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The Essence of Expression

Improve Spelling and Grammar
Punctuation and Sentence Structure
Logically Organize Thoughts
Proofread & Revision
Learn to Write Legibly

Writing is a much more complex brain activity than is Reading.

Parents often presume that because their child reads fluently, he or she should naturally be able to write fluently, as well.  Actually, writing requires a completely different set of mental processes and motor skills than does reading.

While reading is the mental process of decoding and comprehending words presented by another, writing requires the author to:

  • Plan and organize complex thoughts
  • Understand how to formulate sentences and paragraphs
  • Choose appropriate words and be able to spell them correctly
  • Possess a command of the rules of capitalization and punctuation
  • Inscribe the chosen words, using complex penmanship skills

It is not at all surprising that children are routinely overwhelmed by these tasks and groan, wriggle, wail, or rebel, whenever asked to write a paragraph or an essay.

Parents may also dread helping with such assignments and can become as frustrated as the student.  A parent may succumb to the urge to just write the assignment for the child, who then copies it and hands it in as his or her own work.  The child is grateful and relieved, but the parent retains a sense of lingering guilt.

As difficult as it may be for some, all students nust learn to write clearly and correctly.
Not only is this skill emphasized on standardized tests, but it is vitally important for success in life.

The One-to-One Home Tutoring Method of Teaching Writing

Writing Skills Must Be Taught in Stages.  Students must learn to:

  1. Construct basic sentences
  2. Combine simple sentences and phrases into more complex sentences
  3. Organize those sentences into coherent paragraphs
  4. Organize their paragraphs into a well-structured essay

Writing skills do not just occur spontaneously.  Development requires targeted lessons specifically created to engender confidence in young writers. 
As with spelling, the mechanics of writing, including grammar, punctuation, and capitalization, must each be introduced and reinforced before lazy and erroneous habits become entrenched.

The One-to-One Home Tutoring writing program introduces the mechanics of writing in successive stages, determined by the learner’s unique reading and writing proficiency level.

Students must be made to recognize that good writing demands:

  • Reflection
  • Clear thinking
  • Self-discipline
  • Craftsmanship

Essentially, students must learn that writing is indeed, work.

Pre-writing is the most important part of the process. It is essential for producing quality results.
Research indicates that skilled writers spend as much time organizing and planning what they are going to write as they do in writing itself.

Learners must become adept at producing quick outlines and multi-paragraph outlines that are coherent, well-integrated, and logically consistent. 
Once mastered, this technique enables them to clearly express their ideas in a variety of contexts.

Students must also learn how to revise, rewrite and proofread their material before their final version is submitted.
Without a solid foundation in grammar and the mechanics of writing, students flounder.

The One-to-One Home Tutoring Method of Teaching Spelling

Excellent readers and talented writers can sometimes be terrible spellers.  For instance, Winston Churchill, Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Albert Einstein, all highly respected writers, were notoriously poor spellers!

In general, the ability to spell correctly appears to be uncorrelated with intelligence. 
Instead, it appears to be an inherited gift, like perfect pitch.

In this regard, it is quite advantageous to be the offspring of good spellers. 
Likewise, its absence can be a burden for a child whose parents were also born without this specific talent.

Fortunately, humans are not just the sum of their genes.
A child may not have been genetically predisposed to be a good speller, but with determination, effort, and effective training, a poor speller can improve considerably.  A child not genetically predisposed to be a good speller, but who possesses determination coupled with effective training, can improve considerably!

Public schools generally do a poor job of teaching spelling.
Standardized word lists are assigned and activities around them organized and completed, then tests are administered, scored, and forgotten.  Essential words are seldom reinforced with needed methodical repetition. 
Parents often complain, “My child gets 100% on spelling tests, but doesn’t remember the same words the next day!”

Educators place less emphasis on correct spelling than they did in the past.  Spelling errors are routinely overlooked.
Students are seldom required to rewrite carelessly written, error-ridden assignments.  This is an unfortunate trend.

Whenever a child’s spelling errors go uncorrected, those misspellings become deeply imprinted upon the young brain.
Regrettably, once learned, misspelled words can be difficult to unlearn.

With early intervention, heavy repetition, and targeted skill practice, all children can become better spellers.
Weak spellers become better spellers by memorizing Sight Words, and by learning to recognize and apply spelling patterns.

The One-to-One Home Tutoring approach provides a systematic, repetitive drill of the most common words required of each student, at each grade level.

Some words are phonetically consistent and relatively easy to learn. 
Patterns and generalizations are presented in such a way as to be “discoverable”. 
Learners can then become self-enabled and capable of spelling a wider array of words containing these same sounds.

Others words must be memorized. e.g. the words “sure” and “where” are not formed from a predictable sound pattern. 
Learners must be taught to rely upon their memory or defer to some clever mnemonic devices to retain the correct spellings. 
This skill always requires repetition and review.  There is simply no other way!

The One-to-One Home Tutoring method provides students with repetitive exposure to such words by means of dictation, games, puzzles, and pertinent worksheets.  New words are not introduced until the previously required words are mastered.  Progress therefore occurs in stages.