SKIMMING, SCANNING, READING INTENSIVELY
Today we shall devote our lesson to reading. Reading is a language skill. What other language skills do you know?
There are different types of reading, because there are different reading purposes. It is very important to understand why you have to read a text and to choose that reading strategy which is most appropriate to the task. This is very relevant to examinations where you have limited time to do a large amount of reading. Don’t waste your time by trying to read each text slowly and carefully from the beginning to the end. USE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING READING STRATEGIES: SKIMMING, SCANNING, AND READING INTENSIVELY.
I. Match the reading skill on the left to the description on the right.
a) reading very carefully to be sure you understand exactly what the writer means
b) reading the text fairly quickly in order to understand the topic and the main points
3. Reading intensively
c) looking through the text to find specific information that you need to answer a question
II. Which skill should you use when you:
a) read the instructions and questions? ________
b) read the text for the first time? ________
ń) need particular facts or figures from the text? ________
d) are choosing the right answer to a multiple choice question? ________
III. Think about how you would read the following pieces of written language, then discuss the questions below with another student.
1. a) A list of results for an exam you’ve taken. (3 pages) ________
b) A letter from a friend who’s studying in Australia. (3 pages) ________
2. a) Detailed instructions for reaching a friend’s house. (half a page) ________
b) A review of a film you were thinking of going to see. (half a page) ________
3. a) A newspaper in your own language. (16 pages) ________
b) A newspaper in English. (16 pages) ________
The choice of reading strategies depends on the task which is given afterwards. There are three most popular tasks: multiple choice questions or unfinished statements, multiple matching and gap-fill. They require different reading strategies and we shall practise all of them at our lesson.
IV. Multiple choice
People in every culture celebrate holidays. Although the word “holiday” means “holy day”, most American holidays are not religious. They are commemorative in nature and origin. American holidays have different cultural sources and traditions, but all of them have taken on distinctively American flavor. In the USA the word “holiday” is synonymous with “celebration”.
Each of the 50 states has jurisdiction over its holidays. In practice, however, most states observe the federal (“legal”) public holidays.
Ten holidays per year are proclaimed by the federal government. They are as follows:
New Year’s Day (January 1)
Martin Luther King Day (traditional – January 15; official – third Monday in January)
Presidents’ Day (third Monday in February)
Memorial Day (traditional – May 30; official – last Monday in May)
Independence Day (July 4)
Labor Day (first Monday in September)
Columbus Day (traditional – October 12; official – second Monday in October)
Veterans’ Day (traditional – November 11; official – second Monday in November)
Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday in November)
Christmas (December 25).
In 1971 the dates of many federal holidays were officially moved to the nearest Monday by president Richard Nixon. There are four holidays which are not necessarily celebrated on Mondays: Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Christmas. When they fall on a Sunday, the previous day is also a holiday.
Federal government offices, including the post office, are always closed on all federal legal holidays. Schools and businesses close on major holidays, like Independence Day and Christmas.
Federal legal holidays are observed according to the legislation of individual states. The dates of these holidays and others are decided upon by state government. Each state can agree on the same date that the President has proclaimed, such as Thanksgiving. State legislation can also change the date of a holiday for its own special commemoration. The closing of local offices and businesses will vary. Whether citizens have the day off from their work or not depends on local decisions.
You can look through an ordinary calendar and discover many “minor holidays”. They are observed by a relatively small number of people or by a particular interest group. For example, “Girl Scouts’ Day”, “Citizenship Day” would have limited observance.
Events involving famous Americans, living or dead, have a wider appeal. Many Americans may have forgotten the exact date when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated (November 22, 1963), but they remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they first learned about his tragic death. Other days commemorate events which may be personally significant for one generation but have no great importance for another. For example, Pearl Harbor Day (December 7) marks the day when Japanese Imperial Forces attacked Hawaii in 1941 and brought the USA into World War II.
holy connected with God and religion
commemorative adj. giving honor to the memory of
flavor n. taste
jurisdiction n. the right to use the power held by an official body
legislation n. body of laws
appeal n. power to move the feelings, attraction, interest
assassinate v. to murder for political reason or reward
significant adj. of noticeable importance
There are a number of unfinished statements about the text above. You must choose the answer which you think fits best. Give one answer only to each question.
1. Most American holidays are
Â. devoted to historic battles
Ń. celebrated in memory of people and events
2. Some holidays are called “federal” because
A. most states observe them
Â. federal offices are closed on these days
Ń. they are proclaimed by federal government
D. they are celebrated on Mondays
3. Decisions on days off are made by
A. federal government
Â. individual states
Ń. general vote
D. the president
4. Holidays which have a wider appeal are
A. Independence Day and Thanksgiving
Â. the ones connected with famous Americans
Ń. President John F. Kennedy’s and Martin Luther King’s Day
D. the ones which are personally significant for this or that generation
Multiple choice questions test your understanding of the text and the questions so make sure you study the exact words in the question before making a choice. Be careful not to choose answers because they look right if there’s no evidence for them in the text. And beware of answers which say more than is true. These answers often contain words like always or everybody, for example, when the truth is sometimes or some people.
Multiple choice procedure
• Always skim the text before you look at the questions.
• Don’t worry about words you don’t know at this stage.
• Look through the questions to see which parts of the text you need to read carefully.
• Scan to find those parts and then read intensively.
• Try to work out the meanings of any words you don’t know from the context.
• Check the questions again to be sure you’ve really understood them.
These questions are usually fairly straightforward because the answers are stated in the text – but as the text may be long and the time is short, it’s a test of how quickly you can find the answers. For this reason, it’s important to scan effectively the information you need and not to spend time on other parts of the text.
Arbor Day (April 22)
In the 1840s, the midwestern state of Nebraska was a territory within a wide prairie. When pioneers moved out to settle there, they found few trees to build houses or to burn for fuel. There was no shade from the sun or wind, and crops did not grow well in the dry earth.
J. Sterling Morton was one of those pioneers who moved to the treeless Nebraska territory. He and his wife planted trees immediately after moving from their hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Morton was a journalist, and later the editor, of Nebraska’s first newspaper. In his writings, he advocated planting trees to help life on this vast barren plain.
He became the secretary of the Nebraska Territory. At a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture in January, 1872, Morton proposed that citizens of the raw state of Nebraska set aside April 10 as a day to plant trees. He suggested offering prizes as incentives for communities and organizations that planted the most trees properly. Everyone welcomed the idea enthusiastically. Nebraskans planted about one million trees on that first Arbor Day. Today a visitor to Nebraska would never guess that it was once a dusty prairie.
In 1882, Nebraska declared its own Arbor Day as a legal holiday, and the date was changed to Morton’s birthday, April 22. Because the best tree-planting season changes from region to region, other states observe the day on different dates. Hawaiians, for example, plant Arbor Day trees on the first Friday in November!
You are given a list of questions (1-4) and a list of possible answers to choose from (A – E) These questions ask you to choose what each of the 4 sections is about. There are 5 possible ideas. Answer each question by matching a line in A with a line in B.
|a The first Arbor Day
b The hardships of the first settlers
c Planting competitions on Arbor Day
d The people who started the tradition
e The dates on which the holiday is observed
To answer these questions, you need to be very clear about the development of the writer’s argument or, if it’s a narrative, about the sequence of events. So read the text carefully and, before you look at the possible ‘fillers’, think about what kind of information might be missing in each gap. When you are choosing an answer, look for grammatical and logical clues.
This holiday is a day on which Americans honor the ________. Originally a day on ________ frogs or flowers were placed on graves of soldiers who ________ in the American Civil War, it has become a day on which the dead of all wars and all other dead are ________ the same way. Families and individuals honor the memories of ________ loved ones who have died. Church services, visits to the cemetery, flowers on graves, or even silent tribute mark the day with dignity and solemnity. It is a day of reflection. However, to many Americans the day also signals the beginning of summer – with a ________ weekend to spend at the beach, in the mountains, or at home ________.
In many ________, special ceremonies are held in ________ or at monuments for the war dead by veterans of military services. Some hold parades and ________ hold memorial services or special programs in churches, schools or other ________ meeting places.
On Memorial Day the President or Vice President of the USA gives a speech and lays a wreath on the tombs.
public, people, others, globe, communities, holiday, cemeteries, three-day, arrange, remembered, weekend, their, died, theirs, which, famous, dead, relaxing
I. 1–b, I. 2 – c,I. 3 – aII. a – 3, b – 1, c – 2, d – 1+3
III. People’s reading strategies will vary as there’s no one right answer
1a – 2
1b – 3
2a – 2
2b – 3
3a – 2+3
3b – 2, 3 (depending on the purpose: for language practice or for getting information)
IV. 1 –c, 2 –c, 3 –b, 4 –b
VI. 1 dead
By B. Glybina, School No.1152