I had an awesome conversation the other day with a friend who works for an organization that helps people improve their lives through mentors and micro loans.  Poverty is a world-wide problem that can be solved in a variety of ways, but often is best changed with a personal connection and a little bit of time.

Find a Mentor

A mentor is one of the best tools to change your future. Chances are they have been through something similar to what you would like to accomplish. It is also likely that they have had someone else to give them advice or bounce ideas off of. You need someone that understands where you are coming from and believes in you.

The best way to find a mentor is to talk with people that are a part of a group that are doing or studying what you are interested in. As you have conversations with people you will begin to recognize where others are in their own journey, and that they might have some experience to share with you. They might be a part of a Facebook group, or a group on LinkedIn. Introduce yourself and be patient. Ask questions for others to answer. Be willing to talk about things you know, and answer other peoples’ questions. When you find a person that might be open to mentoring you, simply ask them if they have time to talk about a few things, or answer a few of your questions. Be patient. Don’t follow up immediately. They’re busy doing their own thing and they’ll respond when they can.

It’s important to be willing to take other peoples’ advice. They don’t know you or your situation, so they’re giving you honest and legitimate steps that have worked for them. If you aren’t willing to try something new, that is your problem, not theirs. Be gracious about what they are providing to you for free and because they’re nice.

You may arrange a professional mentoring relationship that guarantees time and advice that you are paying for. This can be a good way to get personalized advice and the relationship benefits both of you.

There are a lot of people in the world that are at different stages in their own process. You will eventually be a potential mentor for others as you gain experience and knowledge. Be open to helping others just as some might have helped you.

You Can Do Anything

Whatever it is that you want to learn, whatever it is that you want to do, you can do it. You have the potential. You have the tools. You have the support you need, it’s just finding it. Be willing to talk about what you’re doing. Be willing to listen to other peoples’ experiences. Take what you’re learning and apply it to your day.

I’ve been absent from this site for a while. Things have been changing and I’m excited to share them with you!

I started Wasatch Reading Club with the intention of helping students who struggle with reading. I value the experience of reading a good book and believe that reading is the best way to learn about everything and everyone around us. However, I realized that students who struggle with reading are likely struggling with school as well.

I needed to broaden my scope. I needed to change my offering. I have been producing YouTube videos and writing blog posts for Wasatch Reading Club, but I also teach high school English and English 1010, 2010, and 2200 for Weber State University through our high school’s Concurrent Enrollment program. Wasatch Academic Coaching is different. It’s more broad in covering all of the different elements of education, not just reading.

Every day I see students not motivated to do the work. There are many reasons why students struggle. It is possible that there are as many ways for students to struggle as there are students. And this is the problem with our Public Education System. How can I as a caring and demanding teacher, help all of my students where they need it most?

It is a daunting task.

Is it possible? Sure, why not?

Is it going to happen? I don’t know.

What would it take for me to help each of my students feel successful in school?

What about actually being successful in school?

Time. Time, and effort.

So, Dave. What is it you do as an Academic Coach? Is it the same teaching?

Kind of. I’ll explain.

  • Academic Coaching is helping an individual make discoveries about themselves.
  • Academic Coaching is about providing an outside commentary about what I see and hear from an individual.
  • Academic Coaching is helping an individual understand what they want, and what steps it might take to get there.

It’s like Athletic Coaching, but Academic.

  • Academic Coaching is not talking about the past, like therapy. It’s not a never ending schedule of appointments forever talking about the future.
  • Progress is made IF you’re ready to act.

Academic Coaching is dependent on trust.

Academic Coaching is for the student who has a hard time with homework completion, procrastination, turning homework in, being organized, and understanding assignment instructions. It’s a big process that can be overwhelming.

I can help break down what is expected, what it takes, and guide students on the ways of getting it done.

That is Academic Coaching.

I have experience not doing well in school. I understand the dichotomy of pleasure and pain as it relates to procrastination, homework, and grades.

I know what it’s like to go back to college as an adult with a family.

I know what it’s like to desire change and improvement and not know how to make it happen.

And, I have made it through.

I am available to work individually with students (and parents) through school and what teachers expect.

If you want to have a chat about your student and what it might look like to work together, drop me a line.


Good luck comes from good work!

Read on!


I once told my wife she was pulchritudinous*. She looked at me like I had just told her she was unprepossessing and ponderous. I quickly realized that I had to provide the definition before I ended up sleeping out in the shed.

Vocabulary Means Communication

When it comes to communicating, there’s nothing worse than trying to explain something to someone when you can’t think of the right words. The more words a person knows, the easier it can be to explain things. Think about it. How easy is it for you to explain the following?

  • How to change oil in a machine
  • How to fry an egg
  • What cola tastes like
  • Why The Piano Guys are your favorite musical group
  • Where your house is in your city
  • Who your favorite artist is, where they are from, and who influenced their work

What vocabulary do you need to have? What vocabulary does the person you are talking to need to have? The more you know the easier it is, and the more likely it is that someone will keep listening to you.

How To Learn Vocabulary

There are a variety of situations where someone might need to learn new vocabulary. A child at the beginning of school needs to acquire new words. Teachers provide pictures for letters to help kids learn the alphabet, and what sounds the letters make. It’s not just kids who can use pictures to learn vocabulary. English Language Learners (ELL’s) can benefit from pictures too, regardless of how old they are. Pictures of familiar objects will help people who are learning a new language make connections to the words they already know.

When it comes to learning vocabulary, repetition is important. On average, it takes students seven interactions with a word before they can really remember the word and what it means. Obviously some words might be easier than others. Some really like using flash cards to practice new words while others repeat words from a list. There are electronic versions of cards, and you can create all the word lists you want on your phone or tablet.

Using vocabulary in context also helps with retention. Remembering words just for the sake of remembering words is boring and frustrating. Knowing how to use new words is critical. Try to use new words in sentences with people you know. They will be surprised, and you’ll have another opportunity to explain what the word means.

Spelling Vocabulary Words

Spelling can be a difficult thing when it comes to learning new vocabulary. There are some tricks that can help with spelling words, but there are too many to go into now. It’s important to have an understanding of the basic rules of English words. There are many rules and exceptions but knowing the basics can really help. Visit the Cambridge Online Dictionary for more information.

  1. Know your prefixes. (-in, -un, -dis)
  2. Know how to make a word plural. (adding -s or -es)
  3. Know when to double your consonants. (adding -ing, -ily, -ed, or -er)
  4. Know when to drop a letter at the end when adding -ly.
  5. Know when to spell -ie or -ei.
  6. Know verb forms, past or present tense. (ran, run, running)
  7. Know the vowel+consonant+e rule. (kite, late, mute)
  8. Know the difference between British and American spelling. (colour/color)

Don’t Give UP!

If you still don’t like thinking about spelling, you still have access to dictionaries and spell check, right? Think of how much easier reading will be with a greater vocabulary.

*If you didn’t look the words up yet, pulchritudinous means physically beautiful. Unprepossessing means ugly, beastly, or gross. And ponderous means of great weight or massive.

Words are fascinating. So much emotion can be produced by the words we say, and what we think they mean.

Grow that vocabulary, and read on!

And, if you found this helpful, please feel free to pass it on.




Yes, there are different types of readers. As a teacher I hear students every day say that they hate reading. That’s no exaggeration. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Me – “Hey, put your phone away. You should be reading, where’s your book? What are you reading?”

Student – “I don’t have a book. I hate to read.”

Me – “Didn’t you get a book when we went to the library?”

Student – “Yeah. I didn’t like it so I took it back.”

I really believe that there are different types of readers and that everyone can enjoy reading if they find the right book. I have spoken with a variety of people from successful business people who have college educations, to teenagers who can’t put their phones down. Even though they say that they hate reading, they always say something like, “I hate reading but I will read the newspaper”, or, “I hate reading but I liked that book by John Green”.

We could put any book, magazine, or graphic novel into the scenario. It all comes down to the fact that we will read about what we are interested in.

I wish I could spend more time with every student and find out what they like to read. It takes time and trust, but everyone has read something they enjoyed. Everyone has a story that stays with them because of the character, or conflict in the story. Everyone no is interested in something and wants to learn more about it.

We are all readers. Really.

So what kind of reader are you?

Let me know in the comments below!

Read on!


#Read #Books #Fiction #NonFiction #Reading #Teaching #Confidence #School #Success

You’re reading more and you’re starting to enjoy it a little. Or maybe your child isn’t resisting the time you dedicate to reading, and is actually helping to choose books. How can I improve what I am doing?

This is an easy thing to talk about. Really. That’s it. Talk about it. If you’ve read a book or story, and your child or someone else has read the book or story, talk about it.

What do you think about the characters? Why do you think characters did what they did? Would you have done the same thing? What could have made the story better? What didn’t you like about it? What other stories have you read that were like this one?

Talk about it.

When someone else confirms your understanding you take a win. When someone else clarifies a misunderstood scene or character action, you refine the way you read. You refine the questions you ask. You are becoming a better reader! It takes practice.

It’s simple. Enjoy the progress. Praise your little reader for doing something difficult.