Tag Archives: reading

Those of you who remember the old RIF commercials will probably chuckle at the reference, but the statement is as true today as it was back then: reading is fundamental. Strong reading and writing skills lie at the heart of the best grades, most impressive SAT & ACT scores, and most enduring professional success. Just because someone knows how to read doesn’t mean she reads well. Reading is a skill-based activity that improves with focused practice. That means that students should know how to read properly and then internalize the right strategies by reading challenging level-appropriate texts on a regular basis (HINT: National Geographic may be level-appropriate, but People magazine never is!) The benefits of exceptional reading skills are almost limitless, but include many obvious and highly desirable advantages: increased reading speed (which mean less time doing homework) improved comprehension (which means more knowledge as well as better grades and…

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Every SAT Reading section includes one passage or a pair of passages from what can be considered a historical document. Sometimes, the passage will be an excerpt from a U.S. founding document like the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, or the Federalist Papers. Other times, the test will feature an influential text or speech excerpt from the Great Global Conversation on equality, rights, and the nature of civic life. For many obvious reasons, students struggle with these passages. Not only are they usually archaic but they demand a clear understanding of persuasive writing and argumentation. Find out in this seminar how to understand and excel on even the toughest SAT historical documents passages!   The fee for this one-hour seminar is $30 .   Advance registration is required. Register through our Student Information Form and specify the SAT Historical Documents seminar. We will reply to registrants by email…

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Passages drawn from the 18th, 19th, and even early 20th centuries tend to stop most modern high schoolers in their tracks. How can you handle unfamiliar phrasing, esoteric vocabulary, and elaborate sentence structure? We’ll show you how! Learn how to unlock the essential meanings of passages drawn from earlier periods quickly and accurately enough to earn major points on the SAT and ACT Reading sections.   The fee for this one-hour online seminar is $30.   Advance registration is required. Register through our Student Information Form and specify the Archaic Reading Passages seminar. We will reply to registrants by email with the invitation to this Zoom seminar.   ABOUT YOUR TEACHER: Patty Camloh, who heads our Syracuse-area prep programs, uses her background in engineering and education to help students achieve their best results. She has worn many career hats, including environmental engineer, high school teacher, and counselor. Most recently, she worked…

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Students often come to us with expressed fear of the math and English sections, and we usually start with one of those sections first because there is so much content we can cover that will quickly lead to higher scores. The Reading section of the tests, however, remains elusive, and is often the hardest section to make progress in. The best thing a student can do to improve their reading comprehension for the tests is read more–read widely, read often, read actively–and seek to understand what the text is saying, ideally by looking up vocabulary that is unfamiliar. Sustained reading increases the skills tested in the Reading section over time, but many students are scrambling to prepare for the SAT and ACT only a month or two before the exam date. So, when faced with a time crunch, what can we do to increase a student’s score in Reading? One…

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Though all students know it, not too many love it: the dreaded persuasive essay. What student hasn’t been compelled to learn the techniques of argumentation, incorporating claim, evidence, and reasoning, to craft a written or spoken persuasion piece? Happily, students can use these mandatory learning experiences in persuasive writing to their advantage in understanding SAT historical passages. The College Board explains how the U.S. Founding Documents and the Great Global Conversation, added in the last major test revision, evaluates understanding of classic rhetoric in action: “Authors, speakers, and thinkers from the United States and around the world… have broadened and deepened the conversation around such vital matters as freedom, justice, and human dignity.” Students will encounter passages from great leaders who, over time, have addressed vital issues in the areas of human rights, equality, government, citizenship, and the improvement of society. These leaders wrote not merely to inform but to…

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After over 25 years of trying to explain what complex standardized instruments like the SAT or ACT are meant to test, I still find the general explanation of “math, verbal, and test taking skills” woefully inadequate. Just as frustrating is the disconnect between the way these skills are tests in school as opposed to the exams themselves. Why is SAT math, for example, so different from school math, even though the discrete subject matter overlaps entirely? A recent comment from deep thinker Shane Parrish of Farnam Street helped me wrap my head around why the conventional view of what is tested fails to describe how multifarious and sophisticated those skills are: We tend to think of meta skills as the skill. For example, we default to thinking that reading is a skill. But there is really no skill called reading. Reading is the meta-skill that results when you alloy other…

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