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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.
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