Tampa Language Arts Tutor on Writing

Posted on 28th November 2009 in Tampa Language Arts tutors

Even though I make a living as a writer, I don’t enjoy writing most of the time. I wish I did. I like having written, but I don’t like to write.

I was a procrastinator in school. I used to put off writing a paper until the fear of having nothing to turn in motivated me. As I have matured, I’ve learned to begin even when what I write isn’t good.

This photo is the work of Nic McPhee and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution and Share Alike. See more of Nic's photos in his Flickr photostream.

Revision is what makes the work of an average writer better than average. Don’t delay beginning because your first draft won’t be a masterpiece.

Begin. Let the words flow without being a critic.

I have a student whom I used to tutor at Hillsborough Community College. He was fun to work with because he could not resist tinkering with every sentence as he created it. I know I do the same sometimes, so my chuckles at his tinkering were motivated by self-recognition.

Write quickly, edit slowly. Maybe these words will help you get started. I hope so.

Eric Anderson is a Language Arts tutor in Tampa, FL. He lives in Wesley Chapel, FL and helps students do better in English and history. Reach him at 813.787.8959.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 11/28/2009 12:00 AM

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Tampa FL English Tutor Historical Fiction for Middle School Students

Posted on 24th November 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

Keeping kids hooked on reading is the challenge of every parent and educator.  Middle school students must be presented with opportunities to read good books so that they develop the skills needed to be informed citizens and life-long learners.

Historical fiction is an excellent way to bring history alive and spark your son’s or daughter’s interest in reading.

For Ancient Times
Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw is a story of intrigue in Ancient Egypt during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut.  The story’s title character is a slave girl who spies on the royal court.  The book is suspenseful and an excellent way to bring Ancient Egypt to life for middle school students learning about the period.  McGraw’s The Golden Goblet is a similarly intriguing story about a young boy in ancient times.

Image by Olibac on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Only.

For Medieval Times
The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly is set in Poland during the mid-1400s.  It is based on true events that occurred during the city of Krakow, and gives the reader a glimpse of what life was like at the close of the Middle Ages.  Middle school students who like to read about knights and castles will probably enjoy Marguerite de Angeli’s The Door in the Wall.  For students fascinated by Vikings, I recommend Allen French’s The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow.

For 18th Century America
There are many well-written books set during in 18th century, but Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes is one of the most engaging books about pre-Revolutionary War America.  Johnny, an orphan, loses his position as an apprentice when he is injured but becomes an ardent supporter of American independence.  Middle school girls will enjoy The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.

For 19th & 20th Century America
Across Five Aprils, by Irene Hunt is a fine account of a family’s struggles during the Civil War.  This is an absolute must-read for any middle school student studying the War Between the States. Mildred D. Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry depicts racism and the struggle for survival during the Great Depression.

Eric Anderson is a private history tutor and Language Arts tutor serving students in New Tampa, Carrollwood, Temple Terrace and Wesley Chapel, FL. To contact Eric, call 813.787.8959.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 11/24/2009 3:38 PM

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Tampa ACT Tutor Gets Good News

Posted on 23rd November 2009 in Tampa ACT Preparation, Tampa SAT Preparation

Today, I needed some good news. One of my favorite test prep students managed to raise his ACT English score by five points. An excellent student, he was  attempting to earn admission to an honors program at a state university.  The better ACT score should seal the deal.

Bookshelves image by Let Ideas Compete on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Only Share alike 2.0. See more of Let Ideas Compete's photos in his Flickr photostream.

I am very proud of him and the elite ACT score that he achieved.

If your son or daughter is a junior or senior in high school and needs help improving an ACT English score, contact Tampa ACT Tutor Eric Anderson at 813.787.8959. I’ll be glad to help you create an individualized plan of study for the ACT.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 11/23/2009 8:47 PM

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Tampa, FL AP English Tutor’s 5 Websites for Building SAT Vocabulary

Posted on 13th November 2009 in Tampa SAT Preparation

Avid readers typically have the vocabulary needed to score well on the SAT, but students who are stronger in math and science may not.

If you are a student who is more inclined toward math and science, one way to improve your SAT reading score is to learn new vocabulary words every day.

Fortunately, the Internet makes learning new words easy. Here are five of my favorite word-of-the-day websites:

Vocabulary Building Website Free Rice
The Free Rice website is a nifty way to increase vocabulary and to help end world hunger.  In the “English Vocabulary” section, students are given a vocabulary word and four possible meanings.  If they choose correctly, 10 grains of rice are donated to the United Nations World Food Program and a harder vocabulary word is given.  These vocabulary words start at about at the seventh- grade level and progress to the graduate level.

Word of the Day from Wordsmith
Wordsmith will e-mail a vocabulary word each day to students who sign up by sending a message with “subscribe” in the subject line to wsmith@wordsmith.org.  Daily Wordsmith e-mails provide the word meaning, the pronunciation, the etymology, and a sentence using the word.  The vocabulary words are appropriate for middle school and high school students.

New York Times Word of the Day
In the Learning section of the New York Times website, students can also find a word of the day.  These words are taken from past articles in the New York Times.  Each word includes pronunciation and meaning.  The website also provides the number of times the word has appeared on the pages of the Times during the past year.  The vocabulary words are on the seventh-grade level and above.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day
The dictionary publisher also has a good Word of the Day Program.  Students can sign up to receive emails, read the entry online, or listen to a pod cast.  Each entry includes a definition and a sentence using the vocabulary word in context.  This word-of-the-day website also includes a paragraph about the word’s origin.  Students in middle school through college will benefit from Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day program.

The Way to Word Power: Vocab Vitamins
This fun vocabulary building website provides a word of the day that corresponds to a theme of the week.  Along with the meaning and origin of the word, each day’s entry provides several paragraphs to provide a rich context for the word.  Vocab Vitamins will work best for ninth graders and above. The creators of this site are the authors of Vocabulary Vitamins. The site offers a premium subscription as well as some worthwhile grammar tips.

These online resources make learning new vocabulary fun and simple.  Learning a word a day is an excellent way for you to improve your SAT reading scores.

If you would like some one-on-one help on SAT reading or SAT writing, call 813.787.8959 to reach Eric Anderson. Ask him about the five good reasons to hire him as your Tampa English tutor.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 11/13/2009 8:37 PM


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4 Tips to Help Your Child Study Better from Tampa Private English Tutor

Posted on 3rd November 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

If your child is struggling at school, you can help him or her develop more effective study habits using these simple tips:

Tip #1:  Create an effective study environment – A study space should be free of distractions.  Ensuring that the television is off is extremely important, as is making sure that your child isn’t checking email or text messages constantly.  Set up a study area away from the Internet and cell phones.  Set up an uncluttered workspace with a comfortable desk and chair and with adequate light.

Photo of Benedictine monastery by Reinart de Pintor de Fuego. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Only.

Tip #2:  Make a study schedule – Helping a younger student create a study schedule can be a tremendous help. Some middle school and high school students are hard-core procrastinators with the ability to underestimate time required for any project.  Sitting down with your son or daughter once a week and helping him or her make a plan for the week fosters the kind of discipline that leads good academic performance.  Try to set aside a regular time each week for making the weekly study plan.

Tip #3:  Hold your child accountable – The plan means nothing if you don’t hold your child accountable for performing the tasks that make it up. Creating a checklist and ticking off items as they’re finished can be a great way to make certain each task gets done. Use the online system provided by schools to track your child’s progress and reinforce the connection between good study practices and good grades.

Tip #4:  Provide homework help – Many middle and high school students need extra help from parents.  Because my step-daughter is an advanced math student, she is taking courses that neither my wife nor I ever took. When she had trouble in pre-calculus, we hired an excellent New Tampa Calculus tutor and quickly got her back on track.

If your child is having difficulty in a subject that isn’t your strong suit, you may wish to hire a professional tutor. In many cases, however, you can help your child review and master the material.

Being proactive and determining what your son’s or daughter’s class is going to study next and pre-viewing the material is another way to help your child become more effective at studying.

If your son or daughter would benefit from some one-on-one help, contact Tampa English and history tutor Eric Anderson at 813.787.8959.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 11/3/2009 3:50 PM


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