Take Note

SAT Prep Set to Music

Songs Aim to Teach Teenagers Vocabulary

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints

Teenagers grooving to music on their iPods may look as if they’re fooling around. But some are actually studying for the verbal portions of the SAT college-admissions test, thanks to two music lovers.

The duo, whose own days prepping for the tests aren’t all that far behind them, say that rap and hip-hop are excellent devices for learning new words. And their new CD and workbook, “A Dictionary and a Microphone,” offer 12 songs with 500 SAT-caliber words to help teach young people the beauty of the English language.

The idea behind their project, called Flocabulary, is to use a medium popular with teenagers to help them learn new words and their meanings and pronunciations.

“The difference between Shakespeare and Mos Def is really a lot less than people would assume,” Blake Harrison, one of the founders of Flocabulary, said last week.

He was referring, of course, to the famous bard and a popular hip-hop artist and actor, whom he described as “both poets playing with the language in a cutting-edge way.”

Mr. Harrison, who studied English at the University of Pennsylvania and tutors students for a private firm in Boston, wrote the lyrics for the songs. Alexander Rappaport, a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Tufts University, wrote the music for the CD.

Students can download the songs for $2 each from the Flocabulary Web site at www.flocabulary.com, or buy the entire CD and a workbook that goes with it.

Flocabulary’s founders hope their study program finds its way into schools, and they already report inquiries from a Baltimore middle school interested in using it in the classroom.

The SAT words used in the lyrics were provided by Sparknotes, the publisher of a series of study guides, Mr. Rappaport said. Sparknotes commissioned two songs and gave the songwriters its list of the top 1,000 vocabulary words to know for the admissions test, two-thirds of which is language-related.

“By using hip-hop we can connect, engage, and motivate students and let them learn in nonintimidating ways,” Mr. Harrison said.

The lyrics to the song “FLO + CAB,” for example, contain several weighty words: “I’m sanguine, optimistic and cheery / the opposite of enervated and weary, you hear me?”

Vol. 24, Issue 40, Page 3

Published in Print: June 15, 2005, as SAT Prep Set to Music

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >