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Get ready for college reading

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By GreatSchools Staff

6. Study vocabulary: word roots, stems and etymology — where words come from.

"Generally these skills are taught in remedial classes but not in regular high school classes," says Conley. If you're not learning about vocabulary in school, take the initiative to study vocabulary on your own.

The College Board recommends reading frequently outside of class to improve your vocabulary. In their book, College Prep, they offer this advice: "Learning the meaning of a word from a list does not tell you much about its connotation. You usually learn the connotations of such simple words as skinny from hearing them used by people you know. You usually learn connotations of more difficult words such as emaciated by reading."

It's important to read a variety of materials: books (both fiction and nonfiction), newspapers, magazines, and to read about subjects that you are not studying in school to broaden your world view and expand your vocabulary.

7. Keep a dictionary close by when you are reading.

Sometimes you can easily figure out the meaning of a word you are unfamiliar with by getting the meaning from the context. But sometimes it helps to have a dictionary at hand to look up unfamiliar words that may not be clear from the context.

8. Take notes and learn proper note-taking techniques.

"Students have a tendency to underline everything," says Conley. Underlining is a useful technique when it is used effectively but to avoid highlighting everything, try taking notes first. Concentrate on selecting the important points, write commentary in the margins of the text (if the book belongs to you, or in a notebook if the book doesn't belong to you), write down questions and make observations. You'll be more likely to actively engage with the text in this way.

9. Take time to read without distractions and concentrate.

"Reading requires a certain disposition to take in print, to stop and concentrate," says Briggs. "This is an important skill for students to develop."

10. Form study groups with your friends and join academic clubs at school.

One of the most powerful ways to improve your reading skills is to find ways to discuss what you've read with your peers and your teachers. "Seek out academic conversations," says Briggs. Book clubs, academic clubs and study groups are all good ways to join in serious discussion. Participating in these academic conversations is bound to advance your reading and writing levels. Check The Power of Study Groups on the College Board Web site.

Comments from readers

"I want to preper my daughter for college she want to be a DENTIST i want her to be ready for it in the nex 2 year "
"I have a question, too, actually. I want to know if a student from a country in Europe, such as Greece or Romania, can apply in 11th grade to a high school in the u.s. in order to have a better chance to be accepted at an university in the u.s. You know, to finish his/her last two years of high school here, knowing that he or she has been studying English at quite a high level. Is this possible? What do they have to do? Do they have the same chance as students who are already in u.s.? I have a friend who has this problem and I really have no idea what to advice her."
"Some school aren't preparing students for college. They don't care about our children. True, parents need to do their part at home with makiing sure they are reinforcing education at home, but what if parents don't know what to do? They didn't go to school to become a teacher. I appreciate any answers to my question. "
"I echo the comment from TN 9/11/06. I read this article specifically to see if speed reading was mentioned. I feel strongly that it should be taught in middle school or high school. Even though I was a strong reader, upon entering college, I was overwhelmed by the volume of reading required. I know I could have achieved much more had I been able to read faster."
"I believe this article (and others like it I have read elsewhere)leaves out a very important point about learning to read fast. Speed reading is a skill that can be most valuable at college when you have hundreds of pages to read to prepare for classes, tests, do research, etc. No one ever mentions it. No one mentioned it to me when I was preparing for college either. I sure could have used some speed reading skills in those days. Todays college bound kids need to know this. It should be emphasized, not ingored."
"Great article, how do we encourage our children to build study groups? I have not heard of any of my child's friends having study groups. "