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SAT Survivor: A Reading Comprehension Game

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See more activities in: High School, Reading

The Reading Comprehension portion of the SAT exam can be tough. That's why it's important not only to be on top of vocabulary, but to have some tricks up your sleeve to strategize when you're otherwise stumped. Here's a fun game to practice strategies for acing the Reading Comprehension section, but be warned: if your teen does well, he won't be taking the trash out tonight!

What You Need:

  • sample SAT Reading Comprehension questions, available on the Internet and in SAT review books
  • scrap paper and pen
  • a homegrown Immunity Idol (based on the TV show, Survivor)

What You Do:

  1. Set up a review session with your teen in which the focus is on the Reading Comprehension section. This should be a quiet place where she can focus on the reading passages. Set a goal for the number of points needed in the review session. (20 may be a good target to start with.) As your teen practices responding to questions, award her points when she applies strategies.
  2. Here are some strategies and point values:
    • Avoid speed reading this part of the test. Read carefully. (4 pts.)
    • Answer as many questions related to one passage as you can before moving to another passage. Don’t jump from passage to passage. (2 pts.)
    • If you can eliminate choices, do so. This will help improve your chances of guessing the right answer if you’re not absolutely sure of it. (3 pts.)
    • If you can’t eliminate any choices, leave it blank. That’s better for your score than randomly guessing at the answer. (1 pt.)
    • If the question provides a line number, check back in the passage to find the quoted text on that line. (1 pt.)
    • When reading quoted text on a certain line number, be sure to read a couple of the lines that came before and after it, to help you clarify the meaning. (5 pts.)
    • If you skip a question, mark it in your test booklet so that you can go back and try it again if time allows. (1 pt.)
    • Beware of “exact-language traps.” If an answer-choice is quoted exactly from the text, it is probably not the correct answer. Correct answers on this test are most often paraphrased from the passage, rather than quoted directly. (2 pts.)
    • If you don’t know what a word means, try to look carefully for parts of the word that may be familiar to you, such as prefixes and suffixes. (5 pts.)
    • Don’t spend too much time on any one question or any one passage. Remember that all the questions are worth the same number of points, so if a question is too hard, it may be best to move on to other questions that aren’t as difficult. Reading Comprehension questions on this test do not appear in order of difficulty. (5 pts.)
  3. Total up the number of points at the end of the review session. If your child meets his goal, he wins the Immunity Idol. What’s he immune from? The household chore of his choice!
Liana Mahoney is a National Board Certified elementary teacher, currently teaching a first and second grade loop. She is also a certified Reading Specialist, with teaching experience as a former high school English teacher, and early grades Remedial Reading.

Updated on Aug 16, 2012
See more activities in: High School, Reading
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