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Participating with students to meet a challenge is an adventure and an exciting prospect for me. I loved acquiring language skills and proficiency, and I love communicating enthusiasm for aspects of ELA to learners who will achieve lifelong benefits. Forming a clear sentence or paragraph to express a fresh idea is one more window or view of the world and a contribution to it. Similar discoveries occur with a reading assignment. If it’s fiction, the student experiences characters’ struggles and understands how the author portrays these in social contexts and environments, using style, tone, plot, and the large vision of the theme. In nonfiction, the reader explores the thesis and topic to assess their truth or flaws. Analysis of every part of the work clarifies its essence. In poetry there is delight in imagery, diction, form and structure. In all genres, knowing about the period, background, and passions of an author gives entrance into new worlds for a reader.


Many talents define an effective tutor. My teaching approach stimulates curiosity and imagination as well as problem solving strategies and awareness of relevant resources. I’m attuned to students’ personalities, concerns, and learning modes and relate subjects they study to their own experiences. Understanding can deepen with personal identification or ability to visualize, based on prior knowledge and past accomplishment. Good tutoring depends on rapport and mutual engagement as well, to bring concepts to life and unity to the learning situation. In dynamic sessions, students sharpen skills and become comfortable with syntax and grammar elements while they learn paragraph and essay structure. They develop a thesis with their ideas about it, using an outline; then, in most cases, they organize research materials. They apply critical analysis to texts and to their drafts. Specific references and details support insights; the result is vivid writing that reveals scholarship.

For mastery of reading skills, I promote the enjoyment of vocabulary and word usage, as well as appreciation of the many ways authors involve a reader. The student and I draw on comprehension strategies such as morpheme and context analysis (for vocabulary enhancement), identification and purpose of key passages, and prediction of text direction or potential surprises. Many questions and discussions arise. The nuance and richness in a reading experience is the focus for these sessions.


My qualifications for tutoring include a study of literature at Barnard College, where I earned a B.A.; I had transferred there from Oberlin College, which gave me two thrilling years as well. Later, I entered programs at UC Irvine (for TESL work), then several at UCLA, Florida State University, and Southern CT State University (for fiction writing). With my husband, I resided in Mexico for eleven years and began to tutor English there, then continued in this country, in California and Connecticut. Agencies and school districts referred me for state exam preparation, reading acceleration at the elementary
and secondary levels, and homebound instruction in general curricula. I tutored a large number of students privately as well. In California I was also a Spanish-English interpreter and a mentor for at-risk teens and youth on probation.

For seven years, I was a writing tutor at Gateway Community College and Southern CT State University in New Haven. I received superior evaluations from students and supervisors. During my twenty years as a tutor, it’s been especially rewarding to interact with people from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

In addition to assisting ELA students, I’ve taught ESL at different levels in many locations. I spent four years with nonnatives from various countries in a middle school pullout program. When they entered five mainstream classes, I stayed with the group, implementing teachers’ assignments and leading discussions, as well as guiding them in their research. They won academic honors and saw their writing featured in school magazines. It’s gratifying to make this second language accessible to learners striving for fluency and confidence.

I have many interests outside of work. These include the arts, family life, children’s and teens’ advocacy, other cultures, and everything in nature.

I look forward to working with Varsity and with its dedicated pool of students.

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Nina’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Barnard College - Bachelors, English


exploring nature and new places, other cultures, children's and teen's advocacy, current events and the arts

Tutoring Subjects

College English

College Essays

Comparative Literature


English Grammar and Syntax


Essay Editing

High School English




Spanish 1

Spanish 2

Spanish 3


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