As an internationally published author and unabashed word geek, I truly understand and appreciate the power of writing and how it can change lives. I believe that those who have a strong command of language, both written and verbal, make more money and lead happier lives. I love language because it is the glue of a culture; without good communication there is a breakdown in understanding and progress. I bring a fresh, fun approach to tutoring. As a Random House novelist, I spend many hours in schools, teaching dialogue, sentence structure, and grammar. I teach with a firm hand but also a child-like sense of humor (My wife says I am still 12 years old). When it comes to English, I'm comfortable teaching both the forest and the trees: broader things such as the structure of essays and short stories, and smaller details like conjunctions and semi-colons. I can also help you decipher the mysteries of a challenging novel because I write novels for a living. Born into a five-generation newspaper-publishing family, I earned my BA in English and Journalism at the University of Nebraska and spent the next several years working as a reporter at various newspapers across the country. When our daughter was born I decided to stay home, raise her, and write fiction. I love National Public Radio, trucks, museums, bird-watching, hiking, and the New York Times crossword puzzle. Perhaps the best proof of my tutoring abilities can be found in our daughter's perfect SAT scores, both in the verbal and writing sections. She also earned a 100-percent grade on her International Baccalaureate extended essay. It is impossible to get into a good school without sound writing skills. Let me help you build them.
Undergraduate Degree: University of Nebraska-Lincoln - Bachelors, journalism and English
Museum exploration, bird-watching, hiking
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
We'll look at both well-written and poorly written sentences and pick them apart, word by word, like detectives. What makes them horrible? What makes them strong? How could we make them better?
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Give the student a working knowledge of the basic building blocks of writing (verb, noun, modifiers, etc.) and they will be able to build any sentence and any paragraph.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I am big on enthusiastic, genuine praise. Also, I've learned that if you keep the students smiling -- bad jokes are always welcome -- they will roll their eyes but keep them open to the lesson at hand.