Erica's book is going to be the book on SAT reading.
Her book is going to have a great deal to teach students about reading, period.
From the Introduction:
Eight years elapsed between my last SAT, which I took as a senior in high school, and the first time I was asked to tutor Critical Reading. I distinctly remember sitting in Barnes and Noble, hunched over the Official Guide, staring at the questions in horror and thinking, “Oh wow, this test is hard. How on earth did I ever get an 800 on this thing when I was seventeen?” Mind you, I felt completely flummoxed by Critical Reading after I had earned a degree in literature.Erica's website: The Critical Reader
Somehow or other, I managed to muddle through my first Critical Reading tutoring sessions. I tried to pretend that I knew what I was doing, but to be perfectly honest, I was pretty lost. I had to look up answers in the back of the book. A lot. I lost count of the number of times I had to utter the words, “I think you’re right, but give me one second and let me just double-check that answer...” It was mortifying. No tutor wants to come off as clueless in front of a sixteen year-old, but I was looking like I had no idea what I was doing. Grammar I could handle, but when it came to teaching Critical Reading, I was in way over my head. I simply had no idea how to put into words what had always come naturally to me. Besides, half the time I wasn’t sure of the right answer myself.
Lucky for me, fate intervened in the form of Laura Wilson, the founder of WilsonPrep in Chappaqua, New York, whose company I spent several years writing tests for. Laura taught me about the major passage themes, answer choices patterns, and structures. I learned the importance of identifying main point, tone and major transitions, and the ways in which that information can allow a test-taker to spot correct answers quickly, efficiently, and without second-guessing. I discovered that the skills that the SAT tested were in fact the exact same skills that I had spent four years honing.
As a matter of fact, I came to realize that, paradoxically, my degree in French was probably more of an aid in teaching Critical Reading than a degree in English would have been. The basic French literary analysis exercise, known as the explication de texte linéaire, consists of close reading of a short excerpt of text, during which the reader explains how the text functions rhetorically from beginning to end – that is, just how structure, diction, and syntax work together to produce meaning and convey a particular idea or point of view. In other words, exactly the skills tested on Critical Reading. I had considered explications de texte a pointless exercise (Rhetoric? Who studies rhetoric anymore? That’s so nineteenth century!) and resented being forced to write them in college – especially during the year I spent at the Sorbonne, where I and my (French) classmates did little else – but suddenly I appreciated the skills they had taught me. Once I made the connection between what I had been studying all that time and the skills tested SAT, the test suddenly made sense. The close reading skills I had spent four years being forced to hone came remarkably in handy. I suddenly had something to fall back on when I was teaching, and for the first time, I found that I no longer had to constantly look up answers.
Erica's other books:
Eight Multiple Choice SAT Writing Tests: The Companion Workbook to The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar
The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar