my students to follow: 1. Review the curriculum for the school year. This step is very important because it helps you plan in advance the volume of assignments, projects and exams. If the teacher does not provide this information to students, parents should contact the professor and get it (An outline or syllabus, at minimum). All school districts have this information assigned by grade and their specific curriculum. 2. Do not procrastinate about homework and projects. Manage your time wisely, so that you can fulfill your responsibilities and allow yourself leisure time in the end. Proper balancing of these two activities is crucial to academic success. Making a habit of prioritizing time for tasks and assignments... read more

Why is listening in a foreign language always easier than speaking? Why does reading in a foreign language seem so much easier than writing? That's because your brain is doing different work in each context. When you listen and when you read, you are taking in information. You are receiving information, a passive form of using your new language. However, when you speak or write, you are actively expressing your own unique ideas. Literally, you are creating and formatting new information! This is why I encourage my students to practice speaking and writing as much as possible, whether it be in English, Spanish, or whatever their new language is. For example, if you usually write your grocery list in English, try writing it in Spanish! Do you know someone who is bilingual? Try talking to them in your new language! They will appreciate you taking the time to converse with them in their native tongue, and your brain will appreciate that you are finally putting to good use... read more

I had so much fun in college when I lived in Miami, Florida and taught English to young school children. I worked for an organization called Amigos Together For Kids, founded by a young Cuban entrepreneur named Jorge. We organized toy drives at Christmas, helped foster families, and ran an after school tutoring program at Jose Marti Park. The kids at the camp always needed help with their homework, and I loved teaching them, many of whom were children of immigrant families from Cuba (native language, Spanish). One day, I was at a table with five little 1st-graders, and one of them started to sing, I laughed out loud as she hummed the Pussycat Dolls and sang, "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?" Seriously it was a great time and very rewarding. I still have many of the little crafty gifts the kids which the kids would make in school and then give to me.

I am now offering Regular Lessons for Reading, for Writing, for Reasoning, and for Study Skills. These Lessons are available for students at all levels through College. Before beginning lessons, each student will receive an initial assessment to determine his or her level before beginning lessons. Each lesson will be one-on-one and will be geared directly to that student and his or her development. Reading lessons will include word formation, phonics, pronunciation, vocabulary, spelling, speech-reading, speed, comprehension, and recall skills. Writing lessons will include penmanship, word formation, vocabulary, spelling, essay formats, poetry, fiction formats, structure, and grammar. Reasoning lessons will include deductive logic, inductive logic, math reasoning, science reasoning, memory skills, and pattern thinking. Study Skills lessons will include a little each of Reading, Writing, and Reasoning, in addition to Organization, Notetaking, and Memorization—the purpose... read more

Sweat. And blood. And tears. And a cramped hand. If you want readers to enjoy your work, you must suffer. The term "writer" is misleading, however. The correct term is "rewriter," for all good writing requires rewriting. Good writers are not born good; they are forged by study and practice. Consider the ancient Greek rhetorician Isocrates: In the art of rhetoric, credit is won not by gifts of fortune, but by efforts of study. For those who have been gifted with eloquence by nature and by fortune, are governed in what they say by chance, and not by any standard of what is best, whereas those who have gained this power by study and by the exercise of language never speak without weighting their words, and so are less often in error as to a course of action. (Antidosis, 15.292) So examine every word, every sentence, every paragraph. Eradicate awkwardness, ambiguity, and bad grammar at all costs. The more rhetorically effective and clearer you are, the more... read more

For the brief time that I was enrolled in a postgraduate TESOL program, I was fortunate enough to have enrolled in one of the most fascinating classes I’ve ever taken: linguistics. For those who are unfamiliar with this term, Google says that linguistics is the scientific study of language and its structure, including the study of morphology, syntax, phonetics, and semantics (I couldn’t have said it better myself). Up until that first class, I had no idea that such a wonderful study existed. You see, I’ve always been drawn to the very science of linguistics, even without ever having known what it was that I was drawn to. I remember being very young (Kindergarten or first grade) when the idea of language was explained to me—and it rocked my little world. It was my mom who told me that the words we were saying to each other were part of a language, and that not everyone understood the things we said. I vividly remember that point in time to this day because of just how radically... read more

Hello there! I am just beginning with WyzAnt and I can’t wait to help my students with their French. The French language does not only connect you with the French culture of France but with about 128 millions of Francophones (an other word for saying French speakers) in at least 29 countries across oceans and seas, according to La Francophonie dans le Monde 2006-2007 (2). This is without counting the one hundred millions students from different age groups studying the French Language and the 71 millions who speak it partially, according to the same source. From my own little traveling experience I cannot even begin to tell you how rewarding it feels to be able to connect (sometime in the middle of a crowd) with other French speaking people. Whether in Montreal, Canada, in the city of Brussels, Belgium or even in Johannesburg, South Africa, the common shared medium of the French language with other speakers has been for me a great ice breaking tool, and in many cases a great... read more

Problems: You notice: My child's reading scores tested below grade level... My child's inability to comprehend what's being read affects other subjects... My child wants to do well academically, but needs a little help to meet that expectation. Solutions: I can: Create a program specifically for students and their parents tailored from the problematic issues addressed by students and their parents. Provide books that are culturally diverse that will teach the same values currently instructed through public schools curriculum at your child's school. Create tests that are simply worded and easy to answer; containing the required content with child's ability to earn extra credit by completing additional questions for bonus points. Teach the same concepts already introduced in prior grades while creating ways to help other teachers to influence their students with basic concepts of teaching and student learning.

Dear Students and Parents, As I begin tutoring my first student in the upcoming week, I'd like to give those that are still looking for a tutor a snapshot of available times that I'm available but can be adjusted to fit your own schedule: During the school year: Monday through Friday: 2pm - 6:00pm Saturday: 9:30am - 3:00pm Sunday: 9:30am - 6:00pm Depending on whether your child is elementary, middle school, or high school, the time they get out of school varies. Please note that this time block is in no way set in stone. In addition, if your child is in need of more time, I most certainly will extend the time block for your child. Summer: Monday through Sunday: 9:30am - 6:00pm Online tutoring through Skype or any other messenger is absolutely available at any time. Please request ahead of time, to ensure everything will work smoothly. If you have any questions, comments, or would like a tutor for yourself or child, please feel free to let me... read more

Homophonic Humor: Spelling Makes the Difference Have you ever puzzled over what a writer really meant because of the spelling of one word? In these pairs of statements, spelling makes the difference ... ... between location and comfort: "They’re there now." "There, there, now." ... between number and coincidence: "I saw those two." "I saw those, too." ... between kind and condition: "He’s a little horse." "He’s a little hoarse." ... between quality and content: "These are coarse materials." "These are course materials." ... between location and appearance: "That is a good site." "That is a good sight." ... between liberty and liturgy: "He doesn’t understand our rights." "He doesn’t understand our rites." ... between appreciation and completion: "That’s the right compliment... read more

Since moving to New York in July, I have not yet had the time to cultivate students. In each city where I have lived (Atlanta, Athens, Montpellier, Aix-en-Provence, Ticheville, and now New York), I have had the pleasure of giving students language lessons in both English and French. There were the rowdy high school hooligans learning English in Provence. There was the family in the Alps who wanted to learn English between ski lessons. The three sisters in Aix (9 years old and 8 year old twins!). The myriad of French students hoping to pass their English exam. The French diplomats working to improve their English. The French interns completely lost in America... Each of my students holds a special place in my heart. Teaching is the greatest gift I can give, and it is also something in which I take great pleasure. If I can impart a tiny bit of wisdom to just a few people, I have already done something great. Now as I make my nest in a new city, I am thrilled... read more

I just finished a really great book for young people. The Pinballs by Betsy Byars is a book about 3 youngsters who have been brought together in a foster care situation. Each child has a very different personality and a very different reason for being in foster care. Ms. Byars does a great job of bringing these children to life and keeping it real. (She has quite a few other books for young people as well.) Carly a wise, but rough, young girl is in foster care because she can’t get along with her stepfather. She is bitter and nasty at the beginning of the book, but grows into your heart as you read. Harvey, 13, is in a wheelchair because his father ran over him with the car. He is sad and quiet. Your heart will break as you read his story. Thomas J is an 8 year old with a much more mature personality than his age belies. He was found as a toddler and then raised, by two deaf elderly ladies that he calls “Aunt”. These ladies have been hospitalized with broken hips s,o he... read more

I've been re-reading an old copy of Barry Farber's book How to Learn Any Language. The copy I have is more than a little out-of-date, as the author talks about the "innovation" of portable audio-cassette players as a language-learning tool. The internet has opened up countless new tools for learners of foreign languages. If I were to update Farber's book myself, here are the online tools I would add to his list of advice. If you would like the details of any language-specific sites or need help navigating the overwhelming amount of available online resources, feel free to contact me through WyzAnt by email to set up a tutoring session. (I specialize in tutoring Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and English, but I have also "dabbled" in other languages). Online dictionaries that provide two-way look-up are usually much easier than looking up words in a paper dictionary, especially for character-based languages like Chinese and Japanese. Podcasts online are plentiful... read more

La lectura es una parte integral de la aprendiza en cualquier idioma, si fuera tu materna o una segunda lengua. Cuando lees nueva material, casi siempre encuentras palabras nuevas o unas que ya sabes, pero no has visto utilizado en tal manera. El leer es una vehículo para vocabulario y entendimiento del mundo en nuevas vistas. Hoy, acabo de leer The Bean Trees (Los Arboles de Frijoles) de Barbara Kingsolver. Es una novela forjada con temas culturales e históricos de los años 80 en E.E.U.U. Mañana, voy a empezar su siguiente novela titulado Pigs in Heaven (Cerdos en el Cielo). Ahora te pregunto... ¿Qué has leido tú recientemente? Prueba visitar tu biblioteca local o descargar e-libros gratices en el internet. Reading is an integral part of learning in any language, whether it be your maternal or second language. When you read new material, you almost always find new words or some that you already know, but haven't seen used in such a way. Reading is a vehicle for vocabulary... read more

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