Vocabulary and SAT Critical Reading

Posted on 28th December 2010 in Tampa SAT Preparation

I was talking to a parent of one of my tutorees this morning. She was trying to convince her son to dedicate himself to studying more vocabulary before he takes the SAT in a month.

She is right that a lot of a person’s critical reading score is determined by his or her ability to decode vocabulary.

Certainly, vocabulary matters on the quarter of the SAT critical reading questions that are sentence completions, but I find that a surprising number of questions missed in the critical reading are because the student cannot properly decode an unfamiliar word or phrase in the passage or answer choices.

I like to teach vocabulary using a series of books about word roots, but some students also like a series called Vocabulary Cartoons.

rock climber on cliff face
Photo by Jasen Miller . Licensed under CC Attribution 2.0 generic

If you are preparing for the SAT and struggling with the critical reading section, work on your vocabulary. Spend an hour a day with one of these resources and your score will climb!

Eric Anderson is an English and history tutor who lives in Wesley Chapel, Florida. He tutors high school and college students in language arts and history.

Reach Eric by e-mail at Tampa tutor at Tampa bay dot rr dot com. He tutors students in New Tampa, Odessa, Temple Terrace, and Carrollwood.

Good Resource for SAT and ACT Students Wanting to Learn Vocabulary and Word Roots

Posted on 9th September 2010 in Tampa ACT Preparation, Tampa SAT Preparation

One of my favorite web services is Stumble Upon.  In my spare time, I like to see what new things that I can find on the web in my areas of interest.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a good flashcard site for students studying for the SAT and ACT.


Although the sets are of varying quality, I found a few good ones, especially in the area of word roots.

If you are doing some last minute cramming for the vocabulary parts of the SAT and ACT, you might find it useful. It looks like you can study the cards on the site for free.

Let me know what you think!

Eric Anderson is an English and history tutor. He lives in Wesley Chapel and tutors students in Wesley Chapel, New Tampa and surrounding communities. Reach him at 813.787.8959.

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Tampa, FL AP English Tutor’s 5 Websites for Building SAT Vocabulary

Posted on 13th November 2009 in Tampa SAT Preparation

Avid readers typically have the vocabulary needed to score well on the SAT, but students who are stronger in math and science may not.

If you are a student who is more inclined toward math and science, one way to improve your SAT reading score is to learn new vocabulary words every day.

Fortunately, the Internet makes learning new words easy. Here are five of my favorite word-of-the-day websites:

Vocabulary Building Website Free Rice
The Free Rice website is a nifty way to increase vocabulary and to help end world hunger.  In the “English Vocabulary” section, students are given a vocabulary word and four possible meanings.  If they choose correctly, 10 grains of rice are donated to the United Nations World Food Program and a harder vocabulary word is given.  These vocabulary words start at about at the seventh- grade level and progress to the graduate level.

Word of the Day from Wordsmith
Wordsmith will e-mail a vocabulary word each day to students who sign up by sending a message with “subscribe” in the subject line to wsmith@wordsmith.org.  Daily Wordsmith e-mails provide the word meaning, the pronunciation, the etymology, and a sentence using the word.  The vocabulary words are appropriate for middle school and high school students.

New York Times Word of the Day
In the Learning section of the New York Times website, students can also find a word of the day.  These words are taken from past articles in the New York Times.  Each word includes pronunciation and meaning.  The website also provides the number of times the word has appeared on the pages of the Times during the past year.  The vocabulary words are on the seventh-grade level and above.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day
The dictionary publisher also has a good Word of the Day Program.  Students can sign up to receive emails, read the entry online, or listen to a pod cast.  Each entry includes a definition and a sentence using the vocabulary word in context.  This word-of-the-day website also includes a paragraph about the word’s origin.  Students in middle school through college will benefit from Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day program.

The Way to Word Power: Vocab Vitamins
This fun vocabulary building website provides a word of the day that corresponds to a theme of the week.  Along with the meaning and origin of the word, each day’s entry provides several paragraphs to provide a rich context for the word.  Vocab Vitamins will work best for ninth graders and above. The creators of this site are the authors of Vocabulary Vitamins. The site offers a premium subscription as well as some worthwhile grammar tips.

These online resources make learning new vocabulary fun and simple.  Learning a word a day is an excellent way for you to improve your SAT reading scores.

If you would like some one-on-one help on SAT reading or SAT writing, call 813.787.8959 to reach Eric Anderson. Ask him about the five good reasons to hire him as your Tampa English tutor.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 11/13/2009 8:37 PM


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Tampa FL English Tutor Tips for Learning Vocabulary Words for Middle Schoolers

Posted on 7th September 2009 in Tampa English Tutor

I recently added a new client for Tampa English tutoring in Carrollwood. I normally only tutor ages 6-12 and adults, but this client has a terrific 5th grader who wanted to improve vocabulary and writing skills.

My wife, a middle school teacher, advised me to look into using the Frayer Model  to help this young student expand her vocabulary.

There are a number of wonderful  web sites on the Frayer.  The Frayer Model helps students make connections with the word they are trying to learn.

This image created by Eddy Van 3000. See more of his beautiful photos on Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Only.

The Frayer model divides a page into four equal squares. The word goes in a circle in the center of the page. Although versions of the model differ somewhat, each square invites the student to make a different kind of connection.

In the upper left square of the Frayer, students might write a definition in their own words. In the lower left, they might write a sentence or two using the word. In the upper right square of the Frayer, they might describe what the word reminds them of. In the lower right, they might draw a picture to go with the word.

The person I tutored this week became engrossed in making connections. I recommend at least trying the Frayer Method to teach vocabulary if you haven’t. It’s engaging and especially effective with students who are visual or enjoy drawing.

Here is a link to a PDF of a blank Frayer model.

If you would like to have an English tutor help your child improve his or her vocabulary, reading or writing this school year, contact Eric Anderson, Tampa English Tutor at 813.787.8959.

Posted by Tampa English Tutor at 9/7/2009 9:35 PM