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Hit A Home Run With These 3 Spelling Tips

November 30th, 2015

You’ve got a lot of bases to cover when it comes to spelling! You need to memorize rules that will help you remember whether there’s one M or two in the word committee (two), whether you need more than just an S to make a word plural (yes, quite often), and how to avoid making spelling errors with easily-confused words. Since one of the best ways to remember something is to repeat it, it’s useful to spend some time going over things that cause spelling problems, even if it’s just for review. Each time you review a list of words or rules, you’ll create a firmer foundation for the knowledge and stronger links that will help you remember those words in the future. Today, let’s look at three categories of words that create difficulties in spelling: homophones, homonyms, and homographs.

Homophones are words that have different spelling but the same pronunciation. This category of words is tricky if you’re only speaking and listening to the sound of the word, but when you see them written out the words are generally quite different. Getting good at using the right spelling for the right word is really just a matter of getting familiar with the words and how they’re used. Here are some examples of homophones:

aloud / allowed
flour / flower
martial / marshal
thrown / throne

When it comes to homonyms, you might think you’ve solved all your problems! These words have the same spelling and pronunciation, but different meanings. Because the words are identical in appearance and sound, you won’t have to worry about remembering two spellings, but you will have to remember which definition of the word you’re concerned with.

long (in length) / long (to wish for)
bear (the animal) / bear (a burden)
quail (the word) / quail (shrink back)

Homographs have the same spelling, but different pronunciation. Here’s where problems start again, because in this category you’ll find many confusing words, simply because of the way they sound. It’s not logical to have two identically-spelled words sound and mean different things, but there you are, it’s not logical – it’s English! Check out these examples of homographs, and practice saying them out loud.

wind (the movement of air) is pronounced with an IH sound
the verb wind (to wind up a clock) is pronounced with an EYE sound

lead (a soft metal) is pronounced with an EH sound
the verb lead (to go ahead of, to direct) is pronounced with an EE sound

Speed Reading: How To Ace Your Entrance Exams

November 23rd, 2015

Unless they’re an academic prodigy, a student probably won’t take tests like the SAT (originally called the Scholastic Aptitude Test), the LSAT (Law School Admission Test), the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations), or even the GED (General Educational Development, a North American high school equivalency text) until they’re at least 16 or 18 years old. However, preparation for these tests starts months or even years ahead of the actual test date, as students repeat and review information, and learn new vocabulary, and brush up on their math skills. There’s a lot of pressure on students to get high scores – a good score can lead to acceptance by a top university, or provide the edge the student needs to beat other applicants in the race for a limited number of spots in law school. But there’s also something that helps reduce some of this pressure: the skill of speed reading. If you’re planning for these tests in the future, you should start practicing speed reading now.

In order to succeed on tests like these, you’ll need to have a good general knowledge of math, science, literature, English grammar and spelling, history, and sociology. The tests are famous for providing examples and asking questions on many different topics, and the more you know, the easier those questions will be for you. When you’re a speed reader, you’ll have the time to go through more texts on more topics, and your speed reading skills will help with comprehension and memorization as well. Better reading comprehension skills mean that even if you’re presented with an essay question on an unfamiliar subject, you’ll be able to read and respond clearly and coherently.

Another part of test-taking success is time – the time you need to read the questions, as well as the time you need to write down the answers. The faster you read, the quicker you’ll get to the “answer” part of the equation. This is especially important when you have comprehension or essay questions, because the extra time you gain by moving quickly through the multiple-choice sections due to your fast reading speed can be used for thoughtful reflection on the longer written essay answers. You’ll even have time to spare to go back over your answers to double-check that you’ve gotten them right.

Don’t wait until the last minute to develop your speed reading abilities! Even if you’ve already passed the tests and are moving forward in your career, you’ll find that speed reading has benefits that will help you succeed for years to come.

Improving Your Typing Speed Can Get You These Jobs – Part or Full Time

November 16th, 2015

Do you know how to touch type? I mean, are you really good at it?

If you are, then keyboarding can be your ticket to a good full time or part time job. Many entry-level jobs require touch typing skills, so improving your touch typing won’t hurt your career, no matter what field you want to work in.

There are numerous jobs you can easily get if your typing performance is above average.

Administrative/ Executive Assistant


At this typing level you can get an administrative assistant position. Of course, you will probably also need other technological and managerial skills – think about brushing up your skills in language(s), Internet and Microsoft Office knowledge, or CRM and other common software products.

Responsibilities of this job include creating documents and reports, filing, customer support, and administrative support such as setting up meetings or client appointments. The position can even include social media account management.

Editor / Language Specialist


At this typing speed and with a passion for language you could get a job as an editor at a publishing house, a magazine, an online newspaper, or any other print or digital media agency. The proliferation of digital media companies that publish their own content makes editors a sought-after profession these days.

Your daily duties will include various levels of editing and proofreading of books, articles, white papers, and all other sorts of content. You need to have an eye for detail and good typing speed and accuracy, so that you can both spot and correct grammar and spelling mistakes.

Medical Transcriptionist


If you have advanced typing skills you could become a medical transcriptionist. The profession is always short of staff and if you’re into medicine it could be the perfect entry level job for you.

A medical transcriptionist transcribes medical and legal recordings of busy doctors. While you need to be familiar with the doctor’s specialty, the profession doesn’t require any other skills, other than good typing skills and excellent language use.

Data Entry Worker


Data entry is a non-demanding job you can easily excel at if you have above average touch typing skills. It can be a bit tedious and uninspiring, so you may not want to make it your career, but as an entry level job it could work great for getting you exposed to corporate culture. You can become a freelance data entry clerk too, working from the comfort of your own home, if the corporate world doesn’t sound very appealing to you.

Legal Assistant


At 60wpm you can become a legal secretary or paralegal. You will get to draft legal documents, do extensive research, and get to work in an exciting environment with challenging cases.

As a college student, and during your first steps into the job market, touch typing could be the key to landing you your first well-paying job.

If you want to improve your typing accuracy and speed you can try practicing with Typesy™, a typing tutor that makes learning to keyboard a breeze thanks to its step by step video tutorials and customizable typing practice.

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How Speech and Language Therapy Helps TBI Survivors

November 10th, 2015

People who’ve suffered and survived a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can see tremendous improvement after the event with the help of speech and language therapists. The recovery process might seem long and tedious, but with the guidance and scientific rigor provided by a speech therapist, the recovery comes faster. The results can often astonish both the recovering person and their family.

Coping with lost or damaged language skills after a TBI accident

One of the most stressful issues TBI survivors need to grapple with is their difficulty with verbal communication. Some find themselves with speech deficits and mild to serious cognitive impairment after a TBI accident. This not only is mentally and emotionally frustrating but it also disrupts most of the TBI survivor’s daily activities.

Common language issues include the inability to recall the appropriate word or follow through with a discussion, difficulty understanding written language, and having unusual trouble in reading, spelling, and using language efficiently.

For many people, this difficulty in communicating is aggravated due to physical limitations, again result of the acquired brain injury. Many TBI survivors are left with facial deformities that affect their mouth and lips and make speech troublesome, or make them self-conscious about trying to speak.

When TBI affects language performance, language therapists offer a systematic solution for gradual rehabilitation.

Evaluating language challenges

A language and speech therapist will first identify the linguistic skills brain injury has affected. This gives a clear picture of the situation, and the language therapist and the survivor’s relatives can use it to decide what the best course of action is.

Addressing language challenges in TBI survivors

For TBI survivors with extensive brain damage, language and speech therapists often focus on training relatives and friends to understand the survivor’s minimal or challenged communication output.

At the same time, the TBI person learns practices that help them communicate mostly through sensory and auditory output with their environment, if verbal communication is out of the question.

Another issue speech and language therapists immediately attend to is offering comfort and peace of mind to the TBI person. They offer psychological relief and support to help them get rid of their bewilderment with their acquired limitations.

Regaining basic cognitive and linguistic skills

For TBI survivors with mild damage, speech therapists aim at recuperating basic skills:

– Clear, understandable speech
– Putting together thoughts and expressing them, recalling arguments in conversation
– Problem solving and decision making
– Improving memory performance
– Improving literacy skills such as vocabulary use and spelling

With expert and systematic guidance TBI survivors can in many situations fully recover and regain their cognitive and speech skills.

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The Most Popular Books By Country, According To Facebook

October 26th, 2015

In the summer of 2014, Facebook conducted a fun literature experiment. Facebook asked people to list the top ten books that have moved them in some way.

The status game was popular and the results were quite revealing. The 100 books that Facebook users loved and were most affected by were Harry Potter (with a 21.08% appearance rate in Facebook statuses) and second-place To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee, which had a 14.48% appearance rate.

Facebook decided to aggregate data from other non-English speaking countries too, and so the results now reflect what people in other countries and other languages most appreciate in the realm of literature – no matter the translation.


The Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling

Cent’anni di solitudine – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Il ritratto di Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

Orgoglio e pregiudizio – Jane Austen

Il signore degli anelli – J.R.R. Tolkien


The Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling

Le petit prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Ça – Stephen King

Le seigneur des anneaux – J.R.R. Tolkien

Les fleurs du mal – Charles Baudelaire


The Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown


Cien años de soledad – Gabriel García Márquez

El principito – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling

El perfume – Patrick Süskind

Aura – Carlos Fuentes

Facebook Statuses and Literary Predilections

J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series dominate other countries’ lists besides the American and British readerships. It’s an epic series that has and continues to have a universal, sweeping appeal across the globe irrespective of the readers’ age, occupation, gender, and social status.  Even if some people tried to stick a”Young Adult” genre label to it, this didn’t stop it from inspiring millions of readers of all ages.

The  Facebook list also reflects the extensive popularity of authors like Jane Austen, George Orwell, J. R. R. Tolkien, F. Scott Fitgerald, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Stephen King.

Books are a very personal matter. They help us unearth new worlds and explore imaginary kingdoms, they are our companions, our teachers, our friends and our supporters. Books move, surprise and make us wiser. They also stay with us forever. We never forget our favorite heroes. Instead, we pay a visit to them every now and then by re-reading their story and re-living it with them as an homage.

Have any of these books listed above moved you in one way or another? Which books would you add to your top 5 list?

How Time Assets Will Help you Achieve More in 2015

October 19th, 2015

Are you a collector of time assets, or do you find yourself always in debt? Thinking about time as an asset or debt is a unique way of looking at productivity. People often think of productivity as a short-term goal. They’re focused on how to save 10 minutes in the morning by preparing breakfast the night before, or how to shrink a boring office meeting down to 20 minutes only. Although these and other similar strategies are efficient in saving people a couple hours per month, they miss a valuable point. Looking at short-term one-time solutions like this is shortsighted, because in focusing on them we are not taking into consideration how certain actions can save time not just in the present, but also in the future.

When we’re thinking of how to be more productive, how to fit more projects in the twenty-four hours we only get each day, we should be looking at strategies that will save us time for many, many years to come.

“Time as Asset”  (also referred to as Time Asset and Time Debt) is a concept coined by Patrick McKenzie. This approach helps us understand how valuable some productivity-boosting skills truly are.

When you think of ways you can be more productive, it’s best to try and think of more long-term strategies. For instance, it makes more sense to increase your reading speed than it does to skip reading an important report. Increasing your reading speed is an asset; it’s a time asset that will save you many hours over the course of the coming years.

Time Asset: Keyboarding  – How to Cut Down on Typing Time

One way to be more productive in the long run is to improve your typing speed and accuracy. This will substantially reduce your typing time because you will no longer have to look down at your keyboard to locate “C” or to find the shortcut “Ctrl+X”.

Ultimate Typing™ is a program that will help you pay off your typing time debt and help you increase your typing time assets. Over the years, you will save hundreds of hours of typing, just by committing yourself to improving this one skill today.

Time Asset: Reading – How to Cut Down on Reading Time

We read for work, for pleasure, for education, for keeping up with the world. One time asset you should be looking at investing in is reading. Reading efficiently means you can stay on top of developments and new knowledge, and you can be more efficient at any reading-related project, from doing research for a report, to putting together a white paper for a new software release from your company.

By improving your reading speed you will be able to save hundreds of reading hours because bad habits like sub-vocalization and regression won’t be slowing you down. Consider how 7 Speed Reading™ might be the key to improving your productivity, today and for as long as you live.

Time Asset: Language  – Minimize your Language Time Debt

If your spelling and vocabulary are poor, then your productivity more than likely suffers from it. A person with an extended vocabulary and excellent spelling skill is more efficient at writing.

eReflect’s user-friendly software products Ultimate Spelling™ and Ultimate Vocabulary™ help you improve on these two seminal language skills. When you master these skills, you won’t have to rely on thesauruses, dictionaries, and spellcheckers every time you put together a report or have to write your next pitch.

Time as Asset is an excellent way to conceptualize productivity. It takes into consideration a valuable aspect of productivity: that productivity is  an ongoing goal we must think of  as a continuum, rather than a one-time thing we conquer one task at a time.

5 Things You Never Knew About Wikipedia

October 12th, 2015

Millions of people use Wikipedia every day to look up information, and chances are you’re one of them. Since this global resource went on line in 2001, it has grown to be the website everyone turns to first when they want answers to a question about a fact, figure, or statistic. In fact, it has become so common that it’s like breathing oxygen – it’s so much a part of our daily lives that we don’t even think about it any more. That’s why you might be surprised by these five facts about Wikipedia – which you can all find on Wikipedia itself, of course!

Surprising Fact #1: Wikipedia is even more multilingual than you thought.

There are more articles in English (almost 5 million) than in any other language, but when it comes to languages in which more than a million entries have been published, English-language articles make up less than a third of the total. Other top contributors are from authors who speak French, Spanish, Polish, Swedish, or Cebuano, one of the languages used in the Philippines.

And there are even more languages used on Wikipedia when you look at smaller total numbers of articles. Native speakers in Japan, Portugal, and China will all find at least 100,000 articles written in their language, and so will people who live in Norway, Lithuania, and the Basque country of northwest Spain and southwest France.

Surprising Fact #2: Earlier versions of Wikipedia articles are stored, not deleted.

Most people think that an online entry in Wikipedia can’t be trusted because anyone can go in and make changes and edits. While it is true that articles are open to editing, there are also thousands of dedicated editors who watch for people who are making destructive changes, which they call “vandalism.” The website also has automatic subroutines that watch for the same thing happening at the database level. If a page has been tampered with, the previous correct version can be restored.

Surprising Fact #3: Wikipedia is updated thousands of times per hour.

Somewhere in the world, someone is updating a Wikipedia article right now. Actually, there are likely a hundred people editing articles right this very second, and another hundred just started on a different set of article edits and additions. In many categories of information, such as politics and current events, Wikipedia is one of the most up-to-date resources you can find.

Surprising Fact #4: No matter where you start in Wikipedia, you’ll end up on the same page.

The next time you have a few minutes to spare, try this trick:

  1. Go to any Wikipedia page, such as eReflect’s Wikipedia page.
  1. Find the first internal Wikipedia link on the page (not one that is in parentheses or italics).
  1. Click the link. Now look for the first internal link on that new page.
  1. Repeat step 3.

More than 90 percent of the time, if you keep clicking on the first internal link of every article, you’ll eventually end up at the Wikipedia page titled “Philosophy.” Now that’s food for thought!

Surprising Fact #5: Wikipedia contains information on anything you can think of – and more.

If you’re interested in learning something new, but you don’t know where to start, you can always type in a random word or phrase in the “search” box at the top of any Wikipedia page. You could also click the “Random Article” link on the left sidebar menu. It’s a great way to get new ideas and inspiration for more reading and research, and you’ll see articles on topics you never even dreamed of, like these:

– the prehistoric South American mammal called Nesodon, which weighed over a ton

a) Big Time, the live album by Tom Waits released in 1988

b) the names of the global rulers and heads of government in 503 AD

c) 19th-century Cuban revolutionary Ignacio Agramonte

A word of warning: using Wikipedia’s “Random Article” link will lead you to entertaining articles and interesting facts, but it can be addictive. There’s always more to learn with just one more click . . .

How to Prioritize Your E-Mail to Save Reading Time

October 5th, 2015

Most people don’t really want to go back to work in the office after a nice relaxing vacation, and for many of them one of the main reasons is the huge backlog of e-mail messages waiting for them. With all of the e-mails coming in every day it’s necessary to make sure you don’t waste time on the ones that aren’t important, but that you do get the most out of the messages containing the information that you need. To save time and get through your inbox in the most efficient way, try these useful tips:

Start using keyword searches. Even if you’ve got 50 e-mails from the same department, they might not all be about the same thing. Do a quick keyword search using a term that you know is likely to be in the messages that you need to see – for example, the word project or meeting. If you’re working on something specific with a group, pick a term that relates to your current task, such as upgrade or rollout. The most timely messages should pop to the top of the list, and the messages about the upcoming birthday potluck will fall to the bottom.

Identify key collaborators. Many e-mail services allow you to set up different groups and assign people to those groups. If you can identify the people whose messages you almost always need to read right away, you can put them in one or two separate groups, and go to those messages first.

Stay away from the crowds. While there might be company-wide e-mails sent out that you do need to read, many people use the “send to all” feature much more often than they need to. You’ll probably be able to immediately see whether you’re one of a hundred others on an e-mail list, and just by looking at the number of people who received the message you’ll get an idea if you’ve been sent the message for no particular reason other than that you’re in someone’s e-mail address book.

Highlight the important information. If you can use your e-mail service to automatically assign a color flag to certain senders or keywords you’ll have an easy way to visually sort through your inbox before you go any further. You’ll be able to quickly spot the red-flagged or urgent messages and handle those first.

Let the system do the sorting. This might be something you need to work with a systems administrator on, but it’s likely that there is a way for you to set up folders and have the e-mail system automatically route messages into those folder, either by keyword topic or by sender. In addition, you can make sure that people who you need to communicate with by e-mail set up their systems to use the same method, and your folder will serve as the go-to spot for all of your e-mails, so that they don’t get lost among the hundreds of others you receive in your main mailbox.

5 Things Teachers Can Do to Improve Their Teaching Style Outside the Classroom

September 28th, 2015

As a teacher, you might love teaching, but do your students love learning? To make learning engaging for students you can integrate the following five tactics and instantly improve your teaching’s impact.

Tech-Driven Learning is More Fun

If you’re teaching new vocabulary, for instance, use vocabulary improvement software that will help your students learn through fun games and interactive activities. Young people by definition are more adept with technological skills, so by integrating software and social media into your teaching routine you will instantly get your students’ attention – a prerequisite for advanced learning.

Use classroom management software and apps to get your students and their parents engaged with learning, and you’ll reduce the number of “I forgot there’s an assignment” excuses, and get students used to taking responsibility.

Give Responsibilities

Students love being thought of as reliable, knowledgeable human beings. Boost this assertive self-image of your students by asking them to take up projects and initiatives of their own, in ways that illustrate what they learn in the classroom.

Being confident in your own capacities and knowledge is a valuable skill to teach to your students.

Make Teaching Interesting

Social media, intuitive educational apps, empirical learning. Need we say more? There are so many resources online and offline to spice up learning. Stop thinking of technology as something that will only distract students, and don’t be tempted to and exclude it from your classroom. Its power to promote learning is beyond imagination!

Students get bored easily, so your goal is to be unexpectedly interesting. Surprise your students with a vocabulary lesson on vocabulary software, initiate a Twitter Q&A session to discuss a history test, or have online-based assignments that teach the topic – and how to use technology responsibly.

Don’t Forget About Yourself

No matter how passionate you are about education, you need to set aside ample time to yourself. If you cannot seem to find time for your hobbies and friends, schedule time for them. If it’s in your schedule it will be done.

Cultivate new skills, engage and be exposed to different kinds of social circles and experiences, and play with technology yourself in your free time. All of this will spruce up your own teaching methods and multiply what you can give to your students.

Don’t Forget the Parents

Parents are your most loyal allies when it comes to boosting your students’ performance and counteracting their weaknesses. Start cultivating a nurturing, trustworthy relationship with the parents of your students, and take advantage of modern communication to make this relationship easy and enjoyable.

Although it might not be easy to keep in touch and keep up with all your students’ parents in person, technology is now making it a bit easier to do so on line. A weekly newsletter or an online teacher’s conference with them gives you a more accurate context as to the best way to approach each parent, and how to discuss any issues related to the student. Don’t forget to include well-deserved praise for the student!

Running volunteering programs, or getting parents involved in school performances and events, can be another way to recruit parents in your mission to offer knowledge. Let parents know that their child is important to you, and you’ll get the behind-the-scenes support you need with the students.

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The Apostrophe Unmasked! (Guest Post)

September 22nd, 2015

The apostrophe has two main functions.

The first is to show omission of letters and the second is to show possession, which is what we’ll look at here.

Using the apostrophe to indicate possession

It’s easy when you write about the dog’s dinner; the man’s stunningly beautiful wife, Lavinia; Lavinia’s personal trainer, Lars, and so on.

It starts to get tricky (for Lavinia’s husband and for us) when we get to Lars. Is Lavinia Lars’ best client? Could it be that she is Lars’s ticket to that new Porsche he’s had his eye on for some time?

If he was plain old Bill there wouldn’t be a problem — she would be Bill’s best client and the ticket to Bill’s new Porsche.

We’ll assume (rightly, as it happens) that Lavinia is a Lady Who Lunches, and when she does lunch with her friends, they visit a women’s club. It’s not a womens’ club. When a word is made plural by changing some of its interior bits, you don’t make it doubly plural in the possessive.

When a word ends in ‘s’ and an additional syllable is pronounced in the possessive, add apostrophe S (even if you end up with 3 s’s). So you’d have the ladies going to their tennis class before lunch, and Lavinia being very chuffed when her coach, Mr Harris, told her she was the class’s best player. Although it’s difficult to know whether Mr Harris’s opinion is very reliable — he’s a push-over for a pretty face and a flash of a shapely thigh.

When writing about joint ownership, possession is shown only on the last noun, but where individual ownership exists, possession is shown on each noun.

Lavinia and her husband’s new yacht was the venue for a fancy-dress party.

Lavinia’s and Raoul’s sailor suits were a hit with their guests.

T’riffic Tip

The very best way to remember when to use the possessive apostrophe — in any circumstance — is to substitute the word ‘of’ …

The women’s club – the club of the women

Lavinia’s personal trainer – the personal trainer of Lavinia

Her husband’s new yacht – the yacht of her husband

This is also the way you test for those really tricky ones:

three months’ experience – the experience of three months

So, if you’re tempted to use an apostrophe but you can’t substitute “of” … then leave it out!

Banana’s only $2 kilo – the … of … bananas, kilos? … @#!

All these shop’s sell clothes – the … of … shops, clothes? … @#!

OK … you get the message. Don’t just whack in an apostrophe every time you end a word with S!

About the Author: Jennifer Stewart is a freelance writer whose site, http://www.write101.com has been helping people solve their writing problems since 1998. Visit now to read numerous articles on how to write well — for profit or pleasure — and sign up for your free Writing Tips: mailto: WritingTips -subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Originally Posted at http://www.write101.com, July 13, 2001