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ACT scores in... need help with reading programs, obviously

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My 15yo son scored much higher than his mom ever did on the English and Math sections of the ACT, :glare:, but the reading section was a different story. Based on his practice tests we knew it was going to be a problem, and it was, at 21. The reading he does for homeschooling is different from the reading required for the ACT. When I assign reading I usually want my kids to get the big picture, to be able to tell me what they read and what the point of the book was. I'm usually pleased with my kids' attention to detail. For example, my two older boys are working through an IEW Greek Myths writing book, and their version of Oedipus was slightly different than the one he had read a few months ago and he complained about the difference.


I usually assign whole books without too much in-depth analysis, preferring to expose him to a lot of literature rather than only one or two works done to death, but with usually 3 books a year my kids use some manner of literary guide for deeper reading.


What else can I do (read: buy) to increase his reading "comprehension?" It's always stymied me that my kids have done poorly in this area of standardized tests, since they read all the time and seem to comprehend books above their grade level fairly well. I'm thinking that an AP classroom experience or two might help, but I don't know what else.


I'll go ahead and brag about his other scores: Eng. 31, Math 29, Sci. 23, for a 26 composite. Rod and Staff English through 8th grade, Foerster Alg. 1, Jacobs Geometry, and we aborted Foerster Alg & Trig in favor of BJU Alg. 2. Obviously we need to work more with maps, charts, and graphs for the science stuff -- normally he's really strong in science and history, but apparently his strength is memorization rather than manipulation of data. I thought for sure science would be his high score, especially since he's taken science classes in a private school and those grades aren't just "mommy grades." :confused:

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http://www.wwnorton.com/college/titles/english/seagull2_lit/students.php I will be using this as the readers have a website support for students and a wonderful intro to each piece to guide our discussions. I have looked at many, many "literary analysis," type anthologies or texts and many have discussion questions that are not relevant to our goals. I think you have done a wonderful job leading and teaching your son . His scores are very worthy of praise , you should be proud of these superb achievements. Congratulations to you both on a job well done and I hope that if this is not a suggestion that is useful for your family that others might utilize it. I do not know if others write their discussion guides from whole cloth so to speak but I am not able or interested in reinventing the wheel. It is quite teacher intensive to cobble together history, literature, philosophy and theology thus when I can find a resource to give me a bit of help I readily embrace it. The odd thing on the ACT/SAT/Graduate Record Exam for Grad school is that students must adjust to the concept that they are looking for the best answer not too narrow nor overbroad. There are almost always two that are not incorrect one is simply "better." Drove me nuts trying to figure out what they were looking for. I did use the Princeton Review for assistance in this respect and it was very helpful. We are a couple of years away from ACT but are taking the PSAT this fall . I am simultaneously excited for dd and quaking in my boots...

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I'm wondering the same thing. I've always preferred them to spend time reading and not getting bogged down with the guides. I just looked at Progeny Press' site and they suggest to spend 8-12 on each guide. I can't imagine spending that much time reading one book. Would you have them reading another book at the same time? I wondered if doing guides would help with the ACT?


De An

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I don't know if our story is atypical, but we did the traditional WTM-style reading from when my oldest was in 4th grade until she was in 9th grade. Then we switched to Omnibus I and II. However, both of my older daughters have read quite a bit all along---although perhaps your dc has as well! I think reading more difficult books helps quite a bit.


I can't remember if you mentioned this in your original post, but did you do any test prep. work to see how the questions were phrased? It may be that your son is a strong reader, but doesn't understand how to interpret the questions.

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I asked my son about this. His comment was that the ACT does not test comprehension but the ability to read quickly and remember the physical placement of details in a text so that test taker can refer back to the details quickly for verification.


That's the 17 year old's opinion.


And I suppose if there is a modicum of truth to his opinion, prep books might be the solution.



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My son had similar disparity in English/Math compared to Reading/Science. I think his comprehension is excellent. He does not read quickly and I know this affected his scores. I would highly recommend Cracking the ACT. Read the sections on Reading and Science and apply the tips to a real practice test from a different book(like the Real ACT). My son did this and learned in what order he should do the readings. He still didn't finish either reading or science and just bubbled in the same answer for all that he didn't have time to do, but in one year he raised his score 3 in reading and 2 in science. He read those tips and did 2-3 practice tests in the reading section and 1 in the science. Really look at the results of the practice tests. My son misses almost none on the ones he completes-he just can't finish them. He learned which kinds of sections were hardest for him and saved them for last.


BTW - he pulled his math score up 5 points. No practice tests, just an occasional SAT question of the day and a year of math(had just started Trig a month before the test)

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I saw these links on another board as being a help specifically for the ACT Science portion.


The following is a link to the first video in a series of eight (I believe) in which the instructor goes through a science reasoning section in real time.




The following link is the practice test which is being addressed in the videos:






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