Step-Up
English & Writing 
 
Step-Up English & Writing is a comprehensive program that fortifies the critical thinking and analytical skills needed to develp masterful command of Language Arts. Classes are determined by grade and skill level to foster a sense of community and social normalcy. The curriculum is targeted to reinforce and complement school-taught lessons, with individual feedback and edits provided by the instructor.
Classes are online and conducted in mini-groups.
Grades 3 & 4 will aim for two to three informative paragraphs, including compare/contrast. For Grades 5 and up, the goal will be to write three to five paragraphs, including compare/contrast and persuasive essays.
Maximum of eight students per class. Materials and guidance provided at no extra cost.
  • $30/wk for English Reading & Comprehension (3rd-8th, Wed) and English Reading & Extended Writing (3rd-8th, Fri)
  • $120/wk for English Essay Writing (6th-8th grade, intensive, Mon-Thur 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM or 11:00AM - 12:00PM)
Use the table of contents below to quickly jump to a certain grade level's course description:
Grades 3-4 >
Grades 5-6 >
Grades 7-8 > 
 

3rd-4th Graders

Wednesday/Friday 

1:30 - 2:30 PM or

2:30 - 3:30 PM

Pacific Time

Instructor:

Don Maker

What You'll Learn:

 

Reading Comprehension: from direct information to the subtleties of indirect
information, including analysis of the tone of the writing.

Vocabulary: including pronunciation, definition and connotation, plus idioms.

Proper Syntax: includes word choice, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Brainstorming: how to develop strong evidence (information) and a thesis (opinion) on any topic, and then organize those ideas to create a powerful paragraph.
Compelling Writing: includes clear ideas, excellent sentences from simple to
complex, well-constructed paragraphs, persuasive arguments, and dynamic topic sentences and concluding sentences.

Requirements:

1. A computer/tablet with strong Internet and video/audio capability.
2. A printer or paper and pen/pencil.
2. A desire to master the English Language!

Description:

Each week, there will be an independent unit focused on reading
comprehension and simple writing. The first class will include a 1-2 page story (at grade level) about science, history, or famous people. Some reading comprehension questions will test basic understanding. Instruction will include vocabulary and how to understand what the question is asking and how to find the correct answer. The second class will focus on how to write a 2-3 complete sentence responses to questions based on the text. Instruction will include spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and one aspect of grammar. The lessons will gradually become longer and the questions and writing more complex.

 

While the classes start at a basic level and become progressively more
advanced, the classes are structured so that students are learning skills that are in advance of public schools. In particular, formal grammar is taught, which is not a strong element in most public schools. The curriculum places students to be ahead of the curve, not struggling to keep up. While Iessons are enjoyable and enriching, the academic and personal success of each student is always the highest priority.

A Course for Whom?:

1. Fourth graders or advanced third graders who want to improve their reading and writing by at least one grade level.
2. Those readers and writers lacking in confidence.
3. Children wanting to improve their reading and writing for personal pleasure.

5th-6th Graders

Wednesday/Friday 

3:30 - 4:30 PM or

4:30 - 5:30 PM

Pacific Time

Instructor:

Don Maker

What You'll Learn:

 

Reading Comprehension: from direct information to the subtleties of indirect
information, including analysis of the tone and bias in relation to the message.

Vocabulary: including pronunciation, definition and connotation, plus idioms.
Proper Syntax: includes word choice, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Brainstorming: how to develop strong evidence (information) and a thesis (opinion) on any topic, and then organize those ideas to create a powerful 3- and then a 5-paragraph essay.
Compelling Writing: includes clear ideas, excellent sentences from simple to
complex, well-constructed paragraphs, persuasive arguments, and dynamic openings and conclusions.

Requirements:

1. A computer/tablet with strong Internet and video/audio capability.
2. A printer or paper and pen/pencil.
2. A desire to master the English Language!

Description:

Each week, there will be an independent unit focused on reading
comprehension and writing. A text of 2-3 pages (at grade level or slightly above) will cover science, history, or famous people. The first class will include vocabulary and short reading comprehension questions. Instruction will include how to understand what the question is asking and how to find the correct answer. The second class will focus on how to brainstorm for a longer response based on the text, and then writing of between two to three informative paragraphs, including compare and contrast and opinion. Instruction will include organization and technical aspects of writing (grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.) as well as how to use the text to include relevant information. The lessons will gradually become longer and the questions and writing more complex.

 

While the classes start at a basic level and become progressively more
advanced, the classes are structured so that students are learning skills that are in advance of public schools. In particular, formal grammar is taught, which is not a strong element in most public schools. The curriculum places students to be ahead of the curve, not struggling to keep up. While Iessons are enjoyable and enriching, the academic and personal success of each student is always the highest priority.

A Course for Whom?:

1. Fifth or sixth graders who want to improve their reading and writing by at least
one grade level.
2. Those readers and writers lacking in confidence.
3. Children wanting to improve their reading and writing for personal pleasure.

7th-8th Graders

Wednesday/Friday 

5:30 - 6:30 PM

Pacific Time

Instructor:

Don Maker

What You'll Learn:

 

Reading Comprehension: from direct information to the subtleties of indirect
information, including analysis of the tone of the writing.

Vocabulary: including pronunciation, definition and connotation, plus idioms.

Proper Syntax: includes word choice, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Brainstorming: how to develop strong evidence (information) and a thesis (opinion) on any topic, and then organize those ideas to create a powerful 5-paragraph essay.
Compelling Writing: includes clear ideas, excellent sentences from simple to
complex, well-constructed paragraphs, persuasive arguments, and dynamic openings and conclusions.

Requirements:

1. A computer/tablet with strong Internet and video/audio capability.
2. A printer or paper and pen/pencil.
3. A desire to master the English Language!

Description:

Each week, there will be an independent unit focused on reading
comprehension and writing. A text of 3-4 pages (at grade level or slightly above) will cover science, history, or famous people. Fiction may also be included. The first class will include vocabulary and short reading comprehension questions, both multiple choice and those requiring writing of complete sentences. Instruction will include how to understand what the question is asking and how to find the correct answer. The second class will focus on how to brainstorm for a longer response based on the text, and then writing of between three to five paragraphs. Writing will include some informative (including compare and contrast) and persuasive essays. Instruction will include organization and technical aspects of writing (grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.) as well as how to use the text to include relevant information. The lessons will gradually become longer and the questions and writing more complex, leading to full essays with research.

 

While the classes start at a basic level and become progressively more
advanced, to include some research, the classes are structured so that students are learning skills that are in advance of public schools. In particular, formal grammar is taught, which is not a strong element in most public schools. The curriculum places students to be ahead of the curve, not struggling to keep up. While Iessons are enjoyable and enriching, the academic and personal success of each student is always the highest priority.

A Course for Whom?:

1. Seventh or eighth graders (or highly advanced sixth graders) who want to
improve their reading and writing by at least one grade level.
2. Middle school students who want to prepare their English skills for high school.
3. Those readers and writers lacking in confidence.
4. Students wanting to improve their reading and writing for personal pleasure.