One of the things that seems real hard for me on the GED is that they always have long words that I don’t know. Since I grew up speaking Spanish, maybe my English vocabulary isn’t that good. That’s okay. I needed to figure out ways to deal with a strange word. If you’re just reading at home, you can have a dictionary, right? But not on the GED test. So what can you do?
I figured out after a while that I can ask myself a list of questions to figure out a word…
- Can I understand the sentence without knowing the word? Can I get the main idea of what they’re saying?
- Can I look at the words nearby to see about what the word means? Is there another word nearby that maybe means the same thing?
- Can I think of another word that I would put in the sentence that makes sense?
By using these questions, it helps me understand a lot of words that maybe would make reading hard for me. You never know where you’re going to find some hard words! You know, I saw that movie Casino Royale with James Bond. I thought, maybe those James Bond books would be good to read… they’ve got lots of action, so you can kind of see what’s going on.
So, I bought this James Bond book, Thunderball, and almost right away I wanted to put it back down. All those words… Look at this sentence:
When he coughed—smoking too much goes with drinking too much and doubles the hangover—a cloud of luminous black dots swam across his vision like amoebae in pond water.
Luminous? Amoebae? What do those words mean? What’s he talking about? But I didn’t give up. See if you can figure out those words… and I’ll check in with you next week to tell you how I did it.