9 Reading Comprehension Strategiesx

9 Reading Comprehension Strategies
btw, this will also help you
on the March exit exams!
1. Read each question to determine
the type:
 1. main idea
 2. detecting details
 3. inference
 4. tone/mood
 Definitions to follow
Main idea
 These questions focus on the selection of the main thought of
a passage; ability to judge the general significance of a
passage; or the ability to select the best title of a passage
Detecting details
 These questions assess your ability to understand the writer’s
explicit statements; to get the literal meaning of what is
written; or to identify details
Inferential reasoning
 These questions judge your ability to weave together the
ideas of a passage and to see their relationships; to draw
correct inferences; or to go beyond the literal interpretation
to the implications of the statements
 These questions assess your
ability to determine from the
passage the tone or mood that is
dominant in the passage –
serious, humorous, sad,
mysterious, etc.
Read passage one
 1. This is a tone/mood question, so to answer it correctly,
you must be able to determine the tone that is dominant in
the passage.
 2. This is an inferential reasoning type of question. To answer
it correctly, you must see relationships between words and
 3. This is a detecting details question. To answer it correctly,
you must be able to understand the writer’s specific
Read passage two
 1. This is a detecting details and an inferential reasoning
question.You have to identify those words dealing with sound
and noise, and you also have to infer that the author is
appealing to the auditory (hearing) sense.
 2. This is a tone/mood question for which you must
determine the dominant tone in the passage.
 3. This is a main idea question.You must have the ability to
judge the general significance of the passage.
 4. This is an inferential reasoning question for which you
must draw a correct inference.
2. Underline the key parts of the
reading passage
 The underlining will help you to answer questions because
practically every question will ask you to detect …
… the main idea or
… information that is specifically mentioned in the passage or
… information that is implied (not directly stated) in the
passage or
… the tone or mood of the passage
 If you find out quickly what the question is asking for, you will
more easily arrive at the correct answer by referring to your
underlining in the passage.
 Let’s practice!
3. Look back at the passage when in doubt
 The underlinings you have made in the reading passage will
help you to determine whether a certain choice is the only
correct choice.
A critic of politics finds himself driven
to deprecate the power of words
while using them copiously in
warning against their influence. It is
indeed in politics that their
influence is most dangerous, so that
one is almost tempted to wish that
they did not exist, and that society
might be managed silently, by
instinct, habit and ocular
perception, without this
supervening Babel of reports,
arguments and slogans.
 1. Which statement is true
according to the passage?
A. Critics of politics are often
driven to take desperate measures.
B.Words, when used by politicians,
have the greatest capacity for harm.
C. Politicians talk more than other
D. Society would be better managed
if mutes were in charge.
E. Reports and slogans are not to be
 Example 2
 All history museum experts are familiar
with examples of ostrakoi, the oystershells
used in balloting. As a matter of fact, these
“oystershells” are usually shards of pottery,
conveniently glazed to enable the voter to
express his wishes in writing. In the
Agora, a great number of these have come
to light, bearing the name, Themistocles.
Into rival jars were dropped the ballots for
or against his banishment. On account of
the huge vote taken on that memorable
date, it was to be expected that many
ostakoi would be fond, but the interest of
this collection is that a number of these
ballots are inscribed in an identical
handwriting. There is nothing mysterious
about it! The Boss were on the job, then as
now. He prepared these ballots, and voters
cast them – no doubt for the
consideration of an obol or two. The ballot
box was stuffed. How is the glory of the
American boss diminished! A vile
imitation, he. His methods as old as Time!
 1. The title that best expresses the
ideas of this passage is
A. An Odd Method of Voting
B. Themistocles, an Early Dictator
C. Democracy in the Past
D. Political Trickery – Past and
E.The Diminishing American
 Example 3
 1. The author implies that, in
 The weather predictions, which an
almanac always contains are, we
believe, mostly wasted on the farmer.
He can take a squint at the moon
before turning in. He can “smell”
snow or tell if the wind is shifting
dangerously east. He can register
forebodingly an extra twinge in a
rheumatic shoulder. With any of these
to go by, he can be reasonably sure of
tomorrow's weather. He can return
the almanac to the nail behind the
door and put a last stick of wood in
the stove. For an almanac, a zero night
or a morning’s drifted road – none of
these have changed much since Poor
Richard wrote his stuff and barns
were built along the Delaware.
predicting weather, there in
considerable value in
A. reading the almanac
B. placing the last stick of wood in the
C. sleeping with one eye on the moon
D. keeping an almanac behind the
E. noting rheumatic pains
4. Before answering the
question, read the passage
 If a particular sentence is not clear to
you as you read, then reread that
sentence to get a better idea of what
the author is trying to say.
 Let’s practice
5. Get the meanings of tough words by
using the context method
 Try to determine meaning of words you don’t know from the
words that are close in position to the word with the
meaning you don’t know. Knowing the meanings of the
difficult words in the passage will help you to better
understand the passage as a whole.
 Let’s practice
6. Circle transitional words in the
 These “bridge” or “key” words will help
you to discover logical connections in a
reading passage. Circling those
transitional words will help you to get a
better understanding of the passage.
 You have a list of these words on your
 Let’s practice
7. Don’t answer a question on the
basis of your own opinion
 Answer each question on the basis of
information given or suggested in the
passage itself.
 Your own views or judgments may
sometimes conflict with what the author
of the passage is expressing.
 Answer the question according to what
the author believes.
 Example
 1. The author’s attitude toward
 History has long made a point of the fact
that the magnificent flowering of ancient
civilization rested upon the institution of
slavery, which released opportunity at the
top of the art and literature which became
the glory of antiquity. In a way, the
mechanization of the present-day world
produces the condition of the ancient in
that the enormous development of
laborsaving devices and of contrivances
which amplify the capacities of mankind
affords the base for the leisure necessary
to widespread cultural pursuits.
Mechanization is the present-day slave
power, with the difference that in the
mechanized society, there is no group of
the community which does not share in
the benefits of its inventions.
Let’s practice one more
mechanization is one of
A. awe
B. acceptance
C. distrust
D. fear
E. devotion
Throughout the passage, the author’s
attitude toward mechanization is one
of acceptance.You may have a feeling
of distrust or fear toward
mechanization, but the question asks
about the author’s attitude.
8. After reading the passage, read
each question carefully
 Read not only the stem (beginning) of the question but also
each of the five answer choices.
 Some students select a choice just because it is a true
statement – or because it answers part of a question. This can
get you into trouble.
 Let’s practice
9. Increase your vocabulary to boost
your reading comprehension score
 Study your roots, prefixes and suffixes. Knowing the meaning
of difficult words will help you understand a passage better.
Read as widely as possible – novels, nonfiction, newspapers,
Listen to people who speak well, such as on television shows
that are cleverly written.You can pick up new words just by
Get into the habit of using the dictionary.
Play word games. Crossword puzzles help
build vocabulary.
USE new words that you learn.
Let’s practice in the SAT book!

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