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 know that when it comes to boosting one's vocabulary when preparing for one of the standardized tests, some students memorize long lists of words. Some use flashcards, and others might use mnemonic devices--like associating a word with an image.
That's fine if memorization doesn't bore you, but let's face it. Learning those words by "rote" might help you identify a few on the language section of the SAT, ACT, or GRE, but you'll most likely forget them a week after the test. You also might be someone that hates the practice of memorization.
If you want to improve your vocabulary and really learn new words in context, the best thing is to be a reader, and if you've been reading challenging books throughout high school, that is definitely helpful. But in the short term, try studying from the book 1100 Words You Need to Know. This book teaches you vocabulary inductively. In other words, you're first presented...
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.
Word Identification Activities for small group intervention to reinforce vocabulary
What is Word Identification?
The new Literacy Dictionary (Harris & Hodges, 1995) defines word identification as "the process of determining the pronunciation and some degree of meaning of an unknown word".
What Kids Need to Learn
Students will need to learn to dissect words by looking at the context of the words, taking away any prefixes or suffixes, and looking at the root of the word to determine its meaning. For example, in the sentence “Ben was out of shape because of his inactivity,” a student might be able to guess the meaning of inactivity from the context. However, if he/she cannot, then they would try step two, taking away the prefix “in”. They are now left with the word “activity” and might be able to find the meaning of the whole word this way. If they cannot, then the student would isolate the suffix, “ity”. Then they would say the...
IT REQUIRES MORE THAN ACADEMICS TO CREATE SUCCESSFUL LIFE-LONG LEARNERS
My tutoring philosophy is about balance.
My obligation to my students - which may include roles as teacher, counselor, mentor, and/or role model - is to foster various traits which increase my students' likelihood of success - in school, professionally, and as human beings.
According to the Johnson O'Connor Foundation, and various other longitudinal studies, the single best predictor of success both in school and occupation is a large vocabulary. A large vocabulary has been shown to enhance reading comprehension and fluency, improve critical thinking, and make communication in all fields more effective. But, it is also crucial to understand that, as absolutely critical as text based literacy skills are, it is easily possible to have a large vocabulary and still struggle with reading. I know this well from my own daughter’s experience and many of the students I have worked with.
I have a MA in Medieval Studies/Classical and Medieval Latin and a BA in Classics and English. I also hold a certification in advanced Latin from the University of Toronto's Centre for Mediaeval Studies. I have six years of experience working as a tutor, helping students with Latin and English grammar and vocabulary, as well as working with them to improve their research, writing, and analytical skills. I find tutoring to be greatly rewarding and enjoy nothing more than seeing my students excel in subjects they once struggled with. I look forward to working with new students this summer and beyond!
To keep your students engaged, you must make the lessons fun! There is enough pressure on them during school, at home, and most other places they'll go. Your job is to help them grow, which is much easier to do if they're enjoying themselves! Here are 5 tips to keeping your students engaged during your sessions:
Incorporate technology: Whether you use something as basic as a timer to as fancy as a tablet connected to a handheld projector, the opportunities are endless! Especially younger students will enjoy your savvy instructional techniques!
Track their progress: Set goals at your first session and collect baseline data. Decide on checkpoints (weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc) and at those checkpoints, revisit those goals. Using Common Core State Standards or other learning objectives will help you make a checklist to correspond to your student's goals. He/she will then be able to add check marks or stickers to each goal accomplished. When progress is...
Vocabulary is a big deal. We get tested on it on standardized tests, teachers write in big, bold red markers that we need to expand our word choice, friends say we use "like" and "thing" too often...
But how does one improve their vocabulary?
There is the old-school way, which is intense and not very effective: read a dictionary and hope that some of the words slip into your mind and out of your mouth (or pen).
However, for the modern, efficient, and discerning English-speaker, I have gathered up a few tips and online resources to help kick-start a boost to your vocabulary.
Tips to Increase Vocabulary
1. Read. Read a variety of literature, from magazines and newspapers to blogs to comics. Read the advertisements on the way to work. Read the ingredients label on your snack or drink. Read a book. Read an ebook. Seriously, just...
In lieu of an introduction, I thought to share some of my favorite Mandarin Chinese characters with all of you.
??: ? bing3
This is a beautiful food-related word that doesn't translate perfectly into English. Somewhat similar to the French crepe or 'galette', a ? is a generally delicious and very thin flatbread or pancake. Usually round, examples include ?? bing3gan1 which means 'cookies' or English-style biscuits and ??? 'green onion pancakes' as frequenters of Northern-influenced Chinese Restaurants might be aware. Given its flexibility and overall tastiness, it will point you in the direction of some lovely things on your average menu. If it's a ?, I'd generally recommend it!
??: ? zhou1
Another food-related word, I love this one especially for its visual appeal. 'Zhou' is congee, or rice porridge, a beloved Chinese breakfast food. Sometimes eaten with ?? (you2tiao2, fried Chinese breadsticks)...
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...
One of the things I love most about the Latin language is how its writers can massage it to add information and imagery without having to add more words. I call this, personally, writing in two dimensions. Here's an example:
At one point in the Aeneid, Aeneas and Dido are having a lovers' tryst in a hidden cave, which was dedicated to a god. Because Latin is a highly inflected language, word order carries little grammatical information (unlike English), but can add quite a bit of what I call "two-dimensional" information. So, in English the line might be written:
Aeneas and Dido were in the holy cave.
But Vergilius writes instead (only in Latin):
In the holy Aeneas and Dido were cave.
Thus, even in terms of word order, Aeneas and Dido are INSIDE the cave! I find things like this absolutely thrilling. But it's not my favorite half-line in Latin poetry.
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.
ESOL see below
Often students complain about the words they have to learn for the SAT. I get that. Some words such as "ossified" and "treacly" are extremely obscure, but others such as "equivocal" or "ambivalent" they should know and use. I point out to them that in life, you will be judged by how you speak and how you write. So, don't be myopic. Take some of the wordsyou've studied and put them to practical use.
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
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.
Summer is a great break for students and teachers alike. However, students can experience a huge educational deficit by not being able to practice the language they have been studying by not being exposed to it during summer months. There are some fun ways for them to practice their language skills during this much needed vacation.
Study Blue is a great site full of flashcards that kids can review and even take a quiz with. There are a multitude of languages and other subjects that teachers and students have made. Spending 10 minutes here a day can keep their minds refreshed. As a parent, you can even monitor your child's time spent here and their scores on activities they attempt.
Specifically for French - Tex's French Grammar is a great site put together by the University of Texas that reviews French grammar - from very basic to advanced. There are listening and written activities that students can complete and receive...
Radio shows are a great way to practice listening to spoken English. Many radio shows post their episodes online and also include the text of the show. This way you can both listen to the show and also read the show. Reading the text allows you to check your understanding of what you heard. In addition to practicing listening skills, this is also a great way to learn new vocabulary. Below are links to some of my favorite radio shows available online.
Voice of America
News stories. Easy to intermediate vocabulary.
For Voice of America, look for news stories with videos. Below the video, you'll find the text of all the spoken parts. For example, see the video of this
story about the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act in the United States.
NPR TED Talks
Talks by experts in technology, education, and design fields. Advanced vocabulary...
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,...
Many people, myself included, feel that for all its advantages, the internet has precipitated a steady decline in the quality of writing. Anyone can write anything anywhere, and while that gives a voice to many who otherwise might not have a public forum to share what they have to say, it also makes it difficult and sometimes impossible to uphold any sort of standards.
That said, the internet also offers plenty of resources for improving your writing. Here are a few of my favorites:
Here you'll also find a thesaurus and several other reference tools. It may not be the Oxford English Dictionary, but it gives you plenty of good definitions and sometimes includes usage notes with practical implications for your writing, like differences in how similar words are typically used.
Difference Between http://www.differencebetween.com
Speaking of differences, this is a really cool site. As its...
Engaging students in learning is one of the many goals that tutors face. We must adapt to meet changing learning needs, styles, interests and delivery formats. The
sage on the stage paradigm, where the tutor provided all the knowledge to a passive student, is outdated. Today's students have more need for a
guide on the side, who understands that the challenges they face, is willing to experiment with
alternative tutoring methods, and acknowledge that engagement and feedback are crucial to a successful learning experience.
One such tutoring methodology that has shown great promise both in the classroom and in structured tutoring sessions is problem-based learning (PBL). This concept has gained national recognition as a way for students to learn by confronting a problem related to the subject or the class material. This means that rather than the rigid and very traditional didactic approach, where a tutor simply “re-teaches” material covered in class through direction...
One of my favorite French resources is an app called Duolingo. Duolingo is free and it provides an easy way to track your progress and set goals for yourself. It's set up like a game and you win points for correct answers, and you can 'compete' with your friends at different levels. It also requires that you "strengthen your skills", which keeps your memory fresh and up to date by having you repeat certain parts of a lesson that you haven't encountered within a certain period of time. Duolingo is a great supplementary resource to go alongside formal classes, tutoring, or self-instructed study, and it's really fun and even addicting! Even as a fairly fluent French-speaker, I enjoy the vocabulary and grammar games because they help keep me engaged in learning and remind me of vocabulary words that I don't often use. I've also used it to start developing a basic vocabulary in German, Spanish, and Italian. Duolingo is available in French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese...