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    That or Which? That Is the Question

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Should you use THAT or WHICH in the following sentence?
    In his grandmother's attic, Jake found an old stool  (that/which) had three legs.
    It you're not quite sure, join the crowd! Like many other troubling grammar issues, the choice between THAT and WHICH in this kind of clause is not always clear.

    Here's the basic rule:
     - If the clause modifying the noun is needed to identify the noun, use THAT.
     - If the clause is not essential to the meaning, use WHICH, and set the clause off with commas.
    The sentence above about Jake and the stool should be written with THAT: In his grandmother's attic, Jake found an old stool that had three legs.
    Why? Because "had three legs" is essential information about the stool.
    If you use WHICH, you have to separate the clause with a comma: In his grandmother's attic, Jake found an old stool, which had three legs.
    This sentence doesn't make much sense.
    Let's look at another example:                           
     Beth tried to be careful, but the taco sauce (that/which) was bright red dripped on her shirt.
    Here, the choice depends on the meaning you want to convey:
     - If your point is that the sauce dripped on Beth's shirt, use WHICH—"the taco sauce, which was bright red, dripped on her shirt."
     - If your point is that the RED sauce—but not the green or any other sauce—dripped on Beth's shirt, use THAT—"the taco sauce that was bright red dripped on her shirt."
    As you can see, this grammar point is far from simple. You can find more examples and details about it online.
    If your child needs help with grammar issues, call The Literacy and Language Center at 415-242-1205 for more information about how we can help your child succeed.

    It's Time to Vote Again!

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Hello LLC Parents and Friends, 
    Now is the time to vote for the Literacy and Language Center in the Bay Area's "best of the best" contest in the annual survey of Family Favorites!!
    It takes only a few minutes. Winners are announced in the summer's Best of the Best publication. These nominations help us to reach more students in need of services, so we appreciate your support. 
    We are in the running for 3 categories:
    1. Best Tutoring or Educational Support Program 
    2. Best Technology School
    3. Best Special Needs Resource
    Best Technology School is a new category for us this year! We now have a customized, one-to-one, project-based school program that meets the Common Core standards and we are enrolling for the fall. 

    To cast your votes, visit the BayAreaParent ballot page, choose the SF/Marin region, and then enter in the LLC and all your other family favorites by April 30!
    Thank you!
    The LLC Staff

    To Capitalize or Not to Capitalize?

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Come to the Front of the Class

    Last updated 3 years ago

    Imagine this scene: 
    You have an oral report due. When it's your turn, your face is burning and your heart is hammering. You start to speak. Your throat dries up, your hands are shaking, and your mind goes blank. You try to get through it, lose your place, repeat yourself, and finally stumble back to your seat. Your classmates are already smirking.
    Does this sound like a bad memory from your childhood? If so, you have plenty of company. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 73% or men and 75% of women have glossophobia—strong fear of public speaking.
    What can you do to help your kids when they are faced with the need to make presentations in class? Here is a process that will ease those fears and boost self-confidence:
    –Start your research as soon as you get the assignment. 
    That gives you time to wade through all of the information you'll find and select the best. 
    - Write an outline. 
    Just like an essay, an oral report needs to be organized with a beginning, middle, and end.
    - Write simplified notes on large (4 X 6) cards. 
    Put only enough words on each card to help you stay on track and remember one fact or idea.
    - Keep the talking part of your report short. 
    Use your creativity to produce or find great graphics, audio or video clips, and props. Linked together with a few well-organized and rehearsed words, they can wow your audience.
    - With your outline and notes, practice in front of a mirror. Take your time. At this point, you're getting to know the parts of your report. There's no pressure to get it "right." 
    - Imagine you're great. Visualize yourself being relaxed and at ease with your topic and your audience. Smile and take a bow.
    - Watch experienced speakers to find out how the pros do it; then, try out some of their methods.
    - When you're ready, ask family members or friends to be your audience. Let them know you need feedback about the clarity of your ideas, your pace, and anything else that will make your report stronger.
    - If possible, ask someone to video your rehearsal so you can watch it. This is a powerful way to see yourself realistically and overcome negative self-images.
    As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face." 
    By preparing well, your kids can face their fear of public speaking and grow stronger in the process. 

    More Than Just a Story

    Last updated 3 years ago

    The process of creating a story and telling it to others helps us learn in a host of ways by enhancing our awareness of language sounds and rhythms, our understanding of context, and our confidence as speakers.
    Here are important ways storytelling helps us build our reading and thinking skills as well.
    We gain a sense of order and sequence
    When we are making up a story, we must:
    • make our characters act in ways that are logically connected to earlier events.
    • recognize cause and effect—actions and consequences—in the events we imagine.
    • develop a consistent story line that reaches a satisfying conclusion.
    We learn memory aids and techniques
    Telling our own story gives us practice in developing memory skills. It helps us:
    • conceive and recall a series of events.
    • practice using mnemonic devices such as story maps, timelines, and word or image memory triggers.
    We develop our ability to visualize and convey narrative details
    Making up a story encourages our image-generating potential. When we are free to create events, characters, and situations, we give our imaginations room and permission to grow. 
    For people with dyslexia, this freedom is especially important because it encourages their natural tendency to think in terms of examples, illustrations, or anecdotes when they are asked to define an object or explain an abstract concept. 
    In their book, The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain, doctors Fernette and Brock Eide indicate that people with dyslexia are often disposed to "convey information in story form" because their minds are "stocked with an endless array of different characters and experiences and scenarios, disposed to spot new connections, associations, patterns, and nuances between them; and wired with the ability to unite it all into a single great narrative."
    With these benefits, storytelling is a powerful way to express ourselves, grow as thinkers, and build our self-esteem.
    Want to know more? Contact us at The Literacy & Language Center to find out how we can help your child succeed.

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