……hard to swallow…

One of the readings in class today said  “For most people, the truth about genetically engineered food is hard to swallow.”   This is a reminder that as well as understanding the vocabulary itself, you must be aware of the meanings of idioms and phrases.  If something is “hard to swallow”, it means it is difficult to believe.  You can look up the meanings of idioms using a web site such as The Free DictionaryEnglish Club Online also has a great reference sections with explanations for phrasal verbs and slang as well as idioms.  There is also a board outside the English Centre with idioms related to a certain theme.  This week it is “green”.   Just what does it mean to “go green”?

Learning journey

Our Learning journey

In class yesterday, we talked about how learning is like a journey.  Most of you said that at the start of your journey, learning English, you really wanted to be able to speak English well – and for some of you this was so you could make friends.  We also looked at how things change during the journey.  Sometimes things get difficult at and times like that, it is important to be persistent. Most of you think that you have learned a lot – but still have a way to go.  We also talked about the things we need to pack for this journey…. Things like a dictionary, thesaurus and books are important.   We also talked about motivation, hard work and a positive attitude as things that are important.

Good readers

Good readers are active readers. Reading is more then being able to sound out the words.  It also includes comprehension –  understanding the thoughts and ideas the words are telling us about.  As we read more of “Hatchet” this week, be aware of some of the things you do to help make you a better reader.  Talk about how you do these in your portfolio reflection.

Some things good readers need to do to improve their comprehension include:

Use your prior knowledge…. What do you already know about this text?  What do you think the text will be about. (you will change your ideas on this as you read.)
Think aloud – what questions do you have about the text, talk about what you think is happening as we read.
Visualising: Active readers use all of their senses as they read.  Gary Paulsen makes this easy for us as he uses words to create vivid picture of what is happening.  Think about these as you develop your response to the chapters.
Questioning: You should ask yourself a range of questions about the text, the author’s intention and the language as well as the plot.  Often the author is trying to tell us more than it might seem on the surface.  The “see think, wonder” activity is one that will help you think more deeply about what you have read.
Summarising: Look at the sequence of events and  focus on the main points.  This can be difficult when you start thinking about what to leave out.

Reference: Lacey, C. (2008) Active readers: Tools and strategies for comprehension Curriculum Corporation

Choosing the right book

We are all using some time in class at the moment to do some free reading.  How do you know if a book is the right one for you?  There’s no simple answer – but a friend of mine who is teaching in Shangahai suggests the following test:  

the ‘Five Finger’ test. Just follow the steps below!

Open a book to any page. Read the page, out loud if you can. Put up a finger for each word you don’t know. How many fingers do you have up?

1 WORD. This is easy for you to read! HAVE FUN!

2 WORDS. Just right. ENJOY!

3 WORDS. CHALLENGING! But try it and you might like it.

4 WORDS. VERY CHALLENGING! Read this book with some support from someone.

5 WORDS. TOO HARD! Save it for later when you are a better reader or have someone read it to you.
Bister’s Bytes