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 FL English Tutor Tips for Learning Vocabulary Words for Middle Schoolers

Posted on 7th September 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

I recently added a new client for Tampa English tutoring in Carrollwood. I normally only tutor ages 6-12 and adults, but this client has a terrific 5th grader who wanted to improve vocabulary and writing skills.

My wife, a middle school teacher, advised me to look into using the Frayer Model  to help this young student expand her vocabulary.

There are a number of wonderful  web sites on the Frayer.  The Frayer Model helps students make connections with the word they are trying to learn.

This image created by Eddy Van 3000. See more of his beautiful photos on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Only.

The Frayer model divides a page into four equal squares. The word goes in a circle in the center of the page. Although versions of the model differ somewhat, each square invites the student to make a different kind of connection.

In the upper left square of the Frayer, students might write a definition in their own words. In the lower left, they might write a sentence or two using the word. In the upper right square of the Frayer, they might describe what the word reminds them of. In the lower right, they might draw a picture to go with the word.

The person I tutored this week became engrossed in making connections. I recommend at least trying the Frayer Method to teach vocabulary if you haven’t. It’s engaging and especially effective with students who are visual or enjoy drawing.

Here is a link to a PDF of a blank Frayer model.

If you would like to have an English tutor help your child improve his or her vocabulary, reading or writing this school year, contact Eric Anderson, Tampa English Tutor at 813.787.8959.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 9/7/2009 9:35 PM