How to Write Your First Persuasive Essay

You might have heard of this elusive ‘essay,’ but have never had the pleasure of writing one. It may seem overwhelming or daunting, but trust us, it isn’t!  Essays are just a way to argue a point. A persuasive essay is even more fun because it is just a way to argue in order to convince someone that you are correct — and we all love to be correct!

Often teachers will introduce the format of an essay by asking students to write an opinion or persuasive essay. The typical format of an essay while in middle and high school is usually 5 paragraphs: an introduction paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion paragraph. So, before you start getting anxious, follow these 5 steps and conquer your first essay!

#1 Select a Side

Considering Both Sides

Sometimes it’s hard to pick a side when writing about a particular issue, but essays require us to argue for one side, and one side only. So, before you pick the side you think is the strongest, why not prove it to yourself by making a T-Chart. Write the two sides of the argument (sometimes this is pros vs. cons, but not always) at the top of the T-Chart. Then, try to come up with at least 3 arguments for each side. The side with the objectively best arguments should become the basis of your essay.

#2 Prepare Your Plan

Prepare a Plan

Graphic organizers are the best. Whether you are just mapping out the sub-arguments, or if you are filling out a graphic organizer in complete sentences, organizing your work is immensely helpful. The internet is full of amazing graphic organizers, so snoop around and find one that you love! We also love using Inspiration because it is so colourful and customize-able!

#3 Think Through Your Thesis

Think about your thesis

Your argument should be summed up in one sentence, and that sentence is called your thesis statement. The thesis statement is usually found in the last sentence of your introduction paragraph, and it provides your audience with a clear understanding of what your essay will be arguing. It’s okay to change the wording or specifics of your thesis in the revising and editing processes, but just make sure it reflects your central point.

#4 Provide Proof

A.P.E.: Argue, Prove, ExplainProof for an opinion essay comes in the form of common knowledge, real-world examples, and/or personal experiences. Each paragraph needs a least one piece of proof, and often has three pieces of proof that supports each body paragraph’s sub-argument. We suggest using the APE Strategy to ensure that you don’t forget to introduce your proof and explain how it supports your overall argument.

#5 Revise and Edit

Revision and Editing

Revision and editing is the last step of all written expression, and for good reason. This step is crucial because you can catch silly little mistakes you might have made along the way. We recommend reading your essay out loud. You can choose to read it out loud to yourself, or to a friend or family member. We also recommend that you check for homonyms and other word errors while you’re proofreading. Common word errors are: their/there/they’re, affect/effect, then/than, and accept/except.

Still think you need some assistance with your writing?  Contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space to inquire about our newly developed online Essay Coach Program to help!  You’ll be introduced to each of these strategies and more during our extensive, skill-based essay writing programs. We offer online one-on-one, as well as group classes. 

5 Ways to Help Prepare Your Teen for High School

hallwayHeading to high school is a big step. It’s a new chapter in your teen’s life with  new teachers, new classes, new hallways, new expectations… and that can be intimidating. Too many kids are totally unprepared for what awaits them at their new school in the fall and so their first experiences can be stressful.

We suggest that you help your recent elementary grads by sprinkling in some hidden skill-building fun while basking in the summer sun!  It’ll ease the stress of September and build confidence!


Write More!Creative

Letters might be a lost art, but I’m calling for a revival. There is nothing better than the joy of finding a letter in the mailbox. Encourage your teen to write postcards and letters while on trips or when visiting Grandma and Grandpa. Note: Texting doesn’t count as a letter.

Daily writing can be therapeutic. Suggest writing in a journal nightly. Learning to express yourself clearly through writing is a valuable life skill, so the content doesn’t really matter, it’s all about the effort. Sometimes kids need a little encouragement, so here are some summer journaling ideas from Simple as That.


Get an agenda

At the beginning of the school year, most schools will either provide each student with an agenda or one will be available to purchase.  However, many kids don’t know how to use it. Getting into a routine of using a calendar or an agenda is incredibly helpful for people of all ages, and summer is the perfect time to start.  Encourage your teen to begin by adding all of the fun stuff — camp, sleepovers, birthdays, trips — and then add tasks or chores they are responsible for. Check in once a week to see how they’re doing!


Visit the school

If your teen is expressing some anxiety about not knowing where things are in a new school, take a tour! Most schools are still open a week after the last day of school, and a week before the first day of school.  Squelch worry by brainstorming ways to make new friends, and how to ask for help from teachers!


Read… Anything!8435321969_c1eea0631a_o

This just in: reading books in the summer doesn’t cause allergic reactions! Not a single hive or rash to be found. Incredible news, right? Reading is a great way to relax, and a fantastically fun way to exercise those brain muscles. It doesn’t matter if your teen is reading Shakespeare’s folio or a favourite sci-fi author — just keep reading. Lead by example by bringing a book to the beach or have dedicated reading time at night.

Need some book suggestions? Check out our blog, Throwback Summer Reads — Tween Edition for some great titles.


Hone Those Skills

If your teen had trouble last year academically in any area or lacks confidence, find a program this summer that will help build the skills needed  boost confidence. Don’t wait until the middle of the school year!  There are so many wonderful programs and academic summer camps that foster and develop foundational skills.  Of course it is hard to hit the books while on summer vacation, but spending a week learning how to organize an essay will save your teen (and you!), from a lot of unnecessary stress during the year.

Don’t forget to get outside this summer and explore. Some of the best learning comes from exploring the world around you. Remember to enjoy your vacation — it doesn’t last forever, so make every second count.

There are a plethora of fantastic programs  and one-on-one classes offered by Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space to help your teen hone skills before high school. This summer we are offering two essay coach camps where teens can build the necessary essay-writing skills to help them confidently tackle any essay a teacher throws their way! Happy learning!

5 Strategies to Help Prepare for University

The change between high school and university is dramatic, no matter where you go to school. Many high school students feel a mix of excitement, stress, and fear in the months leading up to post-secondary.

Ease your anxiety by preparing for university with these five strategies:


Organize

Agenda
Agendas help to keep you organized!

Get a calendar or an agenda and start using it, daily. Incorporate it into your daily routine. Check your calendar when you wake up and when you hit the hay. Add appointments, dates with friends, and upcoming trips or events.  That way, when you get your syllabuses for your classes you can easily enter that information into an existing calendar.

If you don’t like using the antiquated method of paper and pen, look into calendar apps for your  smart phone. The teachers at RRLS are fond of iCal and Google Calendar.


Read 

Read with a buddy!
Read with a buddy!

Keep your thought-box in tip-top condition by reading a lot – all summer. Definitely pick books that pique your interest, but remember to challenge yourself by reading books with some unfamiliar vocabulary — it’s good exercise for that brain!

If you are taking classes in the humanities, try to find last year’s reading list. Professors usually choose a lot of the same books from year to year, so check it out and get a head start! It’ll save you a lot of time during the school year and your future self will definitely thank you.


Write 

Don’t let those writing skills of yours wane over the summer break — you will need them when September comes, no matter what your discipline of study is. We encourage you to journal about anything that interests you, blog about new movies, apps, or games, or write short annotations or opinion pieces about articles you’ve read recently. If you’re feeling really ambitious, write essays!


Goal-set

Take a day and honestly reflect on what you want to get out of your university experience. Make sure your goals are SMART (Specific, Attainable,  Relevant, Time-bound) and that you set a plan for how to achieve them. A good goal might be to improve your study habits, but unless you know how to do that, it’ll be frustratingly unattainable.


Strengthen Skills 

Tutoring
Foster the necessary skills over the summer

Taking the summer to fine-tune and foster important academic skills is smart. When you get to university, professors will expect you to already know how to research and write papers without being provided with scaffolding or graphic organizers. If you feel your skills aren’t up to snuff, or if you feel instant anxiety when you hear the phrase, 2000 word essay, find a program that will help you foster your writing skills before the school year begins!

The Essay Coach is a fantastic, online essay writing course designed to strengthen your essay-writing skills.  You work with a certified teacher one-on-one and leave with new strategies, skills, resources to use in the future, and a finished, polished essay! We are also offering group classes this summer. Contact us for more information. 

New Online Essay Coach Program From Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space Teaches College, High-School and Junior High Students How to Leverage Critical Thinking to Create Superior Essays

Taught by Certified and Experienced English Teachers, Students Receive Professional Online Coaching on How to Think About and Write College Common Application, Literary, Opinion, and Research Essays

By Ruth Rumack

Toronto, Ontario – For parents, teachers and school guidance counselors seeking professional essay counseling services for their students, Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space (RRLS) is now providing a seasoned team of experienced educators to coach students through the essay-writing process. Students learn how to write superior college common apps, literary, opinion and research essays. Click here to sign up.

The Essay Coach is a face-to-face, online teaching program designed to develop critical thinking skills and a thorough understanding of the essay-writing process for students in Grades 7 through 12, and those attending leading universities and community colleges.

Ruth Rumack Learning Space Essay Coach
Ruth Rumack Learning Space Essay Coach

Ruth Rumack’s Essay Coaches are experienced, certified teachers who instill students with the strategic thinking, research, and writing skills they need, not only to succeed on individual assignments, but also to become confident, capable writers in all areas of their lives. During the online coaching sessions, personal Essay Coaches encourage students to become discerning researchers; demonstrate how to structure ideas and research notes into well-thought out, organized theses or persuasive arguments; and teach them how to use APA, MLA or Chicago style citations to deliver written essays with impeccable grammar and formatting.

“Our Essay Coach program is a life-changer for kids who want to be the best students they can be, but need precise instruction in order to blaze a path toward successful writing,” says Ruth Rumack, RRLS’ Director of Education. “Parents also enjoy using our service as a buffer to have someone from outside of the family circle who can establish a structured and systematic approach to writing, which inspires self-discipline in the student, and relieves stress within the family. Our program is not a quick-fix; we are not an essay-writing service. Rather, we build a student’s writing skills for a lifetime of success.”

More information on Ruth Rumack’s Essay Coaching Services:

All lessons are delivered via Adobe Connect web conferencing service, which does not require any software downloads! It is as easy as clicking on a single link! Students can see, hear, and collaborate with their RRLS Essay Coaches in real time.

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Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space Offers Alpha-Mania Early Childhood Education Storybooks for Parents, Educators, Day Care Centers, Nurseries, Preschools and Franchises for School Readiness

Alpha-Mania Teaches Children Five Essential Predictors of Reading Success: Sound-Symbol Correspondence, Rhyming and Alliteration, Blending, Segmenting and Recognizing Sounds Within Words

By Ruth Rumack

Toronto, Ontario – For the past 16 years, the Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space (RRLS) has used Alpha-Mania storybooks to teach early literacy and phonological awareness skills to children in preschool through 1st grade via personalized one-to-one teaching sessions, interactive teacher-led group classes and licensed lesson plans. The company targets daycares, nursery schools and homeschools throughout Canada and is now taking new orders from the United States, the United Kingdom, India, Philippines, Australia and other English speaking countries. Please call (416) 925-1225 to learn more.

The Alpha-Mania storybooks encourage interactions between readers and children that promote the development of early-reading skills. They are colorful, animated adventures that take children on board pirate ships with the Alpha-Mania crew to sail the seven seas in search of consonants and vowels in a wonderful and intriguing world of sounds, symbols and words.

On their exciting adventures, captivated children are introduced to the five essential predictors of reading success in order to inspire reading confidence:

1. Sound-Symbol Correspondence
2. Rhyming and Alliteration (repetition of the first sound in a group of words)
3. Blending (combining individual sounds to make words)
4. Segmenting (separating words into individual parts and sounds)
5. Recognizing Sounds within Words

In addition to the existing Alpha-Mania storybooks, the RRLS staff will soon be conducting an Alpha-Mania crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo.com to raise money to take these important lessons into the electrifying new world of digital education technology.

The main goal of the crowdfunding campaign will be to make the Alpha-Mania early childhood literacy program available to schools, literacy centers and other organizations that educate children.

Alpha-Mania Early Childhood Learning and Literacy
Alpha-Mania Early Childhood Learning and Literacy

Students, parents, teachers and schools who donate money to the crowdfunding campaign will be able to enter a contest to name characters, animals, ships, islands, places and treasure coves throughout the Alpha-Mania storybooks that will be printed after the crowdfunding campaign.

Once the printed storybooks have been finalized, RRLS will use a portion of the crowdfunding proceeds to take the Alpha-Mania adventures into the world of digital media.

E-books and apps will come first, followed by a newly designed website and a web series that will allow parents and teachers to use smartphones, tablets and personal computers to download Alpha-Mania lessons and use them to teach children early childhood pre-reading, reading and other literacy skills.

Fun Early Childhood Learning with Alpha-Mania  at Ruth Rumack's Learning Center
Fun Early Childhood Learning with Alpha-Mania at Ruth Rumack’s Learning Center

If you would like to follow our progress, please click here to sign up for our free HeadTalker news alert, which will notify everyone via social media when the details of the new crowdfunding campaign are released on May 25, 2015.

The first storybook, Captain Ray and the Rhyming Pirates, is now available for purchase for $15 on the RuthRumack.com website. Volume discounts are available for franchises, pre-schools, day care centers, nurseries and other types of educational organizations that buy in bulk. Please call (416) 925-1225 to speak with Ruth Rumack for volume sales pricing information.