Saturday, January 12, 2008

Do You Have What It Takes To Start Your Own Freelance Writing Business?

If you had told me five years ago that I would walk away from my day job to start my own writing business, I would have told you that you were crazy. Although my career in the insurance industry wasn't particularly fulfilling, I was successful, made a good living and enjoyed the perks of corporate life. It was stable, steady and comfortable. Little did I know that within a year of an ill-timed career change and a move across the country, I would find myself without a job. Due to the lack of his own success, my boss of nine months laid me off. It was time to start over. As a single mom, I was scared. What was I going to do? How would I take care of my daughter?

Initially, I panicked but after a few weeks of brainstorming and the semi-security of an unemployment check, I searched for work in my field. I found I was overqualified for many jobs and underqualified for others. My skills didn't seem to fit in this new market. Not giving up, I found a flexible part-time job and decided to expand my freelance writing which I had started the year before. Armed with a few clips, a website and some business cards, I added a few more publications to my résumé. Within a year and a half, my business offered me a viable, full-time income. That was four years ago, and I'm still going strong.

My point here is not to bore you with the details of my life, but to assure you that if someone as conservative (read: afraid of risk) as me can make it as a writer, then you can too. Interested? Intrigued? Then review the list below to see if you have what it takes to start your own freelance writing business.

Knowledge and skills. Being a freelance writer requires more than a passion for writing. It requires education and training; good communication skills; knowledge of proper spelling, grammar and punctuation rules; editing and proofreading skills; the ability and patience to research; published clips; and business training or know-how.

Resources. Every job requires tools of the trade. As a freelance writer, you'll need dedicated office space, a computer (laptop or desktop), relevant software (MS Office Suite, Adobe Acrobat, etc.), computer back-up system, office phone/cell phone, printer/fax/scanner, a high-speed Internet connection, access to reference materials (dictionary, thesaurus, Chicago Manual of Style, etc.), and a digital voice recorder. You may find that you require other resources as well, but this list is a "must have" to get started.

Personality. Making a full-time income as a freelancer requires more than writing talent. It also requires that you be organized, self-disciplined, self-motivated, resourceful, creative, patient, persistent and focused.

Plan B. Before you make the leap to owning a freelance writing business, consider how you are going to pay your bills and meet expenses when work is slow. Do you have other income sources to tap? Do you have a part-time job or does your spouse make enough to cover the bills during slow times? Perhaps you have unemployment income, savings or maybe even a trust fund? If not, consider this. If you had to, would you get a job (part or full-time) to make ends meet? The point is not to be discouraged. It is simply to have a Plan B in place, so your life doesn't fall apart while you pursue your dream.

If you have all of these items—appropriate knowledge and skills, resources, personality and a solid Plan B—then you are well on your way to starting your own freelance writing business!

11 Strategies For Graphomotor Problems

1. For children who have difficulty with orthographic coding, it may be helpful to tape an alphabet line to the corner of their desk for easy reference.

2. Students with graphomotor problems should be given extended time to complete written assignments and/or a reduction in the volume of written output. For example, if the exercise given is to correctly capitalize and punctuate sentences or a passage, these should be provided to the student in typed form so that he/she has to only correct the work, rather than write it and then correct it. Also, if the assignment is to answer the questions at the end of the chapter in social studies, the student should be required only to write the answers, not both questions and answers. Additionally, he/she should be allowed to state answers in short phrases. In other words, if the subject matter being assessed is knowledge of information presented in the social studies chapter, it is this that should be assessed, not how competent the student is with the physical act of writing, or how much writing interferes with his/her ability to demonstrate his/her knowledge of social studies.

3. Children with handwriting difficulties may need to be given the opportunity to provide oral answers to exercises, quizzes, and tests.

4. Learning to type is helpful for these students. Writing assignments should be done in stages. Initially, the child would focus only on generating ideas. Next, he/she would organize his/her ideas. Finally, the student would attend to spelling and mechanical and grammatical rules. There are computer software programs available with spell and grammar checks.

5. Students with graphomotor problems may need to be provided with information presented on the board or on overheads in written form, such as teacher-prepared handouts or Xerox copies of other students' notes.

6. Children with handwriting problems should be provided with written outlines so that they do not have to organize lectures or class materials themselves. This becomes particularly important in junior high grades.

7. Parents should be given the opportunity to purchase an extra set of textbooks for the purpose of highlighting, particularly for content area subjects. Also, notes may be made on Post-Its and then the Post-Its could be attached to a larger sheet.

8. It is often necessary to use alternative grading systems for children with graphomotor problems. One grade would be given for overall appearance and mechanics of writing, and the second for content.

9. When writing reports, it may be helpful for the student to identify his/her own errors and to correct these after learning specific strategies to do so. He/she would then list his/her most frequent errors in a workbook and refer to this list when self-correcting.

10. It should be stressed to school personnel that slow work habits are often a result of graphomotor difficulties and do not reflect deficits in motivation.

11. Electronic devices, such as the Franklin Speaking Spelling Ace may be helpful for students with handwriting problems.

Dr. Thorne is the clinical director at the Center for Development and Learning (, a nonprofit organization that specializes in the development and dissemination of research, knowledge, and best practices that impact teaching and learning.

The Far Realms of Computers and Self Improvement

Imagine a future in which your personal computer becomes a doorway into a world of enhanced intelligence and creativity, emotional stability and previously unrealized personal success. In this world, the computer has become more than just a word processor or a web browser; it has become both an instantaneous communication tool for contacting seminar leaders or personal therapists and an interactive councilor that uses artificial intelligence to provide personal coaching and wise guidance. Or even further in the future, computer aided methods of transformation of human consciousness. Could that colorful screen upon which you may be reading this become that door? This is a question that has intrigued those who have studies the potential of the PC, and the answer may be that this reality is closer than we realize.

In 1990, Simon and Shuster published Would the Buddha Wear a Walkman? by Judith Hooper and Dick Terisi, both editors at Omni magazine at the time and co-authors of the best selling book, The Three-Pound Universe.

In the chapter, "Using Your Computer to Expand Your Mind", they say: The computer is more than a number crunching word processing, artificial brain. In the right hands it's also a mind-expanding, creativity-boosting, even mind-altering tool. We have already accepted the microcomputer as a machine that can assume some of our tedious menial chores. But it has a potential as a mind-enhancing device as well. And the key is the software. Here is an excerpt:

We have divided the field into five categories: smartware (which makes you smarter, more organized, a better writer, a better negotiator), psychological software (such as Eliza), stressware (aimed at reducing anxiety), games/head trips (trips into alternative realities) and spiritual software (intended to make you deeper). Thus far we have looked at some of the kinds of software programs the authors predicted. But as the technology of the compute leaps forward and our understanding of the mind become increasingly better, some of these other more far-out mind/computer software programs will become possible.

In this chapter, they spotlight the founder of Mindware and Mind Media in Bruce Ehrlich and Digital Psychology." How does he see the future of comptuters, psychology and self-improvement?

Ehrlich predicts that such software [mind software] will eventually transform computer-human interactions. "The computer," he says," will become a friend." He foresees a dramatic growth in future years in what he calls "electronic Buddhas." This is a program designed to enhance the users spirituality. Another growth area is "psychoactive software How can a computer become a wise Buddha or guide? Or become psychoactive. Here are some of more wild-eyed guesses

One of the most important theoretical areas in computer science concerns artificial intelligence. One area of AI is expert systems. For example, a computer is trained to emulate a medical doctor in diagnosing a disease. These programs already exist, and have shown to be superior to human doctors in many cases in pinpointing illnesses.

Imagine then the computer developing an expert system model of a Zen master or psychotherapist. Expert systems that go far beyond Eliza's simple trickery to programs that teach real wisdom.

Now combine this with biofeedback, the technology we have talked about below. The most recent biofeedback breakthroughs have involved the recording and training of actual altered states of consciousness experiences. There actually has been recording flesh-and-blood Zen Masters as they enter Samadhi, the highest state of being in the Zen school.

Already, computers are giving us multimedia biofeedback rather than the primitive tones of three decades ago. Certainly at the current rate of technological progress, virtual reality will becomes available as an interface on the home PC. Already there is a graphical VRML (virtual reality markup language). Soon, goggles and gloves will supplement screen and mouse.

Consider the power of a virtual reality computerized biofeedback system. A system augmented by an artificially intelligent computer coach. Or perhaps a real human guiding a group of people over the Web. Still another possibility, a group of humans supporting each other in their exploration consciousness linked up through a computer network. Shades of virtual group therapy!

Looking to the future of software for enlarging the capacity of the human mind and consciousness, turning comptuers into true self improvment machines, capable of helping us achienve self-actualization. We may see:

* The power of computers doubling every two years,

* The creation of a global community"-linking everyone's ?homes by PC through interactive video and the World Wide Web

* New technologies such as biofeedback and virtually-reality areready for prime time.

* The rapid and dramatic breakthroughs in our understanding of the brain, consciousness and behavior.

Computers and software as an expander of human intellect, creativity and consciousness has a glorious future that we only begin to imagine.

Quick Tips On How To Find A Lawyer

Almost everything we do is affected by laws. There are so many laws that it would take a person with an average reading skill over a thousand years just to read the law book. As if we have nothing else to do with our lives but read laws. So what do we do when a legal situation arises? Do we handle it ourselves or do we call a lawyer who's been trained in the legal field? For many people, the thought of calling a lawyer may be frightening. Sometimes they might not even know if they need a lawyer or how to even choose one, so they might avoid contacting a lawyer even when it is in their best interests to do so. However, do your homework before you hire a lawyer for yourself and your business. At the time when you are faced with serious legal or medical problems, you still need to make a good, informed decision about who will represent you. And it doesn't have to be as hard or as costly as you may think to find a good lawyer. Provided below are some quick tips that can take the stress out of finding a lawyer.

Can I represent myself?

You have the right to represent yourself. However, the law is extremely complex and changes frequently. Unless you dedicate a great deal of your time into educating yourself with all of the laws and legal procedures relevant to your case, you stand a good chance of losing. You may very easily overlook a legal aspect affecting your case that may sometimes bring unanticipated legal consequences that can be difficult and expensive to undo. So, you need to weigh the risks and benefits of representing yourself vs. hiring a lawyer to represent your case.

When do I contact a lawyer?

When faced with a problem that you think it needs legal attention, you may wish to consult with a lawyer about your legal rights and responsibilities as soon as possible. Many states have deadlines for filing lawsuits especially for personal injuries. These so called "statute of limitations" laws are designed to encourage people to promptly come forward and present their case. But this does not mean that you have to simply pick the first lawyer you bump into because you are in a hurry, as you will learn from these tips.

How do I choose the "right" lawyer for me?

From a personal aspect, selecting a lawyer is always a personal matter. But, as with any service providers, the lawyer is just providing his or her service to his or her client. So, the lawyer-client relationship needs to be based on trust and open and honest communication so the lawyer could provide the best of his or her service. It requires a mutual commitment from both the client and the lawyer. If the client is not cooperating fully, the lawyer could not provide the best of his or her service. At the same time, if the lawyer is not easily accessible and prompt in responding to your phone calls, emails, and requests, you are going to get nothing but frustration. Hence, when choosing the "right" lawyer for your case you need to feel 100 percent comfortable when talking to that lawyer and feel confident in his or her abilities. If there is even a single doubt, you need to keep looking. Your case is too important to entrust to someone who does not inspire your confidence.

From a professional aspect, people often believe that simply any lawyer could handle any case. This misleading confidence frequently works to the client's disadvantage. No lawyer is skilled in every area of the law. So, to find the "right" lawyer for your case you need not to be shy about asking your prospective lawyer questions until you gain full confidence in his or her ability. Only then would you select that lawyer. Actually, while asking the questions, you would be able to observe the lawyer's responsiveness and readiness to cooperate with you. Some of the most important questions you need to ask your prospective lawyer when going through the selection process are:

- What amount of experience do you have in this area of the law? - the area of your legal need.
- Will you or one of your associates handle my case? - if an associate handles your case, that is the person you need to interview.
- How many cases like mine have you handled? - ask for specifics for each of the cases.
- Could you provide me with references from some or each of the cases? - make sure you call each of the clients to learn about their experience.

A responsible and a caring lawyer would have no problems providing you with answers. If the lawyer is giving you runarounds for each of the questions and not providing you with specific answers, you need to keep looking. Also, always check with your State Bar Association if that lawyer has been the subject of an ethical complaint or inquiry.

Where do I find a lawyer?

No matter where you look for a lawyer, always keep in mind the above tip for choosing the right lawyer for you. Nevertheless, here are a few places to look for a lawyer:

- Yellow Pages and Advertisements - When you open your local yellow pages doesn't it seem like the doctors and the lawyers cover the half of the book with advertisements? It almost looks as if they are the only ones having the money for full blown ad pages. Speaking of ads, unless you have a marketing or sales knowledge and experience, you would never know how advertisements work. The advertisements are developed to psychologically trigger your emotional senses and make you respond to the call of action of the ad. It is a science on its own. So, you as an average consumer would have no idea which advertisement is telling the truth and which has the truth blown out of proportion. But, this is a very good place to at least get some names and phone numbers from local lawyers and start your selection process.

- Your Society Circle - Your family, friends, people you work with, people you talk to, people you know of - start asking around. This is one of your most reliable sources. You will have a chance to get the first hand experience. Someone who has been in a same or a similar situation could tell you about their experience (good or bad) with their lawyer. If their experience has been nothing but good, you have a half of your work done. And even if no one in your society circle could refer you to a lawyer, they might know of someone else from their society circle who might have been in a similar situation. Some of the most reliable referrals come from people you trust - fellow business owners, friends and family - who have used lawyers recently. Word of mouth from a satisfied customer generally is very reliable.

- Bar Associations - This is another reliable source. Your local attorney bar association may maintain an attorney referral service, which is a list of their members by specialty who will consult with you for free or at a special rate set by the bar association for the first conference. The Bar Association could also tell you if a lawyer has been a subject of an ethical complaint or inquiry from past clients.

- The Internet - Indeed the Internet. But, this is your least reliable source because everything could be put on the Internet. However, just like with advertisements, you could use the Internet to at least get you a list of local lawyers practicing in your problem area so you could start the selection process. On the Internet, search for lawyer directories, such as; lawyer referral services, such as; people and business finding services, such as; and simply your favorite search engine.

Disclaimer: The author and publisher of this article have done their best to give you useful, informative and accurate information. This article does not represent nor replace the legal advice you need to get from a lawyer, or other professional if the content of the article involves an issue you are facing. Laws vary from state-to-state and change from time-to-time. Always consult with a qualified professional before making any decisions about the issues described in this article. Thank you.

Tips To Becoming A Good Adult Reading Tutor

A reading tutor is someone who helps people, from preschool-aged children whose parents want to give
them a leg up in reading to adults who are lacking the literacy skills that they need to succeed,
learning to read. This article will focus on the skills necessary to become a reading tutor who
works primarily with adults. While you will never get rich by becoming a reading tutor, there is
little that is more satisfying than helping someone learn what is quite possibly the most important
skill that they will ever have. Reading is so fundamental that we often forget just how important
it is--we read street signs and menus without pausing for a second to consider what we are doing.

It is second nature for us to read constantly. Imagine what it must be like for someone who cannot
participate in this most common of our daily skills. The best way to come to an understanding of
this is to go to a foreign country (one that speaks a non-English language but uses Roman
characters) and feel the hopelessness that comes with not being able to understand anything that is
written. This is the life for adults who do not know how to read. A reading tutor works with
sub-literate adults and helps them become proficient readers.

The first thing that you need to become aware of if you are considering becoming an adult reading
tutor is that many illiterate adults are ashamed of their situation and many will go through life
trying to fake it. The adults that you will be working with as an adult reading tutor are those who
have decided to face their situation head on. Nevertheless, they are likely to be in a very fragile
state and are usually hyper sensitive to any perceived pity or disrespect. An adult reading tutor
works with real people, courageous people, who have admitted to a problem that they have and are
willing to work hard to rectify it. These are people that are worthy of your respect, deserve
nothing less, and will quickly perceive it if you feel otherwise.

A good adult reading tutor will first assess the skills that their client possesses. Very few adult
reading students have no reading skills at all. Most can read to a greater or lesser degree. Once
the reading tutor has carefully assessed the skill level of the student, the reading tutor will plan
a curriculum that takes into account both the strengths and the weaknesses of the student. Such a
curriculum will vary widely depending on the strength of the student. Some students who require the
services of an adult reading tutor will only need help with reading large words, drawing inferences
from reading, and other more advanced skills, while others may need lessons in phonics or even more
basic instruction.

Being an adult reading tutor is not easy. However, with training and dedication, it can become the
most rewarding job that you have ever had. An adult reading tutor has the ability to have an
incredible positive impact on someone's life.

Become A Better Musician With Better Practice Habits

As with anything in life, you will become a better musician the more you practice and even though you can't expect to be an overnight sensation in most cases, you can dramatically increase your performance by the way you practice.

Most people don't think about warming up before practicing their music but just like an athlete it will help you to perform better and learn faster. Always warm up before you begin practicing to settle your nerves and get your body relaxed so that you will get the best results from your practice session.

Another crucial aspect to practicing music is setting realistic and attainable goals. Very few people can sit down and play a son perfectly with just a little practice, it takes time and repetition. Many musical scores may take weeks of practice just to master one song. For exceptionally long pieces, separate them into sections and concentrate on a particular section during each practice session.

Strategy is also important, especially when trying to learn a complex piece of music. You can play a tough to learn section repeatedly until you get it down or you can play it more slowly than intended and gradually increase the speed until you are playing at the tempo the music was written for.

Before you begin to play a certain piece of music, analyze it to determine the style it is supposed to be played in, what the timing should be, and the speed in which it is meant to be played. It is best to read over the entire piece a couple of times first so that you will know what the music should be played like before you get started.

If your aim is to become as good a musician as possible you need to practice as much as you can. When you see professional musicians who seem to play so flawlessly, you can believe that they practice their craft for several hours daily with extreme dedication.

You should break your practices up into segments such as this:

First you should warm up, going though through scales, chords, arpeggios, and book warm-up exercises before attempting a complicated piece of music.

The next step should to practice increasing the speed of your play by beginning at a slower tempo then moving up. This is similar to what we mentioned above about learning a difficult song.

Another way to help you to learn to read music better is to attempt to play an entire sheet of music you have never done. Doing this will assist you in your reading skill and enable you to learn to play new music much faster.

Mastering the art of music isn't something that can be done overnight, it takes years of practice and dedication.

Six Steps To Better Homeschool Reading Skills

Reading is one of the foundations of homeschooling. How can we keep pace with printed words that challenges us daily in our lessons?

Each book often seems to be a priority. We may read some of these publications faster only to discover we're understanding less. Possibly, we eliminate information only to realize later we are uninformed in an important area.

These are time-saving strategies, but not efficient reading techniques. A mark of efficient reading is being able to select quickly the skills you need to read a particular selection in keeping with your purpose for reading it.

Consider using the following reading strategies to help you become an efficient reader:

1. Be a flexible reader.
Proper reading speeds vary according to the type and difficulty of reading material. In order to be a flexible reader, you need to recognize your purpose for reading a given selection, preview the information, and then decide whether it will be sufficient to skim it, or if it will be necessary to read the material in-depth. To skim is to let your eyes travel quickly over a page and grasp key words or ideas by skipping with judgment.

2. Be an involved reader.
After you decide on your purpose for reading a given selection, the next action is to preview the materials. Previewing is performed by an initial skimming of the material. This includes reading the title and subheads; noting visual aids and paragraph format; and looking for key words. This action provides an internal outline of the information which helps to increase reading speed and ultimately improves comprehension. You become involved in the materials as you anticipate the author's emphasis and direction.

3. Limit re-reading.
Regression is a serious obstacle to efficient reading. Some re-reading may be necessary for difficult materials, but regression can easily become a habit. Previewing will help you to minimize the desire to re-read everything.

4. Limit vocalizing or sub-vocalizing.
If you vocalize (say aloud) or subvocalize (say silently) some words as you read, that is not unusual. Some inner speech occurs in all readers, but to a lesser degree with efficient readers.

5. Read words in clusters.
Do you look at words as individual words or as part of thoughts or phrases? Do you look at words as individual words or as part of thoughts or phrases?
These phrases or thought groups can be read as a unit, and convey ideas beyond that of a single word.

6. Use vocabulary, author, and, publisher aids.
Use aids such as context, word origins, publishing aids (sequences, italics or boldface type, illustrations), and signal words (furthermore, although, consequently, in conclusion).

Applied routinely, these six steps can become an automatic part of your reading process and you will take charge of that daily deluge of printed materials. You will also find efficient reading is more informative and enjoyable, and that it will improve your comprehension.

Getting Your Kids Interested In Learning

For any parent, nothing is more exciting than seeing a child with a keen interest in learning more about the world. Most small children go through a period of curiosity and questioning, and you need to show your child that this is a very healthy way to live. When your child questions everything and takes nothing for face value, he or she will grow up to be a very brilliant individual. There are many ways that you can foster this kind of attitude in a child, and you should do your best to encourage it in all of your children, if possible. Read on to find out some tips as to how you can do this.

First, you need to start incorporating books into the lives of your children from a very young age. Even before your child can understand what youre saying, you should read picture books and describe what is going on. This may seem pointless, but studies have shown that it will lead to a more eloquent and verbose child. As the child gets older, start reading more complex books. Dont worry about getting out of his or her reading level. When I was 7, my mother read me the entire Lord of the Rings series aloud over the course of several months. I could never thank her enough for doing so. Although it didnt improve my reading skills, it helped develop my level of understanding.

Make the library into a fun outing for you and your kids. Go once or twice a week to get new books, and encourage your kids to finish the books before the next outing so that they can exchange the books for other ones. Most libraries offer some summer programs where the kids log their books and receive rewards. If you feel your kids have a real passion for reading then this is a great way to get free ice cream every once in a while. Otherwise you should skip these programs, since they have the potential to make reading into something that is done simply for the prize at the end.

As your kids become more proficient readers, you need to push them to higher content levels. It doesnt matter if your kindergartener is reading at a 10th grade level as long as he or she understands the book and isnt exposed to anything that you wouldnt want him or her to read. As long as you keep upping the ante and complexity of the books that your child reads, you will see growth in leaps and bounds. You should be wary of something that is frequently a result of advanced children, and that is a lack of interest in school. If your child is reading adult-level fiction and non-fiction books, it isnt likely that public school will offer enough of a challenge. Many advanced children do better in homeschooling or private school, or even simply pursuing their own passions.

The journey through parenthood is different for everyone, and reading is just one aspect that you have to pay attention to. Keep a healthy relationship with your kids always, and they will grow up to be healthy individuals. This is rewarding enough in itself, and should inspire you to try your best as a parent.

Tips For Traveling With Children

Getting ready for a family vacation with a baby? Many things can make the trip a more enjoyable experience, depending on the age of the child. Of course, if the baby is still in diapers then having a good supply of diapers and baby wipes is a necessity. Bottled water for drinking and for rinsing out cups is a plus. Snacks, the healthy sugar free variety are also a necessity, and pillows and blankets to make the child comfortable during the long ride.

If your baby is old enough to pay attention, then travel games, coloring books, and toys that are quiet enough to avoid driving you crazy can be helpful. Also a travel DVD player that plugs into the cars cigarette lighter for power will allow the child to watch a favorite video, keeping him or her occupied and more comfortable. Read along books for children are handy as well. These books have recordings the children listen to while looking at the pictures and the words underneath, teaching reading skills at a very young age. Possibly the most important tip would be making a schedule and setting realistic driving times each day. Adults can handle longer spans of time in the car than children can, and especially babies. Try not to spend more than eight hours a day driving, and have rest stops every couple of hours to stretch legs, and get outside in the fresh air.

Jill is a mother of two who has fond memories of traveling with her children as babies and toddlers. She tells many stories of trips to the lake, the park, the beach and even to Disneyland, bringing her small children along and says that the experience wouldnt have been nearly as enjoyable for her or her husband if the children had stayed home. She does however, recommend thoughtful planning. Story books were great. I read to the kids while my husband drove, and that kept them occupied. It also often makes them sleepy and led them to frequent nap times. Jill also recommends coloring books so that the kids can amuse themselves. Ditto for the sugar free snacks. You wont want to get the children running in overdrive on a sugar rush. But children do get hungry frequently, so keeping a good supply of crackers, fruit snacks and other things the kids enjoy will make the trip more enjoyable.

It helps travelers, that so many rest stops these days, have baby changing stations in both mens and womens rest rooms. This allows both parents to handle the child changing chores, and eases traveling tensions.

Jills friend and neighbor Sally also remembers traveling with very small children, and offers this advice: Baby wipes. Have lots and lots of baby wipes. You never know when youll need them. And be sure that you make rest stops every hour or two. The kids will get a bit cranky and stopping for fifteen minutes can make a world of difference. Also, be sure to bring animal crackers, graham crackers or some other sort of snack, and bottles of water or fruit juice to wash it down with. Keeping a child fed with keep a child happy.

Traveling with a very young child can be a challenge. If you have friends with older children, ask them what they did to ease the stress of the rip with traveling with the children in earlier years. It always helps to learn from someone elses experiences. Also, ask your own parents what they did when you were a baby, and how they handled traveling situations. It also doesnt hurt to check out the local public library for parenting magazines and books. Being a parent is a very responsible job and learning from others is only wise. However, traveling with your baby or other young child will provide you with a great deal of enjoyment. If you take a camera or video camcorder youll be able to record the trip for future memories, and have stories to tell for years to come. So enjoy traveling with your baby, but be sure to plan ahead.

Taking On Toefl: Ielts The Uphill Challenge

For years, students from around the world have needed two things to be admitted and enroll at American colleges: a visa and an acceptable TOEFL score.

Now TOEFL is also getting competition, and the competition has set off debates at American colleges over the best way to measure students English competency, the obligations of American colleges to students from the poorest parts of the world, and the changing nature of international recruiting.

TOEFL and IELTS are now the two major non-native applicants examinations for testing English Language capabilities. IELTS is administered by International English Language Testing Service, whereas TOEFL distributed as the Test of English as a Foreign Language. Both the tests are taken for similar purposes, but stand poles apart.

IELTS has long been the dominant test for students from non-English speaking countries seeking to enroll in English-speaking nations of the British Commonwealth. But in the last three years, IELTS has quietly become a force in the United States as well, where the number of colleges accepting IELTS on equal footing with TOEFL has doubled, to more than 800.

These two are really going head to head, and thats going to benefit the consumer, said Julia Funaki, associate director of international education services at the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.

The applicants of both these tests TOEFL and IELTS are in constant debate with respect to identifying, which test is best amongst the two and which test is easier. The major similarities between TOEFL and IELTS are that both test the listening, writing and reading skills of the applicant. The IELTS has one additional element speaking, whereas TOEFL tests the written phrase from viewpoint of error recognition and the sentence completion.

While partisans of the two tests point to their differences, they actually have a lot in common. Both are four skills exams (reading, writing, listening, speaking). Both are offered all over the world. In terms of language, IELTS tests international English, and passages in the test are intentionally a mix of styles of what might be used at universities in Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States.

The most notable difference in the tests may be the way speaking is judged. IELTS uses a live, face-to-face interview with the test taker, while ETS has students taking the TOEFL speak into a microphone for analysis by a panel of test reviewers later.

Live, face-to-face speaking is more authentic, said Beryl Meiron, executive director of IELTS International, the United States branch of the organization. She noted that examiners must undergo extensive training and that years of using the system have enabled the organization to be certain that grading is appropriately rigorous.

You really need to be able to manipulate the language well to do well on our test, Meiron said.

IELTS is considered to be more difficult than TOEFL by the applicants owing to the speaking module. The speaking module of IELTS necessitates the applicants to take part in an official interview facing an examiner.

In spite of a status of US residency, TOEFL examination has to be given by every student having secondary schooling outside the country of United States, where the principal language is not English. Taking this fact into consideration, the Enoch Olinga College (ENOCIS) has launched a Basic English program for the Spanish speaking applicants. ENOCIS new education strategy has received such a resounding acceptance from students of Latin America that the Enoch Olinga College found it necessary to establish representatives for admissions in more than 20 countries of Caribbean and Latin America. This ENOCIS step aims to increase student satisfaction by providing more personal attention.

Dissimilarities between TOEFL and IELTS:

The major difference between the TOEFL and IELTS are listed below:

IELTS makes use of band scores based on the band scales, with every band equating a varied English aptitude. The IELTS band scores are in terms of whole or the half bands and are given equated to every one of the 4 skill modules. These are later averaged into one band score of IELTS. The band score of IELTS is based on 0 to 9 scale. 9 score is given to an expert applicant, whereas 0 is bestowed upon the applicant filling out the form and not attempting the examination.

TOEFL on the other hand delegates numerical scores similar to an SAT test, for every skill area. Later, it calculates the grand total, the end result arrived at defines the English proficiency level of an applicant.

TOEFL incorporates both the computer and pencil version of testing, out of which computer based testing (CBT) is available on few test sites. IELTS on the other hand is still in the process of creating computerized version of the test. As of now, IELTS doesnt use computer testing and that makes the non speaking testing to aspect of the exam weaker than TOEFL, since it is very hard to accurately test language skills without technological support.

Carol Lynch, the former graduate dean at the University of Colorado at Boulder and now a senior scholar at the Council of Graduate Schools, said that she followed the development of the TOEFL speaking test as an advisory board member for that test. She said the TOEFL speaking test is more comprehensive and consistent, which is vital for a speaking test to be reliable. The speaking test is a new addition to TOEFL, and Lynch called it a wonderful addition, designed very specifically to meet the demands of college admissions officers.

ENOCIS Aids in Comprehensive TOEFL Preparation:

The preparatory program of ENOCIS for the TOEFL applicants includes chat rooms, in order to practice the basic skills of English language, a pre-examination program of TOEFL and preparatory programs of English language are being designed in Chinese and Vietnamese. ENOCIS strives to equip students with lifelong leadership and learning skills through basic language preparation. The academic programs of ENOCIS can be accessed throughout the world at convenience. ENOCIS has created a set of English preparatory lessons, in order to assist the students in preparing the TOEFL examination.

Exchangeability of TOEFL and IELTS:

Previously foreign students to be admitted into Western Universities had to compulsorily pass the TOEFL test, in order to get numerical ratings of English language proficiency. Applicants or non-native learners seeking admission for the UK, Canada and Australian universities were required to successfully pass the IELTS test. Now sizeable numbers of American universities are also accepting the band scores of IELTS, for judging the applicants of English language abilities. TOEFL and IELTS have now become interchangeable over the last few years. The main reason behind this can be IELTS gaining a more respected and steady status of examination, owing to its structure considered to be more difficult than TOEFL.

Robert Watkins, assistant director of admissions for graduate and international admissions at the University of Texas at Austin, said that there has been a perception issue on TOEFLs cost because it did not have differential pricing. Watkins is a member of TOEFLs advisory board and believes his university probably receives more TOEFL score reports than any other institution. He thinks TOEFL is a slightly better test, but Texas started accepting IELTS scores two years ago after the university conducted extensive tests on IELTS. We think its a good test, he said.

Cost comparisons are not as easy to make as one would think. Both testing entities claim that their test is less expensive, said Mari Pearlman, senior vice president of the higher education division at ETS .. Before TOEFL went to differential testing, it was still less expensive on average than IELTS. The issue is important because a price difference of $20 which might seem like small change in the context of college costs in the United States is a huge sum to a student in a developing nation trying to figure out if she will be able to gain admission to an American college.

IELTS posts its prices in local currency while TOEFL prices are posted in U.S. dollars. Converting IELTS fees to TOEFL prices in developing nations finds many where prices are within $10, but where IELTS had an edge until TOELF introduced differential pricing. In many developing nations.

Watkins and others said that a big part of the context for the growing IELTS interest is the changing nature of competition for international students. Post-9/11, many American universities struggled to maintain their international enrollment levels as visa regulations became more strict at the same time that many other countries universities some of them in IELTS strongholds started to step up recruitment of the best foreign talent.

As the the Enoch Olinga College (ENOCIS) is designed to professionally and efficiently address the needs of the underserved peoples of the world, the college looks favorably upon the newly competitive flexible pricing structure which puts education within the financial capability of students whom otherwise might not have the opportunity to be educated to their fullest ability.

By: Ben Radii

Speed Reading Tips

Speed reading is a necessity, a skill that is needed to compete in this modern world, when information intake is a significant advantage in any job requirement. Many people believe that in order to improve their reading skills they should focus on reading speed increase in order to improve their reading skills. The focus on reading speed only takes energy away from the main task at hand, understanding and comprehending the text you are reading, so instead of concentrating on the speed in which you read you better focus on the reading, and as you improve you skills in reading you will probably find that you have increased your reading speed.

Reading comprehension may sound like something back from the school days, but it is actually the main purpose of any kind of reading at all, even if this particular reading assignment is not what you would normally do, and you keep thinking to yourself that you want this article to end, you will achieve much more by reading and understanding the text than just browsing and going for speed, only to realize that you do not know anything about this text once you are done reading. At that phase you will be sorry you didnt pay attention to the content and understand that you have to go over this text again, thus not only failing to get a better reading speed, not even getting to the point of the matter.

So, when you have a reading assignment and you want to practice your speed reading techniques, you should have a task, a purpose, a clear idea what you need and what you expect to get out of this text. Getting to a main concept on the text, or an idea, you can efficiently visualize the idea or concept, because you will have a clear idea of what you need, you will know what you do not need, allowing you to overlook, and sort out the insignificant information in the text.

When hitting an important part of the text, like the results of a research, evidence or conclusions, anything that is important in the text itself, try and adjust your reading speed, try and focus on the part that is important, changing the speed will increase your attention to it and will allow you to pay more attention to crucial details you may need later. Increasing the reading focus is also called reading consciously so that the reader increases concentration to match the level of importance he attributes to the text.

This conscious reading also allows the reader to mark particular sections of the text thus alerting the brain to focus on these parts, and encouraging better information recall. To read efficiently the efficient reader also reads bigger chunks of text, not individual words and phrases.

Efficient readers also use a word template, its visual sign, as a marker, going over it without reading it, when they prepare to read the text, they start to think of this sign as visual thing, not a word to be read each time they see it, so they save themselves time by not having to read the word usually most frequently appearing in the text before them (imagine you will do this on this article, signing out read speed and reading).

On the next article we will look at speed reading practice, how to practice it and when is it a good thing to do, I hope this information helped you increase your knowledge of speed reading.

By Jonathan Mayheart

Techniques of Speed Reading

Speed-reading is one of the vital reading techniques. Speed plays a vital role in the entire reading process and understanding of content is essential. Studies have shown a close relation between speed and understanding. We have seen that most people find speed-reading difficult and risky. Many are afraid that if they read faster, they might not be able to grasp the idea of what they are reading.

Researches have shown that the individuals who take reading training increase their rate along with an increase in comprehension. If the rate goes down, comprehension also decreases. But in some cases it may be found that slow reading also prevents thorough understanding of the material.

Speed-reading is not just about reading faster; it's about learning to use much more of the extraordinary powers of the mind. Most people find reading rapidly difficult and risky. They are afraid that as they increase the speed of reading, they might not be able to grasp the idea of what they are reading. The ability to read faster, and still comprehend what you're reading, is an essential skill in today's fast moving environment. We must read extensively if we want to be successful in our studies, or careers.

Studies show that the relationship between reading speed and comprehension is directly proportional to each other. That is, an increase in rate entails an increase in comprehension. It is seen that most adults are not able to increase their rate of reading considerably and rather quickly without lowering comprehension. It can be said that comprehension is actually better at faster speed of reading. Simply reading more rapidly without actual improvement in basic reading habits like vocabulary, grammar, etc. often results in low comprehension.

Speed Reading is not only useful in reading for pleasure but is more useful when used in learning and studying. In case of speed-reading, time is an essential factor. To make most out of your scheduled time is the purpose of speed-reading. Researches show that most of us typically read about 200 to 400 words per minute when we are reading for comprehension or reading simply a newspaper.

The basic truth about speed-reading is to learn and retain knowledge. Skimming helps to get a general idea of what we are reading. There's no doubt, learning to speed-read is probably the most valuable and time saving skill you can acquire. Under today's information and competitive pressures one must read faster and better if one has to get ahead of all. It is quite natural that some people will appreciate you without knowing how to speed-read.

The most common type of difficult that is faced by almost everyone is short attention, you start strong and begin to slow down as you read on. This problem creates a great impact on your reading techniques. It creates such a situation where you have to go back to re-read some lines or sentences over and over again as you are not able to understand it.

At present, most of us who are students or professionals and we are flooded with a great volume of reading material. If we can get through this material at a significantly higher speed and without the fear of sacrificing comprehensions and improper pronunciations, the benefits are great. We are able to achieve more and learn more with less effort than we ever thought possible.

If you go through the profile of some best speed-readers of the world, you will see they are capable of reading at speeds you might find amazing. For example, some can finish a novel or reference book at the bookstore or newsstand, and remember what's in it afterward. Such rate of speed-reading surely saves time and both money. Though the concept of Speed Reading is tough but reaching these speeds is not out of the question for you, if you find speed-reading techniques that work for you.