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Verbal Enrichment Tweet Series: Tips and Week 1 Summary
Friday, January 25, 2013

Last week, @TutorTango launched our Verbal Enrichment Tweet Series. Since then, we’ve tweeted 17 PSAT words that occurred in articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and on BBC.com. In case you missed the first week of tweeted words, here they are again, in alphabetical order:

appropriate
benign
confirm
cynical
depict
derivative
exploit
dissent
feasible
generate
indifference
obscure
optimist
perpetual
superficial
sustain
thwart

Why are we doing this? Because we agree with most teachers that reading is the best way to expand vocabulary and, therefore, prepare for the verbal sections of standardized tests. But we recognize that many busy students these days don’t have enough time to read. So we’re making it easy for them by suggesting one article per day that contains 2-3 words from Barron’s High Frequency PSAT World List.

Students, if you haven’t caught on yet, here’s what to do:

1. Take a look at the PSAT words spelled out in our daily tweet, then follow the short link to the article in which they occur.

2. As you read, locate each PSAT word. Note that the form of the word may be slightly different from the form of the word as tweeted (for example, an adverb might appear in adjective form in the article).

3. Try to learn the word from context. Read and re-read the sentence in which each word occurs until you have a sense of the word’s general meaning.

4. If you still don’t understand the word, look it up. Cut-and-paste the word into Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary or try OneLook.com.

5. As you read through the dictionary listing, make a note of the word’s part of speech (noun, adjective, adverb, verb). And if the dictionary listing offers more than one meaning, try to determine which one matches up most closely to the meaning of the word as it’s used in the article.

6. (Optional) On a piece of notebook paper or in an electronic file, such as a Word or Google Doc, maintain a list of the words that give you trouble. Take a look at the list from time to time and go through each word; try to recall its part of speech and meaning. If you’re stuck, look the word up again.

7. (Optional) Consider composing your own original sentence to prove your understanding of the word. Have a tutor or teacher (or mom, dad, etc.) check over your work.

Happy reading--and, of course, vocabulary building!