And when to begin?
Instead of agonizing over it, we decided to begin today, right in the middle of it, (or, to be all high-falutin’ about it, and say like the Romans used to say,—in medias res).
So, what we’ve got here is a literary educational platform called STORIED. Check it out here: www.readstoried.com if you like. And the reason we went to the trouble of creating a whole platform in the first place is that there’s not a whole lot of reading going on in schools (and probably even less of it happening when school’s out). So, being writers, (and readers) we wanted to change that.
The last thing we wanted, though, was to do something about the low reading and test-performance levels in schools by making something boring and bureaucratic. We set out to make reading fun, engaging and relevant to teenagers, and to give them (or you, if you’re reading this and you’re a teenager) an improved chance of doing better on the P-SAT / ACT and beyond. *And without the stress of cramming.*
So we chose contextual learning as our method: you read stories in which the SAT words appear organically. Listen along to the audio versions of the stories, click on the underlined words if you want, check out the enhanced flashcards, hear the words pronounced (a hundred times if you want; even the intonation of the recordings helps you understand what each word means). After a while, you’ll notice that you know more words than before. Test yourself to see if that’s actually true. In 2-3 months you’ll know all the words you need to know to ace the verbal sections of the test you’re taking.
Here are some tech specs for STORIED:
Works on any device with a Web browser (desktop, laptop, netbook, tablet, smartphone, eReader, etc). iOS version (for iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad) is available here. The stories are written by talented young writers and feature clickable SAT-level words, enhanced flash cards, self-testing, illustrations you’ll be blown away by (just get a load of some of them here) and audio recorded by professional actors (Broadway, TV, radio—the works). We strive to have something for everyone, so, counting fairy tales, sci-fi, noir and others, as well as satire and urban poetry, we’ve got the popular genres and vernaculars covered, offering something uniquely familiar to you. Yes, we mean you.
Registered users can keep track of how they are doing on those extra-difficult words—you know, like, say, impecunious or perspicacious—and rate their favorite stories. The catalog of stories is ever-expanding, and new features, such as objective testing, leveling-up and comprehensive performance analytics are coming soon. A middle-school / TOEFL collection of stories is also underway.
OK, OK, since you’ve read this far—as a reward—here is illustration 2 of 5 by the insanely talented Devon Doss for a 5-chapter noir story, Falcon, The Maltese, coming soon to Collection III at readstoried.com: