Summer Reading Novel for 7th or 8th Graders: When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

Posted on 28th May 2012 in Tampa Reading Tutor

There are an abundance of reading lists for middle school students. However, if you are looking for a good book for the kid to read over the summer, I recommend When Zachary Beaver Came to Town (WZBCTT) by Kimberly Willis Holt. Here is my brief review:

A National Book Award Winner, WZBCTT is the story of a teen’s encounter with the world’s fattest boy when the boy, Zachary, is stranded for a few weeks in the teen’s rural Texas town.

Set in the summer of 1971, the story captures some amusing aspects of small-town living, chronicles the narrator Toby’s difficulty attracting the attention of the girl of his dreams, and angst about his mother’s decision to leave his father to pursue her dream of becoming a country music star.

The story takes place in Antler, TX, and some of the down-home flavor seems overdone.  However, the story is good and the characters, memorable. The book is appropriate for 7th or 8th graders able to read 700 lexile material.

Eric Anderson is a reading and writing tutor in Wesley Chapel, FL. Contact him at 813.787.8959.

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Photo of credit card reader by Square

Tampa English Tutor Now Accepts Credit Cards Thanks to Square

Posted on 16th May 2012 in Tampa English Tutor

Sure, it took me long enough. I have a request from a parent of an essay writing help client of mine to add credit card payments. I’ve always wanted to accept them. I thought about doing it through my local bank or PayPal but ended up trying out a service that I really like called Square.

Square sent me a free card reader that works with my iPad and set me up in a few minutes to accept credit cards for tutoring services. If you provide a mobile service and don’t yet take cards, I would certainly recommend looking at Square.

Thus far, the Square credit card reader has worked wonderfully.

Photo of credit card reader by Square

This photo of the Square Reader by Capsun Poe and licensed under CC ND 2.0. Learn more about Capsun by visiting his blog at

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Chart of GPA, ACT and SAT score ranges for Florida public universities

SAT and ACT Score Ranges for Florida Colleges and Universities

One of my favorite ACT prep students shared some information that she received from a friend of hers. As a participant in the AVID Program, her friend received information on the GPA, SAT and ACT scores of students accepted at several  of Florida’s public universities. Anyone interested in these numbers can find them in lots of guides to universities or get them from the schools, but I certainly appreciated getting these key numbers all in a nifty chart.

For those wondering what kind of SAT or ACT scores it takes to get in to a particular Florida public university, here is the chart:

Chart of GPA, ACT and SAT score ranges for Florida public universities

Thanks to SP for providing me with this chart of GPA, SAT, and ACT scores for FL Universities.

If you need help bring your SAT or ACT scores up, call Eric at 813.787.8959. He will help you with one-on-one private SAT or ACT prep at a very affordable cost.

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Olympic Swimmer Dara Torres waves to the crowd after winning the silver in the 50 meter freestyle in Bejing, China.

SAT Vocabulary Building with WSJ Article

Posted on 9th May 2012 in Tampa SAT Preparation

WSJ columnist Jason Gay is quite a writer. As a fellow who has passed middle age, I like his column entitled “Revenge of the Sports Geezers” in Monday’s WSJ. Here is a SAT vocabulary-building exercise based upon the article.

Olympic Swimmer Dara Torres waves to the crowd after winning the silver in the 50 meter freestyle in Bejing, China

Sports Geezer and Olympic Swimmer Dara Torres waves to the crowd after winning the silver in the 50 meter freestyle in Bejing. Photo by Bryan Allison. CC Attribution Only 2.0. See more of Bryan's photos at

Pre-reading Vocabulary

Before you read the article, look up the meanings of any unfamiliar words or phrases from this list:

  • Geezers
  • mortifying
  • unabashedly
  • craggier
  • Scorsese
  • phenom
  • sprightly
  • complimentary and complementary (know the difference)
  • satchel
  • icon
  • teeming with
  • dated myself
  • skeptic
  • lofty

Checking Reading Comprehension

  1. What is the general idea of Jason Gay’s article?
  2. What is the structure of the article?
  3. What point is the writer making in the first three paragraphs?
  4. The next two?
  5. The next seven?
  6. What is his point about the motivation of older athletes made in the next paragraph?
  7. What does he mean by “these athletes have perspective”?

Understanding the writer’s tone

  1. What is the tone of the opening part of the column?
  2. What is the tone of the ending of the piece?

Eric Anderson is a private SAT critical reading and writing tutor who lives in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Contact him at 813.787.8959 or by e-mail at eanderson216  at verizon dot net.

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Student taking exam

Tampa Tutor Finally Takes College Board’s Online Practice Test

Posted on 4th May 2012 in Tampa SAT Preparation

First of all, best of luck to all of the folks who are taking their SATs tomorrow.

Student taking exam

I have been meaning to actually do the free online practice SAT that College Board offers for many moons. Although I’ve done quadrillions of practice tests with Tampa SAT students, I’ve never actually logged in to do College Board’s  free one.

Tonight I did.

Do I know how to have fun on a Friday night or what? I was hoping for a pair of 800s in Critical Reading and SAT Writing and I came close.

My math score, however, remains a secret. 😉

Test: Pretest
Date Taken: 05/04/2012

Student: Eric Anderson

Subject Score Range # Right # Wrong # Omitted


800 65 2 0


790 (MC: 75, Essay: 12*) 47 2 0
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