Tampa English Tutor Asks Does More Time Online Mean We are Less Literate?

Posted on 31st December 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

Yesterday I tutored a new student in English and American history at the Barnes and Noble in Carrollwood.

One of the assignments he and I worked on was summarizing an article about a NEA study showing a decline in reading. Although the data was old, it showed that the reading of novels, non-fiction books, and poetry declined for most age groups of Americans between 1984 and 2000.

Children using the Internet at the Berlin Art Museum photo


http://www.flickr.com/photos/dalbera/ / CC BY 2.0


We talked some about why fewer Americans are reading. He suggested that people were spending more time online.

Are we becoming less literate, or have we just moved our reading online?

Without a doubt, Americans are spending more time online.

A recent study by Harris Interactive reveals that adult Americans are spending an average of 13 hours per week online. (Hat tip to Jeff Sexton on Twitter for the link to this Tech Crunch article on increasing Internet use.)

What do you think?

Eric Anderson is an English and history tutor. He works with students from grades 6-12 and adults. He tutors in Wesley Chapel, New Tampa, Carrollwood, and the surrounding communities. Contact Eric at 813.787.8959.

comments: 0 » tags: , , , , ,

New Tampa Tutor Offers Help for Struggling Students (And Their Parents)

Posted on 22nd December 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

Here are some thoughts about how to help your child succeed academically if he or she is struggling:

  • Make time for a parent teacher conference: Many times, your child’s teacher will be able to guide you in understanding why your child is struggling.
  • Talk with your child about possible solutions: What does your child say about why he or she isn’t doing well? Ask open ended questions and let your student be part of developing the action plan.

paddling in North Canadian River photo

http://www.flickr.com/photos/freewine/ / CC BY 2.0
  • Put tutoring in the proper perspective: Some students are reluctant to get tutoring because they think that getting a tutor is an admission of failure. I like to ask students if they think top athletes have coaches to help them reach peak performance and then ask if they think any less of these athletes for doing everything possible to succeed. Sometimes asking these questions can help a student see tutoring as part of a program for academic success.

HCC Brandon Student Services stairway picture

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sylvar/ / CC BY 2.0

  • Set measurable benchmarks for the tutoring program. If I am tutoring SAT, I ask students to take a diagnostic SAT and provide scores before we start tutoring. By having a baseline, we can set a realistic goal for improvement and develop a tutoring program designed to produce that level of performance. Some parents hire me to bring their child’s grade back up to an A or a B. Whatever benchmark you set, spell it out in the beginning with your child and the tutor you hire.
  • Monitor progress toward the tutoring program’s goals: Most schools have online access to student performance. Although these systems are not always an accurate reflection of performance because teachers vary in how quickly the enter grades into the system, you should still be monitoring performance to see if tutoring is improving your child’s performance.


If you child needs help in English, Language Arts, reading or writing, contact Tampa English and history Tutor Eric Anderson at 813.787.8959. Eric tutors students in grades 6-12 and adults in Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills, New Tampa, and the surrounding area.

Tampa English Tutor’s Helpful Hints for Making PowerPoint Presentations

Posted on 16th December 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

If you have been assigned a PowerPoint presentation, here are a few tips.

Tip #1:  Don’t Read to Me

Few things are worse than a presentation in which the speaker reads his or her slides to the audience. Put key points on the slides and elaborate on them as you give your presentation.


Palace Theatre image


http://www.flickr.com/photos/35188692@N00/ / CC BY 2.0
Image created by Eye of Einstein.

Tip #2:  Don’t Get Too Fancy

Don’t let the PowerPoint overshadow your presentation. In other words, you can add lots of special effects if you are a proficient PowerPoint user. Before you do, ask yourself how much they contribute to getting your message across.

Tip #3:  Choose a Readable Font

Although some fonts look great on a PC, they are not easy for an audience to read on a screen.  Stick with a simple font. If you can make a dry run using the equipment that you will present with, you should. Ask a classmate to stand in the back row and assess how well your slides work.

Tip #4:  Don’t Pick a Background Color that Blends with the Text

Dark grey letters on a black background isn’t such a good idea. In addition to using elements that contrast, you need to think about your audience and how they will experience the presentation. Even if you are doing a presentation about Christmas, don’t do a red background and green letters.

Tip #5:  Use Pictures and Visual Aids

If you are presenting information that is easier to grasp as a table or bar graph or chart, you should present it that way. Free photo sites, such as Flickr, allow you to find Creative Commons licensed photos by keyword. By choosing Attribution Only images and using proper attribution, you can avoid any problems that may arise from using other people’s photos without permission.

Tip #6:  Practice for Perfection

Practicing the PowerPoint presentation will help you find errors, fix unreadable elements, and solve any technical difficulties that may occur. Of course, you should pruf red yur slids. Typos are hard to miss when they are projected on a 10’ screen.

Eric Anderson is a private English Tutor serving New Tampa, Carrollwood, Temple Terrace and the USF area. He tutors English and history for students from 6th grade to college. Reach Eric at 813.787.8959 or at tampatutor at tampa bay dot rr dot com.

A Gentle Reminder to Web Writers from Gerry McGovern

Posted on 14th December 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

This does not have much to do with tutoring, but I think writers ought to heed Gerry’s advice:

In an age when time is the most valuable resource of all, it is
vital to lead with the need, to answer the question as quickly and
concisely as possible.

Your laptop keeps crashing. It’s driving you insane. You’ve waited for
ages on the phone for support and have given up. In desperation, you
send an email. Here’s the reply you get:

Dear customer,
Thank you for your feedback. We are continuously working to improve
customer satisfaction. Your feedback supports us in doing just that.

Read the rest at GerryMcGovern.com.

Dead IBM Thinkpad image

http://www.flickr.com/photos/magnusdigity/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

Eric Anderson is a language arts and history tutor in Wesley Chapel, FL. If your son or daughter needs help to write better or to master English, Language Arts, or history, call Eric at 813.787.8959.

comments: 0 » tags: , , , ,

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: Great Young Adult Book

Posted on 13th December 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

My wife teaches at a Wesley Chapel, Florida, middle school, and one of her friends teaches reading. Her friend was kind enough to recommend Jerry Spinelli‘s Stargirl to me when I needed something to read with a middle school student who I am tutoring in grammar and reading.

It’s a wonderful book for a 7th or 8th grader to read.

I just finished reading the sequel, Love Stargirl, which is also very good. I didn’t like it quite as well as Stargirl, but I certainly would recommend it to parents looking for a good Young Adult novel.

If you need to find an English Tutor in New Tampa to help you child with Language Arts, English grammar, writing better or preparing for the SAT,  contact Eric Anderson at 813.787.8959.