The Sylvan Writing Experience: Gabe & Rebecca’s Story

By Sylvan Learning


We talked to a Sylvan writing student, Gabe C., and his mom, Rebecca C., to learn more about their writing program experience at Sylvan.


Before Sylvan’s Writing Program

Gabe says, “In 4th grade it was hard because I couldn’t get my thoughts down on paper. I kept procrastinating and couldn’t get started with all my [writing] assignments.” 

It seemed like the wires in my brain would disconnect and I couldn’t stay on track.”

His mom, Rebecca, remembers 4th grade as a very difficult time too.

“Gabe had been struggling to complete assignments for more than a year. In 4th grade, he had gotten to the point where he just wouldn’t even try any assignment or test question that required him to write out the answer or an idea.”

Because Gabe was struggling with writing assignments, homework time became a stressful time for the whole family.

“We would fight horribly over homework, because I got frustrated by what I thought was just an unwillingness to try,” said Rebecca.

“As his mom, it was upsetting that I couldn’t help him.”

“I knew I was smart enough to do the work, but my teachers and classmates were getting the wrong idea about me,” said Gabe. “My mother thought I just wasn’t trying, so we ended up fighting a lot over my homework. I guess she had the wrong idea too.”

Gabe says he would often turn in assignments late, which led to poor grades and lowered his self confidence. And, because he was losing confidence in his writing skills, which are important across all subjects, he started to lose confidence in other classes as well. Rebecca started to see his whole outlook on school take a turn for the worse.

The SylvanSync Writing Program Experience


Sylvan Writing Program Tutor and Student


Gabe started the SylvanSync Writing Program during the summer after 4th grade. Rebecca says the writing curriculum helped him understand the mechanics of writing and put his thoughts down on paper.

Sylvan’s Writing Program teaches important writing skills such as:

  • The writing process: From how to navigate ideas to completing an edited, polished piece.
  • How to analyze and apply the six traits of good writing, which are: Focusing on ideas, organizing writing clearly and effectively, creating an engaging voice, varying sentence structure, choosing the right words and using correct writing mechanics.
  • The basics of English usage: Grammar, spelling, capitalization and punctuation.
  • Essay writing and test-prep writing skills: How to analyze writing prompts and how to follow a process with test writing. Plus, how to write clear, organized and engaging pieces!


Gabe’s Sylvan Writing Experience

“But the positive reinforcement from the teacher and center staff really made the difference for him! He started to believe that he could be a good writer,” said Rebecca. “Sometimes believing is half the battle.”

Gabe said the Sylvan Writing Program taught him how to develop his ideas with useful strategies!

“Once I had strategies to get started, the Sylvan teachers helped me with the details of my writing,” said Gabe. “The center always made sure to put me with Ms. Michelle, because we worked well together. She made me feel good about my ideas and showed me how I was getting better at writing every day. I started to feel proud of myself!”


Sylvan Writing Student Gabe


But Gabe wasn’t the only one getting help at Sylvan.

Rebecca says she got a very important education at the center as well!

“The directors at Sylvan are experts in education and the schools in our area,” said Rebecca. “They helped me understand that Gabe’s problems came from the fact that our school district took writing out of the elementary school curriculum. Of course Gabe was having trouble structuring his ideas and writing them down – he had never been taught how to do either!”


After Sylvan’s Writing Program

“When I started back to school in 5th grade, I felt like the wires in my brain were right where they needed to be,” said Gabe.

He said he wasn’t afraid to get started on assignments, because he knew he could be successful and get them finished.

Plus, “Once I didn’t have to worry about the writing, I could focus on learning and getting better grades,” said Gabe.


Sylvan Writing Student Gabe Writing at Home


Rebecca liked that as Gabe started 5th grade he had an advantage in the fundamentals of grammar and structure in his writing. And she was thrilled to realize that he missed going to the Sylvan Writing Program!

“All throughout his 5th grade year, Gabe would ask me when he could go back to the Sylvan Writing Program,” said Rebecca. “I was surprised that he was actually asking to go back.”

One day he came home from school and ran into the house waving a packet of papers at Rebecca that she needed to sign and send back to the teacher.

“I was expecting the worst, but as I started to read, it was a very clever and well-written story that the teacher had even commented, ‘was very intriguing from the very start!'” said Rebecca. “Of course I immediately cried tears of joy!”

“Now that Gabe has the writing tools he needs, his creativity and imagination are able to come through in his work. Thank you, Sylvan!”


Learn More About Sylvan’s Writing Program

Reach out to your local Sylvan for all the details!

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