How Can We Help?

Help with Reading with Understanding Skills: actual reading of a text out loud in real time and discussing the elements and possible meanings of the text; or pre-reading a text (homework) and then discussing elements of the text, its possible meanings, and generating other questions about the text.

Help with Oral Communication: Speaking confidently – formal and informal language, appropriate use of vocabulary in context, tone, eye contact, rhetorical strategies

Help with Listening Carefully: paying attention, note-taking when appropriate, generating and asking good questions.

Help with Homework?  

Reading and Comprehension

Help with Reading and Understanding Skills:
Reading a text out loud in real time and discussing its elements and possible meanings; or prereading a text (assigned reading/homework) and discussing its elements and implications.

Help with Fictional Texts:
Identifying and understanding genres, organization, style, tone, setting, story, plot, characterization, themes, motifs, symbolism, archetypes, metaphor, simile, idiom, and other figures of speech.

Help with Nonfictional Texts:
Identifying the author’s thesis, organization, and development of arguments; evaluating the author’s use of evidence to support the thesis; identifying key subtopics, voice and style, related texts, author’s conclusions and implications of the author’s findings.

Critical Thinking and Analysis

Help with determining the possible meanings of a text by asking good, insightful questions and generating plausible answers to those questions based on evidence from the text.

Help with rhetoric, the art of using language effectively and persuasively. Identifying and understanding rhetorical strategies – appeals to ethos, pathos and logos, and

Selecting a topic or issue, researching it, generating a thesis, and using evidence create an effective and persuasive argument supporting your thesis.

Help with Thinking Critically
Read an argument, identify the rhetorical strategies the writer uses to persuade the reader, and determine its strengths and weaknesses. Examine the whole and its parts. Find similarities in other works. Establish what quality is. What makes a story, poem or essay good or bad?

Help with College Essays

College Admission Department staff members read hundreds, maybe thousands, of college application essays every year. How will yours stand out? How will yours be memorable?

Identifying and understanding your audience and purpose; reading and analyzing the Common Application topic options and those unique to specific schools; brainstorming possible narrative responses; choosing a story about yourself that reveals some facet of your character and experience not otherwise found in your application (beginning, middle, conclusion, details); plotting your story (begin at the beginning, in medias res, or at the end – flashbacks, flash forwards); word count limits; characterizations, dialogues and setting details; read throughs, edits, rewrites, final draft.

If you have the gift of humor, and if you can entertain your readers and make them laugh, then it is likely that your college essay will be memorable, and it is more likely that you will be accepted by the schools to which you apply.

Speaking and Listening

Help with Oral Communication

Help with speaking clearly and confidently – assessing the audience and its needs, formal and informal language, appropriate use of vocabulary in context, diction, tone, eye contact, pacing, and rhetorical strategies.

Help with listening carefully – strategies for paying close attention, when and how to take notes, generating and posing good questions.

Study Skills

Help to make a schedule for study and homework; help with focusing (eliminate distractions), practicing note taking, identifying main ideas and summarizing; help with studying for standardized tests and for specific academic quizzes and tests; help with the use of mnemonic devices to assist with information retention and retrieval.

Basic English 

Help with Spelling:
Review some general rules such as “i before e except after c” (believe and receive) and the “spelling demons”, words often misspelled such as to, too and two, beginning, necessary, and separate.

Help with Grammar:
Reviewing the nine parts of speech and their functions, phrases, clauses, punctuation, sentence types, subject-verb agreement, and more.

Help with Vocabulary:
Reviewing strategies for retaining new vocabulary words, the denotations (definitions) and connotations (associated meanings) of words, specific shades of meaning and usages, and memorable context sentences.

Writing and Revision

Help with Writing Skills
Identifying intended audience and purpose for writing (essay, literary analysis, research or opinion paper, business or personal correspondence, report, personal journal, newspaper article, persuasive argument, creative writing and so on).

Understanding writing prompts and generating thesis statements.
Finding evidence to support a thesis and using evidence appropriately and effectively (MLA and APA formats).

Planning, organizing and structuring a paper and its paragraphs (templates for introduction paragraphs, middle paragraphs and conclusion paragraphs).

Rereading and editing written work.
Writing with clarity.
Anticipating the reader’s needs when writing.

The Origins and Development of the English Language

Once upon a time there was no English Language! Where did it come from? How has it grown?

British English – pre-Roman, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, Renaissance/Elizabethan, Civil War and Restoration, Romantic, Victorian, Edwardian, Modern and Post-Modern eras.

American English – pre-Columbian, Early American, Colonial, Revolutionary, 19 th Century, 20 the Century, and Contemporary eras.

World English – British and American exploration, trade, colonization and influences from Africa, India and Asia, the Caribbean and the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, as well as translations of works from all cultures and eras.

Your English – How do you wish to build upon your skills in English Language Arts, and how may we assist you in achieving your goals?