I have taught writing in one room school houses, private schools and settings, colleges and universities, and public schools. I have taught third grade to college level writing, but consider myself a “High School whisperer,” meaning am most comfortable and successful with teens. For the past six years I have worked with Sara Yamasaki’s Moving Words Clinic, a writing clinic for middle school and high school students, especially designed for those with dyslexia and dysgraphia. I have been trained in the Wired for Reading technique as well as have a Master’s in Education focusing on literacy and multiple intelligences.
Most of the students coming to see me are struggling with executive functioning (organizing their thoughts on the page) and getting started. I use brainstorming techniques to help them start writing more quickly and with more ease. My process is also based in inquiry. When asked, they can verbalize what they want to say, but have a hard time conveying that on the page. Therefore, I ask a lot of questions. “What do you think that means?” “Why did you say that?” What do you mean by that?” “Can you back up that idea?”
As they verbally answer these questions, I have them write down their responses. Once the writing and ideas are occurring with more ease, I start assessing it for clarity, organization, grammatical errors, arc, strong openings, persuasion, etc. I am a teacher first and foremost, so I teach these principles and techniques while assessing. Eventually, I have them assess the writing themselves, for catching their own mistakes and weaknesses, is a skill that will serve them all through school and life.
Mainly students come to see me with a particular project/assignment they are working on. In this case, we usually meet a few times (3-5) to work on the project together. For more long term writing help, meetings can be set up weekly, twice a month or monthly, depending on the need of the student.
Parents are invited to sit in on the first couple of sessions, but almost always the student writes more freely and understands the concepts with more ease and less effort when the parent is not in the room. My office has a large waiting area and WiFi or Market Street is full of coffee shops (and Cupcake Royale!) for parents to visit while I am working with their student. Ideally, after the hour session with the student, I will have a half hour with the parent to explain what we are working on and the progress. This is the ideal situation, but I also work with students over Skype, FaceTime, email, and Google Docs and many teens see me without their parents and the updates are given via email.
My consultations are an hour and my fee is $85/hour. Meeting time with parents or outside evaluation of work is charged along with the hour meeting time. I accept checks, paypal, and have a square reader for credit cards. Payment is due at the end of the session.