Beginning October Newsletter

Hello All,

Maybe some of you missed our last newsletter but I am going to start making it available on the blog. As always, you can click the newsletter icon on the right hand side of the page and sign up via email, but here is a bit of an inside scoop!

Tip of the Week:


SAT and ACT readings are, plain and simple, boring to read. Therefore, I encourage all of my students to stop reading, and start hunting. What are you hunting for? Clues to the author’s message – the main idea that relates to all of the questions.

As you’re hunting, stop and check out the buts! “But”, “although”, “yet” and “however” are thought-reversers. These should be circled, and the words that follow should be underlined. These thought-reversers change the direction of a piece and qualify statements. An answer to a question is usually found directly following a thought-reverser.

Imagine little Johnny and little Suzy. Johnny thinks little Suzy is a little cutie, and wants to ask her on a date.

Johnny: Hi Suzy, I was wondering if you’d like to go out on Saturday.

Suzy: Oh Johnny, that’s so nice of you to ask. You’re really cute, funny, and an awesome chem lab partner, but

Johnny can stop listening at this point. It doesn’t matter how many compliments Suzy lays out. As soon as she says “but”, Johnny knows there will be no Saturday night with Suzy the cutie.

So again, check out the buts while you’re hunting through a reading passage on a standardized test. Circle, underline, and take note of the change in direction!

Word of the Week

Peruse (v):
To read carefully

After perusing status updates on Facebook, Suzy learned that, indeed, Johnny had found a new girlfriend.

Exercise of the Week:

Hunt through the short reading passage below, taking note of any thought-reversers. Then, answer the question that follows.

In between school days, we gathered hazelnuts, fished, had long deer-hunting weekends, went to powwows, beaded on looms, and made quilts. No one questioned the necessity or value of our school education, but somehow I grew up knowing it wasn’t the only education I would need. I am thankful for those experiences of my Anishinaabe heritage, because now I know by heart not only the national anthem, but the ancient song of the loon. I recognize not only the alphabet and the parts of an English sentence, but the intricate language of a beaver’s teeth and tail.

The main idea of the passage is that the author…

a. Preferred certain academic subjects over others
b. Succeeded in learning to speak many foreign languages
c. Valued knowledge of the natural world more than book learning
d. Loved both family trips and tribal activities
e. Learned many important things both in and out of school

Answer: E. This passage contains three “buts”. If you go back and only read the sentences with the buts you will get the main idea –learn in and out of school. Or…academics vs. heritage/nature.


Reed College – Portland, Oregon

Reed College has an extremely eclectic student body. A small school, most students agree Reed is a place where their “uniquenes” is embraced and fostered. Yet, it is one of the most intellectual colleges in the country.  Reed has extremely rigorous academics and Biology is the most popular major.

Enrollment – 1481
SAT:  660-760 verbal, 620-710 math
ACT -29-33
Strongest Programs:  Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, English, Anthropology, Philosophy, History, Physics

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