Why Come to us?
In his book, Five Minds for the Future (2008), Howard Gardner, a professor of cognition and education at Harvard, discusses the kinds of “minds” that are needed going forward. One of these is “the creative mind.” These are people who develop new ideas that eventually get accepted by others.
Our inquiry-based classes are designed to help young people develop their ability to think critically and creatively. Unlike many other programs, we administer placement tests to ensure that the students who take our courses are ready for the kinds of rigorous thinking that will be demanded of them. Regardless of their current grade level, our mission is to help them build the habits of mind that will take them through college and beyond.
To accomplish this, we involve our students in all aspects of the language arts. Each course requires students to read a variety of texts – classical and contemporary – print and web-based. But the readings are not treated as ends in themselves. Rather, they serve as springboards for student thinking and writing.
Our courses recognize that writing is more than just self-expression – it’s “thinking on paper.” Good writers possess a level of knowledge of the world that enlivens their prose. They demonstrate broad vocabularies, and a solid command of the conventions of language and grammar.
We provide a language-rich environment, and encourage our students to submit their writing for possible publication, enter writing contests appropriate for their age and grade levels, participate in spelling bees and join debating and/or public speaking teams.
We Provide Group (4-10), Private (1-1), and Semi-private (1-2, 1-3) for all courses listed below.
|The Literacy Club||Focusing on helping students (G1-2) build the foundation and beginning literacy skills required by CCSS.|
|EL1||Elementary Literacy Level I (G2-3): Advanced Reading & Writing|
|EL2||Elementary Literacy Level II (G4-5): Advanced Reading & Writing|
|EL3||Elementary Literacy Level III (G5-6): Advanced Reading & Writing|
|ML||Middle School Literacy Arts (G7-8): Advanced Reading & Writing|
|WT||Tadpole Writing Club (G2-3): the course offers young children a chance to focus on the craft of writing.|
|WM||What should I write (G4-5): this course is designed to provide additional support to older students whose reading abilities have outpaced their writing skills.|
|WS||Having Your Say (G6-7): In this course, students will learn about the different rhetorical modes, how to write each kind of essay, and the essential building blocks of good writing.|
|WA||The Art of Argument (G8-10): this course develops students’ ability to conduct research, synthesize information from a variety of reliable sources, formulate and defend a position, and communicate that position effectively, both orally and in writing, as well as for those who are considering membership on a debating team.|
|SAT Reading & Writing||10 sessions (fall/spring)|
|SAT Subject Literature||12 sessions (fall/spring)|
|ACT English||10 sessions (fall/spring)|
|SSAT English||10 sessions (fall)|
|PSAT English||10 sessions (fall)|
|AP English Language and Composition||15 session (spring)|
|AP English Literature and Composition||15 session (spring)|
Writing Contest Participation
We encourage and direct our students to participate in different writing contests depending on their unique talents and interests. The following are a few examples of such contests:
PBS KIDS GO! Writer’s Contest (Gr. K-3)
This writing contest has both a regional and national component. After reading the contest guidelines–which include helpful information about how to brainstorm and outline a story and the elements of a story–kids can submit illustrated stories to their local PBS station. Each station chooses winners, who are then submitted for entry in the national contest.
TIME for Kids’ TFK Kid Reporter Contest (Ages 13 and younger)
TIME for Kids is a non-fiction weekly news magazine for classrooms, a child-oriented version of its parent, TIME Magazine. Many of the articles are written by TFK’s Kid Reporters, a job for which the magazine opens a talent search each year in March–the TFK Kid Reporter Contest. Entrants must be 13 years old or younger and write a compelling news story about a school or community event, complete with a headline and interview subjects.
Kids Are Authors (Scholastic, K-8)
This annual contest is unique in that it focuses on kids working collaboratively to create a piece of illustrated work in the form of a children’s book. The 21-29 page book can be fiction or non-fiction and must be created by a group of three or more students. Not only does this writing contest help kids learn to work together, but it also teaches them about formatting manuscripts for children’s books, as submissions must be formatted according to the guidelines. The winning book is published by Scholastic and sold at Scholastic Book Fairs across the nation.
Letters About Literature (Gr. 4 to 10)
Sponsored by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, the annual Letters About Literature is an interesting competition in that it combines both reading and writing. Students must write an essay (in the form of a letter) describing how a certain book or author had a profound effect on their outlook on life. Students are grouped by age into three different levels, all of which are judged at both a state and national level. Entries are judged on the merits of composition (grammar, organization and language skills); content (how well the theme has been addressed) and voice. National winners receive a monetary or gift card prize as well as sizeable “LAL Reading Promotion” grant in their name for the local school district.
Scholastic Art & Writing Awards (Gr. 7 to 12)
This prestigious contest was begun in 1923 and has had such notable people as Sylvia Plath, Robert Redford, Joyce Carol Oates and Truman Capote amongst its winners. Writers in grades 7 through 12 may submit work in one or more of the following categories: Dramatic Script, Flash Fiction, Humor, Journalism, Personal Essay, Persuasive Writing, Poetry, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Short Story and Novel Writing. Entries are judged both regionally and nationally–the highest level regional work is submitted for national consideration. National level winners are published in anthologies and Scholastic publications.
Weekly Reader’s Student Publishing Contest (Gr. 3 to 12)
This national, nonfiction writing contest is sponsored by the Association of Educational Publishers (and Weekly Reader) and is split into two age categories: grades 3–8 and grades 9-12. Kids can submit memoirs, essays or news stories between 500 and 2,500 words or submit original print or online student publication for consideration. Only five winners are chosen, each of whom will get a round-trip flight to Washington, D.C. (and one for a parent or teacher-sponsor) to attend the award ceremony, as well as a SMART board, plaque and check for their school.
We provide after-school and weekend elementary, middle and high school academic enrichment programs for
gifted students and students who love challenging subjects. Our programs help students compete successfully in regional and national contests.