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A love for reading begins at a very early age. Our foundational literacy skills build upon one another, beginning with an early fascination with story-telling and book reading. Reading opens up a world of imagination that can help develop vocabulary and literacy. Unfortunately, after those early development years, many parents underestimate the power of reading aloud to their children. In the classroom, I practice reading aloud to my high school students; they thrive in an environment where a boring novel is dramatized, by none other, than moi. I play all the parts. I look ridiculous. They laugh. They remember. And such is the story of your growing youngster. Although it does take an extra investment of time, the benefits are well worth the energy! I encourage you to put forth the effort and instill a love of learning for yourself and your child. This will not only keep you up to date on their assigned readings, but it will open up avenues for conversation about the readings,... read more

In working with students of various ages to improve writing skills, I have noticed three major things (small things, I might add), that make a HUGE different in writing: (1) creating a solid thesis statement, (2) utilizing various transitional phrases between thoughts and paragraphs, and (3) always bringing the reader/audience back to your main point, or thesis. See the paragraph above? I used a solid thesis statement so my audience would easily be able to follow the organization of the paragraphs to follow. In order to create a strong thesis statement, one might ask, "What am I trying to accomplish in this writing? What is it that I want the reader to understand about the topic? What short phrase or thought can sum up the bulk of what I want to get across to the reader?" Answering these questions will lead you to the strong thesis you want to create, provide good structure and organization, and ultimately, improve your writing. In addition to creating a strong thesis,... read more

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...

Many people that excel in math and science do not do as well in writing and vice versa. My experience is that following a specific formula, typical to mathematical formulas and equations, can assist students in creating a great essay for standardized testing purposes. Just as a chef would utilize a specific recipe for a delectable dessert, writers must have a writing recipe, or formula, to create a satisfying essay. In the classroom setting, I begin my lesson by showing my students an actual recipe that I use, including measurements and directions. Next, I show them the writing recipe/formula. It looks as follows: Essay Writing Recipe 1 catchy starter sentence to get your audience’s attention 1 excellent thesis statement identifying specific supporting details 3 strong body paragraphs with elaborate information regarding thesis (above) 1 summarizing conclusion paragraph outlining supporting details 1 re-statement of thesis *season with transitional... read more

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