Critical Thinking

Think better!

We have all been taught to “think before we speak.” It’s also useful to think before we write. Gaining an accurate understanding of an assignment, formulating a thesis, and identifying salient points—all demand thought.

Good writing is thoughtful—and thought-filled, so I share with you strategies for sharpening your analytical skills. These help you not only when completing writing assignments and taking the SAT and in-class tests but also in every aspect of life—throughout your life.

“Anne encouraged me to reflect on my experiences, crystallize the lessons I learned, and perhaps most importantly, to present my accomplishments and my real self in a lively way. Through this process, I definitely gained a deeper understanding of my experiences and myself. Thank you Anne, for all your guidance and teaching!"

Caterina Yuan, Presidential Scholar, Palo Alto High School, Class of 2007, Harvard College, Class of 2011

2014-06-23T07:15:22+00:00

Caterina Yuan, Presidential Scholar, Palo Alto High School, Class of 2007, Harvard College, Class of 2011

“Anne encouraged me to reflect on my experiences, crystallize the lessons I learned, and perhaps most importantly, to present my accomplishments and my real self in a lively way. Through this process, I definitely gained a deeper understanding of my experiences and myself. Thank you Anne, for all your guidance and teaching!”

“As a public school student, I was deprived of a liberal arts education—with close knit literary discussions, passionate not programmed teachers (who preach about the cookie cutter “five paragraph essay”), and an environment conducive to moral and social growth. As an adolescent, I was deprived of intellectual role models— who embraced learning as a lifestyle, rather than as a means to an end. Anne Knight filled both voids in my life. With an unparalleled strength in analyzing themes, targeting a writer’s weakness, and helping develop structure, Anne helped me nurture my voice and organize my thoughts. As one of the quirkiest, most straightforward people I know, Anne made our meetings colorful—with her notorious Dutch hot chocolate and her notorious purple pen, brutally erasing unnecessary details. Anne taught me to write as one cooks, using literary tools as ingredients, working patiently, thoughtfully, meticulously, and above all—being sensitive to the end product and always willing to add or take away. This cooking metaphor has helped me transcend the cookie cutter “five paragraph essay” and embrace more creative structures in writing, to embrace voice through detail and emotion.

But most importantly, Anne became a mentor, a friend. When I couldn’t decide whether I should go to Stanford, Yale, or Columbia, Anne, the mentor, helped me decide. When I was stressed, Anne, the friend, comforted me. Anne’s guidance, I’m confident, has helped me grow in many different capacities. I’m deeply thankful for the chance to know such an accomplished, aware person.

A. A., Accepted at Yale College, Stanford University, Columbia, and other top schools

2014-06-23T07:16:40+00:00

A. A., Accepted at Yale College, Stanford University, Columbia, and other top schools

“As a public school student, I was deprived of a liberal arts education—with close knit literary discussions, passionate not programmed teachers (who preach about the cookie cutter “five paragraph essay”), and an environment conducive to moral and social growth. As an adolescent, I was deprived of intellectual role models— who embraced learning as a lifestyle, View Full →

“As a friend, mentor, guide, and helper, Anne exceeds any expectations that I might have had coming in for her services! Whether it was the confusing conundrum that was my Lit homework, test prep, or just getting an invaluable second opinion on a speech or application, Anne has helped me achieve my goals and has inspired me to go beyond mediocre expectations. Finally, a flexible teacher who understands my needs and values them! Thank you, Anne!"

Linda Xu

2014-06-23T07:18:07+00:00

Linda Xu

“As a friend, mentor, guide, and helper, Anne exceeds any expectations that I might have had coming in for her services! Whether it was the confusing conundrum that was my Lit homework, test prep, or just getting an invaluable second opinion on a speech or application, Anne has helped me achieve my goals and has View Full →

“I think Anne's greatest gift to students is empowerment. She breaks the assignment down into manageable bites so it doesn't seem so overwhelming. She meets the student where he is—at his level of writing ability—and conveys to him that HE CAN DO IT! A sense of empowerment and self-confidence is what I observe in students who work with Anne."

Susan M (Parent)

2014-06-23T07:19:18+00:00

Susan M (Parent)

“I think Anne’s greatest gift to students is empowerment. She breaks the assignment down into manageable bites so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming. She meets the student where he is—at his level of writing ability—and conveys to him that HE CAN DO IT! A sense of empowerment and self-confidence is what I observe in students View Full →

Anne is gifted in asking insightful questions and skillfully challenging Caterina to clarify her thoughts and crystallize her experiences. Anne encourages Caterina to probe for deeper understanding, analyze and reflect on her experience, and find the best way to express her thoughts. Caterina became a better writer through working with Anne."

Jackie Yu, 2007 (Parent)

2014-06-23T07:20:08+00:00

Jackie Yu, 2007 (Parent)

Anne is gifted in asking insightful questions and skillfully challenging Caterina to clarify her thoughts and crystallize her experiences. Anne encourages Caterina to probe for deeper understanding, analyze and reflect on her experience, and find the best way to express her thoughts. Caterina became a better writer through working with Anne.”

“Anne is a teacher who is treasured! She always provides a suggestion, challenge, idea, but nonetheless support. She is perfect for students of all ages, experiences, goals because each student reaches his or her potential and thrives. Through her mentorship, Anne creates an environment where the purple pen is always at the ready to edit away, the book is always at hand to analyze a passage, a creative idea is waiting to be stirred up over exciting dialogue, and delicious hot chocolate is steaming nearby. Anne has helped me with MANY assignments, including poetry, short stories, silly paragraphs, long essays, and research projects. Each one earned outstanding results, and Anne’s teachings motivated all! Aside from writing, my literature perception has bloomed. Thanks to Anne, I grasp the deep personalities of characters in stories, and can take away valuable life lessons offered in literature. Anne makes sure her students not only read, but understand.”

Niki Knauer, Grade 8

2014-07-08T18:01:28+00:00

Niki Knauer, Grade 8

“Anne is a teacher who is treasured! She always provides a suggestion, challenge, idea, but nonetheless support. She is perfect for students of all ages, experiences, goals because each student reaches his or her potential and thrives. Through her mentorship, Anne creates an environment where the purple pen is always at the ready to edit View Full →

“Is your child frustrated by an inability to develop or organize his writing? Are you a parent of a mathematician, who thinks and writes in flowcharts? Is your student a dreamer, who can’t put together a first sentence? Or maybe a writer, coming up with 2 pages instead of 2 sentences? Are you concerned with the way your school teaches English this year, or is your child bored with the school curriculum?

It’s a myth that only struggling students need tutors. All kids may benefit from a good writing coach, learning how to develop a clear plot, determine a style, and voice their thoughts.

My daughter is fortunate to have an excellent writing coach, Anne Knight. Anne is a guide, an inspirer, a supporter. She makes writing an interesting, rewarding experience of self-expression, from poems to short stories, science research to political essays. Anne inspired our daughter to participate (and win) a few local and national writing competitions. We stopped worrying about the school curriculum or literature selection. Anne brought our daughter to a different level of intelligence and it’s getting harder and harder to keep up.

Anne is an amazing combination of a ‘personal trainer’ and a mentor for a student. If our daughter misses anything over the summer, it’s her sessions with Anne.

From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU, Anne!”

—Olga Knauer
2014-07-08T18:06:25+00:00
“Is your child frustrated by an inability to develop or organize his writing? Are you a parent of a mathematician, who thinks and writes in flowcharts? Is your student a dreamer, who can’t put together a first sentence? Or maybe a writer, coming up with 2 pages instead of 2 sentences? Are you concerned with View Full →