COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUES- I ENGLISH READING SKILLS 21. READING SKILLS: EXTENSIVE READING The focus of Unit Four has been on the skill of reading. You may have realized that reading is important as a foundation for building vocabulary and improving your other language skills. It is important to be able to read fluently and accurately. After learning about how to get the most out of our reading, let us now learn how to read extensively so that we can maintain both these.
21.0 Objectives By the end of this lesson you will: i) Read for overall understanding of a text while doing Extensive Reading
21.1 Introduction You have already learnt that we need to read for a variety of reasons for almost any task we need to complete; whether we need to read the sign on the road, the bus numbers, directions to different places, directions on how to perform a task, etc. When we read, we use a variety of strategies too. Each purpose of reading requires a different strategy. We also need to read in different ways. There are two kinds of reading that we usually do: 1. Extensive 2. Intensive We will discuss Extensive Reading Skills in this lesson. Extensive Reading (reading large number of English texts for periods of at least 30 minutes or more) will help you to be a better reader of English. It is very important that while we are developing our skills in reading, we read material that we can mostly understand. Ideally, we should understand over 95% of what we are reading. With this kind of reading, we can make good guesses even if we don't understand a new word. We can continue reading without stopping to look up new words. You have already learnt how to guess the meaning of unknown words and phrases in Unit Three. It will be helpful if you try to apply all the previously learnt strategies throughout this unit.
Additionally, we should enjoy what we are reading. If we don't, reading will seem like a struggle and we will find ways to avoid it. When looking for reading material, think about the topics and kinds of stories you are most interested in. Hopefully, you will begin to enjoy reading and want to spend more time doing it in English.
21.2 Extensive Reading What does it mean to be a good reader? Again, the keywords are fluent and accurate. Reading quickly is important because this helps you follow the overall story or message. Reading without mistakes is important for both the overall story/message and noting the details. Both of these sub-skills deserve our attention, but they require different kinds of practice. Extensive reading is done by people who want to improve their reading comprehension and speed at the same time. The reading material is chosen by the reader him/herself. It usually is about a topic that is of great interest to the reader. The reader will read a lot of material for at least 30 minutes at a time. The aim of extensive reading is to read fast and fluently. When doing extensive reading, you must try to guess the meanings of the unknown and unfamiliar words based on the context, rather than consulting the dictionary.
From now on, it is important that you work towards achieving the following goals: While reading, try to avoid translating all the words from English into your own language. In order to understand what you read, use the strategies you have learnt so far. Try to avoid using the dictionary to look up all the words you don’t understand. (In order to read well, you will realize that you do not need to understand all the words in a reading passage.) In order to concentrate well when reading, you need to develop a faster reading speed while retaining 60-80% comprehension. Given below are several Aesop’s Fables. Practice reading them fast. You will read them over and over again. Time yourself each time you read them. Make a note of your reading time. You will gradually find that you are able to read faster and more fluently. While you read the story try to picture (visualize) what is going on. Then read and understand the moral of the story that is given at the end. Story 1: The Ant and the Dove
An ant went to the bank of a river to quench its thirst, and being carried away by the rush of the stream, was on the point of drowning. A dove, sitting on a tree that was hanging over the water, saw the ant and decided to help. She plucked a leaf and let it fall into the stream close to her. The frightened ant climbed onto it and floated in safety to the bank. Shortly afterwards, a bird catcher came and stood under the tree, and laid his limetwigs for the dove, that still sat in the branches. The ant, perceiving his intent, stung him in the foot. Reaching down to ease his pain, the bird catcher threw down the twigs. The crackling noise made the dove take wing. MORAL: “One good turn deserves another.”
Story 2: The Rose and the Marigold A rose and a marigold blossomed side by side in a garden. The marigold said to her neighbour, "How I envy you your beauty and your sweet scent! No wonder you are such a universal favourite." The rose replied with a shade of sadness in her voice, "Ah, my dear friend, I bloom but for a short time! My petals soon wither and fall, and then I die. But your flowers never fade, even if they are cut; for they are everlasting." MORAL: "Greatness carries its own penalties."
Story 3: The Shepherd's Boy and the Wolf A shepherd boy, whose job was to watch a flock of sheep near a village brought out the villagers three times by crying out, "Wolf! Wolf!" When the villagers came to help him, he laughed at them for rushing out in fear. One day, a wolf, however, did truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in fear: "Pray, do come and help me; the wolf is killing the sheep". By this time, the villagers had become weary of the boy and his tricks. No one paid any heed to his cries, nor did any one render any assistance. The wolf, having no cause to fear, happily attacked the whole flock. MORAL: “No one will ever believe a liar, even when he speaks the truth.”
Story 4: The Sick Lion A lion, unable from old age to provide himself with food by force, resolved to do so by artifice. He returned to his den, and lying down there, pretended to be sick. He made sure that his ‘sickness’ became publicly known by moaning and groaning loudly. The other beasts of the forest heard him cry and decided to take turns in visiting him. When they came one by one to his den, the lion devoured them. After many of the beasts had thus disappeared, the fox realized that this was a trick. On the day that it was his turn to go to the lion, the fox stood outside the cave at a safe distance and asked him how he was. "I am very unwell," replied the Lion. "But why do you stand outside? Pray enter to talk with me." "No, thank you," said the Fox. "I notice there are many prints of feet entering your cave, but I see no trace of any returning. I am here to pay my respects to my king today, and want to be sure to do the same tomorrow!" MORAL: “He is wise who is warned by the misfortunes of others.”
Story 5: The Apes and the Two Travellers Two men one who always spoke the truth and the other who told nothing but lies, were travelling together and by chance came to the Land of Apes. One of the apes, who had raised himself to be king, commanded them to be seized and brought before him, that he may know what was said of him among men. At the same time he ordered all the apes stand in a long row on his right and left, and that a throne be placed for him, as was the custom among men. After these preparations he signalled for the two men to be brought before him, and greeted them with this salutation: "What sort of a king do I seem to you to be, O strangers?” The Lying Traveller replied, "You seem to me a most mighty king." "And what is your estimate of those you see around me?” asked the ‘king of The apes.
"These," replied the Lying Traveller, "are worthy companions of yourself, fit at least to be ambassadors and leaders of armies." The Ape and all his court, gratified with the lie, commanded that a handsome present be given to the flatterer. On this the Truthful Traveller thought to himself, "if so great a reward is given for a lie, with what gift may I be rewarded, if, according to my custom, I tell the truth?' The Ape soon turned to him. "And pray how do I and these my friends around me seem to you?” "Thou art," he said, "a most excellent Ape, and all these thy companions after thy example are excellent apes too." The King of the Apes, enraged at being called an ape, bade his companions eat the Truthful Traveller.
Self-Check Questions Answer True or False 1. In extensive reading we need to understand each and every word of the text. 2. Extensive reading is about reading fast and fluently. 3. Practice is very important in developing fluency and accuracy. Fill in the Blanks 4. Extensive reading is when you read for more than ________ minutes at a stretch. 5. You must try to guess the meanings of the unfamiliar words based on the ________ rather than consulting the dictionary.
21.3 Summing Up In this lesson you learnt that developing skills in extensive reading will help you improve your reading comprehension as well as the speed with which you read. In order to do this, you must do the following: • • •
set your goal to read for at least 30 minutes at a stretch. choose reading material that is not too difficult for you to understand. You should be able to understand at least 95% of what you are reading. look for material that will hold your interest.
read, read, and read some more!
21.4 Answers to Self-Check Questions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
False True True Thirty Context
21.5 References 1. Broukal, Milada. Weaving It Together. Massachusetts: Heinle & Heinle Publishers A Division of Wadsworth, Inc., 1994 2. Vacca, Richard T, and Jo Anne L Vacca. Content Area Reading. United States of America: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc., 1999. 3. Ferreira, Linda A. Beginnings 1. United States of America: Newbury House Publishers, Inc.,1985 4. Nagaraj, Dr. Geetha. Comprehend & Compose. New Delhi: Foundation Books, 2003 5. Dunkel, Patricia A; Pialorsi, Frank and Kozyrev, Joann. Advanced Listening Comprehension. U.S.A: Heinle & Heinle Publishers, 1996 6. Jones, Daniel. English Pronouncing Dictionary. Noida: Gopsons Papers Ltd. 2003
21.6 Glossary • • • • • • • • • • • •
Avoid: run away from Accurately: orrectly, without mistakes Confidence: belief that you can do something Extensive Reading: reading large number of English texts for periods of at least 30 minutes (or more) Fluently: uickly and smoothly Foundation: base, starting point Ideally: or best results Intensive Reading: thorough and concentrated reading; reading so one remembers details Pay Off: bring some good results Retain: to keep; hold Struggle: a fight,, hard work Visualize: create a picture in the mind