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The Critical Reader 3.7.2013 Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1479224715
ISBN-10: 1479224715
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 3.7.2013 edition (April 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1479224715
  • ISBN-13: 978-1479224715
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Oh boy, oh boy. Where to start?
I'm about 125 pages into this book (more than a third of the way done) and I'm admittedly having some ambivalent feelings toward it.
On the one hand, I think Erica Meltzer has created a comprehensive guide to the SAT Critical Reading section and knows what she's talking about. On the other hand, I am completely turned off by her manner of approach. There are some things I absolutely cannot look past. After reading the preface, I felt almost insulted. Meltzer states in the first sentence, "I did not want to write this book." She goes on to say, "No matter how much you don't want to take the SAT, I assure you that I didn't want to write this book just as badly." Well jeez, if you did not want to write the book, then why did you? While I do agree that the majority of high school students do not have reading comprehension skills on par with that of a college student, I think her initial approach was ultimately condescending and very off-putting. Similarly, the language Miss Meltzer uses makes it seem as though if you aren't using her method, then you're wrong. Unfortunately, I am one of those test-takers who reads through the passage and simultaneously answers the question. That doesn't mean I can't score an 800.

My biggest piece of advice: readers of this guide should take some of her opinions with a grain of salt, and look to mold the techniques to their style of test-taking, not try to mold themselves to Meltzer's style of test-taking.

BUT with that being said, I believe Erica Meltzer's guide is a self-studier's must have. One-hundred and twenty-five pages into her book and I can definitely feel a change in the way that I am thinking and approaching the Critical Reading section.
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Format: Paperback
I started to read this book at my brother's house (his son is preparing for the SAT) and will be ordering a copy. I did not get far enough to give an accurate review on content so I will update later. I do need to mention that I am constantly astounded by the fact that authors do not seem to care enough about their work to properly proofread. I am an SAT tutor myself and cannot understand why this work has typographical errors in it. It is somewhat ironic that a book on critical reading stressing the importance of paying attention to every word has errors in it. In addition, I found the style of writing somewhat wordy and the format not particularly inviting so far. I don't think the average student will get excited by this book.

BUT--the above criticism is not a reason not to buy the book if it will help improve scores. I did like the book enough to buy my own copy so that I can read further and see if I can pick up additional pointers/insights for my students. I already score an 800 on Critical Reading but I am always looking to pick up tips to make myself a more effective tutor and teacher.

I do disagree with Erica regarding crossing out each entire incorrect answer when working; I advise my students to just cross out the letter of the wrong answer choice with one diagonal slash and it seems to save time and have no negative effect. In addition, if they eliminate all of the answers and need to start over, they then make another diagonal slash in the opposite direction--so now we have an X over each answer choice that is definitely wrong. I think that is more effective, quicker and neater than erasing to reconsider an answer if one eliminates it by mistake.
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Format: Paperback
When writing about or talking about Erica Meltzer's impressive "The Critical Reader - The Complete Guide to SAT Critical Reading", it's difficult for me not to sound enthusiastic, sycophantic, or even hyperbolic. Having taught SAT Critical Reading to many students, and having purchased and used a mini-library of SAT teaching books, I can state unequivocally that "The Critical Reader" earns a place on its own shelf.

For some students the reading section of the SAT is more daunting than the other sections. Whether it's their weak vocabulary skills, or the length of the passages, or the number of questions, the mere mention of the overwhelming reading section can cause panic or even a flight response in students. Luckily I still have the remnants of my catlike reflexes to catch them before they escape.

In her 300 plus pages Erica Meltzer covers a lot of territory. By breaking the reading content skills into manageable chunks, she puts the student (and the SAT instructor) at ease and instills confidence that the task at hand can be mastered. Sections flow from topic to topic, each building on what was previously covered.

Topic contents:
Overview of Critical Reading
Vocabulary and Sentence Completions
Passage Content and Themes
The Main Point
Literal Comprehension
Vocabulary in Context
Reading for Function
Tone and Attitude
Rhetorical Strategy
Assumptions, Generalizations, and Claims
Fiction Passages
Paired Passages

Things I Like:
The conversational tone of the author is helpful and makes a difficult topic almost fun or at least bearable.
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