I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that question from students and parents alike. The truth is preparation started the day a child learns to speak.
The SAT verbal section is broken down by vocabulary or sentence completions and critical reading. Learning the correct use of the English language starts from birth and I firmly believe that parents, who are their child’s first teacher, can pave the way for success in SAT reading by speaking to their child not in childish jibberish, but in real words and by reading to your child and being an avid reader yourself.
Ideally, from the time a student has reached middle school, they are on track to know whether they intend to go to college. At that point, vocabulary should be the primary focus. Sign up for the Word of the Day from http://www.dictionary.com and use the words daily to help make them part of the regular vocabulary. There is a statistic that says that if you use a new word 5 times in your normal conversations that it will become part of your normal working vocabulary. Keep vocabulary on index cards in a box to show a student how much they have learned over time.
Students who take a foreign language are also at an advantage. Many words from Latin and French are the parent words of our own English vocabulary. For example DEFENESTRATE means to throw something out a window. For those who have studied French the word may look a bit familiar because fenêtre means window.
Join me on journey of new vocabulary every day on my Facebook page Tutoring By Diane.