Manhattan Beach Writing Tutor

November 28th, 2016

Are you looking for a Manhattan Beach writing tutor?  Look no further!  Writing essays is one of the hardest tasks for students. They wonder: where do I put the thesis? What’s the purpose of a topic sentence? What goes in my conclusion? Why do I need a hook? Why can’t my hook be a rhetorical question? (E.g., Have you ever been stranded on a desert island?) What’s an anchor? If you struggle with these simple questions, perhaps a Study Hut Tutoring session in writing is the solution.

Most students don’t hesitate to get help with their math or science homework, but writing is often overlooked. Having an expert Manhattan Beach writing tutor on the team helps immensely.  Writing is one of the most important academic skills. Study Hut provides a great space for students to improve their writing. In a typical session, we start by reviewing the prompt in detail. We also look at the rubric (how students will be assessed) and all supplementary materials (e.g., outline, text, handouts). It’s important to bring your book and class handouts for our study session!

One of the problems students face is that English teachers teach writing differently. One teacher may be a huge fan of quotation hooks, while another teacher may hate them with a passion. Tutors encourage students to carefully consider their teacher’s writing preferences. We ask questions about what students have learned, and how they will be graded. Study Hut tutors tailor each session to the needs of the student as well as the expectations of the teacher.

The thesis statement is usually the most important part of our tutoring sessions, and it’s the heart of the essay. We help students develop a solid argument for their essay that clearly maps out the rest of the paragraphs. The part of the thesis that most students ignore is the theme. Even though theme isn’t a requirement of the thesis, it often relates to the deeper meaning. Themes can be tricky. But once we point them out, students are able to understand the prompt in a much deeper way.

It’s easy to put the focus on grammatical errors, but it’s the ideas that often need the most attention. We’ve all been on the other side of the dreaded red pen. However, the items that typically need the most attention include: organization, flow, sequence of arguments, and clarity of ideas. Most students struggle with what to write in each part of the essay. Once we demystify the structure, writing becomes a much more logical process. Writing tutoring is a great opportunity for students to improve their writing skills.

Getting extra help with writing gives students a leg up in high school, college, and beyond. Many teachers, professors, and employers complain that their students and employees don’t know how to write. Writing is a powerful skill that can make your son or daughter stand out.

A Study Hut Writing Session

March 10th, 2016

Study Hut can provide more than subject tutoring. In a Study Hut writing session, our expert, college educated tutors can boost a student’s writing skills. Writing is an essential skill that must be comprehended in order to have success in a higher level of learning.  It is also an important tool that helps an individual express themselves with text.  Like all skills, writing, must be practiced in order for one to be great at it.

 

During a Study Hut writing session, that very idea of practice is stressed. Often, the appointment will start with exercises dealing with strengthening vocabulary because building a strong vocabulary is necessary to be a good writer. This might include reading something new, finding synonyms/antonyms for given words, writing definitions, or filling in the blank with the appropriate word provided particular clues. These exercises are important because a diverse vocabulary illustrates an individual who is well versed and can express themselves clearly.

 

Next, the tutor may show the student examples of graded essays. Together, they will analyze the essay, critiquing the essay as a teacher would, so the student learns to be an active editor.  This also shows the student what good, bad, and mediocre essays look like so they can get an idea of what to utilize and what habits to avoid.     

 

This could be followed by a writing practice. The student is asked to respond to a prompt provided by the tutor. This activity can range from focusing on writing a proper thesis statement, to organizing a paper from intro/body/conclusion, depending on the time allowed with a certain student and their needs.  

 

Overrall, in a Study Hut writing session there is an unwavering focus on technique and organization that will enhance the student’s ability to respond to prompts that will help them in all facets of writing.

A Study Hut Writing Session

Summer Tutoring

July 9th, 2014

Imagine if each year you allowed three consecutive months to pass without ever considering diet or exercise; the result would be low energy, an underperforming immune system, and many other undesirable consequences. Just like any other part of the human body, the brain requires regular attention and maintenance to perform to its potential.  Students often struggle to get back into the swing of academics after a long summer break, as their brains have been stagnant for weeks on end.  Here at Study Hut Tutoring, we make sure to keep our students sharp through the summer time, allowing an easier entrance into the new school year and helping them to start strong and maintain that impressive GPA throughout the course of the academic year.

Summer tutoring offers many benefits to students.  For some, summer tutoring serves as a valuable time to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the previous school year, and to clear up and solidify conceptual understanding that they will need to progress to more advanced courses.  For others, summer tutoring serves as an opportunity to learn new material before being exposed to it in the classroom, giving them more confidence and an easier route to an “A”.  And still for others, we help with writing enrichment, summer reading requirements, and preparation for the Fall SAT and ACT.

Of course, we at Study Hut Tutoring also appreciate the value of leisure time.  Our founders, Rob and Sean, along with our tutors have been making the most of this summer by spending plenty of time on and in the ocean, be it to surf, spearfish, or boat across the channel to Catalina Island.  We will be seeing off our managerial staff on an annual leadership trip at the end of July, and look forward to building an even stronger team to help our students through the remainder of the summer and next school year.

If you would like more information regarding our summer tutoring services, or you would like to sign up your son or daughter for summer help to prepare for the upcoming school year, please feel welcome to contact us at info@studyhut.com.  Enjoy your summer!

How to Write the College Essay

November 5th, 2012

As anyone who has ever attempted to write an essay knows, the hardest part is always the first sentence. However, when writing your college application essays, the difficulty often does not stop there. The essays for the common application may seem trite and cliché to many students, which makes them nearly impossible to write about. Furthermore, it is incredibly difficult to write an essay that highlights your attributes without sounding feverishly self-promoting. For some schools, the supplemental essays can be even more challenging, with prompts that seem obscure or overly complex. No matter what the topic, there are a few valuable tips for mastering the college essay that can help any struggling writer.

The most important aspect of the writing process is picking a topic. To begin with, it is important that the story be true. It is almost impossible to create genuineness out of a fabricated story. Choose a story that shows improvement or perseverance, even if you have to admit to being sub-par to begin with. It is exponentially more impressive to see upward trend than stagnation. Secondly, choose a topic that demonstrates your character; while great achievement is always impressive, great achievement in the midst of strong values and ethics is more impressive. For instance, use an example in which you were forced to make a choice and show how your decision reflected your morals and priorities. However, it is worth noting that a great deal of the value of the essay is based on writing style and ability: no one assumes that people around age seventeen have had a plethora of life-altering encounters. Thus, it is certainly possible to make up for a less than flamboyant and awesome story with your ability to artfully recount the story.

The next important consideration in drafting the college essay is length. There truly is skill in conciseness. The guidelines for the common application ask for two essays totaling no more than one thousand words between them; that means stick to approximately five hundred words per essay. If you use the majority of your word allowance on one essay, you may end up shortchanging the other. Conversely, using too many words on an essay may become redundant. Part of the limitation is about showing that you can tell a brilliant story in a small number of words. Anyone can tell a story with unlimited space; it takes much greater skill to tell it quickly by choosing your words wisely.

Lastly, it is important to meticulously edit your paper. Grammatical mistakes can take a beautiful essay and reduce it to an unsavory mess. You should pay careful attention to structure and mechanics whenever writing an essay.

The college application process can be intimidating and scary for many students. However, with some simple planning, it can prove an easy task. When you get stuck, walk away for a while and come back to it with fresh eyes. If you follow these steps, you will be on your way to a great essay!

PV AVID Finals tutoring

January 11th, 2012

Study Hut tutors could not be more excited for the big Finals push. We have students from AVID coming in for private tutoring all week, but we also have a huge event scheduled for Saturday. As in years past, we will be hosting an all day tutoring and study session on campus at Palos Verdes High School. We will have access to multiple different classrooms, and tutors will get to go into different rooms and help students with the specific subjects they need most help with.

This year, there will undoubtedly be math tutoring, science tutoring (including biology tutoring and chemistry tutoring), history tutoring, from World History and EHAP to U.S. History, Government, and Economics tutoring. Math tutoring will include algebra tutoring, geometry tutoring, algebra 2 tutoring, pre-calculus tutoring, trigonometry tutoring, and maybe even some calculus and FTS tutoring.

We will also, of course, have English tutoring, writing tutoring for students with an upcoming final paper, Spanish tutoring (all levels), and probably a few other subjects as well.

The event is free (and required!) for all AVID students, and speaking from past experience, it is an extremely productive event for all students involved. The teachers always come to support, supervise, and offer their knowledge as well.

And best of all, we are getting El Taco Man ordered, so he will be showing up with his cart, and all the tacos any young man or woman can eat. Does it get any better than this? I think not. See you on Saturday.

Essay Writing 1-2-3

November 9th, 2011

As we all know, part of being a student is being able to compose your thoughts into persuasive essays. Writing can be tricky for many students, but following a few simple guidelines can help you achieve a good grade and a solid argument.
As a general rule of thumb, the first step to writing should always be brainstorming. Generally, we are taught that brainstorming should be done on paper during quiet study hours. This writer disagrees: brainstorming is best done as a team effort! Find someone who will listen to you rant tirelessly about your writing topic. You may encounter some opposition here, but eventually you are bound to find someone who is as fired up about animal cruelty or child labor as you are (or need to seem to be for your essay!). Try to get enthusiastic about your writing assignment: passion always makes for a more persuasive argument.
Step two has a bit of grey area: some teachers will tell you that an outline is a must, but for some writers, a free-flowing first draft can be just the ticket to kick-start your writing. For outline writers, consider this paragraph steps two and three. If you prefer beginning with an outline, try to be as skeletal as possible about it. If it should happen that you are the type of student who likes to dive right in, go for it! Whatever pops into your head should end up on the paper.
The next two steps are versions of the same concept: editing. Read over your writing or hand it over to a friend for evaluation. Edit, cut, delete, and reword. Refine your ideas, first into a second rough draft, and then into a final draft. By the time your essay reaches your final draft, it should be clear, concise, and persuasive. Your writing should convince your teacher to petition for an extra month of summer vacation or that Harry Potter really is the greatest book ever written. Who knows, you may just end up with enough time to go to Mexico this September!

El Segundo students on fire

August 3rd, 2011

Of all of the summers I have been tutoring, this year’s crop is by far my most energetic, enthusiastic, and eager to learn and get ahead for next year.

While there are always those students that need to play a little catch up and fill in some of the holes that were created due to poor teaching or a lack of attention during school last year, this year, more than ever, I have been tutoring students who just want to get ahead. Even cooler is that most of these students are self-driven, meaning that they are signing up themselves and getting appointments adjusted on their own, rather than having mom force them to come in for some summer enrichment.

The result is that these students are getting far more out of each session than the average student. While some of these young achievers come here for tutoring from West Los Angeles schools like St. Bernard’s, Corpus Christi, Loyola High School, Notre Dame Academy, and Westchester Lutheran, more of our summer tutoring students are from El Segundo High School and El Segundo Middle School.

We have been tutoring El Segundo students in all sorts of subjects, but I have been doing mostly math tutoring, critical reading tutoring, and writing tutoring. It is definitely going to pay off for these guys come Fall.

Writing – A Treatise on Thesis

April 4th, 2011

Writing competency is a vital step towards academic success in middle school, high school, and higher education. The establishment of a comfort level with regard to essay writing is fundamental. Many students moving from middle to high school become overwhelmed when assigned their first paper. Most are even more flabbergasted when they arrive at college and are required to write term papers.

At Study Hut, our tutors work with your students to build an outline—a formula, of sorts—for a paper which we think can be applied to writing universally. This formula starts with and builds upon a thesis statement, which declares the general purpose of the essay. Thesis statement writing is too frequently overlooked in compulsory English or writing education, so many students don’t know where to begin or how to address a topic or prompt. By teaching them the simple skill of jotting down their first meaningful statement of purpose, we hope to provide students with a foundation upon which they can do nothing but grow and learn.

The Big SAT Benefits of Simply Reading

March 2nd, 2011

It amazes me how many students I talk to these days who admit to not reading regularly or skimming their assigned reading. It’s a lot!! The shame is that these same kids complain how many vocabulary words they need to know for the SAT’s, and how many flashcards they need to make. Making flashcards is a very effective way to increase your vocab, but it’s not the best. Simple regular reading is by far the most effective way for anyone to build their vocabulary.
Reading exposes us to many words we don’t commonly use in everyday life, many of which end up being used in the SAT’s. Sometimes we look up the definition of these new words, other times we are able to grasp the meaning on our own; either way we increase our vocabulary. Not only are we just exposed to new words while reading, we see get to see them in context. Personally, it’s much easier to remember what a word means by seeing used in a sentence, compared to memorizing dictionary definitions.
I tell every student I see to try and read at least 20 minutes a day. Whether it is the newest Harry Potter, sports magazine, newspaper, or internet article, the simple act of reading goes a long way in preparing for the SAT’s.

“A-ha!” Moments

February 17th, 2011

One of the most gratifying things about being a tutor at the Study Hut is when students have an “a-ha!” moment. We’ve all had a few of these; when nothing seems to be making sense and then all of a sudden, everything clicks. It’s a great feeling and one I personally enjoy seeing in our hut students.
Mason is a student at Palos Verdes High School and doesn’t particularly enjoy writing essays. He came in one day with an assignment to write about someone who has influenced his life in a positive way. Mason had a lot of great stories about his football coach but couldn’t figure out how to organize all of this overwhelming information into a structured essay. Mason asked, “Why do I have to organize this? It takes away from the fun of writing my story.” When I told him that an essay is a way of convincing the reader of something you believe in, everything clicked. “Ohhh I can totally convince you.” Mason said with a big grin. After I told Mason to tell me why his coach motivates him, not only was Mason listing positive attributes about his coach, but he was also giving me descriptive reasons and examples that helped support his argument.
After he told me everything, we got it down on paper in an outline format. Mason expressed that outlining the essay actually wasn’t as hard as he originally thought. He also even thought it was cool that he was able to write an essay about something that was important in his life.
Whether it’s writing essays, studying for chemistry or working out A.P. calculus problems, students are bound to have many “a-ha!” moments while working with tutors at the Study Hut.