My chickens🐥, who are very determined to get a 400 on the SAT reading section🐥 , often ask me for additional reading resources.
"What should I be reading to get better/faster/ more efficient at reading SAT passages?"
I like to give a reading list to help them train their brains to recognize specific patterns and sentence structures. Like in high school, they get a summer reading list;) When I get to know my clients better, I give a smaller, more tailored reading list, but today you'll get a full catalog of History Reading Resources.
Many of my international chickens especially struggle with reading primary documents. Suppose you are looking to apply to Ivy League schools in the US. In that case, you must not only communicate your overall academic readiness but also demonstrate that you're comfortable with reading complex literature with convoluted syntax. This ability might be even more critical for international students than native speakers. Not fair, I know.
WARNING: Reading skill is not like math skill. While math rules can be learned quickly and affect your score almost instantly, reading acumen takes time. Reading ability requires experience with text. A.k.a, it would be best if you sat down, removed all distractions, and read for hours on end. For example, if someone wants to become a fit person 💪🏻, they need TIME, effort, precision to work out and build muscle mass. Reading is just like fitness, but it works for your brain. Do this work NOW to see the RESULT later.
Let's now talk about SAT History Reading Passages. TWO main factors drive students to fail at them: vocabulary and syntax. To improve your vocabulary, you can join me in the Boost Your Vocabulary in 3 Days course or buy my book. To enhance your ability to make meaning from complex sentences, you need to read many similar books, and you need to read them slowly. I am currently building a course that will help you improve your comprehension, and we'll post the link here when it's ready.
Roughly, all SAT reading passages can be divided into 5 Large Categories. Each Category has a topic and a list of suggested reading materials.
1️⃣ The very first type of reading passages is focused on the structure of the government. It discusses whether the government should be democratic or should it stay loyal to the English crown. Those discussions are represented in the 4th official SAT.
You CANNOT go to the SAT and expect to do well if you haven't read Edmund Burke or Thomas Paine.
Thomas Paine is an American activist. He is quite different from Burke. He wrote a lot of work, and I would like you to read 3 of his works: "Common Sense," "The Rights of Man" (was used on the SAT), and "Age of Reason."
I suggest reading these books and essays, taking notes, and becoming comfortable with their ideas and, most importantly, the way they are expressed.
2️⃣The second type of SAT History reading passages is about injustice: slavery, racial discrimination, economic injustice, and poverty. A good example comes from SAT 2, Elizabeth Stanton's "History of Woman Suffrage."
To get better at these types of passages, consider reading:
a) 🎯Elizabeth Stanton ➡️"History of Woman Suffrage" http://bit.ly/2LuxV5D
b) 🔔Mary Wollstonecraft ➡️"A vindication of the rights of men, in a letter to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke" http://bit.ly/2LHtJPN
c) 💯Mary Wollstonecraft ➡️"Maria The Wrongs of Woman" http://bit.ly/3qfe5Ko
3️⃣The third type of SAT History reading passages is Questions of Historical Progress and Reform, where authors attempt to rethink "Abolition of Slavery" or Women's Rights. You will see a lot of Frederick Douglas questioning abolitionism. In the Official SAT Test 1, we can see how Virginia Wolf is rethinking women's rights.
a) 🎯Catherine Beecher ➡️"An Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism" http://at.virginia.edu/38A5E6z
b) 🔔Angelina Grimke" Letters to Catherine E. Beecher" http://bit.ly/39p4t9b
4️⃣The fourth type of reading passages is Political, Economic, Cultural, Moral Attributes of the US. Often, American authors and thinkers like Abe Lincoln and Henry David Thoreau have a discussion about the policy of the American future. Reading Thoreau is an absolute MUST if you want a high score. Especially "Civil Disobedience." Similarly, read many of Abe Lincoln's writings. Another good example of cultural and moral discussion is a book called "Democracy in America" by Alexis de Tocqueville - a French diplomat looking at American democracy and American attributes. His book about democracy is a great representative of American values. One of the SAT passages from SAT 7 used The Democracy in America.
5️⃣The last type is when two American writers discuss some of the founding principles. A good example was SAT 8, where STEVEN DOUGLAS, a lawyer, discusses liberty with Abe Lincoln.
Read "The Declaration of Independence."
❌What NOT to read? 🤔
SAT is very concerned with how it is being perceived by both democratic and republican parties, which both hold a lot of power in education. Therefore, the College Board wants to maintain neutrality by avoiding contemporary political and religious topics like abortion, sex education, gun control, prayer in schools, etc. Do not read on issues currently contentious for the American public if you are trying to focus on the SAT relevant texts. Anything divisive will not show up on the SAT.
Lastly, I encourage you to read 1,000 pages a month in addition to what you are currently reading at school. A few months of such rigorous training will yield fruit in the form of a higher score.
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