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Born into a family of editors, a love of etymology and grammar was instilled (okay, hammered) into my mind at an early age. Any questions brought up at the dinner table led directly to a reference book. Wondering where your meal came from? Pick up the Oxford Companion to Food. Any question about word origins? Grab your magnifying glass, and pour over the dictionary. This type of curiosity has followed me into adulthood. I'm a full-blown Wikipedian.

My rsum goes beyond tutoring. From grant proposals to album reviews, I've been published across disciplines. I've spent two years writing and editing for literary magazines. I've hosted a radio show focusing on philosophy and hip-hop. I've studied in Richmond, Pittsburgh, Salamanca, and Valparaiso.

I believe tutoring happens on a case-by-case basis. I personalize each lesson, so whether your child learns through close-reading and marginalia, or through pneumonic devices and word games, we will find a way to a lesson that sticks. Let's learn together!

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Jamal’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Virginia Commonwealth University - Bachelors, English


Competitive Scrabble Player, Radio DJ, Avid Reader, Foodie, Traveling, Hiking, Philosophy, Ludology, World Politics

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade Reading

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade Reading

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade Reading

12th Grade Writing

1st Grade

1st Grade Math

1st Grade Reading

1st Grade Writing

2nd Grade

2nd Grade Math

2nd Grade Reading

2nd Grade Writing

3rd Grade

3rd Grade Math

3rd Grade Reading

3rd Grade Science

3rd Grade Writing

4th Grade

4th Grade Math

4th Grade Reading

4th Grade Science

4th Grade Writing

5th Grade Reading

5th Grade Writing

6th Grade Reading

6th Grade Writing

7th Grade Reading

7th Grade Writing

8th Grade Reading

8th Grade Writing

9th Grade Reading

9th Grade Writing

Adult Literacy

American Literature

British Literature

College English

College Essays

College Level American Literature

Comparative Literature

Creative Writing

Elementary School

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Science

Elementary School Writing


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

Fiction Writing

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing


Middle School Reading

Middle School Writing

Poetry Writing


Short Novel



World Literature


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Personalization. Tutoring differs from textbook teaching and online tips in that it requires face-to-face interaction. That added human element allows for tutors and tutees to give context to the assignments at hand. This isn't some article telling you to study more. This is real learning--identifying the specific roadblocks to comprehension and working together to nullify them.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

First, let's introduce ourselves, get a little context, and figure out how our goals intersect. I can't develop a teaching strategy without knowing who I'm speaking to and what his or her goals are.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Students nowadays are benefitted by a limitless resource--the Internet. Research is often thought of as a chore by students, but I think that this soured philosophy is a consequence of bad teaching. Research strategies can be fun! And knowing how to properly use Google, Wikipedia, and your local library's catalogue to dig for knowledge is a key step in independent thought.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Assignments can sometimes seem arbitrary. However, this is a short-sighted way to view school work. I've adapted so much of my older work into more full-fledged pieces of writing--I've even published several poems that started off as school assignments. School prompts are just a jumping off point--it's the work that we do that defines us.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

Slow down. Identify where the miscommunication is happening, or what concept/skill is hard to get. Talk about it some more. Use analogies or examples. And practice, practice, practice.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

The amount of students in college who haven't learned how to read aloud confidently is staggering. Reading shouldn't be a nervous activity. We can work to read at a pace that is comfortable for the student, in order to guarantee comprehension. With practice, an elementary reader will be able to pick out the key terms and understand the general argument of a piece without having to read the whole document--that's what I aim for.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

"Gamifying" study is a great way to incentivize learning. I learned to spell well not because I cared deeply about typos, but because I absolutely had to defeat my father at Scrabble. Ideally, we can find the fun in writing and reading without a carrot-on-the-stick. I'm excited to write whenever I have the opportunity, because it's the clearest form of self-expression that there is!

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Confidence comes from within. I'm here to teach students that the ability to write well and read well is within them. As they become more comfortable with these concepts, their confidence will shine brightly.

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