SAT Skills Insight

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Author’s Craft

Skills needed to score in this band

SKILL 1: Identify an author’s purpose for writing

SKILL 2: Identify and describe the effects of literary devices used to achieve a specific purpose

SKILL 3: Infer the author’s opinion concerning the central ideas in a text

SKILL 4: Use tone to infer an author’s unstated assumptions

SKILL 5: Use context clues to identify an author’s rhetorical purpose (for example, to persuade the audience) in a short section of text

  1. 1

    Identify an author’s purpose for writing

    Example

    This passage is taken from a novel set in the 1950s at the Cedar Grove Elementary School, where Miss Dove has taught geography for more than a generation.

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    The narrator refers to “the signs of the zodiac” (lines 1–2) as an example of things that are

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  2. 2

    Identify and describe the effects of literary devices used to achieve a specific purpose

    Example

    This passage is taken from a novel set in the 1950s at the Cedar Grove Elementary School, where Miss Dove has taught geography for more than a generation.

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    The series of statements in lines 6–16 (“If a student’s . . . silence”) is best described as a

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  3. 3

    Infer the author’s opinion concerning the central ideas in a text

    Example

    This passage is taken from a novel set in the 1950s at the Cedar Grove Elementary School, where Miss Dove has taught geography for more than a generation.

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    Lines 56–57 (“Without . . . battle”) gently mock the situation by describing it in terms of a

    Answer Choices

Skills needed to score in the next band

As you read a text, pay attention to the author’s tone. Look for specific words and phrases that make the text sound humorous, angry, earnest, or objective. Consider why the author has chosen to use this tone.

As you read a text, think about how the author uses rhetoric. Who is the author writing for? How does he or she hook the reader’s interest? How does the author try to make himself or herself believable? How does the author use evidence to support his or her point?

As you read a longer text, pick one paragraph and carefully analyze the vocabulary, sentence structures, and devices in it. Think about how an author uses language to achieve a purpose in just a short section of text.

As you read a novel, short story, or play, think about the author’s style. What kind of language does the author use—flowery language or straightforward language? How does the style affect the text?

As you read a text, look for literary devices such as symbolism and irony.

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