"Today's tutorial was focused on critical reading strategy for the PSAT. First, we began with a deductive reasoning exercise, which is how we will begin most subsequent sessions. He had to use a coded system of determining the digits and correct order of digits in a 4-digit number. He did an excellent job of deducing the number, especially given that this was his first time with the exercise. I advise that he repeat this exercise with friends and family to sharpen the deductive reasoning skills he will need for the reading comprehension and math portions of the exam.
Following this exercise, we did an in-depth lesson on critical reading strategy. I detailed all of the problem types he will encounter in the sentence completion and passage-based sections of this exam portion. Then, we worked with practice tests to get him using the most effective methods for answering these question types. I followed the model-guided practice-independent practice method for showing him how to approach one and two-blank sentence completions and literary passages. He answered 13 out of 19 questions correctly (the total of separate one and two-blank sentence completion sections). For the questions he answered incorrectly, he was able to narrow the answer choices down to two: with one being the correct answer and the other being the near-correct/trick answer every time. This is a great reflection on his raw abilities, especially his existing mastery of many complex vocabulary words. His vocabulary will be augmented as he works on the word roots list I supplied to him.
After this, I had him reiterate the methods for approaching different question types for the PSAT's critical reading section before focusing more exclusively on the process of annotating and analyzing passages. He practiced specific word analysis, empathizing with the author, and paragraph mapping on a passage from a passage-based reading test. He showed a solid capacity to adapt the techniques I outlined for him and to conduct a highly effective passage analysis after using these techniques.
For extra practice, he is going to take an hour to read as many stories as possible in a major newspaper. While reading, he is going to practice the annotation strategies we discussed today in preparation for questions I will ask next Wednesday.
He is going to take a simulated PSAT exam this Sunday. I will provide the exam and instructions well in advance. Next Wednesday, we will review the results of the exam and do a quick exercise so he can see how much of the word roots list he has been able to internalize."