June 30, 2009

Tutoring Tools: 50 Free Resources To Improve Writing Skills

Originally published in Smashing Magazine on 6/28/09

Effective writing skills are to a writer what petrol is to a car. Like the petrol and car relationship, without solid skills writers cannot move ahead. These skills don’t come overnight, and they require patience and determination. You have to work smart and hard to acquire them. Only with experience, you can enter the realm of effective, always-in-demand writers.

Of course, effective writing requires a good command of the language in which you write or want to write. Once you have that command, you need to learn some tips and tricks so that you can have an edge over others in this hard-to-succeed world of writers. There are some gifted writers, granted. But gifted writers also need to polish their skills frequently in order to stay ahead of competition and earn their livelihood.

We collected over 50 useful and practical tools and resources that will help you to improve your writing skills. You will find copywriting blogs, dictionaries, references, teaching classes, articles, tools as well as related articles from other blogs. Something is missing? Please let us know in the comments to this post!

1. Grammar, Punctuation & Co.

Ultimate Style: The Rules Of Writing

The web’s ultimate guide to grammar provides a database of topics and an easy-to-search A-Z list of common questions (via)

Use English Punctuation Correctly
A quick and useful crash course in English punctuation.

Click here for 48 more resources!

Filed under: Free Programs/Software,Study Tools

June 21, 2009

Washtenaw Literacy Tutoring Offers Job-Seekers Valuable Experience

from AjaxWorld, originally published 6/19/09

Washtenaw Literacy, a non-profit organization devoted to eradicating adult illiteracy, offers an opportunity for the unemployed to continue to contribute to the community while job-seeking. In a recent Washtenaw Literacy tutor training session, 27% of the volunteers self-identified as unemployed. While looking for work, these volunteers tutor adult learners in reading, writing or English. The tutoring experience encourages the volunteer tutors to persevere in their own search for work, as they witness the struggles that their learners face.

Let’s take a look at Susan Place, just one of the many recent volunteers who seek employment. Susan has a degree in social work along with work experience in human services. However, most recently, she has been a homemaker. For 18 years, Susan took care of an ill family member, volunteered in a school and taught her son at home. She is now looking to find employment because finances are tight at home.

Susan’s Spanish classes at Washtenaw Community College exposed her to international classmates. Her positive experiences with international students led her to volunteer at Washtenaw Literacy with the ESL tutoring programs and to consider a career in teaching English or working with immigrants. "I knew I wanted to do ESL," says Susan. "Tutoring gives me a chance to be with people who are wonderful. It gives me a lot of energy. People are inspiring."

Click here to read more.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community

June 12, 2009

New college graduate went from struggling student to math tutor

by Mike Gonzalez, The Monitor, Originally published 6/2/09

Education was never a big part of Donald Duane Lovestrand’s life. That is, until last week when he graduated with honors from South Texas College.

Lovestrand, 38, grew up in North Dakota where he was home schooled for 10 years while helping at the farm where his family raised more than 3,000 pigs and dairy cows. Lovestrand said. His parents never stressed the importance of education; they focused more on the daily chores and grind of the farm. Lovestrand graduated May 24, receiving his diploma for two associate’s degrees; in secondary education and in interdisciplinary studies.

Lovestrand said his education story began in unlikely fashion.

In what turned out to be a blessing in disguise, a back injury led Lovestrand to Weslaco chiropractor Dr. Robert Bishop, who suggested that Lovestrand go to college. "He said, ‘Try it,’" Lovestrand said. "It was never for me because I was home schooled and my parents never encouraged me in any way shape or form to go to school." Away from any form of education for more than 16 years, Lovestrand enrolled at South Texas College in 2005 and took a bulk of his courses at the Mid-Valley Campus.

Lovestrand said describing his early college career as "difficult" would have been putting it mildly. "I didn’t know what algebra was," he said. "I couldn’t tell you what the parts of the cell were in biology. I didn’t know how to take notes. It was overwhelming."

He thought about giving up, but his past experiences led him to persevere. He went through life supporting a wife and two children through all manner of jobs, from a truck driver to knocking down trees and moving appliances.

Click here to read more.

Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,College,Peer-Tutoring

June 4, 2009

Blissfield MI Tutoring Program Receives Award

By Dan Cherry, Daily Telegram, originally published 5/9/09

A daily, in-house tutoring program has earned Blissfield Middle School a state-level 2009 Education Excellence award.

The Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) and program sponsors will present the award to school representatives May 18 at a luncheon in Bath, north of Lansing.

The award is for the school’s Developing Responsibility Is Vitally Essential (DRIVE) tutoring program, and is given through the MASB in the category of improving student achievement for at-risk students.

Since its start in 2005-06, DRIVE has dramatically reduced the number of incomplete and failed assignments, according to Mark Wilson, Blissfield Middle School principal.

Winners of the education award, including Blissfield, go on to be considered for the state-level “Michigan’s Best” award, which includes a cash prize to help further the program’s goals.

Before the program was implemented at Blissfield Middle School, there was an average 66 failing grades per marking period across the middle school, Wilson said.

By the next academic year, 2006-07, the number of failing grades per marking period dropped to less than two dozen.

To read more, click here.

Filed under: K-8

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