In this lesson, our instructor Rebekah Hendershot goes through an introduction on what to read for the SAT. She discusses how to choose books, the rule of three, great books for every interests, mystery, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, humor, romance, realistic fiction, and comic books.
Reading is the single best way to build your vocabulary, period.
Reading gives you practice at understanding both the literal meaning of text and what authors are saying between the lines
Reading gives you a ready supply of examples for the essay.
Reading older books helps you familiarize yourself with the styles and language of previous centuries.
Reading is a great way to relax and reduce stressand preparing for the SAT is stressful enough.
How to Choose Books
Choose books in areas that interest you. If you hate kissing, dont read romance novels. If you love spaceships, dont waste your time on Westerns.
Choose books that challenge you. A good book should regularly introduce characters or ideas that make you think, and you should encounter a good vocabulary word at least every couple of pages.
Dont choose books that are too hard or ridiculously boring. You wont read them.
Use Amazon.com, or ask a librarian, bookseller, or friend to recommend books based on your interests and what youve liked before.
The Rule of Three
If youre reading something on your own time, you must manage your time wisely. Dont give up on reading too quickly, and dont waste all your time trying to read something unhelpful.
If a work is short (like a short story or an article), give it three pages to pique your interest.
If a work is long (like a novel), give it three chapters or 20 to 30 pagesto pique your interest.
If whatever youre reading hasnt got your attention by then, you have my permission to try something else.
Great Books for Every Interest
If youve never been a big reader, you might not know what you like to read. You might not have found it yet!
So ask yourselfwhat do you like to watch on television? What are your favorite movies? What are your interests? What are your favorite things to do in your free time? Find a book about something you love, and you will never be bored.
If all else fails, pick up one of these titles, read 3 pages, and see what happens.
If that fails, ask a librarian. Seriously. Theyre awesome. And they dont really shush people anymore.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Murder on the Orient Express or And Then There Were None Agatha Christie
The Maltese Falcon Dashiell Hammett
Anything by Raymond Chandler with Phillip Marlowe in it.
The Beekeepers Apprentice and the Mary Russell series Laurie R. King
The Final Solution Michael Chabon
The Crispin Guest mysteries Jeri Westerson
Anything thats won an Edgar Award
Captain Bloodor Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
The Princess Bride William Goldman
Tarzan of the Apes Edgar Rice Burroughs
Sharpes Rifles Bernard Cornwell
The Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas
Gentlemen of the Road Michael Chabon
The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope
The Jungle Book Rudyard Kipling
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien
The Last Unicorn Peter S. Beagle
Conan the Cimmerian Robert E. Howard
American Gods and Anansi Boys Neil Gaiman
The Discworld series Terry Pratchett
The Golden Compass Philip Pullman
The Dragon and the George (Dragon Knight series) Gordon R. Dickson
Dragonsong Anne McCaffrey
The Chronicles of Narnia C.S. Lewis
Anything thats won a Mythopoeic Award, a World Fantasy Award, or a Hugo Award
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
The Blackcollar Timothy Zahn
Foundation and I, Robot Isaac Asimov
Dune Frank Herbert
The Beast Master Andre Norton
Soldier, Ask Not Gordon R. Dickson
Enders Game Orson Scott Card
Anything thats won a Hugo Award, a Nebula Award, or a John W. Campbell Award, plus any author whos been named a Grandmaster.
The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett (I particularly recommend Going Postal and Thud!)
The Callahan series by Spider Robinson (I particularly recommend The Callahan Chronicalsand Callahans Key)
Sir Apropos of Nothing Peter David
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
Code of the Woostersor Thank You, Jeeves P. G. Wodehouse
Ivanhoe Sir Walter Scott
Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte
Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, or just about anything else by Jane Austen
The Princess Bride William Goldman
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Sherman Alexie
Dodger Terry Pratchett
Speak Laurie Halse Anderson
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes Chris Crutcher
The Wednesday Wars Gary D. Schmidt
Anything thats won a Newbery Medal or Printz Medal
Anything thats been named an American Library Association Notable Book
Anything thats won a Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award andlooks interesting
A Great Place to Start
Nation Terry Pratchett
If You Cant/Wont Read
Listen to audiobooks and podcasts
Watch live performances
Have someone read to you
Shakespeare performed by people who love Shakespeare
Gilbert and Sullivan performed by people who love Gilbert and Sullivan
Turn on the captions!
The Dirty Secret of Reading
Comic books!Yes, really! (But call them graphic novels.)
Watchmen Alan Moore
Sandman Neil Gaiman
Superman: Earth One J. Michael Straczynski
Astro City Kurt Busiek
Maus Art Spiegelman
We3 Grant Morrison
The Unwritten Mike Carey
Mouse Guard David Petersen
Morning Glories Nick Spencer
PS238 Aaron Williams
Starman James Robinson
Anything thats won a Harvey Award or an Eisner Award.
Recommended supplementary material to view SAT questions featured in lesson answer guides: The Official SAT Study Guide by the College Board.
What to Read For the SAT
Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.
Educator.com recommends The Official SAT Study Guide published by The College Board, the administrators of the actual SAT test. In it, you will find additional practice questions and a review of all subjects, along with 10 official SAT practice tests. Our instructors work through several of the practice tests in real time, going through their thought processes and test-taking tips.
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