BY POPULAR DEMAND — TEACHING ADVANCED READING AND WRITING TO OVERACHIEVERS
In an ever-competitive environment where admission rates to Ivy League schools and other prestigious universities fall each year, parents of over-achieving students are pushing the achievement boundary further and further. In some circles, particularly among the academic elites of New York City, New Jersey, Westchester County and Silicon Valley, advanced math tutoring, computer programming classes, Mandarin Chinese lessons, musical instruments performed to a near-virtuoso level and sports played at state levels are considered “the norm” for achievement. And all this in one child. But somewhere among the achievement rat-race, Westchester County mother Helen Whang, a Cornell grad who practiced law as a litigator in New York, noticed that there was a lack of resources to learn the critical fundamental skills of reading and writing outside the classroom.
“I wanted to make sure that my sons were equipped with the requisite skills to be able to succeed in school and later on, in the workplace. As an attorney, I know how important good reading and writing skills are, and yet, I felt that these essential skills, particularly writing, were not being emphasized,” states Helen, the CEO of English Hound, an online tutoring company specializing in reading and writing for advanced students. “Great reading and writing skills are not something you can necessarily put on your resume for college admissions but it will help you become more successful in school at all levels. It is a fundamental skill,” she adds.
In fact, Helen started English Hound with a small mission to teach reading and writing to learners of English as a Second Language (ESL) in both the U.S. and Korea via Skype, allowing Helen to find the best English teachers in America without geographical constraints. However, as English Hound grew, Helen noticed a trend. More and more of her friends and colleagues were inquiring about reading and writing classes for their academically over-achieving children from top-notch schools, particularly in late elementary and middle schools. And the kids themselves were asking their parents for these lessons. One 7th grader even found English Hound online himself and asked his mother to enroll him.
“We were puzzled at first as to why kids who were already getting straight A’s and A pluses in prestigious, academically rigorous schools were asking for reading and writing classes. But then it hit us that the kids did not feel that they were being adequately prepared in school to be good critical readers and great writers. Many schools cater to the average student. We help our students who are at the top of their classes to get the intellectual challenge they need,” states Haemi Kim, English Hound’s Program Development Director and a former teacher. More so than the ESL courses, English Hound focuses primarily on teaching high-level reading and writing to advanced students who want to take their skills to the next level. So much so that English Hound has revised its curriculum offerings to include high school level courses which were not offered previously.
What differentiates English Hound from other tutoring sites is its fierce commitment to the quality of its teachers and course offerings as well as a very high degree of personal attention paid to each individual student. Each potential teacher applicant undergoes a strict screening process and is personally selected by Helen who insists on several demo classes as part of the hiring process. As a result, English Hound’s teachers are not only extremely well qualified (some with advanced degrees from top schools such as Columbia and Yale or Ph.D.’s in English composition), they are great teachers as well. In addition, each student is paired with an instructor with the most relevant skill set based on the individual student’s needs. There are even personalized mid-term progress reports during the course and an online homework help center.
The results so far have been fantastic. English Hound has received rave reviews from parents and students alike about how much its courses have helped them. Many have written in commenting on the caliber of its excellent teachers, the ease of taking the courses via Skype, the individualized personal attention, and the breadth of course offerings. English Hound has 100% return rate of students from its Spring Session. According to Helen, “We love challenging our students to become better readers and writers.”
English Hound (www.EnglishHound.com) is an online tutoring company specializing in reading and writing for advanced students and ESL students in the U.S. and Korea. Please visit www.EnglishHound.com for more information about the company or contact Helen Whang at email@example.com.