Junior Skill Builders
N E W
Y O R K
Copyright © 2008 LearningExpress, LLC. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by LearningExpress, LLC, New York. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data: Junior skill builders : reading in 15 minutes a day. p. cm. ISBN: 978-1-57685-661-1 1. Reading (Middle school) 2. Reading (Secondary) 3. English language—Grammar—Study and teaching (Middle school) 4. English language—Grammar—Study and teaching (Secondary) I. LearningExpress (Organization) II. Title: Reading in 15 minutes a day. LB1632.J86 2008 428.4071'2—dc22 2008020199 Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 First Edition For more information or to place an order, contact LearningExpress at: 2 Rector Street 26th Floor New York, NY 10006 Or visit us at: www.learnatest.com
SECTION 1: BUILD YOUR VOCABULARY
Lesson 1: Multiple-Meaning Words • Don’t be fooled by words with more than one meaning
Lesson 2: Words That Sound or Look Alike • The difference between a homophone and a homograph
Lesson 3: Synonyms and Antonyms • Using words that mean the same or mean the opposite
Lesson 4: Preﬁxes and Sufﬁxes • Get clues about a word’s meaning from its parts
Lesson 5: Terminology and Jargon • Don’t be thrown by technical terms and subject-matter vocabulary
Lesson 6: Context Clues • Find the meaning of unknown words from hints in the text
Lesson 7: Denotation and Connotation • Know what a word implies as well as what it really means
S E C T I O N 2 : VA R I E T Y I N R E A D I N G
Lesson 8: Genre: Fiction or Nonﬁction? • How do you know if something’s ﬁction or not?
Lesson 9: Author’s Purpose • Why did the author write this selection anyway?
Lesson 10: Tone and Style • How does what authors say and how they say it make you feel?
Lesson 11: Text Features • What information can you get from headings, subheads, and captions?
Lesson 12: Graphics • What information can you get from graphs, maps, and other visuals?
S E C T I O N 3 : O R G A N I Z AT I O N O F T E X T
Lesson 13: Main Idea and Supporting Details • What’s a selection all about? Are there enough facts to back that idea?
Lesson 14: Chronological Order • Follow things as they happen, from beginning to end
Lesson 15: Cause and Effect • What makes something happen? What effect can one thing have on another?
Lesson 16: Compare and Contrast • How are people, places, and events alike? How are they different?
Lesson 17: Fact and Opinion • What can the author prove to be true? What are simply his or her personal beliefs?
Lesson 18: Question and Answer • The author asks you a question, and then you ﬁnd the answer
Lesson 19: Problem and Solution • The author states what’s wrong and suggests how to ﬁx it
Lesson 20: Making Inferences • Learn to make good guesses so you can predict what’ll happen next
Lesson 21: Drawing Conclusions • Weigh all the evidence, and then make a decision
Lesson 22: Summarizing • Retell only the most important parts of what you read
S E C T I O N 4 : E L E M E N T S O F L I T E R AT U R E : T H E FA C T S ABOUT FICTION
Lesson 23: Character and Setting • Who’s the story about? • Where does the story take place?
Lesson 24: Plot: Conﬂict and Resolution • Follow a story’s ups and downs on the path of happily ever after
Lesson 25: Point of View • Who’s telling this story anyway?
Lesson 26: Theme • What’s the message or lesson the author wants me to learn?
Lesson 27: Imagery • Use your senses to get “into” the story
Lesson 28: Flashback and Foreshadowing • Thinking about the past • Warning readers about what might happen in the future
Lesson 29: Figurative Language: Idiom, Personiﬁcation, Hyperbole • Words don’t always mean what they say • Objects can be characters, too • Making things bigger than life
Lesson 30: Figurative Language: Similes and Metaphors • Compare things that are different, in very interesting ways
CAN YOU SPARE 15 minutes a day for 30 days? If so, Junior Skill Builders: Reading in 15 Minutes a Day can help you improve your reading comprehension skills. Just what is reading comprehension? Here’s a clue: Understanding is a synonym for comprehension. So, as I’m sure you ﬁgured out, reading comprehension means, “understanding what you read.” Not everyone does, you know. If you ask some people to tell you about a book or article they read, they often say, “I’m not really sure—I didn’t get it!” Well, this book will help you deﬁnitely “get it” every time you read, whether it’s an ad or a full-length novel!
T H E B O O K AT A G L A N C E What’s in the book? First, there’s this introduction, in which you’ll discover some things good readers do to get more out of what they read. Next, there’s a
pretest that lets you ﬁnd out what you already know about the topics in the book’s lessons—you may be surprised by how much you already know. Then, there are 30 lessons. After the last one, there’s a posttest. Take it to reveal how much you’ve learned and improved your skills! The lessons are divided into four sections: 1. Build Your Vocabulary: The Wonder of Words Figuring out the meaning of unknown words 2. Variety in Reading: What’s to Read? Recognizing the characteristics of different kinds, or genres, of writing 3. Organization of Text: Putting the Words Together Identifying various text structures an author can use to present ideas 4. Elements of Literature: The Facts about Fiction Understanding the basics and other devices authors use to make stories more interesting Each section has a series of lessons. Each lesson explains one comprehension skill, then presents reading selections and questions so that you can practice that skill.
B E C O M E A N AC T I V E R E A D E R Active readers are people who “get it.” They really understand what an author is thinking, saying, and trying to get across in the text. Here are a few things active readers do. As you read this list of some things active readers do, you may discover that you’re already one! 1. Preview what you are about to read. Read the selection title and look over any pictures and captions. Skim the text. Ask yourself: What did the author think was important enough to show in a picture? Why did the author choose to put that word in boldface, or darker, text? 2. Predict what the selection will be about. What do you think the selection is about? Write your prediction on a sticky note and attach it to the selection. As you read, look for information to conﬁrm your prediction.
3. Set a purpose for reading. Ask yourself: Why am I planning to read this? What do I want to get from it? Maybe it’s assigned reading for class and you want to ﬁnd facts so you can answer questions. Maybe you need to read directions that tell you how to do something. Or maybe you just want to read for enjoyment. Knowing why you’re reading can help you get what you want from the text. 4. Ask questions to guide your reading. Ask some 5Ws and an H question: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How? For example: Where do the characters live? Why did they choose to do what they just did? As you read, look for answers. They might be right there, explained in the text. Or you might have to put details from the text together to ﬁgure out the answer to your question. 5. Note what’s important. As you read, highlight or underline key words and ideas. Ask yourself: Is this word or detail really important or is it just kind of interesting? Make sure you identify and highlight or underline only the most important ones. And write your personal reactions to what you read in the margins or on sticky notes by the text. How you react to what you read is very important. 6. Clear the way. As you read, stop if you’re confused. Circle unfamiliar words or phrases, then reread the text. That may make the meaning clear. If it doesn’t, check nearby words and pictures for clues to the meaning. And tap into your own personal knowledge. Ask yourself: Have I ever read anything else about this subject before? Do I know a word or phrase that means about the same thing? Try that word or phrase in the text to see if it makes sense. If you’re still confused, just read on. Maybe you’ll ﬁnd the answer there! 7. Ask questions to understand the author. Try to ﬁgure out how the author thinks and what he or she is trying to communicate to you. Ask questions like: Did the author write this to inform me, entertain me, or persuade me to do something? Is the writing funny, sad, friendly, scary, or serious? Why did the author choose this particular word to describe the character? Why did the author have the character react like that? Does the author tell both sides of the story?
8. Return, review, and reword When you ďŹ nish reading, review your sticky notes and highlighted or underlined text. This will quickly remind you not only of the most important ideas, but also of how those ideas are connected. Finally, state what the selection is about in your own words. Each of these points is covered again later in the book. But for now, practice being an active reader as you take the pretest that follows!