Free Resources for Students and Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in China - by Paul Sparks

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Paul Sparks, Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for Reading Lessons...



Reading: Review of Lessons from September 2003

Expressing the Main Idea 

  • The main idea normally appears at the beginning of a text.

  • In short articles the main idea should appear in the first few sentences.

  • In longer articles the main idea will be expressed in the first paragraph.

The Reading Process & Study Systems

  • Preview: Look at the title, headings, pictures and the first paragraph, then read.

  • Survey: Glance at headings, beginning of paragraphs and the last paragraph first.

  • Examine: Look for important information then think about headings before reading.

  • Question: Ask yourself questions about the headings to focus before reading.

  • Read Actively: Write on the article, mark or highlight words or sentences.

  • Note Taking: Write notes about what you have read.

  • Underline: Draw a line under important words or words you don’t understand.

  • Review: Read again and think about or discuss the main ideas.

  • Recite: Check your memory from the information you have read.

  • Prompt: Use prompts to remember important information.

  • P2R – Preview, Read, Review

  • PREP – Preview, Read Actively, Examine, Prompt

  • SQ3R – Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review

  • S-RUN – Survey, Read, Underline, Note Taking

Reading Rate: Try to read about 150 words per minute, use the following methods to increase the speed of reading:

  • Preview: Read the first two paragraphs in full then the first sentence of the remaining paragraphs then the last two paragraphs fully.

  • Skimming: Skim the article by looking quickly at the text, reading only some words on each line.

  • Cluster: Read groups of three or four words from each line.

Synthesizing: This involves comparing ideas from different sources of material. Synthesizing is used to evaluate subjects to analyse different points of view. For example a news article about SARS might appear in many different newspapers, written by different journalists. By synthesizing the material you can compare or contrast the information to make a decision about what you believe to be facts or what is fiction. You can also use synthesizing to compare the style of writing or the vocabulary used in different sources of material.

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