Entice the Reader with Style

(Last Blog I wrote about Element #1: Sentence Variety) Element #2: Add Rhetorical or Thought-provoking Questions Adding a rhetorical question is a great way to add a “bang” to your introduction or body paragraphs and to push your essay to the next level.  The following essay response demonstrates how rhetorical questions can be used to… Read more »


Overuse of “THAT” within Student Writing

Students (and adults) love the relative pronoun “that ”.  Although an important little word within our writing (that = the start of an essential clause), it is overused within students’ writing.  “That” can often be eliminated from a sentence without any loss of meaning.  Students should check their overuse of the word “that” by using… Read more »


Troublesome Pronouns in Writing, Reading, and Test Taking

Pronouns are troublesome in our WRITING, READING, and TEST TAKING. This blog is a three-part series!  This week I focus on TWO types of pronoun problems within reading and test taking. The subsequent blogs focus on pesky pronouns within student writing: vague demonstrative pronouns and overuse of the relative pronoun “that.”  Reminder: Pronouns are little… Read more »


THIS and IT within Student Writing

PROOFREAD YOUR WRITING FOUR TIMES First Read:  Review essay organization and content development Second – Fourth Read: Proof GRAMMAR: Second:  Look closely at every THIS and IT within your essay (see below) Third: Check use of which and that  (discussed in the 3rd class) Fourth:  Focus on punctuation and subject/verb/pronoun agreement  (discussed in 1st and… Read more »


Text Talker (Use for All Writing)

One of the skills I focused on this month is how to pick “juicy” quotes to include within an expository essay and how to analyze these quotes. At the bottom of this blog is a handout titled, Text Talker. Some students have a difficult time not only finding supporting evidence but also organizing, analyzing, and… Read more »


The Em Dash

Often, I like to use Skill Building Sundays to teach a concept or skill that I do not have time to teach within our limited class time… This past month we have focused on punctuation – conjunction, semi-colon, colon, comma – but we have not focused on the Em Dash.  (Note the previous sentence; this… Read more »


Polysemy on the SAT

Tests

Recently, I received an email chain, containing the humorous homonyms below.  This email reminded me how the SAT rarely tests homonyms, but it often tests polysemy – the capacity of one word to have more than one meaning.  For example, here is a recent PSAT question:   One of the most exhausting of these certifications is… Read more »


Profile of a Strategic Reader

Reading

Why are some students excellent text readers while others are not? I think the answer boils down to aggressive vs. passive reading. Far too often, I see students passively read every word within a text, underlining indiscriminately (or not at all).  When I ask these students what they have read, they often look up and… Read more »


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