Writing Tutoring

February 6th, 2018

Many parents are interested in writing tutoring in order to enrich their kids’ writing skills.  The purpose of this blog is to help inform and inspire parents with content that will help their children achieve all their academic goals.  Below you will find some ideas to help get you started with incorporating writing skills into every day life.

Writing tutoring

With the adoption of Common Core Skills, writing tutoring and subsequently writing skills are taught differently than in the past.  Rather than being approached as a stand-alone subject, students are being asked to write in a variety of contexts that span across the curriculum.  The concept that writing is a useful and valuable skill can be reinforced by incorporating it into day-to-day situations .  Children’s writing skills can be enriched by creating an environment where the written word is given lots of time, space and energy.

This can be done many different ways – here are some examples of ways parents can help their kids become better writers.

  1. Start out by establishing a place for writing in the home.  Creating a writer’s nook or clearing off a desk creates an inviting atmosphere.
  2. Make sure your kid has all the writing materials they need,  such pens and journals.  If your student has already mastered basic penmanship skills and has a preference for typing, consider giving him or her a keyboard attachment to convert any tablet into a writing machine!
  3. Share holiday cards with your children and encourage them to participate in letter or email writing to communicate with family and friends.
  4. Teach your kids how to write birthday cards and thank you cards.  This skill helps them express their emotions towards a loved one or articulate gratitude.  It is a great habit beyond the merits of enriching their writing abilities.  Additionally, it is a wonderful opportunity for your kids to get creative and decorate the card.
  5. On the subject of art making, when children create images or sculptures, help them to write out captions or stories that explain their ideas.
  6. Even something as simple as asking for help drafting a grocery list on your phone can be a method of working on writing.  Autocorrect allows them to learn the right spelling without parents having to identify mistakes, and corresponding emojis can make this chore a little more fun.
  7. Surround your child with interesting and engaging books.  Make sure he or she has lots of age-appropriate reading material.  Embrace apps such as Kindle or Libby to read on tablets or other devices.  Take your kids to the library and download whatever apps your local library has so they can access new material and check out books virtually.  Besides incorporating technology, which is appealing to many kids, books are automatically returned on their due date.  This means no more hunting down missing books or being charged late fees!
  8. Talk about books or articles together.  It is a crucial verbal component that helps children develop and articulate their ideas.
  9. When you are working with your child, keep the feedback light and positive.  If he or she perceives writing as an opportunity to be corrected or reprimanded over and over, naturally the idea will be less appealing than if you take an encouraging, strengths-based approach.  Look for progress, not perfection.
  10. Make it fun and relevant to your child!  Tie writing back to your child’s interests and you will be on your way to enriching your kids‘ writing skills from the start.

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.

Ode to My Manhattan Beach English Tutor

March 29th, 2016

We have been there. You know your student is bright, and you know they’re trying their best, but that just doesn’t translate when you or their teachers read their work. You can tell they have the right idea, but that idea is hidden behind incorrect spelling, poor grammar, and sentence structure that even you know is wrong. Whether they need help outlining an essay, drafting a presentation or just editing their final project paper, a Manhattan Beach English tutor at Study Hut is here for them.

A Study Hut English tutor is itching to help out your student. Having been through countless writing blocks of college-level research papers, essays, and even dreaded poetic prose projects ourselves, we understand what your child is going through. The process is sometimes overwhelming. Sometimes you think, “Well, I’m good at math, so I’m just not going to get English.” Not true. They don’t have to win the Pulitzer Prize to be considered a good writer! Each Manhattan Beach English Tutor at Study Hut believes every student can get to a point in their writing skills where they feel comfortable with any English work they produce.

Manhattan Beach English Tutor

In the classroom, memorization is king. Writing itself is a very singular process, and when they are assigned a take-home essay suddenly they are on their own to apply what they learned in school. Having a one-on-one English tutor will make writing assignments less daunting. They now have someone to bounce their ideas off of, and share their drafts with no judgment. We want to help build a solid foundation of writing skills for your student to be able to write well in any situation.

We will sit down with your student and do a quick diagnostic of what they need. Once we know where the problem is, we go to work! A session in action looks like two peers discussing ideas, rephrasing, questioning to get to a deeper analysis—it’s honestly quite fun.

Thankfully, we have English tutors at every Study Hut office.

Contact your local Study Hut today!

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.

Tutoring for the Youngsters

February 28th, 2011

Young children are often overlooked when it comes to the tutoring industry. At the high school level, parents work hard to motivate and challenge their children academically. They pressure their child to work hard and get good grades at the hopes of the acceptance into a prestigious and well renowned school. Why not start at a young age?

Learning good study habits is imperative to the success of a student; not only in the school setting, but outside as well. Children need to learn study skills, reading skills, and good work ethic from the beginning. In the primary grades, students’ brains are developing at such a rapid rate that this time period proves to be the most crucial in a student’s life. By setting that foundation, the student will have a more transparent view of how to be an outstanding scholar. At study hut, we provide tutoring to all ages. In the younger grades, a student’s academics are primarily focused on literacy. We cater to children by assisting them with fluency, comprehension, and accuracy. The extra practice allows them to feel more confident and motivated in the classroom which produces overall better grades. Needless to say, extra tutoring for young students in the primary grades is extremely beneficial and should not be dismissed.

“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.