New Tampa SAT Tutor Gets Good News — Student Scores 2130

Posted on 28th February 2010 in Tampa SAT Preparation

I could not be happier for one of my New Tampa SAT Tutoring students. He applied himself to improving his writing and critical reading and it paid off.

Image from Left Hand’s Flickr Photostream and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Only.

Based on his PSAT scores, we projected he would score about 1900 on the SAT, but he did much better.

He is a student in the King IB Program.

If your son or daughter is taking the SAT this year and would like some individual help preparing, please contact me at 813.787.8959 or at Tampa tutor at tampa bay dot rr dot com.

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Tampa English Tutor Stunned by Advice in Teacher’s Book

Posted on 24th February 2010 in Tampa English Tutor

Teaching writing is an amazingly subjective enterprise. I just finished a book about a middle school writing teacher and his students. I read it in hopes of finding some activities that I could do with my younger writing students.

As far as my goal for reading, mission accomplished. The book was well-written and contained a few good activities to teach story writing.

Naples Italy image for Tampa Tutoring blog

Photo by Nic McPhee. See more of his wonderful photos on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Only.

Nevertheless, I was horrified by the sections describing the writing conferences and by the advice that the writing teacher reports having given to parents at several points in the story. He admits to steeling a set of student tests and to advising a parent who was considering private school that his son could be just as easily corrupted by classmates at a private school as by classmates at a public school. It’s hard to imagine someone so insensitive to a father that he or she would offer up that bit of unsolicited wisdom.

Some days I feel like I am not a good writing teacher, but I know better than to do that. I guess the dozen people who gave this writing teacher’s book five star reviews weren’t bothered by either of those details.

I looked at reviews of the book on Amazon, and everyone else seemed to have enjoyed it, but I found myself rolling my eyes and feeling sorry for the kids. I’m not naming names, just venting, I guess.

The book is a good reminder of how many different approaches there are to teaching writing and to dealing with people.

Eric Anderson is a writing tutor. He lives in Wesley Chapel, Florida, and tutors students in Pasco and Hillsborough Counties. If you have a student who would like help becoming a better writer, call Eric at 813.787.8959.

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Tampa Reading Tutor Recommends Seedfolks for 7th or 8th grade readers

Posted on 12th February 2010 in Tampa Reading Tutor

A few months ago, I read a little of Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman with one of the middle school students I tutor. I enjoyed the excerpt, and I always wanted to finish the book. Yesterday, I finally did.

Seedfolks is the story of 13 inhabitants of an inner-city Cleveland neighborhood and how they are changed by their roles in transforming a rat-infested vacant lot into a lush community garden. Each character tells his or her own story.

This photo taken by Tony the Misfit and licensed under Creative Commons.
See more of his photos in Tony’s Flickr photostream.

I thoroughly enjoyed the overlapping stories. I especially enjoyed the “inside baseball” essay that closes the book and offers readers insight into the book’s origins and the connections between author and story.

If your child needs help improving his or her reading, call New Tampa Reading Tutor Eric Anderson. Eric tutors students in grades 6-12 in New Tampa, Wesley Chapel, Carrollwood, and Temple Terrace, Florida. Reach him at 813.787.8959 or at tampa tutor at tampabay dot rr dot com.

Tampa English Tutor Recommends Christopher Mouse for readers in 3rd to 5th grades

Posted on 9th February 2010 in Tampa Language Arts tutors

I really enjoy tutoring writing. I’m blessed to be able to do something that I like to do and get paid for it. Today I met one of my favorite students at the Panera on West Kennedy and worked with her on some ways to improve the assignments that she is doing for an online course at USF.

woman reading on a subway platform image

This photo taken by Mohammed Riza. Licensed under Creative Commons. / CC BY 2.0

I also got the chance to read a children’s book that I found at the New Tampa Friend’s of the Library bookstore. It’s Christopher Mouse: The Tale of a Small Traveler by William Wise. I think I will work on creating a writing prompt to go with the book for one of my younger students.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story because it’s well written, fun to read, and nicely illustrated. I think it would appeal to 3rd to 5th graders who have strong reading skills. I hope my student will enjoy it as much as I did.

If your son or daughter would like some extra one-on-one help in reading, writing, grammar, or vocabulary, call Tampa English Tutor Eric Anderson. He tutors students in New Tampa, Wesley Chapel and Temple Terrace, Florida. Reach him at tampatutor at tampabay dot rr dot com or by calling 813.787.8959.

Should you take the SAT or ACT?

Posted on 8th February 2010 in Tampa ACT Preparation, Tampa SAT Preparation

Most colleges require applicants to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the ACT.  Although a few colleges or universities require one or the other, many accept both. So, which one should you take?

Here is a quick break down to help you decide:

  • Time – Both the SAT and ACT are approximately three hours long.  The SAT takes 3 hours and 5 minutes, and the ACT takes 2 hours and 55 minutes to complete.

  • Cost – The cost of the SAT is $43. The basic ACT test costs $30, and if you take the optional writing portion, you pay an additional $14.50.

ACT or SAT Test image by Billaday from Flickr

  / CC BY-ND 2.0
    Photo created by Bill Selak and licensed under creative commons. 

  • Frequency – The SAT is given seven times per year. The ACT is given six times per year.

  • Structure – The SAT has ten sections: three critical reading, three mathematics, three writing sections (2 sections plus mandatory timed essay) and an experimental section that can be reading or math and is not identified to test takers. The ACT has four sections: English Math, Reading, and Science. The ACT also has an optional fifth writing section that is a timed essay. Test takers may choose to take the ACT with or without the essay.

  • Scoring – Each of the three sections of the SAT is scored on a 200 to 800 point scale. There is a quarter-point penalty for wrong answers on the SAT. ACT sections are scored from 1 to 36 and averaged to get a composite score. The ACT does not penalize test takers for wrong answers.

  • SAT Test Content – The SAT covers math up to Geometry and Algebra II. SAT Reading includes short, long, and paired prose passages with comprehension, vocabulary in context, and inference questions. Passages come from fiction, natural sciences, and social sciences. Each of the SAT reading comprehension sections include a section of sentence completion questions that test vocabulary. SAT writing includes a timed essay and questions covering grammar, usage, punctuation, and word choice.

  • ACT Test Content – The ACT covers math up to trigonometry. ACT science tests basic science knowledge and interpretation of graphs and data. The ACT Reading test includes four passages (Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Science, and Prose Fiction) with 15 questions each. The ACT English test stresses sentence-level grammar, punctuation, and style. The ACT has an optional essay.

  • Websites: The SAT is given by the College Board. The ACT is given by ACT Corporation

Before deciding which test to take, look at the requirements of the colleges you are considering, think about your academic strengths, and talk to your parents. Review the admission policies of your school choices carefully. Try to take a few practice tests of each kind if you are not certain which test is right for you.

Eric Anderson is a Tampa, Florida-based English tutor. He tutors Reading Comprehension and writing for the SAT and Reading and English for the ACT. Contact him at tampatutor at tampabay dot rr dot com or by phone at 813.787.8959.

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