Tag Archives: reading

Summer is just around the corner, and for high school students, that means that pretty soon you’ll be getting your summer reading assignments. It doesn’t matter if you’re a natural reader with a full bookshelf—nobody really likes having to slog through a list of “classics” before the fall semester starts up. Reading skills are crucial for teenagers, though, and developing any skill takes practice. Reading regularly can help make even the most difficult novels easier to get through, and as a lifelong bookworm, I’ve got plenty of recommendations. These are titles that I find myself returning to over and over because I actually enjoy them, and some of them might already be on your required reading list anyway. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner. This beautiful work of historical fiction depicts two women’s intertwined lives in Afghanistan through the Afghan-Soviet war and the rise…

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It might be hard to understand why the SAT and ACT test students on reading skills. Math is practical for lots of careers, and it’s important to know proper grammar and syntax, but why do standardized tests bother with having you read passages and answer questions about them? As it turns out, strong reading skills matter more than a lot of people realize. A 2020 study by Gallup found that a shocking 54% of adults in the United States can’t read at a sixth-grade level. Over half of American adults would probably have trouble reading A Wrinkle in Time or the Percy Jackson series. If you’re a high school junior or senior who’s had to read hundreds of pages of challenging literature, that might seem incredible, but as someone who was a bookworm from a young age, it’s easy to take for granted how hard reading can be for some…

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Reading, as we say over and over and over, is fundamental to learning, understanding, and living well. But maybe the practice would be more popular if enthusiasts weren’t tagged with such insulting monikers. Who wants to be called a bookworm anyway? According to Addison Rizer’s comprehensive History of the Bookworm, this derogatory term dates back to the 16th century: The earliest documented appearance of the word bookworm, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is in 1580: It appears in Three Proper and Witty Familiar Letters, a series of correspondences between scholar Gabriel Harvey and poet Edmund Spenser. One of the men writes of someone reading too much, “A morning bookeworm, an afternoone maltworm.” Back then, the term denoted idleness or vice: “Those who were bookworms were ‘candle-wasters’ and ‘maltworms,’ a reference to being an alcoholic.” Today, most devoted readers enjoy recognition of their erudition, despite being compared to vermin. Interestingly,…

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Every year, new books are released to address the myriad choices, complications, and challenges inherent in today’s college admissions environment. Most of these works, however, are notably nonfiction. Rarely does a story as dramatic or suspenseful as Girls with Bright Futures break through to become part of the college admissions canon. But after the 2019 Operation Varsity Blues bribery scandal, the admissions process–especially at the most selective schools–no longer seems so innocent. Girls with Bright Futures is described as an “irreverent and suspenseful novel exploring the privilege and scandal of an elite Seattle community as a group of mothers become embroiled in college admissions mayhem.” First time authors and long-time friends Tracy Dobmeier and Wendy Katzman definitely deliver on the promise of a college admissions thriller about “Three women. Three daughters. And a promise that they’ll each get what they deserve.” I was invited to speak about this fun book…

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A sophisticated college-level vocabulary is so last century, at least as far as the SAT, ACT, and possibly colleges themselves are concerned. The priority for today’s academics and knowledge workers is graphical literacy. ACT was actually ahead of the curve on this one with the data-rich Science Test, but College Board only got the memo in the last decade. The 2015 revision of the SAT Reading section jettisoned the last of the discrete vocabulary questions in part to make room for a new and unfamiliar–at least to the SAT–addition: passage-based graphs. The Reading section of the current SAT presents 52 questions across 5 passages covering a wide range of topics. Test takers can expect 3 of those passages to present natural and social science topics, and these passages can include a total of 3-4 graphs. Usually each passage will hold 2 graphs but sometimes a single one appears. The most…

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As we’ve said time and time again, reading is fundamental. Well, we didn’t make that phrase up, but we love to spread it around. After all, reading enriching books at least a little bit every day delivers the kinds of benefits we all want for ourselves and our children: improved comprehension (which means more knowledge as well as better grades and scores) increased speed (which mean less time doing homework, more test questions answered, and greater productivity) advanced vocabulary (which means more sophisticated, persuasive communication) decreased frustration (which means reading becomes more enjoyable, which inspires even more reading) Plus, regular readers exhibit greater levels of happiness, community engagement, and mental health. What more could you want for your high schooler? We launched our Strategic Reading Club to provide the structure, direction, and discussion many teens need to engage in real reading on a regular basis. We’ve also revised the structure…

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