Can you believe? Man started reading 25000 years before the advent of writing! Reading, then, was decoding a cave painting to a well knit story or a message. Reading, today, is the recognition of words and what each word or group of words means- on an individual level and as part of a text.
Those who read with a purpose tend to comprehend what they read better than those who have no purpose. So the process of reading involves some purposes and strategies. A good reader adjusts his/her strategies automatically to suit the purpose.
Here your strategy is scanning and you get information that answers to certain questions you have set beforehand like: what, who, where, when and how.
Eg. Referring a Dictionary, Yellow pages, Encyclopaedia, etc.
The strategy here is skimming to get main points in general. This is rapid reading focusing on title, headings, topic sentences, and sign posts.
Eg. Surveying an article, choosing a book or a magazine to buy.
This is intensive and serious reading, word by word and sentence by sentence. Here you compare the writer’s views with your own or some other writers’ views. It is also important to make a difference between facts and opinions of the writer.
Eg. Academic reading like, reading for a thesis or an exam.
Reading for comprehension is very important to students as it is an intentional and active process that occurs before, during and after a person reads a particular passage. In the process of reading comprehension two elements are involved: vocabulary knowledge and text comprehension. Even in our day to day life this is important as we must be able to comprehend basic texts such as bills, housing agreements, travel documents and many more.
1. Analyze the causes/effect references
Eg. The man was mortally injured when his car ran into the ditch.
Cause……………………. Effect: …………………………….
2. Identify fact or opinion
A fact is something that can be proved to be correct. An opinion is what someone thinks and believes. It cannot be proved to be correct or incorrect.
(a) Fact: The All-Star team, including injured selections and their replacements, is made up of 15 players from an amazing 11 different teams.
(b) Opinion: Jake is the best baseball player.
3. Problem and solutions
Some authors organize their writing by problem and solution. They present a problem to be solved. Skills to identify the problem and solution will help you comprehend the passage better.
Eg. In the early 1800s, the United States needed room to grow. The problem was most people lived in the East. The cities were crowded. New land was expensive. Young families couldn’t afford to buy farms.
Then, as a solution, the United States government purchased land from France. The government also acquired land from Mexico. Soon the country stretched all the way to the Pacific Ocean. People looked at the setting sun with outstretched arms and said, “Go west!”
The word, ‘problem’ in the first paragraph and ‘solution’ in the second paragraph are signal words that give hints on problem and solution.
4. Recognize character traits
|The character is||:||cruel|
|Because||:||negative influence of friends|
|Says and Thinks||:||arrogantly|
|Looks like||:||a criminal|
|Others see as||:||villain|
5. Using context clues
- Use other words in the sentence or context clues to help find the meaning of a word.
The cruel wolf pounced on the little rabbit.
A. helped B. jumped
My Grandpa is approximately 75 years old
A. about B. badly C. carefully
- A special word or a clue word in a sentence will tell you exactly what a word or phrase means.
Eg. “The process of changing ordinary metals into gold, called ‘alchemy’, was very popular in the Middle Ages.” Don’t know the meaning of the word, ‘alchemy’? From context clues, we get it, “the process of changing ordinary metals into gold”.
6. Drawing Conclusions
Eg. The line of fans at the ticket counter outside the basketball ground grew larger, but no one wanted to leave, although they would wait for a long time.
What conclusion can you draw from the sentence above?
A. The fans were interested in the match. B. The counter staff had left.
C. There was going to be a riot. D. The fans were getting free tickets.
7. Finding the Main Idea
Eg. If I choose to go down the road in a dressing-gown who shall say me nay? You have liberty to laugh at me, but I have liberty to be indifferent to you. And if I have a fancy for dyeing my hair, or waxing my mustache or wearing an overcoat and sandals, or going to bed late or getting up early, I shall follow my fancy and ask no man’s permission.
What is the main idea?
A. The dress I like.
B. Dyeing my hair
C. My personal liberty.
D. Laughing at others.
8. Making inferences or conclusions
(a) Where am I?
Eg. At a short distance, there was an operation theater, fitted with most modern appliances. Outside the operation theater, there was a set of stretchers and wheeled chairs. On inquiry, I learned that this was the Casualty Ward where those who are victims of accidents are treated.
Ans: in a hospital.
(b) Who am I?
Eg. I am a skilled craftsman who works in the construction industry fabricating primarily wood constructions; from the entire framework of a building to ornate woodwork on stairs and trim. I pre-fabricate cabinets and other structures in shops or factories while others work on construction sites, cutting, joining, and installing structural elements.
Ans: A carpenter.
(c) What happens next?
Eg. A stout old lady was walking with her basket down the middle of a street in Petrograd to the great confusion of the traffic and with no small peril to herself. It was pointed out to her that the pavement was the place for pedestrians, but she replied: ‘I’m going to walk where I like. She went on ahead.
Ans: A passing vehicle will hit her.
9. The point of view. Who is telling the story?
Eg. (a) I ran through the woods, only just dodging the tightly knit trees. The wind born of my speed whipped my eyes and ran through my hair. I could hear the thunder of the waterfall and the light beating of the others following behind me. I took a deep breath, I didn’t think it was possible without losing my feet but I ran faster, barely touching the ground.
Ans: First person narrative. The narrator is one of the characters speaking about him/her or sharing events that he/she is experiencing and uses ‘I’ or ‘we’.
Eg. (b) Old Behrman was a painter who lived on the ground floor beneath them. He was past sixty and had a Michael Angelo’s Moses beard curling down from the head of a satyr along with the body of an imp. Behrman was a failure in art. Forty years he had wielded the brush without getting near enough to touch the hem of his Mistress’s robe. He had been always about to paint a masterpiece, but had never yet begun it.
Ans: Third person narrative. A narrator is a third person who uses ‘she’, ‘he’, ‘they’ or ‘it.’
Word-attack strategies help students decode, pronounce, and understand unfamiliar words using context, prefixes or suffixes.
Write a paragraph or a summary based on the passage.
12.Answer questions on Grammar and Usage.
“Can you write about your first experience of travelling by air without expressing the goose bumps during take-off and all the sensations of being on the plane? For this you need to have ardent imagination with a thorough knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, punctuation and sentence structure.
Writing is a skill that demands precision, sound judgement and exactness on the part of the writer. It is the process of using words and letters to communicate. It is also an art of expressing thoughts and ideas impressively.
There are different types of writing styles like creative, expository, narrative, descriptive, persuasive, argumentative, critical, journalistic, derivative, and many more.
Plan ahead about content, organisation, accuracy and vocabulary, and consider the genre, audience, style and purpose of your writing.
|Content||–||What should be conveyed through the text?|
|Organisation||–||How do you organize and structure your writing?|
|Accuracy||–||Correct spelling, punctuation and grammar|
|Vocabulary||–||Use of appropriate words|
Have a clear idea on:
|Genre||–||What type of text you are going to write?|
|Audience||–||Who will be reading your text?|
|Purpose||–||Why do you write the text?|
|Style||–||How do you write?|
Whatever be the future profession you are in: doctor, journalist, manager, teacher, entrepreneur, writer …if you can write well it makes a difference. When you write, we send message to your readers about who you are. Therefore, you need to be clear, focused and accurate so as not to be misunderstood, underestimated or ignored that marks your style.
We can view the action of a sentence in two ways without any change in the facts reported.
Eg. Wild penguins attacked Alice. (Active voice)
Here, stress and importance are given to the penguins, the doer of the action.
Alice was attacked by wild penguins. (Passive Voice)
In this sentence, the subject, ‘wild penguins’, remains unchanged but stress and importance are given to ‘Alice’, the sufferer of the action.
A sentence is in the active voice when the subject performs an action indicated by the verb.
Eg. Tom writes a letter.
A sentence is in the passive voice when the verb acts upon the subject, which receives instead of initiates the action.
Eg. A letter is written by Tom.
How many parts of speech are there in English? Eight or nine?
Many modern linguists have the opinion that there are nine parts of speech in English. They add articles too to the traditional eight.
What are articles?
Basically, the articles are Demonstrative Adjectives. It is a word that modifies or describes the Noun. It is used before the noun to show whether it refers to something specific or not. So, in a way, articles can also be described as a type of adjectives as they also tell us something about the nouns.
The articles in English are ‘the’ (definite article) and, ‘a/an’ (indefinite articles). Articles define a noun as specific or unspecific.
The orange is really tasty after the long day in the refrigerator.
By using ‘the’, we’ve shown that it was one specific orange that was kept in the refrigerator, and one specific day that was long, and one specific refrigerator.
An orange is really tasty after a long day in a refrigerator.
By using ‘an’ and ‘a’, we’ve created a general statement, saying that any orange would be really tasty after any long day in any refrigerator.
- 1 ball pizza dough
- 1/2 to 1 cup tomato sauce
- Cheese such as torn mozzarella, grated Asiago or Swiss
- Grated Parmesan
- Toppings such as thinly sliced vegetables, pepperoni and salami, prosciutto, chopped greens such as kale, or diced tomatoes
- Olive oil
Mix the ingredients in the right proportion and follow the instructions. A picky pizza will be ready in front of you.
Do you know the recipe of a typical English sentence?
Take the ingredients – words, phrases, and clauses. Mix it in the right proportion, place it properly and the result will be a meaningful sentence.
Eg. “My friend Tom, who enjoys teasing others, played a trick on Alice and it turned out to be offensive to her.”
Tom: Alice, Alice.
Alice: Yes Papa?
Tom: Today is a special day for you. Can you guess?
Alice: Today is a holiday for me.
Tom: No dear. If it is Sunday, it is a holiday for all. I asked about something special to you.
Alice: Er! No idea, Papa.
Tom: Make a try. If you guess it correctly, I’ll give you a chocolate.
Alice: If I knew it, I would tell you. I give up.
Tom: Ha! Ha!Ha! Last year, on this same day, you went to the school for the first time and sobbed your heart out.
Alice: Oh! Now I remember. If I had tried again, I would have guessed it correctly. I am sorry, I missed the chocolate.
Tom: Don’t worry. Take it.
Alice: Thank you, Papa.
Look at the forms and meanings of the sentences in bold. All these sentences have two clauses: the main clause and a subordinate clause (the clause with ‘If’).
There are four different conditional sentences.
‘Sir! Presidents don’t polish their own shoes.’
Lincoln replied, ‘Then whose shoes do they polish?’
Good lesson to remember. Isn’t it??
This is an excerpt from Abraham Lincoln’s life. One day Abraham Lincoln was polishing his shoes and a staff member of the White House walks in. He was surprised by what he saw.
Imagine a marriage where the verb is ‘the bride’ and noun, ‘the groom’! The children born to them will be Gerunds. They are words formed from verbs but function as nouns.
Tom’s favorite student is Alice. Alice is fishing.
1. So Tom’s favorite student is fishing.
Who is the favorite student of Tom, Alice or fishing?
Can ‘fishing’ be a student of somebody? No.
1. Tom’s favorite pastime is fishing.
Can ‘fishing’ be a pastime of somebody? Yes.
In the above sentences the word, ‘fishing’ is used in different senses.
In the first sentence, ‘fishing’ is a present participle denoting the action done by Tom’s favorite student, and a verb.
Distinguish between identical twins is not an easy task. Then imagine if it is identical triplets!!!
Meet the Triplets
Have, has, and had are the identical triplets in English.
They live under one roof and share the same frame of mind when it comes to helping others.
That’s why they are called, ‘helping verbs’ or ‘auxiliaries’.
Whom do they help?
What type of help they offer?
Our ‘Tense Specialist’ has fun filled methodology to take you to the complex rules as if playing a game.
The world population grows day by day and has crossed seven billion. If we classify based on occupation, there will be cops, teachers, doctors, engineers, nurses, entrepreneurs, politicians, laborers, students, homemakers, etc. Now look at English vocabulary, which has almost a million words in it! All these words are classified into eight categories based on their nature and function. They are called Parts of Speech.
A panda walked into a cafe. He ordered a sandwich, ate it, then pulled out a gun and shot the waiter. ‘Why?’ groaned the injured man. The panda shrugged, tossed him a badly punctuated wildlife manual and walked out. When the waiter opened the book, he read an entry. ‘Panda’: ‘Large black and white mammal native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.’
This is an extract from the book, ‘Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation’ by Lynne Truss. Who is the villain here? The panda, the waiter or the punctuation!
A comma can change the subject of a sentence.
- Woman, without her man, is nothing.
- Woman! Without her, man is nothing.
A comma can kill a man.
- “Kill him, not leave him.
- “Kill him not, leave him”.
Punctuation is used to create sense, clarity, and stress in sentences. It helps to structure and organize writing.
The common Punctuation marks
- Periods (US), Brackets (UK)
- Question Marks
- Exclamation Points
- Quotation marks.
- Square brackets [ ]
To understand the true meaning of sentences, an analysis must be practiced. Synthesis is possible only when an analysis is understood. Synthesis means the combination of a number of simple sentences into one new sentence – simple, compound or complex.
Types of Sentences.
The verb must agree with its subject in Number and Person.
A singular subject takes a singular verb, and a plural subject takes a plural verb.
- Tom plays (Tom, the subject is Third Person Singular. So the singular verb plays is used.)
- They play (They, the subject is Third Person Plural. So the plural verb play is used.)
- I play (I, the subject is First Person Singular. So the verb play is used.)
- I am a soccer player. (Here the verb tells what the subject is. I, the subject is First Person Singular. So the verb am is used.)
- We play (We, the subject is First Person Plural. So the verb play is used.)
- We are soccer players. (Here the verb tells what the subject is. We, the subject is First Person Plural. So the verb are is used.)
- You play (You, the subject can be First Person Singular /First Person Plural. So the verb play is used.)
- You are a soccer player. (Here the verb tells what the subject is. You, the subject can be First Person Singular /First Person Plural. So the verb are is used.)
Are you tensed about tenses??
Actions or activities happen at any of the following time: present, past or future. Most of the languages have different grammatical methods to indicate the time of an action, or when a state or process exists. Tense is the form taken by a verb to communicate this phenomenon. The only word in a sentence that changes as per time is the verb.
It is marked by an inflection of the verb:
Tom plays soccer. (action in the present time)
Tom played soccer. (action happened in the past time)
Action going to happen in the future is depicted by using the modal auxiliary will, or the semi-auxiliary be going to:
Tom will play soccer tomorrow.
Tom is going to play soccer tomorrow.
For each grammatical tense, there are subcategories called aspects. Aspect indicates whether the action of a verb is complete or not. There are four aspects:
- Perfect progressive