June 1, 2021
English and reading comprehension is a critical skill that every child needs to learn during their education. Without comprehension, reading, learning, and speaking can be a frustrating task for students. As a teacher, all children must learn the proper skills to understand what they are reading and truly digest the information.
However, all children learn differently. Some students are auditory learners, whereas others need to see physical examples to fully grasp the concept in the lesson. Due to the wide range of learning styles, public schools and current educational institutions often do not provide the classroom with enough variety for every student to comprehend all topics.
Without the resources needed to help every individual student, some children fall by the wayside – a dangerous side effect of universal learning that can impact their educational trajectory.
One solution to helping individual students who may have different needs than what they can find in the classroom is using individual tutors. To better understand a difficult concept and comprehend a book, poem, or story, an English tutor can help students work through the learning blocks in their minds.
What comprises ‘good’ reading and comprehension?
You may have heard your teacher in school talk about ‘good’ reading vs. absent-minded scanning the words on the page without really taking in any of the information.
- Studies have shown that good readers use various skills while analyzing content that helps them comprehend and retain the information on the page.
- Good readers use active processes and skills before, during, and after reading text.
Before reading, active readers will set goals for their assignment, analyze the sentence structure, organization of the text, and outline the text to see what they may be looking for in their analysis and comprehension.
During reading, good readers will ensure they understand each word without skipping words or sentences, as this can change the intended message of the passage. They will simultaneously calculate the meaning of the phrases, sentences, and paragraphs as a whole, while piecing together this information into a comprehensive concept.
When they are reading, they will focus their attention on the sections of text related to their pre-set goals. For example, if they must look for similes in a body of text, they will focus on scanning for the words ‘as’ or ‘like.’
After reading, good readers will analyze what they have just read. They will summarize the major points of the text, tie these major events back to their pre-reading goals, and research any extra information if needed to clarify the content.
What are the advantages of improving English comprehension?
You may think you can skate by without having perfect reading or English comprehension. Like other school subjects, you may think this subject becomes obsolete as you get older and only applies to certain professions and businesses. However, English comprehension is a must-have skill for every member of society.
Reading comprehension is a crucial part of English literacy, being an important aspect of education, business, and communication. Understanding what is written in front of you gives people the skills to succeed in any occupation.
Children who properly develop their reading skills can read quicker, absorb information, memorize essential facts, and understand written information higher than those who have fallen behind in school.
Why should I use a tutor for English comprehension?
Tutoring still has a stigma of being for children who are not as smart as others or falling behind in class. However, many children have various learning styles which may not be met through traditional classroom settings. If you find your child is a tactile learner, requires multiple repetitions of the same concept, or enjoys writing down new concepts, hiring a tutor can help your child best retain information and improve reading comprehension.
Tutoring provides students with individualized attention they cannot receive in a busy classroom. This helps children who feel like they aren’t seen by the teacher or those who want even more school work get the attention they need.
What are the benefits of tutoring?
Tutoring programs help children learn how to study, analyze information, and improve reading comprehension to grasp concepts and stay current with their classwork.
Individual learning experience
By using a tutor, your child will not have to wait to get called on in class or spend time after school visiting each teacher to ask questions about the coursework. Instead of spending their time just trying to play catchup in class, tutors help the student fully understand the current concept in a timely manner.
Not only will a tutor help your child learn concepts quicker than in a traditional classroom setting, but the individual attention could be exactly what your child has needed all along. Some children can be easily distracted in class or may just need to ask one or two questions to understand a new topic – but in a crowded classroom, this can become virtually impossible.
Giving your child the ability to work one-on-one with a professional lets them ask questions, discuss topics with the tutor, and be unafraid to say they are struggling with reading comprehension.
Improved academic scores
Tutoring helps your child prepare for their English exams, feel confident going into a test, and understand the test material before sitting down to take the exam. Your child’s grades will subsequently improve from increasing their reading comprehension, bettering their confidence, and feeling ready to handle their current course load.
Encourages self-directed learning
By teaching life skills and studying methods, tutoring can help your child take the initiative in their school work. You can help control the pace with tutoring to ensure your child is not moving too fast or too slow compared to the other kids in school. Your child will have a say in the speed of the learning program, ensuring he or she fully understands the concept before moving on to the next subject.
If you are constantly behind in school, your confidence will suffer. Classmates may make fun of you for always struggling, while you may feel embarrassed to constantly be asking questions. With tutoring, your child will never have to feel like they are the only one having trouble in school.
Instead, having an individualized learning program will increase your child’s confidence by providing them with the necessary resources to better their English comprehension.
Improves work habits
Nothing helps a lazy kid more than having a one-on-one session with a professional who demands attention, focus, and hard work from their student. To improve your child’s work ethic and study habits, you can hire a tutor so they can’t shy away or hide from adult direction to do their work and focus on the task at hand.
Positive work environment
Working in loud classrooms or a busy library can cause students to become unfocused and not understand what they are supposed to be doing. By providing a calm, serene, and trusting environment, tutors can help make a space conducive to learning.
Your child will learn the skills necessary to do schoolwork on their own. Once the child begins to understand how tutoring works, the tutor will often let the student do classwork independently, with the tutor just being there to supervise or if any questions are needed. This independence can help the student in all facets of life.
Trying A Tutor for Free!
Hiring a tutor can help your child fully understand a concept without having to feel embarrassed or shy to ask questions in a busy classroom. By providing the student with the necessary resources and tools to improve their English comprehension in a one-on-one setting, they will learn precious skills like independence, study methods, and self-directed learning to increase their overall aptitude.
Sign up for a free session with Tutor Portland today!
May 13, 2021
Welcome to the Tutor Portland Summer Academy. The Summer Academy is a program which allows our members and new clients to enroll in private courses over the summer. For example, we offer courses such as Algebra 1 and Geometry. Your student will work privately with a tutor. With this one-on-one instruction, your student will move through the course material very rapidly. This is a great idea for students who are struggling with a subject or simply want to get ahead. For example, we offer families the ability to enroll in an Algebra 1 course over the summer as a way to prepare them for the next year. Imagine that. Picture having Algebra 1 in the fall, after already having taken the entire course in the summer! Of course you are going to do well in the course, likely even ace it.
This strategy is actually something I used myself in my own learning. In college one year I had to study organic chemistry. Organic chemistry is widely considered to be the most difficult course offered to undergraduate students. I was a little worried about my ability to do well in the course because “o-chem” was so hyped. I really wanted to do well in the course. One day I happened to read through the course catalog at Portland State University. I discovered that they offered a rapid – full year of organic chemistry – over the summer months. It was divided into three terms, each four weeks in length. I told myself I was going to sit in on those lectures, learn some o-chem, and get a head start on next year. My goal was to sit through the entire course, to even take the exams if possible. I wanted to do the homework. I was going to simulate taking the course, to practice before the scores started to really count.
I showed up in the summer and started taking o-chem. It went fast. But I started picking a lot of things up. For some reason, I was a bit busier than I had expected and so I didn’t quite live up to my entire goal. I didn’t complete the homework. I just showed up to class – which was about three hours per day – and took notes. I ended up learning an incredible amount from this. I knew what organic chemistry was about. I had a solid framework in my mind for exactly what we were going to study. It was like I had this giant picture of the material in my mind.
The strategy worked very well for me. When fall rolled around – even though I hadn’t made it through the full three terms in the summer – I was very ready. I was so confident because I knew exactly what they were going to be teaching us that first term. I knew the direction we were headed. I knew about arrow pushing and electron movement. Other people had no idea this was coming. I remember sitting in class and looking all around me. They have no idea what we are about to learn, I thought. When the lectures started, some students began asking questions. I was quickly able to pick out which questions were irrelevant or lacked importance. Since these students didn’t know where the overall course was headed, they were getting bogged down in the details and asking questions about things that weren’t relevant to the core of the course.
May 4, 2021
In our rapidly advancing world, the need for scientists of all fields is increasing every day. Scientists all over the world do amazing, world changing work in the hopes of improving and advancing our planet and our futures. Everyone from microbiologists and chemists, to data scientists and astrophysicists are questioning the world around them to provide a better future.
As the need for scientists grows, our need for people to fulfil those roles grows also. With so many careers opening up in STEM (Science, Technology, English, and Mathematics), parents encourage their children to pursue careers that could one day change the world. Getting a tutor to help aid children and push their skills to the next level could make the difference. Getting into better schools and better jobs is something all parents want for their children, and a science tutor in Portland is a great way to make that happen.
To show what a difference scientists make in our world, we’ve put together a list of famous, world-changing scientists that have come from the local Portland area.
Sheperd S. Doeleman
Arguably one of the biggest scientists in the world of astrophysics, Sheperd S. Doeleman has made a name for himself and his hometown, Portland. Named as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2019, Doeleman’s popularity has blown up in recent years for his work on super massive black holes. The multi-award winning scientist got his PHD from MIT in 1995. Since then has grown in leaps and bounds, becoming a senior research fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and being a founding director of the Event Horizon Telescope project.
As his work in black holes progressed, Doeleman became an important figure in astrophysics and eventually went on to lead the international team of researchers that produced the first directly observed image of a black hole. From the local streets of Portland, to snapping a photo of a black hole, Doeleman has become a true leader in his field and a role model for any budding stargazers.
Instead of looking off into space, Roberta Rudnick decided to focus on the ground beneath our feet. This award winning earth scientist, and processor of geology at the University of California, has spent most of her life being a strong female role model for aspiring girl scientists everywhere. Roberta is a world expert in the continental crust and lithosphere, is a member of the National Academy of the Sciences, and has won over five awards for her work, including the Dana Medal by the Mineralogical Society of America.
At the age of thirteen, Rishabh Jain was named America’s Top Young Scientist for his research to improve radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer. By the age of seventeen, he had become a world renowned researcher, developer, inventor, and YouTube influencer. With all that under his belt, it’s crazy to think that he was just two years into his education at Westview High.
Beyond his numerous awards and recognitions, Jain spends a lot of his free time being an inventor and developer, developing AI software based around medical research. In his spare time, Jain has managed to become a highly followed Youtube influencer and he is an avid activist in a number of passions. At such a young age, it’s clear Rishabh Jain is going to go far.
Ann T. Bowling
Ann T. Bowling was one of the world’s leading geneticists in the study of horses. Throughout her life she became a major figure in the development of testing to determine the parentage of animals, first with blood typing in the 80s, then DNA testing in the 90s. Her passion has all been around her love of horses, and in her career she made ground-breaking developments in genetics and hereditary diseases.
Another young man of many talents, Tianhui Michael Li has made a name for himself as an entrepreneur, data scientist and businessman. Originally attending Oregon Episcopal School, Li went on to become the youngest person ever, at eighteen, to build a desktop nuclear fusion reactor and won second place and $75,000 at the Intel Science Talent Search. As a result of the competition, he has since had an asteroid named after him, 15083 Tianhuli.
In addition to rocking the science world as a mere teenager, Li went on to become the CEO of The Data Incubator, a data science education company aimed at helping students in Master’s and PhD degrees. For all young, aspiring scientists, Li is truly a role model.
Paul Hugh Emmett
Emmett was one of the physics giants of his day. As a trailblazer in the nuclear physics world, he spearheaded research to separate isotopes of uranium and to develop a corrosive uranium gas. He was a pioneer of catalysts and went on to work on the Manhattan project, working alongside world-renowned scientists like J. Robert Oppenheimer. Emmett also authored over 160 publications, some of which are still cited to this day.
Want to Learn More from Science Tutors in Portland, Oregon?
As you can see, Portland has produced some amazing scientists. Luckily, anyone can become a scientist with the right attitude and the right science tutor. With the help of one of the many high school science tutors Portland has to offer, any student might become a scientist that can change the world.
April 23, 2021
When you’re trying to memorize hundreds of conjugations and spend hours working to get the pronunciation just right, you may feel like mastering Spanish is impossible. Writing and reading in a foreign language takes a ton of practice, and speaking the language aloud fluently is even harder. It requires students to conjugate and translate faster. In a big classroom full of people, it’s easy for students to get lost in a sea of faces or intimidated by their peers. They may not get the individual attention they need to truly grasp the language.
But the value of understanding Spanish should not be underestimated. The benefits of mastering this commonly spoken language extend far beyond the academic realm. Learning Spanish allows us to connect with Spanish speaking friends and neighbors. It empowers us to travel to different parts of the world where Spanish is the primary language. Gaining the skill of speaking a second language is also great for the brain, increasing memory and ability to focus.
So how can we help kids truly master Spanish when the classroom just isn’t cutting it? Tutoring is the saving grace you’re looking for. With a tutor, kids can have a much more individualized experience. Students can have fluid conversations with tutors in Spanish to get the back and forth speaking practice they need. If they feel self conscious in front of the class, they can get comfortable talking in Spanish with a trusted tutor. Tutoring can also switch up boring routines for students, to get them out of the mundane workbook mentality.
If students are quite grasping the material, here’s the top three ways tutoring will help them Spanish like a pro.
Cementing Speaking Skills
Tutors allow students to drive home their speaking skills by having fluid back and forth conversations in Spanish. Learning a language is not like picking up math, science, or even English. It requires more than just rote practice. Students need to have frequent conversations in Spanish to really be able to translate with speed.
But learning in a classroom with thirty other people makes it hard for students to get those conversational skills. There’s not a lot of chances to have one-on-one conversations with their teachers, as there are so many students and only so much time.
Tutoring brings a personal component that’s missing in the classroom. Students can have discussions in Spanish with a tutor who is fluent, even doing whole sessions in Spanish once kids get to a certain level of ability. A tutor can point out exactly where kids are missing the mark in these conversations and help them really focus on changing key mistakes. Plus, tutors can educate kids about informal nuances in the language that a textbook might not mention.
I know our Spanish tutors are effective because I have every Tutor Portland tutor teach me before I hire them. With this process I’m able to see which Spanish tutors are able to break free from basic repetition exercises and have more sophisticated, productive conversation. Not only that, but Tutor Portland emphasizes principles like patience and conceptual learning, which promise to make the most out of Spanish tutoring sessions.
Self Conscious Students
Speaking Spanish regularly with a tutor can help kids ditch performance anxiety when it’s time to translate in front of the class. Being fourteen years old and having to speak to a class full of your peers is hard enough. Now try doing it in a language you barely know! One of the biggest barriers to students becoming fluent Spanish speakers is their anxiety about speaking in front of a class.
We want to ease that anxiety. One of our most important missions at Tutor Portland is to create a deeper bond between student and tutor. Our tutors go beyond just a transactional relationship with their clients, but instead act like mentors. This emotional bond helps establish trust. This trust will be a key component for students attempting to learn Spanish, as it will help them overcome anxiety about speaking.
With a tutor, students can practice with somebody they trust. They can work out the kinks with the same person every week, without being embarrassed. With some positive reinforcement from a tutor, they’ll gain confidence. They’ll be able to head back into the class ready to run through conjugations like a pro in front of everyone.
Escaping The Endless Flashcards
Spanish tutoring creates a more engaging curriculum than boring flashcards or workbooks. While these tools help students memorize words and phrases, they don’t really allow teens to master Spanish. They’re mostly used for teaching the subject matter to large groups of students when the teacher can’t get to each person individually. Unfortunately, they don’t give students the mindset to genuinely understand the language.
Luckily, one-on-one tutoring helps with this too. Tutors can give students new and interesting ways to encounter the language, like games or unique activities. They can assign students fun writing prompts based on the student’s own interests to get kids excited about learning. Giving frequent positive reinforcement helps kids feel personally fulfilled as their Spanish language skills grow.
At Tutor Portland, adopt a growth mindset and want to help students always be improving and changing. Beyond just boring and unhelpful activities, we create a personal connection with students and use that bond to give them truly effective teaching, so they can strive towards improvement.
The Perfect Tutor is One Click Away
If you want kids to master Spanish, tutoring might be the way to go! A tutor can give your kid the practice they need to speak fluently and confidently, and allow them to break out of a boring class curriculum. With Tutor Portland, you can be certain that your child is getting the personal, effective tutoring that they deserve. Sign up for your first session, free of charge.
March 24, 2021
If your kids are taking math online right now, I can see why you might be worried. It’s hard enough to hope for As in math classes when kids are attending school in person, but 2020 made everything more complicated.
Now that class is online, it’s even easier for kids to find themselves falling behind. Students are more distracted and less engaged. Class discussions are virtually nonexistent. Getting individual attention from a teacher seems harder than ever. How in the world are students supposed to master complicated math concepts in this environment?
While the online format isn’t ideal, tutoring can help! For kids who are missing that one-on-one interaction, a math tutor can bring them the connection they crave, now from the comfort of their home. Classes are now almost always recorded, giving tutors a way to glimpse course material and work through it with students. Virtual pod-based tutoring can help kids supplement the social aspect they might be yearning for. So if you worry about your kid grasping the math curriculum, don’t give up just yet. Here’s how tutors can make a difference…
Many parents worry that Zoom is less engaging than in person math class. There’s definitely some truth to that–it’s hard for kids to get invested in the material when they’re just another black square in a sea full of turned-off cameras. It’s tempting for kids to start playing Minecraft or scroll through Instagram during a lecture as there’s no teacher in the room. Discussions aren’t as fluid or active and it’s hard for kids to make themselves known. In this virtual environment, students are not as involved in the subject at hand.
However, getting a great tutor can help solve this problem. No longer will your kid be an anonymous member of a huge Zoom class. Tutoring gives kids a personal, individualized approach to learning, even through the internet.
At Tutor Portland, we give one-on-one tutoring that’s totally focused on engaging the student. Our tutors build a strong rapport with students, ensuring that kids feel safe to express their frustrations and explain their own way of thinking about problems. Tutors check back with students each week and give them the positive encouragement they need to strive for growth. Even though kids have to learn through a screen, with this approach, we can keep kids excited and interested in the material.
That being said, even if students remain involved, they might not be able to be able to keep up. Math is cumulative, meaning if students miss one concept, they can easily get behind. Working through recorded lectures with a tutor might be able to change that…
Keeping Students From Falling Behind
Fast-paced math lectures are so common, it’s a wonder how kids can keep up at all. This has been a problem long before online learning. It’s a byproduct of our tendency to teach math with little to no discussion among students, let alone individual questions and feedback. Now that many lectures are virtual, students might have even less opportunity to slow down the class and inquire about a tricky concept.
Luckily, in this new online educational environment, lectures are almost always recorded. These recorded lectures are made available to students at any time. This means students can go back and rewatch whenever they need to in case they get stuck on homework. They can pause and rewind or go to a specific section when they may have overlooked a detail. Plus, if they want to review for a midterm or a final, they have every lecture laid out for them online. Instead of having one chance to get the teacher’s lecture, they can access it any time.
This is a great tool that tutors and kids can use together. Previously, if a kid struggled to comprehend an idea, tutors would have to guess how the teacher taught it to them. Now, tutors can see exactly how the concept was explained to the student, so the tutor can more deeply understand their student’s learning process. Students and tutors can go through recorded videos and take a new look at any material the student doesn’t quite understand.
Beyond having relationships with teachers and tutors, students also need to relate to each other and work together. But, how can tutoring help kids get that experience without in-person classes?
Incorporating the Social Aspect
Although socializing with others may seem extraneous to learning equations, having discussions with others about material really helps struggling math students. Studies show that students understand concepts better when they’re able to verbalize their thinking and have back-and-forth exchanges with other individuals.
However, online school makes it impossible for kids to talk about material as they walk the halls, and makes forming study groups a lot more challenging. This is especially true if your student is new to the class or doesn’t have a group of classmates to collaborate with.
Tutoring can help by not only connecting students with a great tutor, but a network of their peers as well. My brother and I had this social component in mind when we created Zoom Tutor, a website made specifically to help kids through the online educational landscape. On Zoom Tutor, not only is one-on-one tutoring offered, but pod-based tutoring with a group of students as well.
This means students are organized into small groups that meet each week to go over material. Although they may not be able to gather in person (yet), these regular sessions give kids the ability to meet and work with an entirely new group of peers. Instead of working through problem after problem alone, they can have a community to share their frustrations and victories. This can fundamentally transform students’ attitudes towards math. Instead of stale repetition, these peer groups help make math fun and social.
Get Your Kid Tutoring Today!
Even though learning math online may seem like an impossible challenge, tutoring can help students make the most of it. When Zoom leaves kids uninvested, good tutoring can help them engage with material again. Working through recorded lectures with tutors can guide kids towards success if they find themselves falling behind. Incorporating group work into the online tutoring format can help students have meaningful discussions that allow them to get a grasp on complicated math subjects..
So if you want to help your kid make the most of learning math online, you can sign up for your first free Tutor Portland session here, free of charge. You can also check out Zoom Tutor here! If we can give students access to a meaningful learning experience despite the tribulations of the online format, we can help kids come out of this challenging time on top, ready to achieve their goals.
February 21, 2021
English is incredibly frustrating. We often underestimate it’s difficulty, since it’s such an integral part of our lives. However, when it’s time to sit down and write an essay, we find our grammer doesn’t sound right. We struggle to make our sentences flow. The word count seems impossible to reach and our whole argument feels inconsistent.
Writing is more than just a trivial part of high school academics. It’s central to passing any university course and remains relevant in the professional world. If a student finds English challenging now, they’re going to have trouble crafting a compelling college admissions essay or expressing themselves concisely in a cover letter. It could cost them job opportunities, promotions, research positions, and more.
At Tutor Portland, we understand the importance of helping kids master English now so they can excel later. Our tutoring focuses on helping students get the core principles of writing down, while also boosting comprehension and critical thinking skills. We offer tutoring for all kinds of writing, including college admissions essays, editing, research papers, standardized tests, descriptive essays and narrative work. Stick with us and we’ll have your kid reading and writing like a pro in no time.
Mastering Writing Basics
There are a lot of parallels between the high school English curriculum and communicating in the professional world. That’s because basics like thesis writing, crafting strong arguments, providing solid evidence and conducting thorough research are extremely relevant beyond grade school. Lawyers need powerful arguments to create contracts or defend clients. Business professionals must know how to present evidence to effectively share quarterly earnings. Scientists rely on strong research abilities to compile solid research papers.
Working with an English tutor to hone in on these basics is remarkably helpful. Tutors read through essays to make sure a students’ arguments are in line with their thesis. They can determine if the evidence in an essay is really proving a point, or simply distracting from the main idea. An English tutor knows what relevant and impactful research looks like and help students incorporate it correctly.
At Tutor Portland, we can help teens apply these basics in any subject–not just English. For example, if your student is interested in science, but needs a little help with writing, we can tailor lessons to stronger research papers instead of just book reports. Say history is a student’s weak spot. An English tutor from Tutor Portland can help them identify strong sources and construct a powerful thesis with compelling arguments that explain the causes of the War of 1812. No matter what the task, we’ve got you covered.
Conquering Reading and Comprehension
If kids are struggling to get through assigned readings, an English tutor can help with that as well. Being able to effectively read and extract the valuable information from a document is an exceptionally useful skill. Tutors can go through class readings line by line to help kids see what data is really critical. This ability will come into play when teens are expected to read a dense credit card contract or understand a complicated economics lecture.
Not only that, but reading can be a way for young people to increase empathy, think more critically about life, and reflect on their own emotions. Reading literature allows students to step into the shoes of others and empathize with characters from different times and situations. Understanding how to digest and process non-fiction, like news stories or texts about history, politics and economics will bring students a greater understanding of the world. By guiding kids towards becoming better readers, tutors help students explore new perspectives.
When it comes to comprehension, a good English tutor steps in where teachers might be lacking. Oftentimes, teachers are just concerned with making sure kids read the assigned works, quizzing them on what happened in chapter five. A tutor can help kids really break down the material and pull out the most important information. They encourage kids to think deeper and ask them challenging questions that actually engage them in what they’re reading.
Cementing These Skills
Any good English tutor knows that the key to truly mastering language arts is the same as studying for science or math: careful repetition and putting in the hours.
I dedicated time to writing every single day when I was in college. This discipline and structure helped me improve my writing immensely. It gave me the power to ace college classes and land jobs after graduating. Now, my writing skills play an integral role in running my business and maintaining my blog. If students really want to write strong material, they’ll have to put in the reps. Tutors can create practice prompts or go through exercises with students to give them the repetition they need to succeed.
Along with discipline, great writing requires a lot of trial and error. An A-scoring essay is not going to come easy. Students have to be willing to assess, rework and rewrite, no matter how much time and effort it takes. A tutor can guide students through this process and provide constructive feedback on every draft.
Additionally, an English tutor can apply a trained eye to students’ writing and identify how they can take it from acceptable to incredible. Even when the material in an essay is grammatically correct, that doesn’t mean it’s as strong as it could be. Ditching bland or overused words for more active, impactful language can elevate a piece of writing immensely. Changing sentence structure can make an essay much more digestible and persuasive. Tutors allow students to accelerate their writing skills beyond what they thought possible.
English Tutoring at Tutor Portland
At Tutor Portland, we know that tutoring isn’t one-size-fits-all, especially not for a subject as nuanced as English. We’ve got tutors from a wide range of backgrounds, ready to meet the needs of each individual student.
Our English tutors can help your student with focused, intentional practice in the language arts. As college students and professional writers, they know how to create written work that’s not only grammatically correct, but compelling. They’ll equip your student to impress professors, amaze college admissions officers and achieve their wildest dreams.
If you’re ready to unlock your full potential, sign up for a free session today.
January 20, 2021
Studying. Few of us like to do it, but it’s totally necessary for nailing exams and earning awesome grades. If you think you’re a bad test-taker, you might be super smart, but lack some of the best strategies for effective studying. Here are some tips for excelling at studying and doing everything you need to ace your next test.
1. Plan a Study Schedule
You might think you should focus on the hardest subjects first, but that can be a counterproductive study habit. Instead, create a plan that designates extra time to focus on more challenging subjects but still includes time to review everything that’s going to be on the test. That way you’ll be well versed in all the topics you need to know and won’t be thrown off by a test question that references a subject you forgot to study. For example, if you have three hours to study for a test that covers six chapters of your textbook, and you really struggled with chapter three, create a plan like this:
Review Chapter 1 & 2: 30 minutes
Review Chapter 3: 50 minutes
Chapter 4-6: 55 minutes
Re-review Chapter 3: 45 minutes
This schedule prioritizes chapter 3 but still ensures that you review everything else at least once. So instead of assuming that you’ll be able to recall information, you’ll go into the test 100% sure that you’re prepared for anything that could be on it.
2. Create Essay Outlines
When you sit down to write a big essay for an end of semester project, it’s common to experience writer’s block. The weight of it’s importance can stir up so much anxiety that you feel totally out of ideas.
Rather than starting off your writing session with no direction or plan, prepare an outline beforehand. This is a complete breakdown of everything you want to include in your introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. In the outline, you’ll want to include everything from clever hooks, transitional phrases, and quotations from outside sources. Outlining helps you determine the order of information you’re presenting and what ideas you want to focus on the most. That way when you sit down to write, all you have to do is transcribe everything into an essay format. If you need help getting started, use Scribbr to help you craft the perfect essay outline.
3. Review Your Notes
This might sound obvious, but reviewing your notes before starting any assignment, even homework, is imperative. Doing a quick re-read not only assures you understand every concept before diving in, it can also prevent you from making critical mistakes, which is especially important for writing assignments. Make sure to read a writing prompt in its entirety so you know exactly how many paragraphs you have to write, what topics you need to discuss, and the format it needs to be written in. Nothing is worse than spending two hours on a 1,200-word essay only to realize it only needed to be 800.
4. Test Yourself!
You don’t have to wait for the big exam to get into test mode. Create weekly quizzes for yourself so you can better absorb what you’ve been learning. Focus on identifying the main topics your teacher highlights, especially points that have been brought up multiple times, because they will be on the test.
To find material for your practice test, use questions from quizzes you’ve already taken as well as review sections located in textbook chapters. You can also use online platforms like Complete Test Preparation to find practice tests for math, science, reading comprehension, and more.
5. Compare with Friends
We’ve all had that one classmate who always seems to have the right answer and aces every test without even trying. Rather than seeing them as your biggest competition, use them as your greatest resource. Gather a group of your most prodigious classmates to do a weekly review of the lessons that’ll be on the test. Studying together helps you discover where you can improve, while you share your strengths to help others improve. This way, you’ll all become better students together!
6. List Your Distractions
Do you ever get distracted when you need to study? Not only by Netflix and phone notifications, but by chores too? Chores that your parents are harping about because they needed to get done yesterday? When other important tasks are competing with your studying duties, don’t ignore them. Instead, write them down and choose a time when you’ll be available to complete them. Set a timer that requires you to put in one hour of intense studying. When it goes off, allow yourself 10-20 minutes to get these chores done.
Let’s be honest—many distractions, like texting your significant other, are far less imperative than chores. Many of us are tempted to check Instagram likes on our latest post or scroll through news stories on Twitter, when we should be focusing on studying for a final. This can lead us to take constant mini-breaks that grow into all-day distractions. Putting off our work all day can lead to feelings of guilt or stress as we run over schedule and fall behind on studies.
The solution is to not deprive ourselves of study breaks. Instead, we can reward ourselves for an hour’s worth of intense studying with 10 minutes of free time. This way, we give our minds a break and can indulge in our favorite pastimes, guilt-free.
7. Study Offline
While we highly recommend using online platforms for study tips, time away from the computer allows you to purely focus on studying and not get distracted by the internet. Find a screen-free environment to study in, like the kitchen table, a comfy chair, or outdoors. This’ll give you a nice change of scenery and your eyes a break from the screen.
There’s also plenty of online tools you can use without internet access like Desmos, which is a website that provides a variety of calculators and graphing tools. Use these tools while your computer is in offline mode. That way you’ll have access to all the helpful resources Desmos offers without being distracted by email or social media alerts.
8. Leave Your Friends on Read
With instant messaging, friends are just a text away. But are group chats more important than grades? If you struggle to avoid text messages and Snapchats when you’re supposed to be studying, hold your friends accountable. Let them know that you have a big test to study for and won’t be reachable for the next few hours. If they know how important this test is, they won’t create unnecessary distractions to prevent you from succeeding. If they’re still hitting you up during studying sessions, put your phone on “Do not Disturb” and update your messaging settings so only emergency contacts can reach you while your studies are in session.
9. Ask Your Teacher
It’s good practice for students to regularly ask questions during class. It not only helps you better understand a subject but can provide clarity to other students who have the same questions. However, asking too lengthy of questions can monopolize your teacher’s ability to help other students, and can make you look inconsiderate of those who want to move on to the next lesson. Instead of disrupting other students’ time, pull your teacher aside after class and ask when they’ll have free time to help you with tougher subjects.
Oftentimes teachers’ have office hours where you can get one-on-one help. Going to office hours demonstrates your intentions to improve your schoolwork and shows that you don’t want to take away from their in-class time. Plus it puts you on their good side—they might even be more willing to boost you to an A- when your end of semester grade is 89.8%.
…And if that Doesn’t Help
Every good teacher should be willing to provide extra help to students that need it. However, you won’t always have the privilege of teachers who are willing to help us during their off-time. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to seek tutoring in subjects that aren’t your strong suit. Here at Tutor Portland, we provide in-home and online tutoring sessions with first-class tutors throughout the Portland area. Each of our hand-selected tutors will provide you with the specialized attention you need to raise your grades, pass your tests, and get accepted to your dream school. Start your free online introductory session today!
December 31, 2020
When your kid’s classroom is a black square on a Zoom screen, it’s no wonder they struggle to stay engaged. Students lose the personal experience they once had during in-person classes while learning from home creates plenty of new distractions. With the future of education taking a hard turn, the need for quality one-on-one tutoring is greater than ever!
Unfortunately, finding the right tutor can be pretty difficult…there are hundreds of names and websites to scavenge through! It can take forever to find tutoring that’s affordable, accessible, and right for your student. Who in the world has all that time?
Who are the Best Tutors in Portland, Oregon?
To make things a little easier for you and your family, we’ve gathered a list of the best tutoring companies in the Portland area, complete with information about what makes each one unique! This list includes companies that offer in person tutoring or online sessions, or both, so no matter what your preference, we’ve got you covered. Don’t spend hours scrolling through Google; we did the work for you! One quick read and you’ll be ready to get your kid learning in no time.
North Avenue Education
Looking for a personalized, holistic approach to tutoring? North Avenue Education is ready to provide incredibly through and varied tutoring services to your family. Not only do they offer academic tutoring in math and writing, they also provide specific programs for those preparing to take SATs or ACTs.
If someone in your family is applying to college, North Avenue Education can offer them guidance on undergraduate and graduate applications. They also have study skills coaching, which is simply aimed at helping kids develop the right habits to stay focused and organized.
One unique offering from North Avenue is their “learning pods”, groups of students who study together in person (with the appropriate safety precautions, of course), or virtually. This small group approach is aimed at creating personal connections between students during a time when we all feel farther apart than ever.
In this time of uncertainty, you’re probably pretty eager to be certain about something…like whether or not the tutoring service you choose will REALLY help your kid out. Luckily, Tutor Doctor reports a 95% satisfaction rate from their clients. And if you’re not happy with your experience, there’s also a 60 day money back guarantee!
Tutor Doctor offers tutoring on a large variety of subjects, including Spanish, German, Chinese, and English for non-native English speakers. They also emphasize the development of what they call “X skills” for every student. These are skills like planning and self-evaluation that help students achieve not only their short term academic goals but also their lifelong dreams. In doing so, Tutor Doctor encourages kids to become more well rounded individuals with high standards for their own achievements.
If you’re looking for something simple and affordable, Tutor Doctor is definitely a company to consider. You can schedule a free consultation online any time! This consultation allows Tutor Ductor to pair your student with a tutor and a learning plan that’s right for them. Not only that, but you can book sessions quickly and easily online as well, making Tutor Doctor one convenience in this rapidly changing world we live in!
Northwest Reading Clinic
It can be hard to find the right tutoring for kids who struggle with basic reading, writing and comprehension. Every child is so different, and it’s not easy to create a program that’s tailored to their individual needs. That’s why the Northwest Reading Clinic provides kids with an exceptionally thorough assessment and consultation to discover where exactly they’re having trouble.
The center tests for things like sound/symbol association, receptive and expressive vocabulary, and ability to follow oral directions. Then they pinpoint what specific areas your kid is struggling with, to create an effective approach that helps mend gaps in their reading/comprehension skills. Northwest is here to help everyone, whether your kid has some minor difficulties concentrating on text or shows signs of severe dyslexia.
Northwest Reading Clinic offers generous amounts of tutoring, tending to work with students on a daily basis. It’s important to note that they’re not just limited to the language arts, they also offer services for students who struggle with fundamental math computations or have difficulty with logical and deductive reasoning. They’re open right now for entirely virtual sessions! If your kid needs help grasping the basics, this is the center for you.
Huntington Tutoring Center
When a student doesn’t believe in themself, their academic achievement isn’t the only thing that suffers. Everything from their social capability to their organizational abilities is affected. That’s why Huntington Tutoring Center focuses on creating confident kids. At Huntington, tutoring is about more than just words and numbers–it’s about encouraging kids to believe in themselves and their futures.
Boasting an impressive 40 years working with students and families, Huntington offers tutoring in math, reading, writing, science and more. They also offer summer programs, homework help, and special programs for kids who are diagnosed with ADHD. Not only that, but they work with schools to make sure your student is truly understanding the curriculum they are being graded on.
If you’re concerned or curious about your child’s progress and want consistent updates, Huntington might be a good option for you. They offer regular conferences with parents throughout the student’s tutoring journey to keep you clued in to your kid’s progress. Sound like something you’re interested in? You can call them anytime, or even have them call you! Tutoring plans vary from 2-10 weeks if tutoring, or a total of 30-90 hours.
Stumptown Test Prep
If you’re looking for something much more geared toward standardized test-taking, check out Stumptown Test Prep. Even if your student doesn’t have an SAT or GRE on the horizon, it’s always good to get an early start. This is especially true if your kid has a little too much time on their hands since they’ve been stuck at home.
Stumptown narrows successful test-taking down to three essential areas of learning: core knowledge, test strategies and motivation/anxiety. By looking at these three components as a unit, Stumptown helps students master their psyche instead of just the test material. They boil down most test-taking issues to gaps in knowledge, poor time management skills, and problems with the student’s mindset. Their approach includes a free consultation for your child in which Stumptown staff can get to the bottom of your child’s test taking issues.
Weekly sessions are the norm for Stumptown but their plans are very flexible, so if you’re interested, get in contact with their small staff to work out a schedule that looks best for your family. They also tutor students from middle school to college and beyond, so they’re ready to step in at any point in your child’s educational journey.
Students are living under the pressure of expectations from parents, teachers, counselors…so why would they want a tutor who just tells them what to do? Instead of appointing someone to simply instruct your student, Tutor Portland aims to pair your child with a mentor (we were originally called Mentor Portland!) Tutor Portland aims to establish trust and respect between tutor and student, and provide a positive, kind environment.
The folks at Tutor Portland think there are some serious issues with the way math is taught in schools and adopt a more effective alternative. While most school curriculums emphasize long lectures and monotonous practice, Tutor Portland focuses on teaching math conceptually, often having students verbalize their own mathematical thinking to ensure retention. Tutor Portland knows that every student is different, and that tutors might have to describe things a few different ways before kids understand.
Tutor Portland places the most focus on math and science, but they also offer writing and Spanish tutoring as well. In addition they have a unique program for those applying to medical school, and SAT/ACT prep!
Find a Tutor Near You
While school looks a little different this year, it doesn’t mean that personal, individualized learning isn’t possible. By checking out these local tutoring centers, you can give your kid the chance to beat the stay-at-home blues and get excited about their education again.
December 15, 2020
So your child has completed their college apps and they’ve started to narrow down their higher education choices. Whether they want to attend a junior college, attend school part-time, or are taking the plunge into a four-year university, their big decision will help shape their future. You’ll want to be sure that they’re as prepared as they can be.
Before they even step foot in a classroom, their skills will need to be tested. Math placement tests are a required examination prior to enrolling in specific classes. If they’re worried about what lies ahead for them when it comes to math placement tests and scheduling math classes, there’s no need to worry.
We have the ultimate guide right here for parents and students like you to better understand what math placement tests are all about.
What is a Math Placement Test?
A math placement test is designed to measure a student’s math skills and gauge the most appropriate math classes they should take for the upcoming semester. Before starting college or university, students must complete a math placement test at home. This happens after a student has been admitted to a school and is a normal part of the enrollment process.
There is no passing or failing a math placement test. The point of these exams is to see how competent the student is in the subject. They are more of an assessment of personal skills rather than an analysis of mastery. A math placement test is not a measure of intelligence, but a measurement of personal experience and how well a student demonstrates that experience.
After the test, the school will tailor a choice of math class to the student’s best strengths. If a student is a top scorer, they’ll be rightly placed in advanced classes that will properly challenge them. If they score lower on the math placement test, then they will be placed in less intense math courses.
What to Expect on a Math Placement Test
Although all schools require students to take a math placement test, there is no universal standard they adhere to. Each university or college will create their own tests that best measure math skills according to their own set of standards.
However, there will be some similarities across the board. Questions will be pulled from a wide variety of math topics such as algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and some precalculus and calculus, but the questions will not dive deeply into each subject. The range of questions will be wide, not deep.
The wide-range of questions about basic concepts is followed by longer word problems. These word problems focus on the application of concepts. Students will apply the previously mentioned concepts to help solve longer story problems. Further, the test will ask students to provide written analysis to test if they can fully understand and demonstrate mathematical concepts.
These tests usually do not have a time limit and are mostly multiple choice. The point of the exam is to measure skill, not speed. They’re usually administered online too, so there is no need to travel to a testing location. The tests are often completed from the comfort of a student’s own home.
What’s The Deal with High Placement Scores?
Preparing for math placement tests can save students and parents time and money down the road. If your university requires payment for classes by the unit, students can save money by testing out of classes that would otherwise be required for their degree.
By scoring well, students can bypass entry-level courses and qualify for more challenging (and more interesting!) math classes. By scoring poorly, the school may place students in lower intensity remedial courses and take time away from more enriching classes.
If a student plans to enter a field that is less math-intensive, they can bypass math classes altogether if they score high enough. By testing out of basic math classes, they free their schedule to take other classes that are more relevant to their field of study. This will save time and money as students will skip a few steps on their way to complete their degree.
How to Prepare for a Math Placement Test
Before taking a placement test, I encourage students to brush up on basic mathematical concepts. A math placement test will have questions about basic arithmetic such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, proportions, averages, decimals, and integers. It sounds like a lot, but it’s nothing students haven’t mastered before!
Here are our tips to maximize your studying habits!
However, it’s important not to put too much weight on the outcome of the test. There is a downside of over-preparing. If students prepare for the test in anticipation to score “well” or “ace” the exam, then they could be setting themselves up for a difficult situation. By studying for hours to ace the exam, students may earn placement in an advanced level math course they are not ready for. They might become overwhelmed by the higher level material because of their inflated placement score.
Remember, there is no passing or failing these placement tests, so over-preparing won’t always pay off. Ending up in a less intense math course might be the perfect situation for a student who isn’t as mathematically gifted as their peers.
Conversely, if a student enters the math placement test completely unprepared, then they could be placed in a math course that is far below their skill set. These students might get stuck paying for a class that is repetitive, boring, and ultimately a waste of their time because they did not demonstrate higher level math skills on the placement test.
Final Thoughts on Math Placement Tests
If a higher education institution accepts you or your child into their program and requires you to take math placement tests, look into hiring a tutor. When you hire a tutor to work one-on-one, you can focus on reviewing the areas that are the best use of your time. Meeting with a tutor to hone math skills could make a positive difference for your future in higher education.
Experts from Tutor Portland or Zoom Tutor can assist in tailoring a plan for you or your child. Having a tutor that understands how the math placement test works will make a huge difference in your educational experience. By fortifying math experience, you will be ready to take a math placement test and best serve your educational career.
November 3, 2020
School can be intense, especially during exam season. You find yourself spending all your free time studying, working on projects, reviewing assignments, pouring over practice tests, and doing everything you can to prepare yourself. But have you really tried everything? What do you listen to when you study––a favorite playlist, a babbling brook, nothing at all? A wealth of scientific research has found a new way for you to boost your academic performance: listening to classical music for studying!
This simple practice can boost your grades and help you retain information, so give classical music a try and see if it becomes a helpful habit for life! You might find that you finally get the exam scores you’ve been craving, and feel healthier and happier in the process. Here’s why classical music for studying works for so many people:
Scientifically Significant Study Benefits
You may be familiar with the rumored brainpower phenomenon called the “Mozart Effect.” A 1993 linked the effects of listening to Mozart with an increase in IQ, spurring an increase in the popularity of classical music for studying. The study demonstrated that participants who listened to Mozart tended to score higher on subsequent IQ tests. While this specific research is now widely discredited, it has been replaced by a plethora of well-respected studies demonstrating that there are definite academic effects derived from listening to classical music for studying.
Research conducted in a French university found that when students listened to classical music for studying, their academic performance improved. In this study, two groups of students watched a lecture, one with classical music in the background and one without. The students who listened to the music scored higher on a lecture quiz than the other group.
Another study suggests that students are able to focus better and study longer with classical music playing in the background, leading them to perform up to 12% better on exams than their peers. The absence of words in classical music might decrease distractions and could account for the improved focus amongst listeners.
Classical music for studying can boost academic performance in creative classes as well because it increases divergent thinking. Divergent thinking, or the ability to come up with new and innovative concepts, is the backbone of creativity. A 2017 study from Goethe-Universitat in Frankfurt, Germany, tied listening to “happy music” to enhanced divergent thinking, meaning happy music makes you more creative. Classical music is commonly considered both positive and energetic, and thus encourages creativity. Working on a final project for an art or film class? Trying to find a new way to approach a complex calculus question? Or just feeling stuck in general? Find a classical playlist. Classical music for studying gets your creative juices flowing and puts you in a mindset open to innovation and discovery.
Turn on some Mozart, because studying with classical music has also been shown to increase productivity. A UK-based experiment paired a classical radio station with a psychologist to see if British office workers would be more productive while listening to artists such as Beethoven and Bach. They found a 15% increase in productivity when participants completed a task listening to classical music, versus working in silence. By blocking out noises and distractions, classical music can increase your focus, leading to improved productivity. Apply these findings to your own study habits and get more done in less time!
Plus if you find yourself losing sleep due to exam stress, listen to this. Researchers at the University of Toronto found that classical music can combat insomnia and improve sleep. With 60% of college students habitually getting less than 7 hours of sleep, finding ways to improve sleep quality is of paramount importance. Improving sleep quality is a tried and true strategy to increase cognitive performance, paving the way for better understanding of school subjects.
A study conducted by Baylor University found evidence that listening to classical music for studying both during lectures and while sleeping can trigger targeted memory reactivation (TMR). During this process, the music triggers the brain to move the concepts learned during studying to more permanent memory storage. The students exposed to classical music for studying both during lecture and sleep performed 18% better on the test than the control group. So try turning on classical music to help you study and sleep! But that’s not all, listening to classical music for studying offers a number of physical and emotional health benefits too!
When you listen to classical music, it improves your overall health quality by reducing stress. Researchers at the Duke Cancer Institute found that blood pressure actually decreases as individuals enjoy music. However, this effect was only observed in participants who listened to classical music, not jazz, pop, or other genres tested in this study. So, if you like to read with the music in the background, but feel it hasn’t helped you improve exam scores or relax, you may want to try switching to calming classical music for studying.
Music with too many dynamic changes, unpredictable rhythms, lyrics, or jarring instruments will serve to distract rather than calm, so be intentional in your music choices. Classical music has been found to reduce stress as a result of its specific, unique musical qualities: the slow, rhythmic tempo of classical music is similar to the natural pace of the human heartbeat, encouraging your body to calm down, lower your heart rate, and de-stress. Its patterns and textures allow your brain to expand as you listen, without over exciting your body.
Not only do these physical benefits help you study better, but decreased blood pressure and lowered anxiety contribute to a healthier lifestyle for years to come. Making classical music a part of your daily routine, even on the days you take a break from studying, will certainly pay off in the long run.
Listening to classical music for studying produces a wealth of emotional benefits on top of the physical benefits. When the “Mozart Effect” was debunked, researchers replaced it with a new theory. They determined that while listening to Mozart didn’t necessarily cause increases in IQ, it did improve mood. Listening to Mozart’s music causes the brain to release more dopamine, a hormone known for improving mood and producing a ‘feel-good’ effect. These increased dopamine levels were tied to improved feelings of happiness among listeners. Happier participants tended to perform better on evaluations.
Increased dopamine also makes classical music a tool for fighting the symptoms of depression. If you tend to feel discouraged while tackling a difficult class, classical music for studying can help improve your mood and keep you on track for success. And not only that: by improving your emotional state, classical music actually makes your brain more receptive to new information. By getting you into a good headspace, classical music for studying prepares you to tackle any academic challenge.
Ready to pop in your headphones and play some classical music for studying? There is an endless variety of classical music playlists online to choose from! From hours long YouTube videos to specially curated Spotify playlists, your options are inexhaustible. Taking a bit of time to find the perfect blend for you is definitely worth it.
A good general rule to follow is: skip the big orchestral selections! Pieces with huge dynamic changes that range from whispers to crashes are too busy and distracting for your purposes. The 1812 Overture, for instance, will probably have the opposite of the intended effect and increase your heart rate and anxiety.
Try to stick with simple pieces to avoid inadvertently distracting yourself. Classical radio station producer Alan Chapman recommends solo piano pieces by Mozart, Poulenc, Debussy, or Fauré, gentle guitar music, Bach lute suites, and Elizabethan consort music written in the 16th century.
To help you get started, here’s a list of classical pieces to study to that we recommend:
- Goldberg Variations, by Johann Sebastian Bach
- The Four Seasons, by Antonio Vivaldi
- Für Elise, by Beethoven
- Canon in D, by Johann Pachelbel
- Clair De Lune, by Claude Debussy
- Piano Concerto No. 23, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Salzburg Symphony No. 1 (‘Divertimento in D major’), by Mozart
- Gymnopédie No. 1, by Erik Satie
- Academic Festival Overture, by Johannes Brahms
- Etudes, by Frédéric Chopin
- The Hours, by Philip Glass
- Moonlight Sonata (I), by Beethoven
- Organ Concertos, by George Frideric Handel
- The Blue Danube Waltz, by Johann Strauss II
Exam season is challenging, exhausting, and stressful, but now you have another tool to get through it. Listening to classical music for studying has been proven to have a wealth of benefits on your mental, physical, and emotional health. It decreases your stress and anxiety, brings down your heart rate and blood pressure, and helps your retention skills by enhancing memory capabilities. Further, it releases dopamine to improve your mood and fight depression, increases your creative capacity, and improves productivity. The scientific studies point to classical music as the perfect study companion, so crack open that textbook and turn up the Bach!