Writing Tutors for High School Students

Parent Q&A

  • My son is entering 9th grade in the fall and I would like to sign him up for a writing workshop to better prepare him for the demands of high school writing, as his middle school did very little. Both SOS4Students and Classroom Matters offer summer workshops (3-day or 5-day for a few hours each day) that look to offer similar things. Does anyone have recommendations for one or the other? Thanks!

    My daughter (also entering 9th grade) hasn't taken writing courses, but we've been pleased with the tutoring and workshops at classroom matters. Friendly, knowlegable tutors and, importantly, they are really on top of all things administrative (easy to call, easy to reschedule, plenty of email reminders, etc).

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Writing tutor who relates well to teens?

March 2016

A close friend's daughter is struggling with her high school writing assignments.....can anyone recommend an excellent writing tutor who relates well to teens? Many thanks. heidi

I highly recommend Carla Castillo as a writing tutor. She has been tutoring my son for almost a year now and I can only say the best things about her. Carla is highly focused and a very dedicated person. At the same time she brings out the best in my son and has a great way of relating to him. Carla is a very good listener and she is always very receptive to my input. She provides the ideal balance of structure, nurturing, and mentoring. My son looks forward to the time he spends working with Carla and genuinely enjoys their time together. Carla has been instrumental in building his confidence in his writing ability. I highly recommend Carla: www.carlaswritingspace.com or (510) 847-3789 Mom of struggling writer

Hi Heidi, I whole heartedly recommend my daughter's writing tutor - Carla Castillo. My daughter is a freshman at Berkeley High, and entered 9th grade unsure of her writing skills, mainly due to a series of mediocre English teachers in her k-8 private education.

I found Carla after a dissatisfactory experience with another Berkeley writing tutor (who was highly recommended on BPN and has a string of educational degrees including a reading specialization). However, the complete lack of connection with my daughter left us even more disheartened.

Carla is just the opposite. There was an instantaneous connection with Carla, which each of us (my husband came too) felt individually and collectively. And that has continued to date. Our daughter is so motivated to do better in writing. Carla's ability to pay close attention to our daughter's interests and personality, has managed to get her to write more complex sentences and better still -- reading more. Yes she has begun to read every night. Carla is very sensitive to our daughter's other school commitments, and supports the logistical juggling for me as well. Carla sees a role as a partner to her student and parents too.

I would highly recommend Carla - she is a gem. You can look at her website http://carlaswritingspace.com. Or better still call her on 510-847-3789. Very satisfied mom

For a writing tutor who relates well to teens, I highly recommend Ivy Sandz of Literacy Access. Both of my teens have worked with Ivy and she has helped guide them through writing and researching term papers, practicing timed essays from prompts (such as on the ACT and SAT), constructing and polishing personal essays for college applications, writing poetry, reading and analyzing literature for English classes... the list could go on. Ivy also has a lot of experience working with students that have learning differences such as dyslexia or ADHD.

Ivy is located in north Berkeley, near Albany border. The writing cottage is a very conducive space -- my procrastinators get so much more done there in one hour than they do at home.

Here are links for the website and Facebook page of Literacy Access + Ivy's email address ivy [at] ivysandz.com http://www.ivysandz.com/

Seeking tutor for high school English

Oct 2015

Hello: I'm looking for recommendations for an East Bay based tutor for a high school student who needs some help with English, writing, and college essay preparation. Thanks! East Bay mom

Drea Roemer is an outstanding tutor! She has over seven years of experience teaching students one-on-one and served as the head of the Department of English at Tilden Preparatory. She has her Masters degree and can tutor in several different subjects, as well as provide college essay support and test preparation. Teenagers love her because she knows how to quickly establish rapport and they think she is cool and hip (which helps with learning - really!) Parents love her because she is responsible, mature and gets results. Drea Roemer is an absolute gem! She can be contacted at drearebecca [at] gmail.com. -Satisfied parent

For a writing/English/college-essay tutor, I recommend Sonja Totten-Harris. She is an experienced teacher and tutor with degrees from Harvard and Mills, and eight years of experience working with middle- and high-school students in the Bay Area. She is a positive, encouraging, creative, and patient person. You can contact her at sonja[dot]tottenharris[at]gmail[dot]com Elizabeth

High school senior needs essay tutor

Sept 2015

My high-school senior son at Oakland Tech hates to write and hates to read. He is bright, articulate, empathetic, a natural leader, smart but humble, social and earning good grades. His strengths are in physics and math. His teachers love him, so he is moved up in English every year. Now he's in Honors English, his own choice, but he can't do the work! He needs expert tutoring in essay writing. He needs someone with a proven track record of success with recalcitrant writers who can make a difference in his attitude (he believes that he can't write) as well as his output. I have checked the many tutor recommendations on the listserve, but can't find someone with a specific focus on essay writing. All recommendations will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

My son, also a ''math and science guy'', has similar issues - and we were dreading the whole college essay process as a result. However, amazing help came in the form of Zack Bonzell. He completely reversed my son's reluctance to write, as he helped him find his voice and fine-tune what he'd already worked on. Now my son feels like writing isn't an obstacle, but something he can actually tackle with energy and confidence. Zack is a recent Stanford graduate - and Skyline HS Class of '11, which means he's someone high school guys be relaxed around and relate to; our son also feels like he's with someone who speaks his language. No shy awkwardness that can sometimes be present with adult tutors! Don't wait another minute to call Zack. 510.333.1390 Mom of no longer reluctant writer

If your child needs help with college essay writing and application process, I want to highly recommend Nae Tanaka, who has been working with my daughter for the last few weeks. My daughter is applying to UCs and some competitive schools out of state, and needs a lot help on her application essays. We were all very clueless about how to even approach a personal statement. So, I decided to get her a tutor and hired Nae, who was recommended by a friend of mine. My daughter connected really well with Nae and really likes her. She probed and asked insightful questions to help my daughter determine the best stories for her essay. We are still working to finish the essays, but we're very happy with the progress so far! Here's Nae's website w/ contact info: WinningIvyEssays.com. Her # is 650-731-5496. Jessica P

I'm writing to recommend Zack Bonzell for college essay application consulting. If you need someone with whom your student will immediately feel comfortable, look no further. His skills as a tutor are excellent - as a recent Stanford graduate and Oakland native (Skyline HS class of '11), he's got ground zero perspective on what essays need to look like and how to help kids achieve that. Our son has a private college admissions counselor that does not seem to spend as much one-on-one effort on helping with essay work; she's held two group workshops with writing consultants, and helps kids choose which essay to use where, but not much of the fine-tuning they really need. That's where Zack comes in - he's already spent two hours with our son reworking the essays he's started, and now our son feels much more confident about the statements he'll be submitting. Not only does he feel better about what he's written, but especially about what Zack has helped him say. Zack also checks in on his progress, is happy to text (most kids' preferred mode of communication!), and our son feels like Zack's help has energized the whole essay-writing scenario for him. Zack can really help your student find his/her voice and express it in an authentic way - which is what it's all about. http://bonzell.strikingly.com/ Senior mom


Looking for after school writing tutor for reluctant writer

Aug 2015

We need to line up an after-school writing tutor for our son, who has ADHD and organizational challenges. Can anyone recommend someone who works well with reluctant writers who also have executive function challenges? Anon

I would recommend Michele Adamson who is an Educational Therapist. She was helpful in assisting my son organize his homework and guide his writing for Sixth Grade. She has an interactive course that the parents and child participate in to help with Executive functioning struggles. I have used a lot of her time management suggestions and it takes a lot of insight and self- awareness. It certainly opened my eyes and educated me to executive functioning challenges. She lives in Berkeley and can meet you and your child at a neutral lcoation. She is very gentle and kind. My son really thought she was a good advocate for his needs. You can contact her at MicheleAdamsonET [at] gmail.com. Her phone number is (510) 666-5785. A Mom whose son has similar challenges

I highly recommend literacy specialist Ivy Sandz for students who need help with reading, writing and executive functioning. She is highly skilled and works well with elementary through high school students. She has a multi-subject teaching credential and extensive training in literacy development. She worked with our son for a year from 4th to 5th grade, enabling him to achieve grade level reading and writing, and ''graduate'' from needing services at school. She worked again with him this summer, focusing on executive functioning and writing skills to better prepare him to enter high school this fall. She is warm and supportive, while setting clear expectations that are tailored to the age and developmental needs of the student. She sees students in her backyard studio in Albany. For more information see http://www.ivysandz.com/ or contact her at (510) 528-8773. sally r

Writing tutor for high school sophomore

Oct 2014

Looking for a writing tutor for my high school sophomore. She is a fairly good writer, but needs help getting to a deeper level of analysis with her essays and papers. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good writing tutor, ideally in Orinda, Moraga or Lafayette? HS Mom

For college essay help, I highly recommend Jamie Keller. She is a skilled teacher who helps students find their authentic voice that is unique among all the applicants. Jamie really listens to and cares for her clients and this attention shines forth in their writing. I worked with Jamie at Berkeley and saw the students in her class really achieve. To reach her, either call her at 510 847-2505 or email her at jamiekeller1 [at] gmail.com. Julie H.

I work with a fabulous writing tutor named Kate Knox. She has been teaching high school English and tutoring for over 15 years. She can be reached by email katek [at] holdenhigh.org. Kristin

I would like to recommend Carla Castillo as a college essay writing tutor. She worked with my son last year during his application process and her services proved invaluable. He really appreciated her help in organizing his ideas and the guidance she gave to help him say what he wanted to say. Carla didn't try to take over the process or the topics and allowed him to find his own voice. I appreciated that she made herself available with little notice and she was also very flexible about where they would meet whether it was our house, over the phone/Skype, or at a local coffee shop. She can be reached at simplycarla [at] icloud.com or through her website at www.carlaswritingspace.com. -mjp

A top notch writing tutor is Carla Castillo, who also is an expert on working with teens and their college essays. Please see the book, The Berkeley High Book of College Essays, for two of her students' essays. My son is having a positive experience working with her and appreciates her thoughtful feedback. I'm feeling grateful to step back and leave it to the experts. Many teens are developmentally more comfortable with feedback on personal statements from non-parents, as they are becoming independent. Happy teen...priceless. simplycarla [at] icloud.com www.carlaswritingspace.com Happy Mom, thanks to Carla

John Chang has been my son's writing and literature tutor for more than six years. I looked for a tutor for my son when he was in sixth grade because he had trouble putting words on paper even though he had a great imagination and had plenty to say.

John has been a remarkable tutor. Not only has my son become a superb writer, able to articulate his thoughts, and done well in tough literature classes, but writing has become his hobby. He spent the past summer writing a novel. John installed a love of writing in him. It has become a truly fun thing for him to do.

My son scored very high on his SATs. I think having John as his long-term tutor helped him. The results showed in his use of the English language, his grades and his success in the standardized tests. His critical reading ability, the most difficult area to do well in, was at the top of the scale. John also helped him write his college essays. With his help they really sang. I think John is a miracle worker for college essays. In the competitive college admissions process where so many applicants have exceptional grades, extracurricular activities and test scores, I think the essays my son produced with John's help really were a significant factor in his admission to several top schools, including his first choice. And John helped in a way that left my son doing most of the work on his own; they remained his work.

I wanted to write this recommendation for John Chang because he has helped us so much and I want to share him with you. He is truly a gem. I really enjoyed seeing this caring and phenomenally talented person every week in our house. lucky parent
(May 2015 Editor Note: John Chang passed away in Dec 2014.)

I wanted to chime in regarding, ''tutor review''. Both of my children have/are working with Carla Castillo, College Essay Tutor. Carla worked with my son, now a sophomore in college. He said, ''Carla really helped me articulate exactly what I wanted express in my essays.'' Carla is now working with my daughter, a senior in high school. Each child is different and Carla is able to accommodate both their writing styles. Carla is patient, an easy listener, fun and very capable of helping your child find their own writing voice. Her website is:http://carlaswritingspace.com Diana

I would like to recommend out fantastic tutor Kevin Arnold who helped our son ( 14 years old ) last year to navigate the world of essay writing. He is kind, patient, very engaging,creative and constantly went out of his way to understand how differently our son was learning. Our son went from hating reading & writing to a much more engaged and skilled writer. Kevin is flexible and comes to the house. His email is: kevinarnold333 [at] gmail.com Thanks! juliane

Excellent writing coach

Aug 2014

This is a recommendation for Clara Sneed, an excellent writing coach, who helped our daughter become the strong, confident writer she is today. Despite being a great student with high grades, my daughter struggled to organize and structure an essay that expressed her thinking. Clara was patient with her and found points of interest to connect with her on, so my daughter felt she could try out new ideas without fear of failure. After working with Clara for a year, she greatly improved not only her technical skills, but found her writer's voice as well. To our great surprise, she even went on to AP English. Plus, with Clara's help, the process of writing college essays became a joy instead of a chore. For anyone looking, I can't say enough great things about Clara and her approach. You can reach her at tutorclara [at] gmail.com. whitney

Inspiring writing coach

Aug 2014

I would like to recommend ''Artemis'' libraryvet [at] yahoo.com She is an inspiring and non-threatening writing coach. She is in her 20's and presents a good role model for those who may be shy but want to find their writer's voice. She can also help your teen write their college application essay. Additionally, she offers classes for people of any age who want to discover more about themselves through writing. lanuevavic

Sept 2013

Kevin Arnold is a tutor who has worked very well with my son who is 15 years old and attends the IB program at Berkeley High. Like many boys he was a reluctant writer who would either procrastinate and/or write something quickly with his eyes half closed and then be unwilling to edit. With Kevin's help he learned about fun ways to brainstorm, break down the process and use key concepts (borrowed from basketball, which helped!). Now my son is eager to write and is proud of his product at the end. Kevin and he met at a cafe which was ''cool''. If you have a teenager who needs tutoring, look up: http://berkeleycommunitytutor.com Carina

Writing coach for 15 year old

Aug 2013

My 15 year old daughter could use some help with writing. She's very creative but seems to have trouble translating that into her writing. She goes to a good school and generally gets strong grades in English, but from what I've read I don't think her writing is at college level, or at the level of producing a competitive admission essay. She could use help with learning how better to express herself in writing and also with strengthening the quality of the writing itself. Any leads on tutors or coaches? Looking for a writing coach mama

Your description of your daughter sounds like my sons 5 years ago! John Chang has been coming to our house and transformed my son's writing. My son is very bright (like your daughter) but would just stare at paper and could not transform all the ideas and imagination into words. But with John , writing has become is strongest subject and has toyed with becoming a writer as a profession. His writing ability spilled into history and even lab reports. John teaches in a way that helps students really bloosom their innate ability. He has a gift of making the child feel like he is doing it all himself! And John is a very nice person. He comes our house, and I found his fees very very reasonable. ecstatic mother
(May 2015 Editor Note: John Chang passed away in Dec 2014.)

Hi- I recommend Kim Gonzales, a high school English teacher who is on hiatus from fulltime teaching while enjoying her 8 and 3 year old sons. Kim is skilled not only in teaching students how to write well and expressively, but has also coached fellow teachers in how to help students make the most of their writing. Kim volunteers as a writing coach in the Writer Coach Connection program, and is warm, personable, and young enough to be a 'cool writing mama' to your 15 year old daughter. She also has an artistic and athletic temperament-- she studies dance, paints with acrylics, and does kick boxing! Kim can be reached at kimgonzales [at] hotmail.com.

We have used Clara Snede in the past. Had great success with my 8th grader but I know she works with teens of all ages. She is in N. Berkeley. tutorclara [at] gmail.com Good Luck. Berkeley Parent

Jan 2013

My family and I have been very pleased with the writing coaching and tutoring for high school students by Professor Diane Wolf, a Berkeley resident who is on the sociology faculty at UC Davis, and is the author of several interesting and readable books. She ably assisted my daughter with college essays, organizing term papers, and creative writing assignments, and genuinely enjoys the young people with whim she works. She has a child who is a recent Berkeley High School graduate and is familiar with many local high schools, public and independent. My daughter is now attending her first choice of liberal arts colleges in New England, thanks in part to Professor Wolf's assistance in focusing writing and working through blocks and self-critical voices. contact info: dianelwolf [at] gmail.com (510) 847-8696 parent

Jan 2013

My son is now a student at UC San Diego. His first quarter report card was excellent and I credit the tutoring he received from Raymond Barglow as a major contributing factor to his success. Without the tutoring her received from Dr. Barglow- including help on improving his writing- he would probably not have been admitted. Although I am a classroom teacher, my son was able to accept assistance from Dr. Barglow in a more positive way than he could from me. Dr. Barglow has a wonderful communication style. He helped my son improve not only his academic skills, but perhaps as importantly, his overall confidence. I would recommend Dr. Raymond Barglow's tutoring highly, especially his guidance in preparing for the SAT or ACT. His website is: www.berkeleytutors.net, phone number 510-486-1050. Alia

Writing workshops/programs/tutors for 15 year old

Sept 2012

We are seeking recommendations for writing workshops in the Bay Area for our 15 yo son. We are open to group workshops as well as a private tutor that can help hone his writing skills. Any leads or insight appreciated. M & P

Abby Skrivan is a fab writing teacher! I was a Writer's Coach a few years ago and was assigned her classroom of 8th graders at Albany Middle School. She has a great way with students - treats them with great respect and humor. She teaches writing classes/workshops outside of school, or at least she used to. I don't have her contact info but you can look her up thru AMS I imagine. Lise

Bara Sapir, the founder of TestPrep SF and NY, offers a variety of tutoring in classes and 1:1. My middle school son took a reading program that was phenomenal for his preparation to take the SSAT (independent high school entrance exam). When he came home after the class, he was really excited about the method and told me how much faster and better he scored on his practice tests. Most importantly, he feels more confident going into the real SSAT. Well, I just got his test results and indeed his score increased 12%, plus he can use the skills broadly for all his reading needs. Their phone is 415-483.9256. More info on Mindflow is available at http://testprepny.com/pages/GMAT_LSAT_GRE_MindFlow.htm. Good Luck to you and yours! parent.hamburger

May 2012

I would really like to recommend Clara Sneed as a wonderful tutor. She really helped our high school daughter with her writing, organization and Spanish. She has a great way of relating to the teens directly, and our daughter really matured under Clara's wing. She can be reached at Tutorclara [at] gmail.com. We cannot recommend her enough! Happy Family

Oct 2011

I highly recommend JEFFREY SEGALL to tutor your high school student in English reading and writing, SAT preparation, and college applications. We hired Jeff when my son was struggling with a notoriously tough English teacher during his junior year. Jeff helped him understand the writing assignments, organize his thoughts, and edit his drafts. Jeff encouraged and motivated my son to think on his own in a safe environment where there was not just one answer to a question. The benefits my son received in terms of confidence and writing skills are now serving him well in his senior year. Jeff came to our home (working around my son's busy schedule), was dependable and professional, and had very reasonable rates. Jeff can provide additional references. Contact: Jeffrey Segall at 925-254-1907 or 510-206-8847 or jasegall[at]yahoo.com. Susan

Berkeley writing tutor for bright high school senior

August 2011

can anyone recommend a strong writing tutor for a very bright high school senior who does well on quick write and standardized testing, has an outstanding vocabulary and reading comprehension, has consistently read several years above grade level since third grade, but struggles with the skill of synthesizing ideas into expository writing? she is taking freshman composition in summer session at a community college now, and the discrete skill of transposing her insights into an essay is still a stumbling block for her and causes much anxiety though she is generally a bright, happy, talented person who has had major scholastic achievements when this does not get in the way. we really need help for fall term. she is contemplating taking a year or more away from college if she can't master this skill.

Please check out Classroom Matters at www.classroommatters.com Our 17 y.o. daughter is smart but became overwhelmed with her classes this year. Classroom Matters definitely got her through the rest of the year without losing her self esteem and motivation. They matched her to a wonderful tutor who helped her with her writing assignments. She also attended the supervised study sessions and received help with other subjects. Classroom Matters has a happy buzz to it and the students look like they are glad to be there! The support of Classroom Matters was a life boat. pleased parent

I highly recommend Andrea Roemer, an English teacher at Tilden Preparatory School in Albany who also tutors. My daughter was taught English by Andrea Roemer, and she for the first time felt very successful in English due to Andrea's methods. Andrea was able to work through the English curriculum with my daughter through in depth discussion and written work. Andrea was also able to build a relationship with my daughter which greatly supported her in both her education and her life. My daughter learned not only how to structure a report, but also how to understand what to say. The classes are one on one, similar to tutoring, and my daughter was very lucky to get Andrea as a teacher since she is highly respected by the administrators of the school and by the students. She also teaches AP classes at the school. Her phone number is 510-776-0332. Susan

Aug 2011

I would like to recommend Dr. Julie Hemker as an exceptionally professional reading and writing tutor. Julie is patient and extremely knowledgeable about teaching effective communication skills to students. Her tutoring has helped my daughter excel in SAT prep and English listerature papers. A professor at UC Berkeley, she deeply understands the issues facing contemporary students. Her contact information is: julie.hemker [at] att.net and 925 947-1629. H.

High school writing tutor

Feb 2011

My son recently worked with Jamie Keller, a writing coach whom he highly recommends. Jamie's fee was reasonable and her services were more valuable than the private college counselor's. He Says:

I'm a senior at BHS, and I was accepted Early Decision at Swarthmore College. My grades weren't good enough to make the cut, but I hoped to sell the college with my writing, my passion since childhood. But I couldn't write a college essay. After about ten failed drafts, I realized I needed help. We found Jamie. We met 5 times in total, working through numerous drafts of my essay. 5 searing, painful, drafts. It was the first time I realized how difficult writing is. Jamie cut, cut, cut my essay, and then we rebuilt it, this time on a solid foundation. She knows that every persuasive essay must tell a story, so we gutted the blatant pleas in mine and replaced it with a humble, honest tale. I firmly believe this essay made the difference. Jamie made the difference to me. Aside from getting me into college, she was a pleasure to work with.

(Jamie Keller's number is 510-847-2505. Her e-mail is jamiekeller1 [at] gmail.com.) Carol

Help with critical writing

Jan 2011

My son who is currently a freshman at Stanford benefited significantly from the tutoring services of John Chang. I was always concerned about my son's ability to write critically at an appropriate level since it could potentially affect his studies in school and college admissions. Seeing how my daughter improved in John Chang's AP Literature class, I decided to hire him as an English tutor for my son starting from his sophomore year of high school. He helped my son through his high school English courses, the SAT reading and writing portions, and eventually his personal statement. My son has told me that he has not only improved his essays and analysis of novels but also challenged the way he thinks. If you feel your child needs assistance in writing, I highly recommend you contact him at grey_matters [at] comcast.net. Anita

Writing Coach for high schooler

Dec 2010

I'm looking for a good and inspiring writing coach for my daughter. She is a good writer and wants to get better. Inspiration and creativity work! sara

The one-on-one coaching we got for our daughter on her college essays taught her more about how to write than any of her English teachers at BHS. If we had started her with a writing coach earlier, her first year of college would have been far less stressful. In any case, I can't recommend Lesley Quinn highly enough. She's supportive, encouraging, focused, and she sets the bar high. It was hard to get in with her during application season but maybe it's easier in the spring. Berkeley Mom

I want to recommend Lesley Quinn as a superb writing coach for high school level kids. Lesley worked with my daughter on her college essays, and proved to be skilled, supportive and extraordinarily insightful. Emma loved working with her, and took away from the experience a new and expanded understanding of and appreciation for the process of writing and editing. Give Lesley a call... you will be so glad you did. Her contact info is: Lesley Quinn 415-341-1110 Lesley [at] lesleyquinn.com www.lesleyquinn.com SF Office and Mailing Address: 680 Mission Street, 8J San Francisco, CA 94105 Berkeley Office: 851 Regal Road Berkeley, CA 94708 Berkeley Mom

The amazing and wonderful writer, Lesley Quinn was a perfect writing coach for my high school aged daughter. Lesley is creative, smart and funny. My daughter really enjoyed their work together. You can reach her at www.lesleyquinn.com . happy mom

Writing help for high school senior

Sept 2010

I have a daughter who is a senior at Campolindo High. I am looking for a good tutor to work with her on her writing skills, expository writing, especially with English 4. Any suggestions for someone in the Lamorinda area? Thanks. anon

Top-notch recommendation for a writing coach: Ashley Coburn PhD. We've been really pleased with her work with our daughter in multiple areas, and especially writing. Her number is510-384-6069. Good luck!

Aug 18 2010

I would like to recommend Jeff Segall - jasegall [at] yahoo.com - who is tutoring my daughter for the SAT and for her literature and writing classes at BHS. My daughter has learning disabilities and can be difficult to work with. Jeff is patient and able to communicate well with her. Her skills and confidence have increased with his help and she is surprisingly open to his assistance. I recommend him highly and without hestitation. Amy

March 2010

For parents who are looking for writing help for their teens, I'd like to recommend Jamie Keller. My son went to Jamie because he wanted to be a better writer, with the added goal of improving his writing score on the ACT. By giving him short, relevant writing assignments, and reviewing them together, Jamie helped my son understand how to translate what was in his mind into the written word. She also showed him how to organize his essays and how to include specific information to make his writing clearer and easier to understand.

My son looks forward to his weekly sessions with Jamie. She is lively, patient, and non-judgmental, and after working with her, my son scored a 10 out of 12 on the ACT essay. He now has more confidence in his writing and is motivated to keep improving. Jamie can be contacted at jamiekeller1 [at] gmail.com, or by phone at 510-524- 8697.
John M

English tutor for high school sophomore

May 2009

My son is finishing up his sophomore year and has failed English. He will be taking English at Berkeley City College this summer but there is no way he will pass without tutoring. He is as stubborn as the day is long and convinced that English is 'too hard.' He is bright but lazy and easily overwhelmed, will NOT take help from his parents. We are looking for a miracle worker who can help this kid. Any takers?

Check out ROPES for tutors and we think Rosa Barbara-Meeks is great with high school writing assignments. You can reach her at: rbarbara_meeks [at] yahoo.com Kathy

The person that I totally trust and refer friends to is Phyllis Koppelman of Strategies for Learning (www.strategiesforlearning.com). You can look at her website and look at her brochure for a summer program called Mighty Minds Enrichment Program. My son was totally resistant to tutoring, is very smart but couldn't get the words out of his head and onto the page. Phyllis worked her magic on him. Not only could she get those words out, he actually LIKED her. (I know, shocking.) In fact the very first day he went ''only once'' and came out to the waiting room laughing and telling her jokes. We went out to the car and all he said was, ''Mom, I hate it when you're right.'' If your son has any learning issues, she'll help. If he has a sense of humor, they'll get along great. She will see what he does well and praise him. He'll know that it's real, not a butter up. She's also great with parents. grateful mom

Tutor for 9th grader's essays and reports

April 2009

Can you recommend a good essay/report writing tutor or summer program for a 9th going to 10th grader. thanks very much. Parent needing tutor/program

I highly recommend Deborah Dallinger as a writing tutor/coach. She's an excellent writer and editor, and even more important, has a great rapport with teens. She has the ability to really relate to your child and give him/her skills and confidence. Contact her via e-mail at deborahd13 [at] comcast.net or by phone 925-788-9131. - a grateful parent

Learning to write essays for soon-to-be college freshman

March 2009

My high school senior is still not feeling confident about writing essays for college, which is just over the horizon. I would appreciate any recommendations for a class, tutor or summer crash course in churning out the basic 5 to 20 page essay. Confidence Building

For parent looking for writing support for rising college freshman- Flossie Lewis and JoAnn Stewart at ATDP are the best. They are classic English teachers. Independent college counselor

This may not directly answer your search but I do have a wonderful person to recommend for help with personal essays specifically college or graduate school application essays. Lesley Quinn helped my son with his personal essay when he applied to law school and she was terrific! A skillful writer herself, Lesley brings to her work with teens and young adults a wonderful mix of smarts, kindness, supportiveness and high expectations. She worked closely with my son to define and clarify his thoughts and helped him to frame a remarkably strong, clear personal essay. I am happy to report that he was accepted to his top school choices including NYU, Boalt Hall (UC Berkeley) and UCLA. I recommend Lesley without reservations - she is truly a gem! Kathy G

English/writing tutor for teen

Nov 2008

We're looking for an English and/or writing tutor who can help our teen write better, read with more understanding, and generally feel like he's keeping up better with his classmates. It would be great if this person also helped kids be stronger thinkers--helped them approach questions with more curiosity and think about them more carefully and clearly. All suggestions much appreciated! --Tutor-seekers

I would like to add my highest recommendation of Nat Crawford, who did extensive tutoring with my son from 7th through 10th grades on English reading, writing, grammar, and critical thinking. He was patient, always right there at the age and level of my son's ability, very caring and warm, and a true teacher--he not only covered the material but taught my son to think in a way that has become a permanent, lasting skill. You absolutely could not do better than to hire Nat for tutoring. He can also help with other subjects, too--ask him. Here's his contact info (even though the number is in San Francisco, he tutors in the East Bay extensively): Nat Crawford 415 503 1928 ncdc3c [at] hotmail.com Toni

May 17 2006

Adina Lepp has been tutoring our 9th grade son this semester. I highly recommend her. She is responsible and articulate and has helped enormously in keeping him focused and enthusiastic about his writing projects. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Adina is a sophomore English major (emphasis on creative writing) at Mills College. She volunteers at BHS as a writing coach and has been trained with the Writer Coach Connection program. She writes fiction. She is available for academic and creative tutoring, manuscript editing and nanny work, and is available now. You can reach her at adina.lepp[at]gmail.com to discuss specifics. Kathy

Sept 2005

My son had a great experience with writing tutor Kevin Arnold. We learned of him through Parents of Teens site. Kevin is young, a former Berkeley High Independent Studies teacher, is skilled and knowledgeable, and tutors with an easy-going style. He connected well with my son who gained much from Kevin's help in just a few months, his already accomplished writing improving in both organization and mechanics. Kevin tutors as a writing tutor, a homework coach, college paper research advisor, and college app essays coach. ''Kevin Arnold'' kevinarnold2004 AT yahoo.com 510.655.6612

May 2000

My daughter is a Senior in the BHS Independent Studies program. She has an excellent English teacher, Sara McMickle, who will be offering summer tutoring in Essay Writing, Literature, Grammar, and SAT preparation. Sara is an wonderful teacher and can be reached at 644-4500, ext. 3631.