Adulate...laud...extol...panegyrize...approbate...encomium. Do you talk that way around your kids? I sure hope so! Kudos to you if you know that all those words mean praise or approval of some kind and additional plaudits (more praise!) if you use that kind of language around your children.
Parents often ask how they can help their children do better on the SAT exam. One of the easiest ways is to use savvy (smart) words around them and encourage the child to use them as well. It's best if you participate yourself, make it fun, and start early; now is a great time too! When starting with younger children you have time to add a word or two each week. For older students who are closer to test-day, add a word or two each day. For all learners, continue to review past words and use them regularly. Using the words fully integrates them into your knowledge base.
This doesn't have to be soporific (sleep-inducing). Make it fun and it's more likely to be done and to stick. Here are some suggested books for making new vocabulary learning a little more entertaining.
500 Key Words for the SAT, and How to Remember Them Forever by Charles Gulotta: This entertaining book is full of fun pictures and quick stories that really help words stick. Many parents and students report that this book has made all the difference in their willingness to study.
Vocabulary Cartoons: SAT Word Power by by Sam Burchers: Another fun way to learn new words, this book has the additional benefit of activities to practice using the words.
The preceding two books really make it fun to learn new words, but our experience has shown that an alphabetical list is a tough way to learn words. Excoriate, exculpate, exemplify, extoll, extrapolate. Try holding on to all of those and their definitions for more than a few days! There are several books available that group the words for you in a way that will help you learn more words, more quickly. We suggest a combined approach. Use the following books to get a list of grouped words and then use the fun books above to really master the words.
Hot Words for the SAT by Linda Carnevale: Packed with 37 lessons, a variety of activities, and memory tips, this manual is very useful for improving vocabulary. A new edition of this book comes out this summer with lessons geared towards helping with the ACT.
McGraw-Hill's 400 Essential SAT Words by Denise Pivarnik-Nova: The lists in this book are a little longer, combining two sides of a concept. Make it easier by only doing one side at a time. A variety of exercises are included which help reinforce the words.
Gruber's SAT Word Master: A positive aspect of this book is the section on prefixes, suffixes, and roots. If you learn well this way, then Gruber's is a great option. Beware though this type of breaking up of words does not always work. Consider "receive" and you'll see what we mean. The prefix re- would leave ceive as the remaining part. Not really helpful. Activities are included with this book.
Obviously with the number of words in the English language, no book will have every word that will be on the SAT test that you take. However, knowing more words will help your score. Sometimes it comes down to knowing four of the answer choices are wrong and picking a word you don't know or have never seen before (which is the correct answer) simply because it's not one of the choices you know to be wrong!
Whatever you choose to do to prepare, we hope your vocabulary becomes prolific and your score becomes prodigious!