The Vohra Method Approach to Reading
Vohra Method Reading is, for most students, the hardest part of the program. Here are a few of the most common questions we get about the reading curriculum. You may find the answers helpful in understanding our program, and developing a plan for your son or daughter.
The first question most students have: Why so much grammar?
When little kids read, they read one letter at a time. It takes them half an hour to get through a sentence, and by the time they get to the end, they've totally forgotten the beginning.
Adults aren't much better. They usually read one word at a time. This is slow, and by the time they reach the end of a passage, they have forgotten the beginning!
At Vohra, you'll learn to break sentences down into phrases and clauses. This will improve both your reading speed and your accuracy. If you really master grammar, you won't forget the beginning of the passage by the end of the passage, because it just won't take that long to read the whole thing.
Furthermore, most people read entirely non-grammatically. Instead of seeing exactly what the sentence says, they look at the words in the sentence, and guess the most likely meaning based on those words. Obviously, if a passage is trying to say something unusual, which every single SAT passage on earth does, students miss the point entirely.
That type of non-grammatical reading also makes logic impossible. For example, when you're just jumbling up words and predicting meaning, the inverse, converse, and contrapositive look the same.
At Vohra, we intensely drill grammar so you can learn to read more accurately, quickly, and logically.
Most students forget grammar frequently. At Vohra, every time you forget a grammar concept, you'll just relearn it until it sticks.
The next big question: These initial questions don't look like SAT passages. When will we do SAT passages?
Reading at a high level requires that you build the underlying skills. This isn't just true of reading; it's true of everything. Consider the following:
- Lifting weights doesn't look like football. But a football player who doesn't lift weights will be a laughingstock.
- Running around a track doesn't look like soccer. A soccer player who doesn't run will be a laughingstock.
- Arithmetic doesn't look like construction. But an architect who is mathematically incompetent will create bridges and buildings that collapse.
Serious reading training demands that we build the underlying skills in a focused, intensive way. These skills are either prerequisites for other skills, or are just tested directly on the SAT. For example, the analyzing assumptions worksheet ends with a real SAT question in which you have to...analyze assumptions.
In sports, weak teams just scrimmage. They just play practice matches, since those are fun.
But serious teams train. They build the underlying skills that matter. At Vohra, you'll train to master the underlying skills.
The biggest question: Why does the reading program take so long?
Many students wonder why the reading training is taking so long, when they already have an A in their English classes.
Unfortunately, the answer to this isn't all that complicated. Your English classes are teaching you the wrong skills, and doing that poorly.
Real reading is what lawyers do: they extract the precise meaning of sentences. What you do in English class is not that. Instead, English classes fixate on symbolism and allusions. That makes a fun lecture, but it doesn't build serious skills.
In fact, in tutoring, we'll sometimes test this. We'll take a paper that a student got an A on. We'll choose a sentence that the student picked as a quote from the literary work studied. We'll ask the student what the sentence literally means. Not even the subtext: just the text.
10 times out of 10, the student gives us the wrong meaning. These are A students, and often valedictorians, but they can't read the sentences they've supposedly mastered. In English classes, it's too easy to BS your way to an A, instead of learning to actually understand. That's why so many A students get such low SAT verbal scores.
That means for years, you've been taught nonsense. Now we need to teach you everything you should have learned during the last several years. It takes more than a couple weeks.
At Vohra, you'll learn to read precisely, like a lawyer, not like a vague dreamer. It's what you should have learned at school, but probably not what you actually learned at school. By moving you past your school's limits, we'll help you build an unstoppable, analytical, and superior level of reading.
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