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I specialize in English composition and grammar; study skills and organization; and ACT test preparation in English, reading, and writing. As a tutor, I strive to help students reach their full potential by fostering critical thinking skills and a desire for life-long learning.

I am a published writer, editor, and oral historian with experience in both print and digital media. As a current student in a graduate-level educational technology program at the University of Arkansas, I aim to develop effective and engaging online learning materials for today's students. I hold an M.A. in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi, where I assisted in graduate and undergraduate students in cultural studies and documentary studies courses. In 2012 I graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.

In my free time I enjoy gardening, preserving locally grown foods, and playing bluegrass and folk music with family and friends. I am the founder of the Ozark Foodways Project, an oral history project documenting food and foodways in the Ozark Mountain region.

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Leslie’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Arkansas-Fort Smith - Bachelors, English and Media Communications

Graduate Degree: University of Mississippi - Masters, Southern Studies


Oral history, cultural studies, audio and video production, gardening and local food preservation, acoustic string music

Tutoring Subjects

American Literature

College English


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

High School English

High School Level American Literature

High School Writing

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

As a tutor, I strive to present content in a manner that is both engaging and accessible to students. It is my goal to support student learning while also fostering critical thinking skills that will help students as they progress in academic studies.

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

My goal for the first lesson is to help the student feel comfortable and confident in the learning environment. This includes establishing tutoring as a cooperative learning exercise and discussing the student's tutoring needs in order to establish goals for our sessions.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I believe independent activity is essential to long-term learning success. As a tutor, I work to improve student study habits and organization skills, and instill the confidence necessary for students to feel comfortable pursuing learning goals independently from a teacher or tutor.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, I work to determine in which area the student is struggling. Identifying the problem area allows me to present content in alternative ways that may be easier for the student to understand.

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

My favorite way to boost reading comprehension is to review the reading passage and work together with the student to present the content in a way that is familiar to the student. This includes helping the student connect the reading passage to something they already know. To do this I might connect the passage to something I know, and then ask the student to share a similar experience.

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

Learning success hinges on student engagement, so I strive to foster a learning environment in which the student is excited by the content and feels comfortable working together to tackle learning difficulties.

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

A key strategy to foster student engagement is to connect the content to the student on a personal level. I find my students to be more motivated when they feel that the content will benefit them long-term.

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

My strategies for building a student's confidence include offering positive feedback for improvement and encouraging the student to express learned knowledge in a way that is fun and familiar to them. For example, if a student is musically inclined, I may ask them to incorporate music into the lesson and/or assessment.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

To evaluate a student's needs, I employ a number of approaches, including an informal interview in which I ask the student questions to assess their vocabulary and syntax. To evaluate a student's knowledge of English composition and grammar structures, I may employ an exam or ask the student to submit a short essay. Additionally, I ask my students to self-identify areas in which they feel they need help.

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

As I get to know a student I am able to tailor the lesson content to his or her individual needs. For example, a student who has difficulty with verbal expression may be asked to submit content in a written form initially. Once the student is somewhat comfortable with the content, we may move toward verbal expression as a means of evaluation.

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

A tutoring lesson may include live audio/video feeds, an online whiteboard, supplemental videos, and any materials the student may have from school. I am also an advocate of using gaming as a means of teaching and assessment.

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

I like to ask my students to apply the material to a real-world situation. This assures that the student is able to use the information and/or content in a practical way and increases possibilities for long-term retention.

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