Studies show that, without practicing their academic skills over the summer, students backslide, reverting to lower skill levels than they had at the end of the school year.

This summer, keep your child’s academic progress moving forward with writing, reading and critical thinking lessons

A much-published American writer and former English professor, I have taught and tutored processed-based, five-paragraph-style essay writing for 40 years.

Among the many students I've tutored include those from Phillips Academy (Andover), St. Albans School (DC), UN International School (NY), the University of California, the University of Michigan, Swarthmore College, Dartmouth College, The Dalton School (NY), Saratoga High School (SF Bay Area), Wellesley College, and Columbia University.

Per my extensive teaching and writing experience--and training--*I break essay writing into an easy-to-learn, six-step, four-aspect process.

Though they sometimes go by other names, the four aspects are content, organization, development and language.

The six steps: 1) know or research topic, 2) brainstorm or free-write (if freewrite, must then brainstorm), 3) organize/finalize brainstorm (equivalent to detailed outline or blueprint), 4) convert organized/finalized brainstorm to sentences and paragraphs (first draft),** 5) identify strengths and weaknesses, 6) preserve strengths, eliminate weaknesses.

By breaking essay writing into smaller, more manageable tasks, students can perfect each task separately, which yields better essays.***

The first three "prewriting" steps are key to this method's success. These steps require the student to figure out EVERYTHING before writing a single sentence.

(It's hard, and requires discipline, but the results are magnificent.)

I can rotate essay writing with reading comprehension, or just do one. I include critical thinking and study skills in both writing and reading.

(Because we read our writing aloud at every stage and substage,**** as a side benefit a student also elevates his or her public speaking skills. In addition, even if we only work on one area--writing or reading--writing and reading are interconnected, so a student improves in both.)

My rate: $50/hour, including for any trial lessons. (I don't give free trial lessons.)

Here's my resume:


I can't wait to help your child think, write and/or read better!

* I studied the theory and practice of teaching essay writing at three universities, including NYU and the University of California. I have a BA in literature from the University of California (double minor in biology and chemistry), MFAs in writing and film from Columbia University and NYU.

** Because of the first three steps, this is a pretty advanced first draft.

*** The bad news is the process takes longer than trying to do everything at once. The good news is, rather than a mystical, mysterious, hit-or-miss approach, the process is sure-fire, scientific, and explicit--students become fully aware and in charge of what they communicate to readers.

**** Reading aloud and listening to every version of our writing allows our higher-level speaking and listening skills to pull up our writing level.

PLEASE NOTE: I live in Cortland but, depending on the circumstances, can tutor in-person in Syracuse. Otherwise, as I do with my students in San Francisco, Northern Virginia, Westchester, Houston, and Seattle, I can tutor your child online.

For online lessons, we use Google Meet, Google Hangouts or Skype to share screens, which allows us, together, to visit online dictionaries and grammar sites, do reading comprehension tests--and research content.

As you may know, sharing screens also allows me to see everything on a student's desktop; I check it regularly to ensure a student's not doing something else.

(I can also tell by any inattentiveness--as recent Stanford University research shows, when it comes to cognitive activities, none of us can successfully multitask, which is apparent to anyone interacting with a person trying to think deeply while doing something else.)

Depending on which provides the best sound, the student and I talk via Google Meet, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype, Whatsapp, cell phone (with earbuds and built-in mic), or home phone (on speaker).

For writing and notetaking, we share a Google Document both of us can write in at the same time.

(Our common Google Document is primarily what we're both looking at for most of the lesson.

As you know, today's kids are quite computer literate--my youngest online students are third graders.

(Why not reinforce the computer as a tool to learn, rather than just play?)

Kids find learning online engaging and fun.

Online parents can pay via a free PayPal, Zelle or Bank of America transfer.
  • do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers

post id: 6895420359



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