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ACT Reading Preparation (for use in English)

ACT Reading Preparation (for use in English)

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ACT Reading Preparation (for use in English)

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  1. ACT Reading Preparation(for use in English) University of Illinois-Chicago Curriculum Framework Project Spring 2011

  2. Schedule for Lesson #1 • Introduction to Test • Strategies • General • Prose Fiction

  3. Introduction to the Test:Why Prepare for the ACT? • SKILLS Tested on the ACT: • Main Idea • Supporting Details • Inference • These lessons will focus on TEST TAKING STRATEGIES.

  4. Introduction to the Test:Order of Passages The ACT Reading passages almost always appear in the following order: • Prose Fiction • Social Science • Humanities • Natural Science

  5. Introduction to the Test:Order of Passages • By practicing with these passages, you can figure out your strengths and weaknesses. • Start with your strengths.

  6. Introduction to the Test:Content of the Reading Test • Prose Fiction (25%) • 885 words • Questions based on intact short stories or excerpts from short stories or novels.

  7. Introduction to the Test:Content of the Reading Test • Social Science (25%) • 775 words • Questions based on passages that may include: anthropology, archaeology, economics, history, political science, and sociology.

  8. Introduction to the Test:Content of the Reading Test • Humanities (25%) • 600 Words • Often from first-person narrative perspective • Questions based on passages that may include: art, dance, music, philosophy, and theater

  9. Introduction to the Test:Content of the Reading Test • Natural Sciences (25%) • 545 words • Questions based on passages about topics such as: astronomy, biology, botany, chemistry, physics, and zoology

  10. Pause and Consider Which of the 4 passages do you feel is your biggest strength? WHY?

  11. Introduction to the Test:Reading Question Categories • Main Idea Questions (MI) • Supporting Detail Questions (SD) • Inference/Evaluation Questions (I)

  12. Introduction to the Test:Main Idea Questions • Understanding theme/thesis • Understanding author’s purpose • Determine which of the answer choices best summarizes the information presented in the passage either as a whole or in a specific paragraph.

  13. Introduction to the Test:Main Idea Question Stems • Which of the following is the main point…? • The main argument the author makes about. . . is • What is the main theme of [a specific paragraph or line]?

  14. Introduction to the Test:Supporting Details Questions • Shows understanding of individual points • Demonstrate comprehension and careful understanding • Determine which fact(s) best supports main idea. • Sequence the events in the passage

  15. Introduction to the Test:Supporting Details Question Stems • According to the [a specific paragraph/section/passage]… • Who/when/what/where did… • According to the passage, all of the following are true about ------ EXCEPT. . . • The passage makes it clear that…

  16. Introduction to the Test:Inference-Evaluation Questions • Make judgments • Identify the implications of the supporting details in the passage. • Draw conclusions based on reading the passage • Determine the author’s idea through generalization of the facts

  17. Introduction to the Test:Inference-Evaluation Questions • Analyze cause-and-effect relationships • Identify multiple meanings of a word and determine its definition with context clues from the passage • Determine the implications of the author’s general tone or attitude

  18. Introduction to the Test:Inference-Evaluation Question Stems • The author suggests/implies/infers that… • With which of the following statements would the author agree? • According to the passage, the WORD/TERM ‘…’ means which of the following? • The idea….is best exemplified by which of the following quotations from the passage? • The attitude of the author toward x is…

  19. Introduction to the Test:Roman Numeral Questions • 3 or 4 statements each labeled with a Roman numeral. • Treat each as true-false statement. • Save time by figuring out which statements are false & eliminating answers that contain that answer. Which of the following subjects are covered on the ACT: I. English Usage II. Math III. Gymnastics A. I and II only B. I and III only C. II and III only D. I, II, and III

  20. Schedule for Lesson #1 • Introduction to Test • Testing Strategies • General • Prose Fiction

  21. Tests & Strategies: Part 1 General Strategies: • Change Your Reading Habits • Pace Yourself • Leave Nothing Blank • Concentrate on Three Passages Most • Know Nonfiction v. Fiction Passages • Prioritize Your Tasks

  22. General Strategy #1: Change Your Reading Habits • Read editorials • Editorials from good newspapers and some magazines are approximately the same length as ACT passages. • They also cover a variety of topics which broadens your knowledge base. Better background knowledge = faster, more accurate reading. • Read high quality texts • Make it a habit to read magazines and newspapers such as U.S. News, Time, The New Yorker, NY Times, Discovery, Science, Smithsonian, Christian Science Monitor, National Geographic, The Nation, The New Republic, Harpers, and Atlantic • Read reviews and criticism. Read columnists.

  23. Be Aware of Your Reading Habits • Don’t mouth the words! • Keep eyes moving! • Read groups of text rather than word-by-word. • Determine how fast you can skim and still comprehend.

  24. Concentrate on Your Reading • Force yourself to pay close attention. • Know the difference between your interacting voice and your distracting voice. • Interacting voice: the voice that makes connections, asks questions, identifies confusions, agrees and disagrees with ideas. This voice deepens the reader’s understanding of the text. • Distracting voice: the voice that pulls the reader away from the meaning of the text. • Practice reading with concentration until you can do so easily.

  25. Pause and Consider On which of these “Reading Habits” do you MOST need to improve? What is the first step you can take to improve?

  26. General Strategy #2: Pace Yourself • You have 35 minutes to answer 40 questions on the reading. • This mean 8 minutes and 45 seconds per passage/ten questions.

  27. General Strategy #3: Leave None Blank • There is no penalty for guessing, so it is to your advantage to answer every question during the time allowed for that test. • Make sure to leave time for guessing on the reading test. Many people will have to guess on the last passage so leave at least 30 seconds to fill in extra bubbles.

  28. General Strategy #4: Concentrate on Three Passages (if necessary) If you: • find yourself unable to push your reading to complete all four passages in the time you have, then… • aim to read three really well. • can answer 30 questions correctly, then… • you will still find your score a 26 on this section. • With some good guessing for the last ten, you might raise that to a 30.

  29. General Strategy #5: Nonfiction vs Fiction Passages • The approach you take to reading the passages should be different for these two types of passages. • Fiction and often Humanities passages are inferential (abstract, not concrete) and must be read between the lines. • The non-fiction passages do not need such a close reading for you to be successful.

  30. General Strategy #6: Prioritize Your Tasks • LOOK AT 4 PASSAGES & COMPLETE EASIEST FIRST • PREVIEW FIRST AND LAST SENTENCES (prereading) • A quick preview allows you to answer: “What is the topic of the selection?” • PREVIEW QUESTION STEM • Identify each question as MI, SD, or I.

  31. General Strategy #6: Prioritize Your Tasks • READ THE PASSAGE • Read to answer the questions. • ANSWER THE QUESTIONS • Don’t waste time on ones you don’t know- guess or leave time to go back . • ANSWER ALL QUESTIONS FOR A PASSAGE BEFORE MOVING ON!

  32. Schedule for Lesson #1 • Introduction to Test • Testing Strategies • General • Prose Fiction

  33. Prose Fiction Strategies • Watch for Word Choice for Effect • Keep Track of Sequence • Pay Attention to Characters • Identify the Author’s Tone • Watch for Satire and Irony

  34. Strategy #1: Watch for Word Choice for Effect • Watch for metaphor, simile, personification, hyperbole, and allusions. • Note the author’s use of connotative language (intended meaning vs. literal meaning) • Connotative language brings to mind certain values and attitudes attached to the words.

  35. Strategy #1: Watch for Word Choice for Effect • Don’t always take the author literally. Consider these examples… • The inhabitants don’t even really see the décor anymore; the house itself becomes a kind of giant hallway, everyone is hurrying through. • We marched into battle daily over other issues of privacy. • All of these impressions came over me as I stood in that doorway-a tide of passage and movement and the cresting needs of small children.

  36. Example from Practice Test (56A) “Josie watched him charm his life away through high school, where, with little effort, he carried off all the prizes. How she hated it when her mother pointed out his accomplishments to her.”

  37. Other Examples from Practice Test (56A) “Their intimacy was born when…” (line 9) “Miguel Chico leaned to the clinical…” (line 23) “He felt the kitchen charged with their antagonism...” (line 54)

  38. Strategy #2: Keep Track of Sequence • These passages often move around in time and place (not in a linear manner). • As you read, mark your passage every time a shift occurs in time. • Keep clear what is in the present and what is in the past.

  39. Strategy #3: Pay Attention to Characters • These passages generally are detailed descriptions of characters. Usually, there is a central character who interacts with other characters. • Much of what happens is from the viewpoint of the main character. Understand the main character’s feelings and you understand the passage. • Passages usually have characters who are personally conflicted. • Passages like to walk a line between the imagined and the real. What goes on in a person’s head says as much as what really happens. (ABSTRACT) • Generally, there is a moment in the passage when the character has a shift or flip (turning point) in his or her character. Watch for that point.

  40. Many questions deal with the characters • Ask Yourself: • Who are these people? What are they like? How are they related to each other? • What is their state of mind? Are they angry? Sad? Reflective? Excited? • What’s happening on the surface? What’s happening beneath the surface?

  41. Example from Practice Test (56A) Question: What does this tell you about the relationship between Josie and Miguel? “Their intimacy was born when they discovered that each found the wicked stepmother far more interesting than the boring Snow White, who deserved her even more boring and bland prince.” (lines 9-12)

  42. Strategy #4: Identify Author’s Mood and Tone • Atmosphere or feeling created by a literary work, partly by a description of the objects or by the style of the descriptions. A work may contain a mood of horror, mystery, holiness, childlike simplicity, etc. • word choice • level of formality • point of view • emotional response on the part of the author towards the subject.

  43. What MOOD/TONE is conveyed by the following phrase? • “He felt the kitchen charged with antagonism toward each other, very like when he was in his father’s presence. Here, he was an observer, but he lost his appetite in an instant.” (lines 54-56) • TENSION, ANXIETY

  44. What MOOD/TONE is conveyed by the following phrases? • “Josie watched him charm his life away through high school, where, with little effort, he carried off all the prizes.” (lines 29-31) • “How she hated it when her mother pointed out his accomplishments to her.” (lines 31-32) • ANGER, FRUSTRATION

  45. Strategy #5: Watch for Satire and Irony • Satire • holding up human vices and follies to ridicule and scorn. Satire is often achieved through understatement. Know when someone is making a statement they don’t quite mean seriously. • Irony • expressing something other than, and especially the opposite of, the literal meaning. Something which is ironical often is not what was expected in a particular situation or is an outcome which may not have been looked for.

  46. “Even through he was one of Mama Chona’s pets (NOTE: play on words… “mama’s boy”), Josie adored him. Together, they loved and argued about books and movies and from the start, felt they could talk honestly to each other about most family matters. Their intimacy was born when they discovered that each found the wicked stepmother far more interesting (NOTE: making fun of their Josie and Miguel’s relationship) than the boring Snow White, who deserved her even more boring and bland prince.” (lines 5-12) Satire: Example from Practice Test (56A)

  47. Review of Prose Fiction Strategies • Watch for Word Choice for Effect • Keep Track of Sequence • Pay Attention to Characters • Identify the Author’s Tone • Watch for Satire and Irony

  48. Schedule for Lesson #1 • Introduction to Test • Testing Strategies • General • Prose Fiction

  49. Schedule for Lesson #2: Active Reading • Structural Clues (explain + model) • Annotating (explain + model) • Hinge Words (explain + model)