COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUES- I ENGLISH READING SKILLS 24. ANALYZING TEXTS AND MAKING NOTES 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. After learning about several aspects about reading let us now learn how we should read in order to analyse the text and make notes of the same.
24.0 Objectives By the end of this lesson you will: i. ii.
Analyze texts Make notes
24.1 Introduction Reading, examining words and characters to understand their meaning, can take several forms because what we read and why we read influence how we read. We might quickly read over or scan newspaper headlines to glean the main points or ideas of articles. Or, we might carefully read an essay to clearly determine the author's points in support or against an argument.
24.2 Analyzing Text When we scan and/or read carefully, we are on our way towards analyzing the text. So, what does it mean to analyze? And how can we analyze carefully? ‘Analyzing text’ means ‘examining every part of the text’ carefully. We must follow specific steps when we begin to analyze a book. Steps to Follow When Analyzing a Book 1. Preview the Table of Contents and Index. You learnt about the Table of Contents and Index in the previous lesson. You need to first do a quick preview of the table of contents in the front of the book. While doing this, pay attention to how many chapters make up the book and what topics are covered in each chapter. The organization of topics on the contents page can 1
give you an idea of the book's focus and development. Then, turn to the back of the book and read over the index. The index will show the range of topics covered in the book as well as the depth of coverage for each topic. 2. Quickly read through the Preface. The preface usually comes before the table of contents and generally explains the author's purpose for writing the book. It gives us some more clues of what we can expect from the book. 3. Skim through the book. Pay attention to subheadings and visuals. 4. Begin reading the book. Pay special attention to important checklists, pictures with captions, graphs and charts. Case studies or excerpts from other texts (among other things) are often drawn out of the main text and highlighted. These elements have been highlighted because they are important, so make sure that you read or scan over these. You might want to use a paper clip to mark the pages that include useful charts, graphs, case studies or summaries so that you can quickly refer to them later. 5. Write summaries of book chapters in a notebook or other paper. When you summarize the content of a chapter, you can be sure that you have understood the chapter and identified points that you are having difficulty with.
24.3 Points to Keep in Mind while Analyzing a Book 1. Have a pen in hand. Make sure you keep a pen/pencil handy. Underlining difficult words and important information in the reading material and making notes as you read will help you understand the content and remember it better. It also helps you to go back quickly when you want to refer to something you have read earlier. Since pencil fades with time. In such a case a pen is best. (Please note: if the text does not belong to you, please take notes separately and DO NOT write/mark in the book.) 2. Quickly read through the essay or chapter. Quickly read over the essay or chapter, only underlining/paying attention and making a list of the difficult words. Scanning or previewing the chapter will give you some sense of the main idea and structure of the reading. Once you have finished reading the essay or chapter, look up the words you have underlined/listed and write the definitions in the margins where the word appears or in your notes. 3. Read the essay or chapter again, noting key points. During this second reading, plan to go through the essay or chapter more slowly, paying attention to the major points.
24.4 Making Notes We usually read informational text to find out specific information. Sometimes we need to read a lot of material for our purpose. Additionally, we may need to remember the information. As indicated in the points above (when 2
analyzing the text), it is always a good idea to make notes as we go along with our reading task. How to Make Notes The following are points that you need to remember when taking notes: 1. Notes are short phrases not complete sentences. 2. They are short i.e. they have key words and they do not need to have grammatical features like articles. 3. Use your own words – this helps you to monitor your own understanding of the text material. 4. Write down what is important – the process of sorting out the important ideas from the rest will also help you separate the main idea from the subsidiary details. 5. After reading a paragraph, make sure you understood the main idea. Write down the main idea as a topic. 6. Under the topic, write the important ideas (supporting details). 7. Do not copy the author's sentences. Instead, use key words in your writing so you remember them.
Self-Check Questions 1. Arrange the following in their proper order: • Skim through the book. • Quickly read through the Preface. • Write summaries of the book chapters. • Begin reading the book. • Preview the Table of Contents and Index. 2. What are the 3 things to keep in mind when analyzing a book? Answer True or False 3. Notes are short phrases. 4. Note-making involves the use of the author’s exact words only. 5. Differentiating the main idea from the supporting details is a key requirement for making notes.
24.5 Summing Up It is always important for us to know the purpose of reading. By determining the purpose, we are able to choose how we will read. Based on our purpose we can do all or a few of the following:
• • • • • •
Skim Scan Analyze- read Take notes Underline difficult words Summarize In this lesson you learnt…
How to analyze text o Preview the Table of Contents and Index o Quickly read through the Preface o Skim through the book o Begin reading the book o Write summaries of book chapters in a notebook or other paper
How to make notes o Notes are short phrases o Use your own words o Write down what is important o After reading a paragraph, make sure you understood the main idea. o Under the topic, write the important ideas o Do not copy the author's sentences
24.6 Answers to Self-Check Questions 1. a. b. c. d. e.
Preview the Table of Contents and Index Quickly read through the Preface Skim through the book Begin reading the book Write summaries of book chapters
2. a. Have a pen in hand b. Quickly read through the essay or chapter c. Read the essay or chapter again, noting key points 3. True 4. False 5. True
24.7 References 1. Sharma, R C, and Krishna Mohan. Business Correspondence and Report Writing. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Limited, 2003
2. Gilani, Archana, and Kaul, Mridula. & Suganthan Beena. The Grammar Tree India: Oxford University Press 2004 3. Ghosh, R N, K W Moody, and S R Inthira. A Course in Written English. New Delhi: National Council of Educational Research and Training, 1988
24.8 Glossary • • • • • • • •
Analyze: to examine something in great detail in order to understand it better or discover more about it Chart: a visual aid which may be in the form of a table, graph, diagram, or a map Graphic Organizers:a detailed visual aid that helps the reader organize the content material from text for better understanding Preface: foreword; introduction; a preliminary statement by the author or editor of a book; usually found at the beginning of a book Preview: to look at part of something before actually seeing (reading) the real thing Tables: a tabulated graphic organizer which has columns and rows Text Content: the subject material that is presented in the text Textual Features: the various features that are in the text which help the learners read and understand the material easily; they include formatting features like font size and colour, font style (bold, italicize, etc.), table of contents, graphic organizers, index, etc.
24.1 Introduction 1. Preview the Table of Contents and Index. You learnt about the Table of Contents and Index in the previous lesson. You n...