A teenager sitting and reading outdoors.

Enhance Summer SAT, ACT Prep With Reading You Enjoy

Setting aside time to read magazines, books and newspapers each day can help boost standardized test performance.

A teenager sitting and reading outdoors.

Find writing that interests you and create a daily routine to make the most of your summer reading.

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Summer reading can be a dreaded assignment that students ignore until the first days of school creep close. The reality, however, is that reading consistently starting at the beginning of the summer can help students vastly improve their test scores come ACT and SAT exam time. Reading leads to improved information retention, sharper comprehension and a larger vocabulary from which to draw.

Learning how to more efficiently comprehend material requires effort and repetition, and there is no better opportunity to practice this skill than when you have the most free time: summer. Select an hour that you feel is conducive to focusing and get reading.

[Learn to create a summer SAT study plan.]

Whether you choose to open a novel before bed or to tackle a short story during lunch, the key is to begin a consistent reading habit. Do your best to devote the same hour each day.

Establishing this habit is crucial to building and maintaining your routine once fall classes begin. The key is to find source material that you enjoy.

If you can identify forms and genres of literature that fascinate you, reading will feel less like work and more like recreation. To stave off boredom, you can also move from text to text at your will. Here is a list of recommended reading materials to try your hand at this summer:

• Newspapers: Reading the newspaper each morning, whether online or in print, is a wonderful way to build your vocabulary and stay current on world events. Peruse articles from diverse sections of the newspaper to explore various types of writing.

The article above the fold will be written differently than the editorials located further inside the newspaper, but they each have their own stylistic importance. Learning to successfully navigate several types of reading material will help you excel on the test.

[Navigate these common SAT and ACT reading section mistakes.]

For instance, blogs – whether associated with a major newspaper or independently run – can be simple to consume. They are often highly subject-specific or technical in nature, which is wonderful for vocabulary, and easily accessible via portable devices like smartphones or tablets.

• Magazines:​ If you are a reader who is difficult to please, there is no better place to discover your niche than through magazines. Whether you love biking, listening to music, playing sports or politics, various specialty magazines exist to entice you – all you must do is identify them! Read about technology trends in Wired, or explore Earth’s cultures and wildlife with National Geographic.

Your local librarian can provide you with additional recommendations based on your interests. Certain free apps, such as Pocket, even download the text of magazine articles directly to your electronic devices.

• Books:​ As for the traditional standby, you can find thousands of books to pique your interest. If you enjoyed a recent movie, chances are it originated from a book, and the book may have even been better. From "The Hobbit" to "The Perks of Being a Wallflower,"​​ there are a plethora of options to satisfy your craving for fantasy realms or coming-of-age stories, and everything in between.​​

[Find free apps to help boost ACT and SAT study.]

Browse the shelves of your local library or explore recommended reads on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You don't have to read something on a best-seller list in order for you to remain engaged in it.

Try something new, and ask friends, teachers and family for recommendations. Chances are that you will discover a book you never would have thought of, but that you deeply enjoy. Besides, even if you do not end up enjoying the novel you choose, there are always more to select. Appreciate what is good about the writing, forget what is bad and move on to a different medium.

Use newspapers, magazines ​and books to keep your brain intrigued this summer. Doing so could increase your ACT and SAT test scores this fall.