Posts By: Laura Wilson

Grammar Reference Guide for Essay Writing

Here is a collection of many important grammar tips to remember when writing an essay: Use the pronouns it and this sparingly Eliminate to be verbs When writing about literature, ALWAYS use the present tense Use the pronoun one in your essays rather than the pronoun you Write in active voice By often indicates passive… Read more »

The Importance of Breath Mints

This year, I am giving Certs to all of my students.  No, my students do not have bad breath!  I am giving them breath mints to remind them that commas= breaths.  Just as you can’t talk without breathing, you can’t write without commas. Commas = Breaths use commas to separate items in lists use commas… Read more »

Troublesome Pronouns in Writing, Reading, and Test Taking

Pronouns are troublesome in our WRITING, READING, and TEST TAKING.   Reminder: Pronouns are little words that often like to be bad.  A pronoun can be like a pesky fly that ends up at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and annoys the wrong number of people. (Read pages 12 and 13 in Guide… Read more »

It’s All about Context

Question:  Why do students have trouble with vocabulary on the High School Daily Quiz and on the new 2024 SAT word-in-context questions?   Answer:  Students think vocabulary = definition.  However, students will only get the question correct if they think vocabulary = context clues.   Example:    “Nature’s imagination, as physicist Freeman Dyson likes to… Read more »

Are you a 10th Grader who took the October 2022 PSAT?

The SAT is changing….the SAT is changing….   As of March 2024 the SAT will be a very different exam.  It will contain similar content, but the structure, format, and timing will be completely different.   Goodbye: Paper 5 LONG (800-900 words) Reading passages with 10 -11 questions per passage 4 Grammar passages, each containing… Read more »

Profile of a Strategic Reader

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 »

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 »

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