Effective strategies on improving reading comprehension

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TABLE OF CONTENT Page I INTRODUCTION II CONTENT Multiple choice 1.1 Question types 1.2 Some some tips to multiple choice questions better 1.3 Example 4 Gapped text 2.1 Gapfill of words/ pharses 2.2 Missing sentences 14 Headline matching 15 3.1 How to prepare for this task: 15 3.2 How to this task 16 3.3 A model reading text 17 True/ False/ Not given 21 The question types 21 4.2 Some tips to get the highest 22 4.3 Some examples of how the questions work III CONCLUSION 25 30 IV REFERENCE 31 I INTRODUCTION “So it is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky.” —William James This saying has stated the vital role of reading in teaching and learning English as a foreign language In fact, there has been a lot of recent research that suggests that students will benefit greatly from a strong focus on reading because it not only helps develop the language skills but also has a contribution on cognitive development Without the ability to read, which is highly valued for personal, social, and economic well-being, students are placed at a disadvantage in almost every educational and “real world” setting In recognition of its significance, educators have given priority to this skill not only in the process of designing teaching and learning materials but also in assessment tests and in all important exams Noticeably, reading skill always occupies 38% of the total mark in university entrance exams and 25 % in national examinations to choose the most advanced students However, this skill is also the most challenging to all learners, especially the ones in majored classes because the tasks assigned require both extensive and intensive knowledge about a variety of different topics as well as the excellent master of words and structures in corresponding contexts Thus, it has even been claimed that the key to success in tests and exams lies much in reading well and that knowledgeable teachers who provide quality instruction are crucial to helping students become successful readers Duffy-Hester (1999) perhaps stated it best when she noted the role the teacher played in helping learners to read: “I am convinced that the teacher is more important and has a greater impact than any single, fixed reading program, method, or approach” (p 492) As teachers of English in a gifted high school, we are always trying to develop new teaching methods to motivate my students and facilitate their reading process Our purpose in this paper, therefore, is to attempt to answer the questions “What teaching comprehension strategies must teachers of reading be able to perform and how are these strategies effectively applied in gifted classes?” Within the limited scope of one paper, we focus mainly on four main types of reading comprehension tasks that are often included in exams for advanced students namely multiple choice, gap-text, headline matching and True/False/Not given Typical models and really useful tips will correspondingly be covered so that teachers will have a specific and comprehensive view of how to conduct them successfully To achieve this purpose, we have carefully studied language teaching approaches as well as relating materials Especially, the knowledge, experience, and cooperation of all teachers in our group have helped to fulfill this paper The study is divided into main parts Part one consists of the general introduction of the study Part two deals with the four main types of reading comprehension tasks with samples and strategies Part three is the conclusion with the summary of the study ending with suggestion for further research Hopefully, our paper will be a useful reference for teachers of English to have highly productive reading periods II CONTENT MULTIPLE CHOICE 1.1 Question types 1.11 Detail/Fact • According to the passage • According to paragraph 1, why/what/which • The author's description of mentions which of the following 1.1.2 Negative Fact • All of the following are mentioned in the passage EXCEPT: • According to the passage which of the following is NOT Factual and Negative Factual questions ask about specific details and facts that are often provided in a single line of text Sometimes you will be directed to the paragraph that contains the answer 1.1.3 Inference/Implication • Which of the following can be inferred about • In paragraph 3, the author implies You will have to make connections and assumptions to answer this style of question Unlike factual questions, answers will not often be found in a single line of text 1.1.4 Vocabulary • The word in paragraph is closest in meaning to • When the author says is she means The meaning of the term is often understood by reading the surrounding text You will not be asked to define vocabulary that is uncommon, subject related, or cannot be understood in context 1.1.5 Author purpose • In paragraph 5, why does the author discuss • The author mentions as an example of These questions ask you to things such as figure out reasons why certain topics are discussed or certain examples are provided Again you will be asked to make assumptions 1.1.6 Reference questions • The word in paragraph refers to These questions generally ask you to identify a noun or phrase that a pronoun is referring to 1.1.7 Insert sentence to the reading • Look at the four squares that indicate where this sentence can be added to the passage Where would the sentence fit best? These questions require that you look for transitional phrases or other hints to figure out where the additional sentence belongs Make sure that the position you choose for the new sentence makes sense by reading the sentence before and after After you have made your choice, read all three sentences to yourself to check if the paragraph flows well 1.1.8 Simplify the sentence Which of the following best provides the important information in the highlighted sentence from the passage Incorrect answer choices leave out essential information or change the meaning of it When answering this question make sure that you not choose a sentence that is slightly incorrect All of the important information from the sentence must be in the simplified sentence 1.2 Some some tips to multiple choice questions better Read the question before you look at the answer Come up with the answer in your head before looking at the possible answers, this way the choices given on the test won't throw you off or trick you Eliminate answers you know aren't right Read all the choices before choosing your answer If there is no guessing penalty, always take an educated guess and select an answer Don't keep on changing your answer, usually your first choice is the right one, unless you misread the question In "All of the above" and "None of the above" choices, if you are certain one of the statements is true don't choose "None of the above" or one of the statements are false don't choose "All of the above" In a question with an "All of the above" choice, if you see that at least two correct statements, then "All of the above" is probably the answer A positive choice is more likely to be true than a negative one Usually the correct answer is the choice with the most information Take the time to check your work before you hand in the answer sheet 1.3 Example Read the following passage Answer the questions and check your answers Most people can remember a phone number for up to thirty seconds When this short amount of time elapses, however, the numbers are erased from the memory How did the information get there in the first place? Information that makes its way to the short term memory (STM) does so via the sensory storage area The brain has a filter which only allows stimuli that is of immediate interest to pass on to the STM, also known as the working memory There is much debate about the capacity and duration of the short term memory The most accepted theory comes from George A Miller, a cognitive psychologist who suggested that humans can remember approximately seven chunks of information A chunk is defined as a meaningful unit of information, such as a word or name rather than just a letter or number Modern theorists suggest that one can increase the capacity of the short term memory by chunking, or classifying similar information together By organizing information, one can optimize the STM, and improve the chances of a memory being passed on to long term storage When making a conscious effort to memorize something, such as information for an exam, many people engage in "rote rehearsal" By repeating something over and over again, one is able to keep a memory alive Unfortunately, this type of memory maintenance only succeeds if there are no interruptions As soon as a person stops rehearsing the information, it has the tendency to disappear When a pen and paper are not handy, people often attempt to remember a phone number by repeating it aloud If the doorbell rings or the dog barks to come in before a person has the opportunity to make a phone call, he will likely forget the number instantly.* Therefore, rote rehearsal is not an efficient way to pass information from the short term to long term memory.* A better way is to practice "elaborate rehearsal" *This involves assigning semantic meaning to a piece of information so that it can be filed along with other pre-existing long term memories *Encoding information semantically also makes it more retrievable Retrieving information can be done by recognition or recall Humans can easily recall memories that are stored in the long term memory and used often; however, if a memory seems to be forgotten, it may eventually be retrieved by prompting The more cues a person is given (such as pictures), the more likely a memory can be retrieved This is why multiple choice tests are often used for subjects that require a lot of memorization According to the passage, how memories get transferred to the STM? A) They revert from the long term memory B) They are filtered from the sensory storage area C) They get chunked when they enter the brain D) They enter via the nervous system Explanation: • Choice A is the opposite of what happens • Choice C is what a person should try to when memorizing something Choice D is not mentioned The correct answer is B This is a factual question The word elapses in paragraph is closest in meaning to: A) passes B) adds up C) appears D) continues The correct answer is A.This is a vocabulary question All of the following are mentioned as places in which memories are stored EXCEPT the: A) STM B) long term memory C) sensory storage area D) maintenance area Explanation: • Choice A is mentioned in the first paragraph • Choice B is mentioned in the second paragraph • Choice C is mentioned in the first paragraph The correct answer is D This is a negative factual question Why does the author mention a dog's bark? A) To give an example of a type of memory B) To provide a type of interruption C) To prove that dogs have better memories than humans D) To compare another sound that is loud like a doorbell Explanation: • Choice A is incorrect because it is not the "reason" the author mentions it • Choice C is not mentioned • Choice D distracts you because both are mentioned as examples The correct answer is B This is an author purpose question How theorists believe a person can remember more information in a short time? A) By organizing it B) By repeating it C) By giving it a name D) By drawing it Explanation: • Choice B is what regular people think is true • Choice C is not mentioned • Choice D is a type of cue for retrieval The correct answer is A This is a factual question The author believes that rote rotation is: A) the best way to remember something B) more efficient than chunking C) ineffective in the long run D) an unnecessary interruption Explanation: • Choice A is contradicted by "not an efficient way" • Choice B is incorrect because these two terms are not compared • Choice D is illogical The correct answer is C This is a factual question The word it in the last paragraph refers to: A) encoding B) STM C) semantics D) information The correct answer is D This is a reference question The word elaborate in paragraph is closest in meaning to: A) complex B) efficient C) pretty D) regular Which of the following is NOT supported by the passage? A) The working memory is the same as the short term memory B) A memory is kept alive through constant repetition C) Cues help people to recognize information D) Multiple choice exams are the most difficult Explanation: • Choice A is mentioned in paragraph one • Choice B is mentioned in paragraph three (though an interruption will destroy it) • Choice C is mentioned in the last paragraph The correct answer is D This is a negative factual question 10 Which of the following best provides the important informaton in the highlighted sentence from the passage Incorrect answer choices leave out essential information or change the meaning of it A) Prompting is the easiest way to retrieve short term memory after an extended period of time B) A memory can be retrieved by prompting, in a case where it has been rarely used C) It's easier to remember short term memories than long term memories due to regular prompts D) Recalling a long term memory that is often used is easy, while forgotten memories often require prompting Explanation: • Choice A changes the meaning of the information • Choice B leaves out essential information about the long term memories that are used often • Choice C changes the meaning of the information The correct answer is D This is a sentence simplification question • GAPPED TEXT The gap filling is a challenging exercise for any level students A reading gap fill is one task students may get in a large numbers of test, not only at school exams but also at international ones There are two common types gap filling in reading tests, inclusing filling words or phrases in the and putting missing sentences into the text The following discussion will deal with each type seperately Gapfill of words/ pharses In regard to this type, there are two smaller ones: Type - those with a given list of words or pharses to choose from to fill in the gap Type - those where you fill the gaps with words or pharses from the reading passage Gapfill tasks Type are, naturally, more difficult than gapfill tasks Type The text of a gapfill task Type is always a summary of part or the whole of a reading passage On the other hand, a gapfill task Type may or may not be a summary of part or the whole of a reading passage Reading Gapfill Method – for Type Step First, read the instructions You need to know if the gapfill is a summary of part or of the whole of the reading passage; if so, you will need to refer to the passage You also need to know if you can use a word from the list of words more than once Step Next, read the example and cross the answer to the example off the list, but only if you cannot use a word from the list more than once Step Then, scan or skim the gapfill text quickly for a general understanding of the text Step Now work out the parts of speech for each of the words in the given list Place a letter standing for the part of speech next to each word in the list If the item in the list is a phrase, you should determine the kind of phrase (noun, adjectival, adverbial, prepositional etc.) If a word can function as two parts of speech, e.g as a noun and a verb, write down both n – noun p – preposition v – verb pp – past participle a – adjective ‘-ing’ words adv – adverb c - conjunction By distinguishing the words or phrases according to their function as parts of speech, you need only search through similar functioning words when considering a word or phrase for a gap In this way, you considerably shorten the time required to find the words or phrases that are possible correct answers Remember, if the word either side of the gap: …is a noun, the answer could be an adjective (usually before the gap) … is a verb, the answer could be an adverb … is an adjective, the answer could be a noun (or an adverb if after the gap) Do not forget this structure: (pro)noun + (be) + adjective E.g She is happy Note that an adverb may precede the adjective in the above structure Step Now turn to the first gap in the task, and try to work out the full meaning of the sentence it is within You may need to read the sentence before and after, too Step Next, work out the part of speech for the gap Do so, by closely examining the words that come both before and after the gap Step Then search only through the words in the list that can function as the same part of speech as the missing gap word Look for all the possible answers that you think could fit in the gap Make no final choice just yet There are usually two or three similar words that could be correct Write them all above the gap Step Refer to the reading passage to help you choose possible answers for the gap if the gapfill text is a summary of part or all of the passage Step Complete steps to for each gap in the task 10 match the meaning of the paragraph to the meaning of the whole paragraph heading - If you can’t choose between two headings, go on to the next paragraph – you can come back to that question later But don’t forget to make a choice before the end of the test because if you leave a blank or you have marked two answers on your answer sheet, you will be graded as incorrect for that question - When you have read through the whole text in this way you will probably have some paragraphs you are sure about the headings for and some you still have some doubts about Don't spend more than a minute thinking about the ones you are not sure about now, as the more careful reading you for the other tasks (e.g True False questions) with this text might help you decide the answers for this task type too - If you are unsure between two answers at first, put them both in You may be able to eliminate one answer later if it fits another paragraph better If at the end you are still stuck between two answers for a question, pick which fits best - If you have time to come back and try this task again at the end of the test, check that the paragraph headings you haven't used really don't match any of the paragraphs If you are absolutely sure that one of them actually does match better than the one you had decided before, change your answer on the answer sheet If you have any doubts, it is usually best to leave your original answer as it is 3.3 Model reading text The reading passage has seven paragraphs: A – G Choose the most suitable paragraph headings B – G from the list of headings Write the appropriate numbers (i –ix) in the text boxes beside the headings There are more paragraph headings than paragraphs so you will not use them all List of paragraph headings Town facilities Urban divisions Types of settlements Domestic arrangements Various changes Oyo’s palace Architectural features Historical foundations City defenses 10 Government buildings Yoruba Towns A The Yoruba people of Nigeria classify their towns in two ways Permanent towns with their own governments are called “ilu”, whereas temporary settlements, set up to support work in the country are “aba” Although ilu tend to be larger than aba, 17 the distinction is not one of size, some aba are large, while declining ilu can be small, but of purpose There is no “typical” Yoruba town, but some features are common to most towns B In the 19th century most towns were heavily fortified and the foundations of these walls are sometimes visible Collecting tolls to enter and exit through the walls was a major source of revenue for the old town rulers, as were market fees The markets were generally located centrally and in small towns, while in large towns there were permanent stands made of corrugated iron or concrete The market was usually next to the local ruler’s palace C The palaces were often very large In the 1930’s, the area of Oyo’s palace covered 17 acres, and consisted of a series of courtyards surrounded by private and public rooms After colonization, many of the palaces were completely or partially demolished Often the rulers built two storey houses for themselves using some of the palace grounds for government buildings D The town is divided into different sections In some towns these are regular, extending out from the center of the town like spokes on a wheel, while in others, where space is limited, they are more random The different areas are further divided into compounds called “ile” These vary in size considerably from single dwellings to up to thirty houses They tend to be larger in the North Large areas are devoted to government administrative buildings Newer developments such as industrial or commercial areas or apartment housing for civil servants tends to be build on the edge of the town E Houses are rectangular and either have a courtyard in the center or the rooms come off a central corridor Most social life occurs in the courtyard They are usually built of hardened mud and have roofs of corrugated iron or, in the countryside, thatch Buildings of this material are easy to alter, either by knocking down rooms or adding new ones And can be improved by coating the walls with cement Richer people often build their houses of concrete blocks and, if they can afford to, build two storey houses Within compounds there can be quite a mixture of building types Younger well-educated people may have well furnished houses while their older relatives live in mud walled buildings and sleep on mats on the floor 18 F The builder or the most senior man gets a room either near the entrance or, in a two storied house, next to the balcony He usually has more than one room Junior men get a room each and there are separate rooms for teenage boys and girls to sleep in Younger children sleep with their mothers Any empty room are used as storage, let out or, if they face the street, used as shops G Amenities vary In some towns most of the population uses communal water taps and only the rich have piped water, in others piped water is more normal Some areas have toilets, but bucket toilets are common with waste being collected by a “night soil man” Access to water and electricity are key political issues Paragraph Headings Answer Discussion Paragraph B (6) - Historical foundations B In the 19th century most towns were heavily fortified and the foundations of these walls are sometimes visible Collecting tolls to enter and exit through the walls was a major source of revenue for the old town rulers, as were market fees The markets were generally located centrally and in small towns, while in large towns there were permanent stands made of corrugated iron or concrete The market was usually next to the local ruler’s palace In this first question, the word 'foundation' is in the topic sentence This does not automatically make 'vi' the correct answer However, it is a good reason to flag this up as a possibility The heading also refers to 'history', so the reference to '19th century' in the topic sentence tells us the paragraph is about the history A quick skim of the paragraph confirms this Paragraph C (9) - Various changes C The palaces were often very large In the 1930’s, the area of Oyo’s palace covered 17 acres, and consisted of a series of courtyards surrounded by private and public rooms After colonization, many of the palaces were completely or partially demolished Often the rulers built two storey houses for themselves using some of the palace grounds for government buildings The second part of the paragraph goes on to discuss changes that took place Paragraph D (3) - Urban divisions D The town is divided into different sections In some towns these are regular, extending out from the center of the town like spokes on a wheel, while in others, 19 where space is limited, they are more random The different areas are further divided into compounds called “ile” These vary in size considerably from single dwellings to up to thirty houses They tend to be larger in the North Large areas are devoted to government administrative buildings Newer developments such as industrial or commercial areas or apartment housing for civil servants tends to be build on the edge of the town The answer is first seen in the topic sentence The word 'divided' should have flagged this up to you as a possibility Notice the use of the synonym 'urban' to replace 'town' It is common to see synonyms in paragraph headings questions and other IELTS reading questions Paragraph E (4) - Architectural features E Houses are rectangular and either have a courtyard in the center or the rooms come off a central corridor Most social life occurs in the courtyard They are usually built of hardened mud and have roofs of corrugated iron or, in the countryside, thatch Buildings of this material are easy to alter, either by knocking down rooms or adding new ones And can be improved by coating the walls with cement Richer people often build their houses of concrete blocks and, if they can afford to, build two storey houses Within compounds there can be quite a mixture of building types Younger well-educated people may have well furnished houses while their older relatives live in mud walled buildings and sleep on mats on the floor The topic sentence starts to give you a clue that 'iv' is the correct choice of the paragraph headings as it discusses architectural styles, which are then discussed further in the supporting sentences that follow Paragraph F (7) - Domestic arrangements F The builder or the most senior man gets a room either near the entrance or, in a two storied house, next to the balcony He usually has more than one room Junior men get a room each and there are separate rooms for teenage boys and girls to sleep in Younger children sleep with their mothers Any empty room are used as storage, let out or, if they face the street, used as shops In this context, 'domestic' means of or relating to the home, so the heading is referring to the arrangements within the home Again, just by reading the topic sentence you can see that this paragraph is discussing home arrangements and skimming through the rest of the paragraph confirms this Paragraph G (1) - Town facilities G Amenities vary In some towns most of the population uses communal water taps and only the rich have piped water, in others piped water is more normal 20 Some areas have toilets, but bucket toilets are common with waste being collected by a “night soil man” Access to water and electricity are key political issues 'Facilities' is a synonym of 'amenities' so this is the first clue that this could fit this paragraph, but you need to read on to confirm that the paragraph is discussing the facilities of the town, which it is IV TRUE/ FALSE/ NOT GIVEN Perhaps the question type that gives most pain to most students is the True/False/Not given question type Here are some pointers to help you improve the students’ score with a link to some specific practice on this type of question There are two main points to focus on when answering the question: firstly, to think about meaning and not just words, and secondly to focus on the question as much as the text itself The question types In fact there are two question types here: True/False/Not given: fact based Yes/No/Not given: opinion based In each case you need to decide if the information in the text agrees with the information in the question You should note that in the “Yes/No/Not given” questions, you are normally asked to look for the writer’s opinions rather than facts Note the key skill The key skill here is to understand that you are interpreting the text and the question This means that you need to read very closely and pay attention to what the writer means Don’t think of it as a skimming question, rather a question where you need to read the text and the question closely and decide what the writer means How to get the answers right True/Yes 21 There is information in the text that agrees exactly with the statement in the question Note that you will almost certainly need to look for synonyms here and match meaning and not words False/No There is information in the text that is directly opposite to or contradicts the statement in the question Again note that you will also need to think about meaning here You should pay careful attention to “little” words that qualify or change meaning such as: some , all, often, occasionally Not Given This is the one that normally causes the most problems Something is not given if there is no information about it in the text Do not spend ages looking for Not Given answers because you will waste time Guessing intelligently This is probably the hardest question type Don’t despair though you have a good chance of guessing correctly In fact the questions are hard because you have a one in three chance of guessing! Here is my suggestion If you find information in the text about the statement in the question: guess True or False but remember to read the whole question and not just match words in it If you find no information in the text about the statement guess Not Given - don’t waste time Typically, answer are Not Given when they match just one or two words in the question if you have no idea, then guess Not Given You have a one in three chance of being right and you may have no idea because it isn’t there! 4.2 Some tips to get the highest scores: 4.2.1 General tips: 22 Tip one – Underline the part of the text that shows the answer A forgotten reading skill is to learning how to read intensively when you are looking for the answer itself Forget “key words” – they only show where to find the answer Once you have found the right part of the text, read very carefully – you want to find something that says: This agrees with the information in the question – True This contradicts the information in the question – False Do NOT read generally at this point You want to find something you can underline If you cannot find anything specific that you can underline, then the answer is likely to be Not Given Tip two – refer back to the whole question and think about its meaning If the reading text is designed how well you understand reading passages This means you always want to focus on meaning when you are looking for the answer Once you have found the right part of the text, forget key words It’s quite possible to find words in the text that match words in the question, but the overall meaning is quite different 4.2.2 Practical tips Read the whole question Do NOT focus on key words Think about the meaning of the question Be especially careful with words such as “often” and “some” They can change the meaning of the question dramatically Be careful with questions beginning “The writer says”: here you need to think about the writer’s opinions and not about facts The questions will follow the order of the text: if you can’t find answer 12, you know it must be somewhere between 11 and 13 Do not spend too long on any one question If the answer is “Not Given”, there may be nothing for you to find 23 One possibility is to mark all the “True” answers and all the “False” answers and then guess “Not Given” for the others A suggested procedure Here is my suggested procedure: Read the instructions carefully and note whether you are being asked to look for facts or opinions Look at all the questions and see what topics they ask about You may note key words here, but only to identify the correct part of the text to read Skim the text to identify which paragraphs you need to read more closely Note that the questions will follow the order of the text and so the answer to question 10 will follow the answer to question 11 Mark on the question paper which paragraphs relate to which question: eg., write 11 against paragraph E Refocus on the question and read the whole question: be careful with tricky words like “usually” Underline the words in the text that give you the answer This helps you concentrate and also allows you to change your mind, if you find a better answer later A variation is to mark the “True” answers first as they tend to be the easiest and then go back to the “False” and “Not given” later A difficulty – Not Given The “Not Given” variation is probably what makes this type of question so difficult How can you deal with this problem? You need to understand that: • “Not given” does not mean no words in the question are used in the text Typically, you will find some of words from the question in the text – they simply don’t answer the whole question 24 • You cannot add information that is probably true: you can only use the information given in the text 4.3 Some examples of how the questions work 4.3.1 Example 1: Macallan is one of the four top selling brands of malt whisky in the world It is made in barrels made of Spanish oak that have previously been used for sherry because this adds sweetness to its flavour True Macallan is globally successful This is true because top selling brands of malt whisky in the world matches globally successful False Macallan is made in metal containers This is false because the text says it us made in barrels of Spanish oak Because oak is a wood this contradicts the words in the question metal containers Note that you need to think about meaning Not Given Macallan is made in Spain There is no information about where it is made Be careful of the trap of seeing the words Spanish and made in the text Usually with Not Given answers you will find some words in the text that match words in the question without matching the meaning of the whole question 4.3.2 Example 2: Reading passage: SPELLING SYSTEM REFORM Our children are being beaten up by a crazy spelling system that appears to be loved by millions They are being beaten up because they are constantly 25 bombarded by unpredictable silent letters, double consonants that defy explanation, endless varieties of vowel combinations, and rules that is logical, inconsistent, and – worst of all – needlessly complicated Not only are they physically beaten up, but many of them end up with well-concealed scars on their psyches At least one study has shown that using a system as irrational as ours may arrest the development of logical thinking That’s not just being beaten up; it’s child abuse exactly There’s a social stigma attached to being a poor speller, although the only thing being a good speller makes one better at is spelling It doesn’t make one a better writer, a better poet, a more creative person with words IT doesn’t make him understand the essence of the language better Shakespeare would have been the exact same creative genius he was whether he was a good or bad speller HE was just lucky enough to have lived in a day when he was judged by the meaning of his words, rather than the placement of the letters with those words In Shakespeare’s day, most people’s spelling was erratic; therefore, when he spelled words many different ways no one even noticed During the last 30 years or so, literacy in the English-speaking world has been declining at an alarm rate It’s not hard to guess why During the rapid development of electronics in the past 40 years, speech, for the first time in the entire course of history, has become a mass medium, the people, having discovered those electronic channels through which they can receive information in their own language, are now circumventing the outdated writing system which has been the bottleneck in mass communication And having alienated themselves from it, they have become less able and less willing to cope with its irrational complexities In an attempt o correct this situation, the Federal Government of the United State initiated its “Decade of the ‘70’s’ program During that ten year period, both State and Federal governments have poured massive sums into programs designed to 26 eradicate illiteracy, not by redesigning the outdated writing system, but by attempting to shape the minds of human beings into conformity with the system This extravagant program achieved nothing The drift to illiteracy continues as before, except that it now has reached the proportions of a crisis For example, the United States Navy now complains that from 40% to 50% of today’s recruits can’t read the instructions manuals The Navy is plainly worried about the future And they are not alone The problem on the English-speaking world today is that the writing system has been shaped a bit, here and there, in the direction of Modern English, but the fact is that its spelling is based primarily on another language Middle English, which hasn’t been spoken in at least 400 years, and is no longer understood From the point of view of a technician, this problem is easily solved All one needs to is to design a writing system specifically for Modern English, so that all three elements in the chain of communication can function in harmony The proposal is that we systematically and definitively wipe out all the anomalous spelling in English so that anyone looking at a word in print will immediately know how to pronounce it – and conversely, anyone attempting to write English will be able to get every single spelling right the first time In other words, proponents of English spelling reform want us to adopt a mostly phonetic orthography Indeed, a certain amount of reform has happened all by itself over the years, as previously alternative spellings have worked their way into the dictionary as standard forms Think of the word “catalog”, which was formerly spelled “catalogue”, or “draft”, formerly spelled “drought” On a relatively small scale, sensible spellings sometimes replace less sensible ones But the design of s new writing system is only a partial solution The major obstacle that confronts the orthographic reformer is the existing system itself, which, with all its scandalous lack of utility, happens to be an investiture that seems to defy displacement The first question that arises is how far such a reform 27 would go We could make a good start by simply removing letters that are never pronounced “Though” could be come “tho”, “guard” could become “gard”, “foreign” could be “forin”, “doubt” could become “dout”, “Christmas” could become “Chrismas” and so on We could also, perhaps, reduce the number of ways to write any particular sound – so the “ee” sound in “street”, for example, might always be written “ee”, never “ea”, “ie”, “ei”, “i”, “e”, or whatever Although these changes would help, however, they would solve only a subset of the problems – and the more extensive the changes are, the more difficult they would be for the public to accept Since we’ve always programmed our brains to work under the current, flawed system simplified spellings would be – at least initially- much harder for all the hundreds of millions of English readers to read There’s also that little matter of what to with the billions of books, magazines, web sites, and other documents that already use the “Old” spelling Then there are those who point out that a word’s spelling gives important clues to its etymology, meaning, and relationship to other words So even though the “a” in the word “real” is not pronounced Lose that letter, and the words no longer appear to have anything to with each other Thus, at least some of the peculiarities of English spelling exist for entirely legitimate, and still useful, historical reasons Sir Winston Churchill opposed a spelling reform bill in British parliament in 1949 HE felt that changing the appearance of words would “mess up the language of Shakespeare” If Mr Churchill had understood the detrimental effect that needlessly complex spelling ruins the language of Shakespeare because it proved an extra 10% of the population from being little enough to read it That may be too high a price to pay Questions: Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading passage: 28 TRUE: if the statement is true FALSE: if the statement is false NOT GIVEN: if the statement is not given in the passage The current spelling system may hinder children from developing logical thinking Shaekspeare was both a good writer and speller The program initiated by the Federal Government aimed at eliminating illiteracy Simplified spelling would not be immediately successful because we have grown accustomed to the flawed system The presence of unpronounced letters sometimes serves to connect meanings of word The problem lies not with the system of spelling but with the method of teaching Some already used new spelling system to write books and magazines Answer Keys: TRUE FALSE TRUE TRUE FALSE NOT GIVEN 29 TRUE C CONCLUSION This study has exploited a variety of classroom strategies that teachers can apply to have successful reading lessons Having experienced many years of teaching for gifted students, we see that by introducing these direct and explicit reading comprehension strategies into the curriculum, teachers have helped students become more engaged and effective in their learning and gain a better understanding of their subjects However, to efficiently apply the techniques that have been covered above, we suggest some primary pedagogical implements as follows: Firstly, while research suggests that implementing any reading strategy will result in comprehension improvement, techniques that appear to be particularly effective in bringing students into stronger engagement with difficult texts include summarizing, paraphrasing, asking and answering questions, graphic organizers and word recognition Teachers should flexibly use or combine each strategy in their instruction to gain best results Secondly, regardless of which strategy is taught, it’s important that teachers make it clear from the beginning what the strategy is, what it is used for, and how it will improve reading comprehension by modeling the strategy, walking through each step and thinking aloud so that students can see how the strategy works As students begin to use the strategy themselves, it’s necessary to guide their practice and give feedback Thirdly, in teaching new reading strategies, teachers should carefully select texts that work well with the technique you are planning to introduce For example, main idea identification is often not well suited for narrative texts, and predictions can be difficult with some expository texts A wellchosen passage that is suitable for the reading level of the students can facilitate their understanding while an inappropriate one will adversely affect their performance Though we have made a great effort, this study is still restricted to the knowledge and experience of some language teachers in a gifted high school In the coming time, we hope to conduct a larger-scale study with the contribution of more colleagues from other schools Hopefully, our study 30 will be a kind of aid for developing new approaches to improving learner's reading comprehension for students, especially gifted ones in the long term D RERERENCE http://www ieltspedia.com/testart.asp?TE_ID = 173 http://www.ieltsbuddy.com/true-false-not given.html http://www.engvid.com/ http://www.ieltsbuddy.com http://www.usingenglish.com http://www.ieltsbuddy.com http://www.ielts-exam.net 31 ... perform and how are these strategies effectively applied in gifted classes?” Within the limited scope of one paper, we focus mainly on four main types of reading comprehension tasks that are often... with the four main types of reading comprehension tasks with samples and strategies Part three is the conclusion with the summary of the study ending with suggestion for further research Hopefully,... information so that it can be filed along with other pre-existing long term memories *Encoding information semantically also makes it more retrievable Retrieving information can be done by recognition
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