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Hello! I am a PhD student in Literature at Duke University. I have been tutoring (and directing tutoring programs) for years and am looking forward to working with you to meet your goals! I have spent nearly every year since college tutoring in some capacity, including as a volunteer through my current church. I enjoy the challenge of discerning the best way for each particular student to understand and absorb information, and am always thrilled to see when they regain their confidence in their own abilities.

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Renee’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Harvard University - Bachelors, History and Literature

Graduate Degree: Duke - PHD, Literature

Test Scores

GRE Verbal: 164


Skiing, Swimming, International travel, Hiking, Painting

Tutoring Subjects

American Literature

College Application Essays

College English

College Essays

College Level American Literature

Comparative Literature

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing


Essay Editing

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Analytical Writing

GRE Verbal

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing


Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing


PSAT Critical Reading

Public Speaking


SAT Reading

SAT Subject Test in Spanish

SAT Subject Test in Spanish with Listening

SAT Subject Tests Prep

SAT Verbal

SAT Writing and Language


Test Prep

World Literature


Q & A

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

I believe that there should be a communal approach to education; being in communication with parents, and even teachers, will go a long way toward helping identify areas of difficulty and collaborating on an effective strategy.

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

For students struggling with reading comprehension, we will work slowly with small chunks of a text at a time, so that the student learns to put the concepts into his/her own words. Often, boredom with the subject matter or concern over vocabulary words are impediments to cognition, so I will pay special attention to both.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

To help a student get excited/engaged with a subject with which they are struggling, I would find non-academic sources of material (websites, TV shows or movies, magazine articles, etc.) that treat the subject matter in a more interesting and dynamic way. This will serve as an opportunity to re-introduce the student to the subject in a way that is different and likely more exciting.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I often ask students to recap (in their own words) the lesson we worked on today, and I always test comprehension by ensuring that the last problem, or two, are done completely on their own. They will talk aloud through their thought process, so that we both can hear how they have absorbed, integrated, and applied our lesson.

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

Encouragement is vital to a student's performance. I constantly remind my students that they know more than they think they do, and often encourage them to try problems on their own, or with minimal coaching on my part, so that they can see just how far they can get on their own. When they understand that their difficulty is limited to a certain step, as opposed to an entire concept, they become much more willing to venture guesses and try.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I prefer to speak with parents and teachers of a student, in addition to the student, in order to get a "3D" perspective on a student's strengths and weaknesses. I also try to find a balance between their objective goals (a test they need a certain score on, a concept they do not understand) and their subjective goals (more confidence in their ability, a way to perform better despite lack of interest) in order to structure my approach.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

I adapt my tutoring to the student's needs by listening to their request! Some students prefer a more structured approach that involves lesson plans and regular evaluations, while others require a dynamic strategy that responds flexibly to the current moment. The student (and their support group) is likely to best understand how they learn, and it is my job to deliver according to those parameters.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

The materials I use depend on the subject I am tutoring. For language tutoring, I often incorporate music videos (with lyrics), news interviews, and other audio-visual material, so that students develop an ear for the vocabulary, accent, and grammar of a language that reinforces their lesson. For exam prep, I often recommend products from testing companies, but supplement them with material I make up on my own, based on the student's need for supplementary material.

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