SAT Preparation That Works

If you are looking to increase your kids' vocabulary so that they will sound more educated, and perhaps improve their SAT/ACT scores, try to find a fun way to do it. The old-fashioned method of dry memorization was not the best method of learning new material, but the brain embraces new ideas when they are presented in an enjoyable way.

The three top vocabulary builders below take a new approach to learning. They are an absolute essential for any parents wanting to give their children that "leg up" on standardized tests and in their presentation to any future employer.

1. "Vocabulary That Matters: An SAT Booster" by Toby Luria, published by Pieces of Learning:

This is truly a comprehensive source for students who wish to increase their vocabulary either for a test such as the SAT or GRE, or in order to come across as a well-educated person. This CD set contains over 1,500 words, and a sample is available for free download. The author's rhyming poems incorporates words into the poems, letter by letter with a story line that draws you in. The words in the poems are clearly defined and highlighted so that the answers to the critical-thinking activities that follow each poem are readily found. The activities present another example of the real use of the word so that students can attain full understanding while they are challenged to demonstrate their own knowledge of the words.

2. "Vocabulary Cartoons: SAT Word Power" by Sam Burchers, published by New Monic books:

This book uses rhyming words and visual mnemonic aids for vocabulary retention. The book presents 290 words commonly found on the SAT with easy-to-remember memory aids in the form of word associations and humorous cartoons. For instance, if you see the word "fjord" with tourists looking at a fjord in a Ford car, you have a pretty good chance of remembering it. The level of the words is fairly simple, yet great for the middle school student. This is a good start toward building a foundation of complex words.

3. "Picture These SAT Words in a Flash" (Flash Cards) by Philip Geer , published by Barron's Educational Series:

This is a set of 200 flash cards that present new words above a cartoon with a wordplay caption. The pun gives a clue to the meaning of the word. The definition is on the reverse side of the card. The cards are humorous and contain great visual aids for remembering new words. It is easy to remember the word because you can visualize how the word is used in a sentence just by looking at the cartoon. Although excellent for elementary school students, it does lack the finer nuances of word meaning and therefore usage.

All three books are highly recommended for home schoolers and any parent who wishes to give their child an edge in the work world.