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Ch 36: ACT Reading: Understanding Reading Passages

About This Chapter

Practice essential reading comprehension skills for the ACT reading test. Get ready to demonstrate your readiness for college-level texts after completing these user-friendly video lessons and quizzes.

ACT Reading: Understanding Reading Passages - Chapter Summary

The ACT reading test contains passages pertaining to prose fiction, social studies, natural sciences and the humanities. Various reading strategies may apply more directly to specific types of content. This chapter presents the following handy comprehension topics through short videos and quick quizzes:

  • Use context to find meaning
  • How to infer intended meaning
  • Construct meaning with context clues
  • Understand tone and mood
  • Compare 'big picture' and 'close' reading strategies
  • Use text to guide interpretations of literary meaning
  • Compare connotation and denotation

ACT Reading Objectives

You'll find a systematic guide for analyzing a literary passage and learn how writing structure affects meaning in this chapter. The reading section of the ACT test measures your reading comprehension with 40 questions completed in 35 minutes. Our reading lessons address objectives from the ACT test:

  • Determine main ideas
  • Derive meaning from four types of passages
  • Use reasoning to discover implied meanings
  • Locate and interpret essential details
  • Form conclusions, comparisons and generalizations
  • Analyze the author's or narrator's voice

Multiple-choice questions follow the reading passages; there are ten questions per passage. Selections from each of the four types of reading make up 25% of the test. Your score will include sub-scores for combinations of social studies/natural sciences and prose fiction/humanities reading skills, in addition to an overall score based on the entire reading test.

10 Lessons in Chapter 36: ACT Reading: Understanding Reading Passages
How to Analyze a Literary Passage: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. How to Analyze a Literary Passage: A Step-by-Step Guide

In this lesson, we will examine the steps involved in the basic analysis of literature. Then, using a well-known fable, we will go through each step of analysis: comprehension, interpreting and drawing conclusions.

What is Inference? - How to Infer Intended Meaning

2. What is Inference? - How to Infer Intended Meaning

In this lesson, we will define the terms inference and intended meaning. We will then discuss what steps to take when making inferences in literature.

How to Use Context to Determine the Meaning of Words

3. How to Use Context to Determine the Meaning of Words

With diligence and intrepid ingenuity, you can use context to ascertain the purport of a word. In other words, in this lesson, we'll find out how to use context to figure out what words mean.

Constructing Meaning with Context Clues, Prior Knowledge & Word Structure

4. Constructing Meaning with Context Clues, Prior Knowledge & Word Structure

In this lesson, you will learn how readers use prior knowledge, context clues and word structure to aid their understanding of what they read. Explore these strategies through examples from literature and everyday life.

Reading Strategies Using Visualization

5. Reading Strategies Using Visualization

In this lesson, we will define visualization. We will then discuss why this step is important, how we can visualize, and when you should visualize. Finally, we will look at a sample from a poem and practice visualizing.

What Are Connotation and Denotation? - Definitions & Examples

6. What Are Connotation and Denotation? - Definitions & Examples

Discover the difference between a word's denotation and its connotation in this lesson. Explore how authors use both denotation and connotation to add layers of meaning to their work with some literary examples.

Understanding Tone and Mood in a Reading Passage

7. Understanding Tone and Mood in a Reading Passage

In this lesson, we will define the literary terms tone and mood. We will then discuss how to identify each of them, as well as how to identify them in small reading passages.

What is Structure in Writing and How Does it Affect Meaning?

8. What is Structure in Writing and How Does it Affect Meaning?

In this lesson, we will define the role of structure in literature. From there, we will look at the different ways to structure fiction and how it affects the meaning.

Close Reading vs. Big Picture Reading Strategies

9. Close Reading vs. Big Picture Reading Strategies

In this lesson, learn about two different approaches to reading a work of literature: big picture strategies and close reading strategies. Discover how these two perspectives can be put into practice through examples from the play 'Romeo and Juliet.'

Interpreting Literary Meaning: How to Use Text to Guide Your Interpretation

10. Interpreting Literary Meaning: How to Use Text to Guide Your Interpretation

In this lesson, we will discuss how to find and interpret literary meaning in writings. The lesson will focus on using the text to find key elements to guide your interpretation.

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