Reading & Writing Center

Welcome to the Reading & Writing Center!


While NOVA works during the COVID-19 outbreak, all tutoring appointments at the Reading & Writing Center will be conducted virtually (online) using Zoom, the video conferencing with real-time messaging and content sharing program accessible through students’ MyNOVA portal. Click below for an appointment request form. After completing and submitting the form you will receive a confirmation email that your appointment has been made. Look for a second email shortly before your appointment containing information on how to join the Zoom meeting with your tutor. You can email the center at readwrite@nvcc.edu if you have any questions.

 Appointment Request Form


The Reading & Writing Center’s mission is to facilitate student success through improved studying, reading and writing skills. Our tutors will assist you in all subjects and disciplines with every aspect of the reading and writing processes. Regardless of your ability level, we can help you improve your reading and writing. View the presentation below and read our Philosophy of Tutoring for more information on our tutors’ qualifications and training.

If you’d like to learn more about this and other Academic Support Centers, watch the following video:


Tutor Requirements & Training

The tutors are current NOVA students, part-time employees studying at nearby universities or working locally, and community volunteers. All tutors must have a record of academic success, including excellent grades in writing courses. They must also demonstrate advanced understanding of the writing process and superior communication skills. Virtually all applicants come highly recommended by English faculty, yet the interview-and-hiring process is highly selective. Less than half of applicants are offered positions. After being hired, tutors undergo a rigorous training program: attending presentations, textbook reading, small group discussion and observations of experienced tutors. Their training covers non-directive and directive pedagogy, distinguishing between higher-order and lower-order concerns and the unique needs of NOVA’s student populations. They receive instruction for responding to all levels of student writing, from developmental to honors. Once they begin tutoring, they are regularly evaluated and trained through observations, reflective discussions and special training sessions. Writing Center tutors also attend professional conferences such as the International Writing Center Association Conference (IWCA) and the Mid-Atlantic Writing Center Association Conference (MAWCA).
Tutoring is most effective when it is an individualized, collaborative interaction among peers. Voluntary tutoring is ideal, but our tutors also foster positive experiences for students seeking tutoring for extra-credit or as a requirement.   If you wish to require students to receive tutoring, please contact the Reading & Writing Center director to schedule an orientation or class visit so that your students can receive an introduction to the Reading & Writing Center and its services.   Tutoring sessions have better outcomes when students know what to expect. When helping students with writing assignments, the tutors do not write, revise, edit or proofread for students. Rather, they help the students with developing writing, revising, editing and proofreading strategies. Tutors are trained to use both non-directive and directive pedagogies as necessary, depending on each student’s unique needs.  
  • Non-directive strategies include acting as a “sounding-board” for ideas, providing encouragement and asking clarifying, open and leading questions.
  • Directive strategies consist of providing explicit feedback, explaining unfamiliar expectations or conventions, and modeling examples of revision, editing, and proofreading strategies.

General

What is the Reading & Writing Center? 

Our mission at the Reading & Writing Center is to enable student success through improved reading and writing skills. In other words, we will help you become better academic readers, writers and thinkers, thereby giving you tools you need for academic success. Our trained peer tutors provide one-on-one assistance to writers of all ability levels in all courses and disciplines. We also offer group workshops that combine interactive group tutoring and individualized attention.

Where is the Reading & Writing Center located?

We are located in Godwin (CG) 409, directly above the library.

Who can use the Reading & Writing Center?

Students enrolled in classes at the Annandale Campus or online.

Who works at the Reading & Writing Center?

The Reading & Writing Center is supervised by the Acting Academic Support Services Coordinator, Brian Adler. Trained peer tutors from George Mason University and NOVA provide one-on-one tutoring, online tutoring and group workshops.

Do I have to pay to use the Reading & Writing Center?

No. All of the Reading & Writing Center’s services are free to enrolled students.

Tutoring

What is tutoring? 

Tutoring is one-on-one, individualized assistance. It is interactive and collaborative. The more you participate, the more you will benefit.

What happens in a tutoring session?

First, you and your tutor set an agenda for what you want to work on during your session. The agenda can be brainstorming for a paper topic, working on a thesis, re-organizing the body of an essay, revising based on an instructor’s feedback, working on grammar, or any other aspect of the writing process. After agreeing on an agenda, you and the tutor will read the paper together. You will then work on the agenda, discussing and brainstorming possible improvements to your writing. In some cases, tutors may ask you to practice some skills. Tutorials are always interactive and collaborative.

What should I bring to the tutorial?

Your assignment sheet is essential. Your syllabus, class notes and textbook can also be helpful.

How do I make an appointment?

There are multiple ways to make an appointment: 1) Drop by CG-409 to speak with someone working at the Reading & Writing Center. 2) Call 703.323.3341 and speak with someone working at the Center or leave a voicemail. 3) During NOVA’s time of remote learning, students are encouraged to complete the online Appointment Request Form. Be sure to complete all the required fields:
  • First and Last Name
  • EMPLID #
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Day/Time you want the appointment
  • Any other pertinent information
Email us at anwritingcenter@gmail.com if you have any additional questions. If you are leaving a voicemail or sending an email, please make sure to include relevant information about yourself and your appointment.

What happens if I can’t make my appointment?

Students who have an appointment with a tutor may cancel the appointment with 2 hours notice. Students who fail to come to scheduled appointments and do not cancel at least 2 hours in advance CANNOT make another appointment at the Reading & Writing center for the remainder of the semester. Students will still be able to utilize other resources at the Reading & Writing Center (workshops, software programs, books, handouts, etc.), and will be able to take advantage of workshops, walk-in tutoring and online tutoring services.

Must I have an appointment for tutoring?

No, you may get tutoring at the Reading & Writing Center as a “walk-in”, depending on tutor availability. Scheduling an appointment with a tutor, however, is the best way to guarantee you see one.

Workshops

What is a workshop? 

A workshop combines group tutoring with individual attention. Workshop leaders conduct an interactive discussion of a writing-related topic. After the discussion, you are invited to work on your writing. The workshop leaders will assist you with any questions you may have.

Who runs the workshops? 

The workshops leaders are experienced writing center tutors who are specially trained to lead and facilitate group workshops.

When are the workshops?

The workshop schedule can be found on the Workshops tab of this page.

Must I have an appointment for a workshop?

No, you do not need an appointment to attend a workshop. You can sign up for a workshop ahead of time, or simply drop in when we are hosting one. All workshops are located on the 4th floor of the CG Building.

Software

What is the self-guided software?

Self-guided software is a study resource for NOVA students. The software focuses on reading, grammar and writing skills.

Who can use the software? 

All NOVA students enrolled in classes at the Annandale Campus or online.

Must I have an appointment to use software?

No, you do not need an appointment to use the self-guided software.

What do I need to use the software?

You need a valid MyNova username and password. Call the IT Help Desk 703.323.4141 if you have trouble logging in. Some software may require you to create a username and password, or you may have a username and password assigned to you by one of the ASC managers or center front desk assistants.

 

This tutoring center uses Accudemia to schedule appointments and record student visit information. If you receive tutoring from this center, the email you provided for your account will periodically receive emails from an accudemia email account. You will receive an email upon account activation and as reminders for scheduled appointments. Other emails may be received based on usage and system updates. The authorized sender of Accudemia is noreply@accudemica.net. Here is a likely address and sign-off from Accudemia:

From: Accudemia <noreply@accudemia.net>
Date: Thu, Oct 4, 2018, 9:34 PM
Subject: Account Created

Thanks,
The Accudemia Team


Tutoring Services

Individual Appointments
  • 50 minutes of one-on-one, individualized assistance
  • Students are eligible for 1 appointment per week, or by assignment if given special permission by director
  • Reserve appointment slot online with the appointment request form, in person, or over the phone 703.323.3341
Individual appointments are ideal for all students seeking to improve their reading and composition skill sets. During a typical appointment, you and your tutor set an agenda. The agenda can be brainstorming for a paper topic, working on a thesis, re-organizing the body of an essay, revising based on an instructor’s feedback, working on grammar, or any other aspect of the writing process. After agreeing on an agenda, you and the tutor will read the paper together. You will then work on the agenda, discussing and brainstorming possible improvements to your writing. In some cases, tutors may ask you to practice some skills. Tutorials are always interactive and collaborative.
Group Appointments
  • 50 minutes of small group and individualized assistance
  • Students are eligible for 1 appointment per week by organizer and can be reserved for 2 to 3 students. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis.
  • Reserve your group appointment slot online with the appointment request form, in person, or over the phone 703.323.3341
Group appointments are ideal for students who are desiring help or are required to seek help on a class assignment or specific reading/writing skills. During a typical appointment, the group and the tutor set the agenda. The agenda can involve various topics including the following:
  • Planning the essay
  • Organizing and/or applying course materials (book, lecture notes, handouts) in order to complete the assignment
  • Creating thesis statements
  • Organizing ideas into coherent compositions
  • Editing strategies to ensure clear communication of ideas on a sentence level
  • Correctly documenting external sources of information by an established citation method
  • Understanding and critically reviewing course readings
  • Using computer software, applications, or Internet resources (such as You Tube videos)
Walk-in (Same Day) Service
  • Up to 30 minutes of one-on-one, individualized assistance
  • Students are eligible for 1 same-day session per day
  • Visit the center in person or call the center at 703.323.3341 to schedule a walk-in individual appointment the day you need assistance.
Same-day tutoring sessions are ideal for all students seeking to focus on one specific topic. During a typical same-day service session, you and your tutor will identify a topic. To help you locate a topic, the tutor will provide you with a list of common aspects of reading, writing and composing assignments. After agreeing on an agenda, you and the tutor will discuss and brainstorm possible strategies to support improvements in the chosen area. Often, tutors will recommend a specific action to apply to your task. Tutorials are always interactive and collaborative.
Walk-in (Same-Day) Service – Group Appointments
  • Up to 30 minutes of small group and individualized assistance
  • Students are eligible for 1 same-day session per day
  • Visit the center in person or call the center at 703.323.3341 to schedule a walk-in group appointment the day you need assistance
Same-Day Service Group – Appointments are ideal for groups of students who are desiring help on a class assignment or specific topic. During a typical appointment, the group and the tutor set the agenda. To help you locate a topic, the tutor will provide you with a list of common aspects of reading, writing and composing assignments. After agreeing on an agenda, the group and the tutor will discuss and brainstorm possible strategies to support improvements in the chosen area. Often, tutors will recommend a specific action to apply to the task. Tutorials are always interactive and collaborative.
Email Online Tutoring
Email tutoring is ideal for students with busy schedules who can’t commit to an appointment and for students who are taking online, hybrid or dual enrollment courses and don’t mind only a written response to their writing. It is important to understand that online tutoring has advantages, disadvantages and unique requirements. To use our online service, you will email your paper and the Request for Online Tutoring form to anwritingcenter@gmail.com. A tutor will read your paper and send both the paper and the feedback as an attachment in a reply email. No appointment is necessary. Here is general information regarding this unique service: Online tutoring offers written feedback on specific topics and observations of submitted texts. The RWC aims to respond to online submissions within 4 weekdays. During high volume times, RWC response times will lengthen. Please always check the website for operational updates. Also, if you do not receive a response within 4 weekdays, please email anwritingcenter@gmail.com or call 703.323.3341 to ask about the status of your paper. Each student is eligible for multiple online tutoring sessions per week; however, the same essay may only be resubmitted once. After an essay is resubmitted and receives additional feedback, it is ineligible for further email tutoring sessions. We recommend scheduling a one-on-one tutoring session or dropping by during our same-day service hours for continued support on the assignment. To use email tutoring, download this form (PDF) and follow the directions. Submissions without the completed form will not be reviewed.

Annandale Reading and Writing Center Policies

General Policies
  • Tutors are not obligated to write/type on the student’s paper/document
  • Tutors will not provide or estimate grades for assignments
  • Tutors will not assist students with online tests or quizzes
  • Tutors will not encourage complaints about VCCS faculty or courses but rather provide information to contact the appropriate Dean when appropriate
  • If Individual or Group Appointments finish 20 or more minutes early, the tutor may choose to help waiting students
  • If Same-Day Service session or Same-Day Service — Group Appointments finish 15 or more minutes early, the tutor may choose to help waiting students
Scheduling Policies
  • No service besides Online Tutoring can be reserved by email. Use the online Appointment Request Form to reserve an appointment with a tutor.
  • Students are allowed one (1) Individual OR Group Appointment per week.
  • Students are allowed one (1) Walk in (Same-Day) Service session OR Walk-in (Same-Day) Service — Group Appointment per day.
Cancellation & "No-Show" Policies
  • Students must provide cancellation notice a minimum of 2 hours prior to the Individual or Group Appointment; otherwise, the appointment will be considered a “no-show”
  • Student must provide cancellation notice prior to the beginning of their Same-Day reservation; otherwise, the appointment will be considered a “no-show”
  • Students may not cancel or reschedule appointments for other students
  •  Scheduled Individual and Group Appointments begin every hour on the hour
  • Tutors are obligated to wait for scheduled Individual or Group appointments for a maximum of 15 minutes, after which the appointment will be considered a “no-show”
  • Walk-in (Same-Day) Service sessions begin every half hour on the half hour
  • Tutors are obligated to wait for scheduled Walk-in (Same-Day) Service — Appointments and Walk-in (Same-Day) Service — Group Appointments for a maximum of 10 minutes, after which the tutor will assist wait-listed students and the appointment will be considered a “no-show”
  • Upon receiving one “no-show,” students may not reserve appointment-based services at Reading & Writing Center for the remainder of the semester. Students are still welcome to utilize any services that do not require appointments (e.g. Walk-in tutoring, Workshops, Conversation Café, or Software Usage).  Students can speak to a manager if they believe there has been a misunderstanding.

Community/Classroom Support Services

Workshops

The Reading & Writing Center workshops offer content instruction and interactive group discussion of specific writing issues, followed by individualized, one-on-one assistance. Participants learn, work on their writing and receive help along the way. Faculty and students interested in requesting a workshop should email the acting ASC Coordinator, Brian Adler, at badler@nvcc.edu. We will work quickly to create a workshop customized to your needs and schedule.


Current Workshops

  • Reading Comprehension Workshop - Time: 60 minutes (30 minute presentation/30 minute practice). Objectives: Learn and practice effective reading and annotation strategies for college-level assignments.
  • College Transfer Essay Workshop - Time: 90 minutes (45 minute presentation /45 minute practice). Objectives: An opportunity for students to learn effective writing and revising techniquies for application essays. Students at all stages of the essay writing process (from brainstorming to final draft) are welcome.
Event/In-Class Assistance
The Reading & Writing Center offers personalized assistance and/or presentations to meet your curricular or event needs.  Faculty and students interested in requesting event support should email the acting ASC Coordinator, Brian Adler, at badler@nvcc.edu.We will work quickly to support your needs and schedule.
Pop-Up Tutoring
Would you like students to be met with RWC personnel outside of the center?  Consider scheduling a RWC pop-up tutoring session.  Our staff will set up a station in an agreed-upon location and serve your students as they pass by.  This time can be used for either Q&A or for reserving appointments. Faculty and students interested in requesting pop-up tutoring should email the acting ASC Coordinator, Brian Adler, at badler@nvcc.edu.
We will work quickly to support your needs and schedule.
General Policies

We will need clear details

The RWC often hosts and visits classrooms for orientations.  These orientations are approximately 30 minutes in length.  If you are interested in another service or combining an orientation with another activity, the RWC will also staff special events.  In order to reserve a tutor for a special event, it is necessary that the Center Supervisor receives clear details regarding dates, times and locations; clear details regarding the requested services (an orientation, workshop, or pop-up tutoring);  the activity description; tutor expectations;  and an explicit guarantee that an instructor will be present.

RWC tutors cannot serve as substitutes for instructors

Tutors cannot serve as instructors in an instructor’s absence. Tutors are not credentialed to teach undergraduate courses, and such requests are also unfair for the tutor will not be paid the going rate for substituting.  Therefore, the submitted activity description must also explicitly state that there will be an instructor present to ultimately lead the class.


Questions

If you have any questions not answered on this website, please do not hesitate to contact the Reading & Writing Center directly at 703.323.3341 or anwritingcenter@gmail.com