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SAT Vocabulary - Improve your Skills the Fun Way!

When children have reached the point of reading and writing well, working on vocabulary development can change from previous years. I have a variety of ideas for vocabulary development that can help you with your teenagers. Read through them, and see if you can find suggestions that will help you with your child, in your unique situation.

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SAT Preparation - Where do we start?

The SAT® is an important step in the college admission process, and a good score can improve chances of financial aid. You can pursue a good vocabulary for studying for the test, and kill two birds with one stone. There are many options for SAT® vocabulary books and workbooks. This ACT and SAT Vocabulary Words Puzzle Book is a great way to sharpen vocabulary skills without the formality and pressure of "real studying".

There are also fun and engaging calendars that can help students learn new vocabulary in daily, bite-sized pieces. Check out this 365 New Words-A-Year Page-A-Day Calendar, the inimitable word calendar from the insuperable language experts at Merriam-Webster.

There are also a wide variety of games that are geared toward SAT® preparation. If your child is always on the computer, then consider having them play the Free Rice game. Not only will this improve synonym recognition, but it will also donate rice to the war and hunger-stricken people in the world. 

Read High Quality Books

Studying words alone may not put the words in context for children. When they see and hear a word being used, it's much easier for them to understand vocabulary. For that reason, reading books with a good vocabulary can really improve vocabulary development in teens. Unfortunately, not every book in popular literature has great vocabulary words in it. If you are trying to work on word use, look at a reading list for the college bound, and choose books that have great vocabulary. My College Bound Reading List has plenty of vocabulary-building suggestions.

Reading real books can help, but kids aren't always perfect about looking up a word in the dictionary when they see a new word they don't recognize. You can find some editions of college bound books that have the dictionary build in. We used the Kaplan Score Raising Classics as our read aloud books during the school year. They have the text of the book on one side of the page, with the vocabulary words in bold print. On the other side of the page, the words in bold are defined. We would sit together and the kids would read over my shoulder while I read to them. Using a vocabulary-building book, they could read the definitions of vocabulary words as I was reading them aloud. Here are some examples:

The Scarlet Letter: A Kaplan SAT Score-Raising Classic

The War of the Worlds: A Kaplan SAT Score-Raising Classic

There is also a publisher that provides vocabulary for the plays of Shakespeare. If you would like to learn vocabulary and you are studying Shakespeare, look at this publisher for great help.

Folger Shakespeare Library: The Tempest

Listen to Lectures and Lessons

Seeing real vocabulary in print, while reading real books, can help a lot. It can help even more when children can hear other adults using great vocabulary words. The Teaching Company provides college level lectures on audio and video. Because they are college level, students actually HEAR the vocabulary that they learn about in books. We had our children listen to lectures in subjects they enjoyed. At first, we used the course, "How to Listen to and Understand Great Music." I was SO impressed to hear the vocabulary the professors used! One way to get great vocabulary into your children is to have them listen to The Teaching Company lectures, and hear vocabulary used in a real college setting.

Study Foreign Language for Deeper Understanding

If you haven't started a foreign language, then consider starting with Latin, because it's great for vocabulary development. We used The Latin Road to English Grammar and both kids excelled at the vocabulary portion of the SAT®. Studies have proven that the study of Latin can dramatically improve SAT® scores, and I have seen that happen with my own children, so I'm completely convinced. English from the Roots Up is another excellent resource featuring 100 different Greek and Latin roots.

If you are already doing a Latin program, or if you aren't interested in Latin, then consider using Rummy Roots, the card game. Rummy Roots is a great start, and you can really expand your vocabulary when you play the games - plus it's not a difficult subject, it's sort of fun. Rummy Roots isn't the only game for vocabulary, though.

Learn with Games!

My children thought it was hilarious when I would "assign" games for our school day! But really, games are a GREAT way to increase comprehension without beating your children up with school subjects all day long. As adults, we increase our vocabulary with games, so why can't children? Consider working on crossword puzzles, or doing scrabble, to increase vocabulary skills. There are other games that are more schoolish, but can still be more fun than a workbook.

Wordsmithery - Fun and fast-paced family game lets you see if you can guess the right meaning of words like "egregious," "phalanx," and "salubrious." Lots of laughs while expanding your vocabulary.

Ransom Notes - The game of hilariously terrible sentences! Players use word magnets to respond to outlandish prompts. Use horrible grammar and excellent vocabulary words to string together totally ridiculous sentences. 

Look through your game closet to find other fun ideas for vocabulary building games.

When your child is already reading and writing well, and you are simply expanding and developing an already good vocabulary, then that is one subject that you can make as fun as possible. After all, it's the love of learning that will last the longest, so keep in mind your long-term plan!

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Sunday, 14 April 2024

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