The Sunday News
LEARNING involves a lot of reading. As a learner it is necessary to ask yourself why you read. The obvious answer to give is you read in order to learn. This is so when it comes to reading textbooks. But what about when you read a magazine or stories? That is different. We read those for fun, to entertain ourselves. There is another difference again when we read something like an advertisement. We read an advertisement to get information about a product we want, perhaps from a shop.
There are different reasons for reading. Learners should know that we read different texts in different ways. For example you read a magazine quickly. When you look up a word in a dictionary, you quickly look for the word you want and then read the word and its definition slowly and carefully to learn the spelling and meaning. How do you make your reading interesting? Shared views are that to make your reading interesting and useful, you must make reading active.
One learner asks: “What? You mean we should walk or jump when we read?” The teacher explains to the learner that what he means is for the learner to think about what she or he is reading. The learner should first of all ask questions about the text and then read to find the answers. What then is involved in active reading? Look over the text before you read. Look at the title and any headings. Ask yourself, what do I know about the topic?
Write one or more questions which you think the text will answer. Then read the text to try to find the answers. At face value this sounds easy. To enjoy reading constantly practice by following suggested examples. All this enhances the skill of learning in English. There are three different ways of reading to find information in a textbook. Scan — you do this to find particular information in a text. You run your eyes quickly over the text, just looking for information you want. This might be numbers, dates or names. You do not read all the sentences.
Next step — Skim. You do this to get a rough idea of what the text is about (what is sometimes called the ‘gist” of the text). Look at the titles, headings, introduction and conclusion. You might also look at the first sentence of each paragraph. You do not need to read all the sentences. Then next you study. You do this when you know what the text is about and want to understand all the information. You read all the sentences carefully.
Let us try to understand topic sentences. Above I have referred to how to use features like titles and headings to get a quick introduction to a text but what else can we do to know a text? You can look at topic sentences. A paragraph usually has one sentence that states or introduces the main point of the paragraph. That is often the first sentence.
Talking about sentences we might as well remind ourselves about writing sentences. I believe you have often heard your teachers saying you must write good clear sentences when you write.
But what is a good clear sentence? A sentence must start with a capital letter and end with punctuation. Not just any punctuation. This is what you need to know about sentences. A sentence is a group of words that makes sense on its own (it does not need other sentences). It expresses a complete thought. A sentence makes: a statement (He took a book.) – a command (Record the results on a graph) a question (what is this?) an exclamation (Help! I can’t see).
A sentence contains a verb (is, record, are, help and see are the verb in the sentences above). A sentence contains a subject (who or what the sentence is about) and a predicate (what is said about the subject). The predicate always contains other words.
A sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop (.) question mark (?) or an exclamation (!). Put these words in order to make sentences. 1. The, numbers, Add. 2. Creative became, People, more 3. Solar, is, the, What, system? 4. Is, kilometres, distance The 32. Take? How, the, journey, long, does.
What you need to know about paragraphs. A paragraph is a group of sentences about a single topic. When we want to change the topic, we start a new paragraph. The sentences of a paragraph usually introduces the topic we call it the topic sentence. The rest of the sentence develops the topic — they may give examples or more information. Each paragraph starts on a new line. (When we write we leave a space before the first sentence (but newspapers, magazines and books do not always do this).
For starters the information given here is relevant to all classes starting from Form One to Form Four. O-level learners you will not regret having taken a bit of your time working in such activities. They will make a big difference when you write your English Language examinations.
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