Writing Tutors for K-8 Students

Parent Q&A

Tutor to teach CURSIVE in Orinda or close by. Jun 2, 2018 (1 responses below)
Writing and english tutor for middle schooler Sep 10, 2016 (1 responses below)
  • Does anyone teach cursive or know of a tutor to teach cursive?  We are looking for a person that can teach cursive to my son this Summer several mornings a week.  Orinda would be the ideal location however not mandatory.  

    Thanks for any help.

    Deborah Newlen has experience making something satisfying even if it wasn't to start.  She also knows of the value of cursive writing for brain development.  Deborah is kind and encouraging and makes learning more enjoyable. 510-691-6624 for txt or call.  deborahnewlen [at] gmail.com  She is located in El Sobrante, a quick trip past the reservoir...and travels.  Hope this helps!

  • Our 8th grade daughter has autism and ADHD. She’s been mainstreamed since 1st grade.  She’s doing well in math and science subjects but have great difficulties when comes to writing and reading. Recently she’s been tested at 4/5th grade level in writing. We are seriously looking for an educational therapist to do a remediation program in writing. Any recommendations are helpful. We live in Walnut Creek area. Thank you. HA

    My son works with Heather MacLeod for many years to improve his writing and reading.  Heather is very warm and kind and she is very patient with children.  Her email is macleodphd [at] gmail.com

    David's mom

  • My daughter is 11, just entering middle school. She is a voracious reader and aspires to be a writer, producing many fragments and loving to talk about story ideas. Her schoolwork is on a much more basic level than will engage her (though she could use help with organizing her thoughts and paying attention to details in assignments). I am looking for a practicing writer or english student that can tutor her; review her schoolwork, work with her to develop and complete her own projects, and talk with her about stories and interesting reading. Meetings could be at our home in North Berkeley or nearby, anytime in the evening after 6pm, once a week. Thank you!

    I would recommend Kevin Arnold  http://www.berkeleycommunitytutor.com/about.html - he is patient, inspiring and very enjoyable to work with. Give him a call. J

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Writing tutor for 4th grade boy

April 2016

I am looking for recent recommendations for a writing tutor for a 4th grade boy. He struggles with generating ideas and structure and content, and hoping to get him some help in this next year before middle school. Looking for a patient and creative tutor who likes working with boys. cicampbuy

Hi - My 5th grade son sounds very similar. He struggles so much with generating ideas and then writing them. He has been working this year with a wonderful writing tutor and we've seen great improvement. He will now actually do a writing assignment. Granted, he still has far to go ... but it is so much better. He has worked this year with Jamie Keller. She started with games (roll the dice, write that many words, etc.), and now they read interesting articles together and write about it. He works on homework with her sometimes, and she is teaching him writing structure as well as tools for creating and organizing ideas. He enjoys going to each session, so I know she's good for 10-year-old boys! Her contact info: Jamie Keller, www.learnwithme.com Best of luck! Laura

My son, then in 5th grade, had a great experience with writing tutor Jamie Keller. He was a very reluctant writer, but she really brought out his creativity and got him on track with fun games and methods of teaching. She has developed a wonderful board game where kids roll dice and do different writing exercises. I was so surprised and relieved when I saw him respond that I got teary. She's a gem. Check out her site at www.learnwithme.com. Grateful

Writing tutor for fifth grader

Feb 2015

Hi, I'm seeking updated recommendations for a writing tutor for an incoming 5th grader. Our son goes to a bilingual school and the English writing program is a bit limited. Compounding that, he really, actively dislikes and fears writing projects, and he doesn't take critique from his parents very well. We would welcome personal recommendations for a great, patient, fun writing tutor who can help him reach grade level in creative and expository writing - and maybe even instill a love of writing in him?! That would be great. Many thanks. Oakland parent

My then 14 year old son took the Summer Writing Workshop taught by Sondra Hall at Classroom Matters last summer. It is a weeklong essay writing class that meets 3 hours daily. I couldn't have been more pleased; my son really enjoyed it and I was impressed with the precision, care and thoroughness of Ms. Hall's instruction. I felt that he got a much higher level of writing instruction than he ever received at his school. glad dad

Writing tutor for middle-schooler?

July 2014

I have an 11 year-old boy with ADD about to enter middle school in Moraga. His 5th grade teacher suggested that he gets help out of the classroom with writing. My son loves to read and is very quick to learn but his problem is that he hates writing and therefore does not have to motivation to make the effort to write a good expository text: with the introduction, the supporting details and all that. I've never believed in getting tutors for your kids but now I'm really concerned he is going to be behind in 6th grade. Do you know any tutors you would recommend from experience that could help my son get motivated and learn/practice how to write? As I said, we live in Moraga. Thanks. anon

I highly recommend Heather MacLeod (email: macleodphd [at] gmail.com). Heather tutored my son writing and he really likes her. She is very respectful of him and whatever she taught him, he remembers. Heather is also a very fun and caring person! David's mom

Hello, We've used Sandra Lee to tutor my middle schooler in writing for the past year, and he's made a huge improvement. We should have hired her years ago. Very nice person, reasonably priced, great presence in my child's life. She's based in Orinda and can be reached at sandra.c.lee [at] sbcglobal.net not an editor

Writing help for 10 year old boy

April 2014

Hi there, I need to find an afterschool program [not a class -- a regular afterschool program] to teach my son the fundamentals of writing. We've spent a few years abroad and his writing suffered and at his current private school, they do not practice writing everyday. Instead they focus on building their vocabulary words, etc. Hence, while he's a 4th grader, his writing skills align with those of a second grader's. Can anyone suggest a few places? I would like a program familiar with the Common core standards taught in the public school. margaret

My son also needed writing support at age 10, but we couldn't find a summer or after school program that worked for us. I was at my wits end when I was referred to writing tutor/ed therapist Jamie Keller. She is an experienced, kind and motivational tutor who completely turned around my son's attitude toward writing and his writing skills.

She has devised some wonderful games that get kids writing and having fun with it. With Jamie's help we discovered what an amazingly creative and humorous writer my son is. Although my son didn't want to bring his school writing projects to her (which of course she will help with), she helped to unlock his creative writing which flowed over into his school writing. He no longer lags behind his peers and I don't have to spend hours trying to get him to write a few meager sentences.

My son is now in middle school and I am so glad we invested the time and resources with Jamie to help him succeed at this vitally important skill.

You can learn more about Jamie Keller and get her contact info thru her website: www.learnwithme.com. A Happy Parent

Writing (composition) tutor for 9 & 12 yr olds

Sept 2013

Looking for a patient, methodical composition/writing tutor for two extremely bright kids, one 9 years old, one 12 years old, who are off the charts for reading level/ability, but need help learning how to write papers, essays. Thank you! Grandma Jane

I highly recommend Teja Watson. She is an experienced teacher/tutor, as well as a professional editor and writer. And, she is great with kids! She's at trw [at] twobirdsediting.com. Mom of Writers

Looking for writing tutor assistant for 8 year old

Aug 2013

I'm looking for someone who can help my 8 year old with his writing. He is starting the 3rd grade, and has a real aversion to writing. I think part of it is the physical effort, although his penmanship is pretty good. But most of it is that he has a lot of ideas, and has a hard time organizing his thoughts into the appropriate sentences to complete the paragraph. And he gets so focused on the details, he loses what the actual goal is, or the question he has been asked to answer. Any suggestions?

I recommend Ivy Sandz in Albany -- www.literacyaccess.com; phone 528-8773. She worked with my son. He also had lots of ideas, trouble getting his ideas on paper, and hated writing-- at the same age as your son. She was great with him. em

Handwriting tutor needed in Orinda for 4th grader

Jan 2013

My fourth-grade son is very bright and creative, but, oh man, he has atrocious handwriting. We are looking for someone to come to our house a couple of times a week to help him improve or ideas for local classes/online instruction. I'm open to this being a high-school student or college student with neat handwriting. We're in Orinda. Many thanks! looking for a patient tutor

You need an occupational therapist not a high schooler. My son has horrible penmanship too

I'd highly recommend using Handwriting Without Tears materials to improve your son's penmanship. You can purchase workbooks from their website. I've had a lot of success with their curriculum in my classroom. Teacher

Writing tutor for middle school

March 2012

I'd like to recommend Dr. Diane Wolf as a writing coach fr high school and middle school students. Diane is a full professor (but not teaching full time schedule) at UC Davis in sociology and the author of several fascinating books. She is also a person who has a great ability to build rapport and encourage students, and she gives meaningful, useful, and reassuring while honest feedback readily. She has been working with my daughter for the past academic year on all kinds f writing, including personal essays for college admissions, papers on topics as diverse as comparative children;s literature,, art history, and epic poetry. I found her through this list, so search the archives for contact information. Judith

Writing tutor for 5th grader

March 2012

We are looking for a well educated, kind writing tutor who will come to our home in North Berkeley to help our daughter to learn the art of writing. She is struggling with focus and self confidence as a writer. She needs support around grammar, spelling and punctuation. How can we make this fun and yet learn important skills for middle school? Thanks! a 5th grade mom

John Chang started tutoring my son around end of 5th grade. My son's school really never taught him grammar, but even more, he used to just stare at the piece of paper and had fear about writing. I am so grateful that I found John. He not only comes to our house, and spend a full hour at a very reasonable rate, but have transformed my son to a writer who is pretty much at the top of his class. (He now goes to a very competitive high school too!) His grammar, sentence structure, composition are all amazing. I am awed when I read his work. He also now excels in critical reading comprehension (thank you John!) at such level that the PSAT he just took was really astonishing. His ability to write now spills over to history, where his papers are really clear, well written and organized. I really highly recommend John. He is easy going but thorough, and always on time. My son has really bonded with him and looks forward to him coming to our house. I think he actually have some space right now. grateful mom
(May 2015 Editor Note: John Chang passed away in Dec 2014.)

To the parents looking for writing help for their fifth-grade student: Jamie Keller has been working with my 5th grade son for six months. During that time, she has taken a child who wouldn't get out of the car and turned him into a child who doesn't want to stop writing when he's with her and can't wait to read what he's written to me and to his father. Her website for more info is www.learnwithme.com. Constance

Tutor for 3rd grader reading below grade level and behind in writing

April 2011

I have a 3rd grader who is reading below grade level and is behind in writing skills. I am looking for an experienced Ed. Therapist / tutor ASAP who is patient, creative, and has excellent credentials and who is effective! I live in Berkeley and would like to find someone local. Susan

My third grade son has been working with a tutor here in Berkeley twice a week for the last year and half. He was working on writing and reading skills with Peggy Connell and has made tremendous progress. She has been extremely flexible, used her great sense of humor to keep him motivated and always used his interests as a vehicle to teach varing content. When starting with her, he was extremely reluctant to even write a paragraph, and has since then developed the skills to organize and carry-out short assignments independently. Part of his issue is his lack of organizational skills surrounding writing which were greatly helped through her use of graphic organizers and brainstorming. She always provided a warm and nurturing environment, which helped keep distractions to a minimum. She holds a masters degree in special education and educational therapy. You can contact her at (510) 644- 1010 or peggyjconnell [at] yahoo.com mom who has been there

Sept 2010

Our son has been with his writing tutor John Chang for almost 3 years now and he has gone from struggling to express himself to wanting to become a writer as a profession (he is 15 now). John comes to our house and read all the books that is assigned to our son on his own time. He is easy going and connected immediately to our son who eagerly awaits his arrival every week. John is also versed in history (since many of the writing assignments are related to history lessons being taught at school, this has been extremely helpful). Also as a consequence of becoming an excellent writer our son has also become a wonderful speaker.

John also helped him with his ISEE and SSAT preparation, and our son scored in the 90 percentile in vocabulary and reading comprehension. He has experience teaching AP classes (he was a teacher for many years) so I am looking forward to his continued help during our son's high school years. He has students from elementary age all the way to high school. He is very responsible (he calls when he is even 5 min late). Happy mom from Oakland
(May 2015 Editor Note: John Chang passed away in Dec 2014.)

Writing tutor for 6th grader

April 2010

I'm looking for either a class or someone who can work with my son on his writing skills this summer. He's going into the 6th grade at a very challenging school next fall and writing is the one area he really struggles with. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks BPN!!! D

My son is a 7th grader at Willard. He has had a VERY HARD time in English, and really anything that had to do with writing. It was a confidence thing, accompanied by him not being able to express himself creatively. For the past 3 month, I have had him work with a young lady named Ali, whom is a published creative writer. His writing skills have increased 10 fold, and he actually enjoys going to tutoring sessions. You can reach out to her for some ideas.'ali lawrence' ali.lawrence77 [at] gmail.com

Becky Gross is an absolutely fantastic creative writing tutor. And she's a great help with other types of writing, like book reports, too, if needed. She tutors middle school and high school students, and I'm sure she'd be great for your son. She has a loyal following and is much beloved. beckelecita [at] pacbell.net Judy

Jan 20 2010

Amy Draizen has been a writing and organizational support to our child for the past 7 years. Starting in 6th grade, it was clear that these areas were tremendously challenging for him. Due to her thoughtful, experienced and patient guidance, he is now a superlative writer and can develop his ideas, write a comprehensive outline, and complete an outstanding essay on his own. She understood his quirks and strengths and worked with him to help him achieve in ways that he never expected were possible. I can't recommend Amy highly enough. She can be reached at: adraizen [at] mindspring.com

Writing coach for 8th grader

March 2008

I am looking for a writing class for my 13 year old daughter who is entering 8th grade next year. While she is very bright and gets excellent grades, I am concerned about the lack of sophistication in her expository writing. She just does not express herself clearly in writing and needs some help on techniques for improvement, especially as she gets closer to high school. I admit that this is one area where I feel let down by the public schools as no teacher has pointed out what I have seen as an obvious issue for several years. I envision she would do better in a group environment with other kids for this particular issue. Concerned about Writing

My daughter attended the Classroom Matters summer writing class and found it valuable. I think they may have a couple of choices this summer. Karen

April 2006

my son's reading tutor has an opening on mondays from 5PM to 6PM. if your child has any type of reading challenge, don't delay! statistics show that if your child is behind by third grade, he or she will only fall further behind by ninth grade unless there is some intervention. teachers don't have enough time to devote to one-on-one instruction/attention. we have been working with lisa glicksman for 2 months now. from the very first session, she had my son's rapt attention and interest. she'll come to your home. she provides all of the materials. she engages the child with fun and interesting games and activities. most importantly, they are making progress with reading fluency and comprehension. my daughter is asking for lisa to be her tutor even though her reading abilities are above benchmark! lisa can be reached at 595-8799 or lisa[at]glixart.com (email updated 9/16/06) Suzie

Dec 07 2005

I can recommend the following reading tutors who were with Reading Revolution in Oakland. My daughter personally worked with Georgia Morrow who is a dream of a tutor. Personable, professional, fun, and engaging.

Georgia Morrow Berkeley 510/644-3220 Morrows2[at]earthlink.net Credentialed teacher. Reading and writing. Pre-school through adult. Training in Reading Revolution and traditional phonics.

Nancy Van Zwalenburg Berkeley 510/548-4867 nancy[at]rb68.com Credentialed teacher. Reading and lower level math. 1st grade \xc2\x96 high school. Trained in Reading Revolution and Making Math Real techniques.

Lisa Glicksman Oakland (510) 595-8799 lisa[at]glixart.com (email updated 9/16/06) Tutors reading and art. 1st grade through adult. Trained in both Reading Revolution and traditional phonics.

Betty Ann Taylor Oakland (510) 763-8571 Btytalr49[at]yahoo.com Reading, writing, elementary math, social studies, science. Pre-school through adult. Sharon

Writing enrichment for middle school students

May 2006

I am part of a group of parents whose Piedmont middle school students need some writing enrichment - not remedial help. These students are all good students, exceptionally strong in math. Does anyone have a recommendation for a writing/research tutor who would be good for working with a group (4-6) of eight graders? I have checked the archives and didn't see anyone who seemed specifically appropriate. Thanks! Mom

I can highly recommend Kristan Willits (kwillits[at]earthlink.net) as an excellent writing tutor for your middle schoolers. My 8th grader is also strong in math, science and music and has average skills in writing (more right-brained than left-brained in general) and Kristan has definitely helped her improve her writing. Kristan is very perceptive in her assessment of how a person writes and how the various components of their writing are operating and then in working with the kid to improve the elements. In working with my daughter, she has been patient, positive and, from my point of view, productive. The quality of my middle-schooler's writing is more mature. Besides teaching her new skills and strategies, I think Kris is effective because she has also helped my daughter learn how to access and employ what's already in her own brain. We plan on continuing with her throughout high school as well! I think Kristan is looking to offer a summer writing clinic so email or call her about that at 510-540-9562 Dee

Jun 03 2006

My 12 year old daughter has thrived with private tutoring with Grey Matter. I was fighting with my daughter over homework and destroying our relationship. John Chang at Grey Matters gave my daughter the extra edge she needed to excel in school and I am less anxious. He has flexible hours and a previous teacher. william
(May 2015 Editor Note: John Chang passed away in Dec 2014.)

5th Grade Boy Needs Writing Mentor

Nov 2003

Our 5th grade (11 year old) son needs some extra help with his writing skills. He has excellent reading comprehension, good handwriting and ok spelling. He seems to understand the use of notetaking, webs, and checklists before embarking on an essay, but it often doesn't progress beyond that. He can orally express complete and sequencial thoughts (with some prompting) but has difficulty ''remembering what he said'' when it comes to writing it all out. We're looking for writing specialist/mentor since we believe a personal connection would facilitate the learning. Our son is into skateboarding, swimming, skiing and baseball as well as non-violent video games. Can anyone recommend where to look? Thanks. LESLIE

I can highly recommend a colleague of mine, at a local independant school. His data: Andrew von Mayrhauser (referred to as Mr. von) 32 years old 6th Grade Teacher for 10 years (3 in Oakland,7 in Maryland) Writing specialist- was exclusively a writing teacher for five years Has passion for writing and enjoying life Connects well with kids, especially 5th - 8th grade Tutoring references available PHONE: 510 261 4373 avonmayrhauser AT headroyce.org Give him a call or drop him an email, he connects well with the kids by introducing a variety of ways of being creative. Shahana

Hi, I have heard great things about Ivy Sandz, who runs reading/writing programs and tutors. http://www.literacyaccess.com/reading.html susan

January 2004

I'd like to post my recommendation for Kristan Willits, whose tutoring services I sought for my child after reading positive reports at the Parents Network website. My 7th grade son has a learning disability in written expression, which means that learning to express himself in writing in the traditional way taught in the classroom doesn't always work for him. Any writing assignment had potential for bringing on a meltdown at home and worse, my son was losing confidence. Kristan was able to break down the writing process in a way that made sense to him. With her help, he now has many strategies to use and his confidence has been restored. Kristan also welcomed my input and gave me good feedback and helpful ideas for helping my son at home. I have no doubt that Kristan's patient, supportive style and ability to tailor strategies to the individual would work for students of all different needs and abilities. She can be reached at The Socratic Method, 510/540-9562. Signed, Pleased Parent

Jan 2003

I would like to recommend Matt Eggers as a great reading/writing tutor and as a homework coach. Matt has been working with my son, who used to resist any help, and after a few months I'm very impressed with his results. You can reach Matt at 415-206-1856. Silvia

July 2001

I would like to recommend Melissa Levine as a tutor. She has a B.A. from Yale and an M.A. from Washington University in St.Louis. Extensive experience teaching and tutoring reading, writing, grammar, and literature at all levels--elementary through college. (She's a published writer and journalist, too.) Can also tutor Spanish and French at the elementary and junior high levels. $50/hr. Call at 510-666-9068 or email at mlevine at mindspring.com. Christy

Mar 2001

To the person looking for a writing tutor or a summer writing class, please contact Becky Gross. Her phone number is 510-849-4877. She is quite wonderful and really gets teens writing! PS My son also thinks she is terrific. Lynne
(updated May 2003)

Regarding the search for a writing class or tutor posted in the last newsletter: I'd like to recommend Molly Gales - who runs a tutorting service called Classroom Matters - a truly inspired tutor and mentor for teens.