Category Archives: Writing

“Think Write”: A Summer Writing Workshop for High School Students (2015)

We are extremely excited to present a unique summer writing workshop for high school students in the Princeton, NJ area!

For more details and to sign up, please visit –

Below is a brief description of the program:

“Think Write” is a new 6-week writing workshop designed to prepare 9th through 12th graders for the unique challenges posed by writing at the high school-level. It is often a daunting prospect, even for advanced students. Part of what makes high school writing such a frustrating endeavor is ‘information overload’. High schoolers are exposed to a variety of new writing genres and concepts while simultaneously held to unrealistic grading standards that require students to demonstrate a mastery of writing that they have rarely been taught. Worse still, as students wrestle with these challenges, they do so at a time when skill in writing influences performance on A.P.s, SATs and other standardized tests and can strengthen or weaken a college application.

The “Think Write” program does not simply mimic a high school classroom and review what students encounter there. Instead, an extremely limited class size enables “Think Write” to deploy activities that encourage students to play with language, shape it and share their insights with peers. The program is a blend of Eton-style rigor with hands-on activities and collaborative projects that are both effective and creative. “Think Write” is designed to help students discover and utilize their strengths as writers, grapple with and conquer their weaknesses and, ultimately, forge a new relationship to writing that will facilitate future academic successes.

However, there is no strong writing without strong thinking.

More broadly, “Think Write” does not just offer students the tools to articulate their ideas and opinions; it is also engineered to help students hone their analytical reasoning skills (see “Program Structure” below for more details).Thus, students are able to not simply express ideas but to form them with greater complexity. To repeat a truism, writing makes thought visible; it also encourages writers to sharpen not just their pencils but their wit.

For more details and to sign up, please visit –

Literary Terms and Devices Part III: Finding Meaning

1001_findingmeaning_mailer_facebookMy previous posts on literary terms have focused on two major uses of these special devices: understanding and approaching texts and, importantly, writing about them. Here we will emphasize one further purpose: locating meaning. Yes, that could mean anything! But in writing and reading literature, meaning is everything. Training your brain and eye to search for underlying meaning in what you read (and even what you experience in daily life) will teach you to be a better reader, writer, and observer of the world. How is this accomplished in texts? Read on to find out!

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Literary Terms and Devices Part II: Approaching Texts

toneFor those of you preparing for AP English Literature exam (May 2015) this summer, read on! For those preparing for essay sections on the ACT or SAT, bookmark this blog post. While we focused on generally foundational literary terms last week (metaphor/simile, symbol, allusion, hyperbole, and irony), today’s post highlights terms you should definitely stow in your tool bag for those essay portions of college entrance exams. These big guys (diction, syntax, tone, mood, imagery, and denotation/connotation) are all top contenders for analyzing a literary passage and most importantly, writing about it clearly and effectively.

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Literary Terms and Devices Part I: Your Tools to Texts

metaphorJust what are “literary terms” anyways? Although they are certainly not for the faint of heart, literary terms are not reserved for future English majors, writers, and lifetime bookworms. Think of literary terms as tools to store with all that other luggage you rely on when reading a text, writing an essay, or encountering literature. Understanding these terms will mean possessing a vocabulary that will help you approach any text at any time. Convinced yet? Good! Let’s start building that literary backbone!

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How to Separate the Good from the Bad on the SAT – Part 6

This is the last post in the series of How to Separate the Good from the Bad! But, all of the previous tips mentioned don’t just work without any practice. You will need to consistently remind yourself of them and integrate them until they become automatic processes that are ingrained without your memory. The SAT takes work, but fret not because your hard work can pay off! Now, on to this last tip!

guessing numbers(Picture source: Adrienne Heger)

[Continue reading to find out what the last tip is…]

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Grammar Boot Camp Part V: Affect or Effect? Commonly Confused Words

Snarky_affecteffectWhat’s the difference between “affect” and “effect?” Should it be “illicit” or “elicit?” Today’s grammar boot camp session will focus on such ‘almost’ homophones, words that sound quite similar phonetically yet have very different uses. We all get these words easily confused–so pay attention! Make sure your next essay uses the proper forms of the following commonly confused terms.

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Grammar Boot Camp Part IV: Absolutes, Gerunds, and Infinitives

InfinitivespokLast week I discussed the first three of six important phrases in English grammar: participial, appositive, and prepositional phrases. (Need a refresher? Check out “Phrasing it Up”). Today we’ll be looking at three others: absolutes, gerunds, and infinitives. Having a solid knowledge of these six phrases will benefit you on upcoming college entrance exams (especially the ACT or SAT), which is largely the point of my current blog series, Grammar Boot Camp. Additionally, having on hand a variety of phrases will add spice to the sentence structures of your academic essays–always a plus!

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Grammar Boot Camp Part III: Phrasing it Up

keep-calm-and-use-correct-grammar-2-resized-600Apostrophes, clauses, and phrases–oh my! Even though there are actually six types of grammatical phrases, don’t be alarmed. Getting a firm grasp on the differences between appositive, prepositional, gerund, infinitive, participial, and absolute phrases will ensure crisp, original essay writing and higher verbal scores on SAT and ACT exams. That’s right: phrases are all the rage nowadays. For good reason! Today we’ll focus on three of these phrases.

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Grammar Boot Camp Part II: Clauses 101

clausesToday we return to the essential building blocks of writing: those groups of words that, when arranged in a certain way, become “phrases,” “clauses,” and “sentences.” Doubtless you have heard these terms in English class, and most likely have seen them in test-prep books for the SAT and ACT. This blog post will give you the skinny–and more–on the basics of these peculiar word groups.

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Grammar Boot Camp Part 1: Apostrophes

apostrophes-for-saleThis blog post is the first of a new series called “Grammar Boot Camp.” Don’t look so intimidated! My boot camps are certainly rigorous but by the end of it, you will feel primed for the writing sections on the ACT and SAT, essay assignments in English class, and AP English exams.

Let’s get started with one of the basics, those little buggers that hang out at the ends of words and sentences in a world of their own: apostrophes. Believe it or not, these guys have rules, too.

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