Finding Time to Write in High School from

Posted on 13th October 2009 in Tampa Writing Tutor

I really like Maeve Maddox’s post in reply to an AP English student who wondered where to find time to write is a good read. I think her advice to young writers is spot on. She mentions looking at coursework as an opportunity to write and becoming a critic of the writing in textbooks.

If a section of the textbook drags, why? If another section is interesting, why?

Great questions for anyone who wants to write better.

Image created by JoiseyShowaa. Licensed under Creative Commons attribution/sharealike. See more of his photos in his Flickr photostream.

She mentions that some young readers have difficulty getting idioms right when they use prepositions because they are not widely read.

I could not agree more. When I am tutoring a student in SAT, I can tell whether he or she has taken a Cliff’s Notes approach to reading assignments. I have a student right now who writes poorly precisely because she used study aids as a substitute for reading the assigned novels in her English class.

If you want to write better, I would encourage you to sign up for the daily writing tip by email from

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 10/13/2009 8:49 AM

Tutoring Writing Lesson

Posted on 23rd September 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

I tutored one of my favorite New Tampa writing students today. He is a wonderfully talented student. We’ve been working in a book that I found at the Friends of the Library bookstore at the Temple Terrace library.

Image created by Martin Kingsley. See more of his photos on Flickr. Image licensed under Creative Commons

It’s called The Lively Art of Writing. So far, it’s been a reasonably good textbook, although it isn’t a new one. The problems that students face in writing good essays have not changed much since the text was published in 1969.

I’ve struggled to find a really good writing book for gifted students in the middle grades. I’m not sure that I have the best one. Is anyone using a textbook to teach or tutor writing to gifted 7th and 8th graders that is especially good?

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 9/23/2009 11:19 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


Tampa PSAT Tutoring – The Race to be a National Merit Scholar

Posted on 3rd September 2009 in Tampa PSAT Tutoring

I can’t believe how fast the summer has gone and how close a pair of my students are to the scores needed to get into the race for National Merit Scholarships. Both have worked very hard over the summer.

Being in the upper half of the 99th percentile of the people who take the PSAT is a tall order, but not impossible for someone dedicated to cracking the PSAT. Even if you don’t become an NMS, taking the PSAT is great practice for the SAT.

Marathon image created by Eneas de Troya and licensed under Creative Commons attribution only license. See more of his photos in his Flickr photostream.

My brother was a National Merit Scholarship Semi Finalist. When he won it, we lived in Dover, Delaware, and I thought he got a little full of himself.

This summer was the first time I tutored the PSAT, so I had to learn a bit more about the scores required to compete for a National Merit Scholarship. It’s tough, and I admire anyone who can get within striking distance. Students interested in taking a shot at the PSAT can find out all the info here:

My best standardized test score was years back on the LSAT, I managed to get a score in the top 5% of people who took the test and thought I was the bees knees. That ain’t even close to what you need to become a NMS…

If your student is preparing for the PSAT or SAT and would like to get help a Tampa PSAT tutor, call Eric at 813.787.8959.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 9/3/2009 12:23 AM

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Summer SAT and PSAT Prep Tip from Tampa English Tutor

Posted on 3rd June 2009 in Tampa PSAT Tutoring, Tampa SAT Preparation

Even if taking the PSAT or SAT isn’t immediately on the horizon for your child, you can help him or her take a small step to prepare for these tests this summer. The creators of the SAT have a free program to e-mail one SAT question per day to students who sign up.

Photo courtesy of those crazy cats at the Manchester public library. See more of their photos in their Flickr photostream. Image licensed under Creative Commons attribution only.

Once students answer, they can review the correct answer to the practice SAT question with an explanation. These daily SAT practice questions are a great way to do a little SAT prep over the summer.

Sign up at:

Tip courtesy of Tampa English Tutor Eric Anderson. Eric tutors writing, grammar, and SAT for students in New Tampa. Reach him at 813.787.8959.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 6/3/2009 8:09 AM