REMEMBER: There are different types of reading skills.
Skimming - reading rapidly for the main points
Scanning - reading rapidly to find a specific piece of information
Extensive reading - reading a longer text, often for pleasure with emphasis on overall meaning
Intensive reading - reading a short text for detailed information
These different types of skills are used quite naturally when reading in a mother tongue. Unfortunately, when learning a second or foreign language, people tend to employ only "intensive" style reading skills. Students insist on understanding every word and find it difficult to follow the teacher’s advice of reading for the general idea, or only looking for required information. Students studying a foreign language often feel that if they don't understand each and every word they are somehow not completing the exercise, so students tend to look up, or even insist on looking up, each word they do not understand. While this desire to understand everything is certainly laudable, it can be damaging in the long run. This is because students will begin to tire of reading if they are constantly interrupting the process to find another word in the dictionary. Of course, the use of e-readers might make this a little less bothersome. However, students need to realize that reading in English should be like reading in their own language.
The use of contextual clues can be one of the best ways to improve students' reading skills. Realizing that a text can be understood in a general sense by using contextual clues can go a long way towards helping students cope with increasingly difficult texts. At the same time, the use of contextual clues can also provide a means by which students can rapidly increase their existing vocabulary base.
Thus, when approaching an English text, students first identify what type of reading skill needs to be applied to the specific text at hand. In this way valuable skills, which students already possess, are easily transferred to their English reading.
Do you read every word in the TV schedule?
Do you understand every word you read when reading a novel?
What kind of clues can the presentation of the material give?
How much time do you spend reading the newspaper? Do you read every single word?
What kind of assumptions do you make when you read the first few lines, or a headline? (i.e. Once upon a time....)
How much time do you spend reading the various types of materials?
The TV guide for Friday evening / An English grammar book / An article in National Geographic magazine about the Roman Empire / A good friend's homepage on the Internet / The opinion page in your local newspaper / The weather report in your local newspaper / A novel /A poem /A bus timetable /A fax at the office /An advertising email - so called "spam" / An email or letter from your best friend / A recipe / A short story by your favourite author
STAGE 1. FIRST READING.
1. Read the headline.
Journalistic English has a style all of its own, and this is most evident in headlines. The body text of an article should simply describe an event or occurrence, giving the details in a clear, well-ordered, easy-to-understand way, yet using such typical "journalese" expressions as, for example, the passive structures "is known to..." (for a definite fact), and "is thought to..." or "is believed to...", as well as some adverbs like “supposedly”, “allegedly”, “reportedly”, “reputedly”, etc. to express what people think and how much you can trust it. For example: " Fraud is thought to be costing software companies millions of dollars a year"; “The discovery in London of rudimentary attempts to produce ricin poison, allegedly for terrorist purposes, has provided the first hard evidence of a chemical weapons threat to Western countries identified as terrorist targets”; “Supposedly many excellent companies struggled to reconcile promises of fulfillment for individuals with falling markets”.
Headlines, however, have rules all of their own. By their very nature, they (usually) have to be short and concise, and their function (and this applies not only to sensationalist newspapers and the so-called "gutter press") is to draw the reader’s attention to the article and make him/her want to read the body text.
Take a look at any newspaper or magazine headline and you are likely to find incomplete sentences full of action packed verbs. Headlines live in a linguistic bubble all by themselves because they ignore grammar conventions such as the use of helping verbs and so on. Of course, this means that newspaper headlines can be confusing – this is because newspaper headlines are often incomplete. For example:
Becoming a Stepfamily
Cross-border culture clash
Eating for Good Health
The downside of being nice at work
Analyze different headlines and present some peculiarities of headlines language (grammar, vocabulary)
Restate the idea of the headline as a complete sentence:
1) The War on Drugs
2) Rescuing NASA from Terminal Public Apathy
3) From Oligarch to President?
4) The Rise of Saigon
5) Collaborative Technology
6) From Ideas to Reality
7) Smaller Players Think Big
8) Cities of Hope
9) The Keys to Inspired Leadership
10) Healing Old Wounds
Speculate on the article content basing on the given headlines
You have grammatically complete sentences. Change them so that they become headlines.
1) Patients need to be kept away from dangerous hospitals, GPs are warning.
2) The Prime Minister hoped that that forcing retailers to sell beer, wine and spirits for at least 45 p per unit would curb antisocial behaviour.
3) Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has been accused of hiding vital data on child deaths as part of a review into heart surgery units.
4) The Queen cancelled the rest of her public engagements for the week last night as she continues to recover more slowly than expected after falling ill 11 days ago.
5) Children will suffer more mental health problems and difficulties at school if plans to extend nursery care to two-year-olds go ahead later this year, a leading international expert has warned.
6) From Cola to fruit juice, sweet drinks are destroying our children’s health.
7) The divide between young and old among homeowners has widened dramatically over the past ten years, according to the new research.
8) One of the United States’ leading gun sellers said yesterday that it was increasing its profit forecast by a third after Americans rushed to buy firearms before a legal crackdown.
9) United Airlines Inc. and other carriers are suffering under pressure from cheaper, no-frills rivals such as Southwest Airlines Co.
10) People are afraid for their jobs and worried about war, and the bear market has eroded their wealth. When times are tough, people tend to salt away money instead of spending it.
Match the article abstracts to headlines
1. Hacking our senses to boost learning power
a. America's Vanity Fair magazine has even included him on its International Best-Dressed List in a photo feature of the prince wearing a host of uniforms under the tagline, "wolf whistle". As well as showing Harry in his ceremonial military gear and army combat fatigues, the photo series presented the prince at a derby in a top hat and tails, wearing black-tie at a charity gala, in athletic kit for polo and other sports events, and dressed in two relaxed day looks for official appearances. Only one of the dozen outfits could be considered “off-duty”, a blue suit he wore for a film premiere.
2. The Problem with Perfectionism
b. On Saturday, the heavy doors of the mansion will swing open to the public, with an appearance by the French president, François Hollande. The day marks the anniversary of Picasso’s birth in 1881 and a new era for the museum, which was remodeled at a cost of more than $60 million and struggled through construction delays, missed openings and an employee revolt against the institution’s former president, Anne Baldassari, who was dismissed last spring.
3. Prince Harry: Style icon or fashion disaster?
c. The previous evening, just down the road but seemingly a world away, a crowd of 700 less well-heeled collectors turned up at the Royal Academy of Arts for the private view of the 29th annual London Original Print Fair. The Soho dealer Karsten Schubert sold several versions of the vibrant 2013 Bridget Riley screenprint “After Rajasthan” for 4,000 pounds, or $6,720, each. The Oxfordshire-based gallery Elizabeth Harvey-Lee was asking the same price for a version, albeit damaged, of Hendrik Goltzius’s 1588 chiaroscuro woodcut “Hercules and Cacus,” one of the stars of the current “Renaissance Impressions” show at the Royal Academy through June 8.
4. Israel and Australia, New Best Friends?
d. More interesting – and potentially more disturbing – Keysar’s research has shown that using a foreign language affects how people make decisions when faced with moral dilemmas. If, for example, you ask people whether they would shoot a bus driver to stop him from running over five people – sacrificing one person to save five – respondents are twice as likely to choose shooting the driver if you ask them in a foreign language than if you ask them in their native language.
Keysar told Dubner that all this has to do with how foreign languages affect our emotions: “The same word, ‘love’ and ‘amour,’ even though you know exactly the meaning and when the meaning is identical, you still, if you’re a native English speaker, you get a lot more out of ‘love.’ And that’s been demonstrated in all sorts of ways. There are also physiological reactions, so you can show that people’s arousal is higher when they use their native tongue when these kind of emotional-related words are used.”
5. Picasso Museum in Paris to Open Doors After 5-Year Renovation
e. I’ve been tipped back on rubber chairs in London. I’ve been plunged into the sort of debate that rages in salons de coiffure in Beirut, when my barber seemed to be taking a poll of his other customers about where my neckline should stop. During the shave, which took an hour, he drank four espressos. A gentleman of 60 sitting by the door caught sight of a remaining ear hair and pointed it out triumphantly. In Turkey, barbers take their time. Within a stone’s throw of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, my girlfriend and I nestled into a tiny shop perfumed with talc and tonic. One man was relaxing into the ear depilation that in that part of the world begins not long after puberty. The barbers politely rippled at the presence of a woman
6. The Banality of Anger
f. The first group of parents shows justified pride that their children are driven to succeed and relish their accomplishments. They recognize that successful people always put in the extra effort. They’ve held their kids to high expectations and arranged the finest opportunities, and their active parenting style seems to have paid off. Some of their children seem to have garnered all of this success while remaining joyous and self-confident. If other kids exhibit signs of weariness or stress, these parents see it as the price to be paid for success. As long as their grades remain high and they continue to be involved in many extracurricular activities, their parents believe they must be doing well, regardless of outward or inward signs of stress.
7. The Great Divide in the Art Market
g. Long a synonym of urban stress, tight budgets and junky ingredients, fast food is now part of the general obsession to eat better. “I got the idea after eating delicious kebabs in the Middle East,” remembers Fred Peneau, who co-founded Grillé with Marie Carcassonne and the famous French butcher Hugo Desnoyer. “Why not have the same in Paris?”
At the time, Peneau was the associate of the chef Inaki Aizpitarte at the Chateaubriand, in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, a pioneer restaurant specialized in a new generation of “bistronomy.”
8. Is Learning a Foreign Language Really Worth It?
h. It might not seem important, but a growing body of research suggests that smells and sounds can have an impact on learning, performance and creativity. Indeed, some head teachers have recently taken to broadcasting noises and pumping whiffs into their schools to see whether it can boost grades. Is there anything in it? And if so, what are the implications for the way we all work and study?
9. The Razor’s Edge
i. Nowhere is the crisis of modernity felt more acutely than in France where for a quarter-century now globalization has brought moroseness and mistrust on an epic scale. Uneasy with capitalism, uncomfortable with flexibility, unpersuaded by the so-called Anglo-Saxon model, France has retreated into its rancor. Immigrants and openness have constituted threat more than possibility.
Even its glorious cuisine seems somehow static, too heavy for its times, unable to adapt, short on Spanish inventiveness, locked in the past. Its wines, the best in the world by some distance, have proved short on narrative, that core ingredient of modern marketing. Its world-class private companies get swept beneath the relentless wave of functionaries’ complaints. Its president, once the near regal embodiment of French glory, is now an everyday sort of figure, battling the banal.
10. France’s “Fast-Good” Revolution
j. After a quick call to congratulate the new President of Egypt Abdul Fattah al-Sisi on his election victory, which many regard as far from democratic, Netanyahu singled out Australia for high praise at his weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday.
It came after Australia last week stepped into the always-combustible territory of Middle Eastern linguistics, and seemingly changed its position regarding whether East Jerusalem is “occupied.”
Last week the Australian Attorney General George Brandis issued a statement saying: “The description of East Jerusalem as ‘Occupied East Jerusalem’ is a term freighted with pejorative implications which is neither appropriate nor useful.”
The statement was made in consultation with the Australian Foreign Ministry, after Brandis had been challenged in parliament over his failure to refer to East Jerusalem as occupied.