What is an Si Reader?
“What is the book about?” is no longer answered with a plot summary, but is answered with an analysis of the author’s theme or purpose.
Si-level readers see the author as a writer, as a human being with his/her own biases, motivations, and blind spots. They have developed a critical eye toward writing and can discuss an author’s use of literary techniques. They can locate a particular book in its genre and make comparisons across texts on a wide variety of both themes and writing techniques. They read actively, talking back to the author, questioning and probing the ideas presented. Comfort with the 21–25 academic words and/or phrases per typical chapter book page requires extensive experience as a reader. Sentences are complex, figurative language is common, and most adults cannot handle materials written at this level of complexity. Just because a reader can read a Si text fluently doesn’t mean s/he is a Si-level reader. Dig deeply into the reader’s knowledge of the vocabulary, understanding of the ideas, and ability to critique the writing before assigning him/her the Si designation. Si-level readers should be prepared for the marathon reading sessions (2–4 hours) required by college entrance exams.