Tài liệu Skkn using context to improve high school students’ vocabulary

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APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ 1. INTRODUCTION As an international language, English offers a source of benefits to young people. First and foremost, English assists young people to acquire more knowledge. As more and more materials namely books, lectures and videos as well are printed or constructive in English. As a result, people with English proficiency tend to stand a chance of exploring deeper anything without being prevented by language barrier. Secondly, reading and speaking English fluently is the best advantage for people who want to go abroad. They will have no interference of language in communicating with foreigners. Besides, learning English will help young people find good jobs. Almost all companies enquire employees to be knowledgeable about some languages, especially English. Of course, more and more people want to use it as a means of communication at work, in business and tourism. As a teacher, the researcher is aware that English has been one of the compulsory subjects in secondary schools and high schools in Vietnam. English is also one of the subjects for the Entrance Examination of some national and international university. However, in teaching and learning English as a foreign language, reading has always received a lot of attention. Therefore, how to teach and learn reading skills effectively requires many efforts from both teachers and learners. Many students in Tri An High School confronted five major obstacles in reading such as: the habits of word-by-word reading, excessive focus on details rather than main ideas, poor vocabularies and limited background knowledge. A lack of receptive vocabularies is big obstacles for them to understand long passages with too many difficult words. Most of the students feel scared and worried when they have to read long and difficult passages. Although the literature so far has pointed out so many methods that can be applied in the reading class, this research exclusively focused on some questions that may help 1 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ students understand the passage and choose the suitable answers. This matter has inspired the research to carry out the research with the hope that through this study, the researcher will have better teaching approaches so as to improve students’ reading skills. 2- LITERATURE REVIEW 2. 1- Definition of reading and reading comprehension Reading is an important skill to help people learn from human knowledge and experience. Through reading, knowledge has greatly contributed to the growth of mankind. Reading is the fastest and simplest way to raise people’s educational level. To help students derive meanings from a text, the teacher has to understand the process of reading. Reading can easily be defined as the process in which a person receives and interpretes a message from printed materials. Reading is a process of how information is processed from the text into meanings, starting with the information from the text, and ending with what the reader gains. Goodman (1976) and Smith (1973) indicated that reading is a language process, not merely the sum of various decoding and comprehension subskills. As Goodman (1976) described “Reading is a psycholinguistic guessing game, in which the reader actively interacts with the text to construct meaning.” Ur (1996:38) defines “Reading means reading and understanding”. According to Harmer (1989:153), “Reading is an exercise dominated by the eyes and the brain. The eyes receive messages and the brain then has to work out the significance of these messages.” 2 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ 2.2- Purposes for doing reading There are so many different reasons for doing reading and that we read in different ways for different purposes (Nuttall 2000:2) These different purposes, generalized into the following two main categories: We read for pleasure and for information in order to find out something or in order to do something with the information you get(Grellet 2001:4) are to get information, to respond to curiosity about a topic, to follow instructions to perform a task, for pleasure, a musement, and personal enjoyment ( to keep in touch with friends and colleagues, to know what is happening in the world, and to find out when and where things are(Hedge 2000:195)( 2. 3- Classification according to purpose According to purpose, reading is categorized into four types: skimming, scanning, extensive reading and intensive reading 2.3.1- Skimming, scanning Skim-read and scan-read are necessary reading techniques for general sense or the gist of a reading text. Nuttall (1982:36) says “By skimming, we mean glancing rapidly through the text to determine whether a research paper is relevant to our own work or in order to keep ourselves superficicially informed about matters that are not of great importance to us” Grellet (1981:19) states that “When skimming, we go through the reading material quickly in order to get its main points or the intention of the writer, but not to find the answer to specific questions. When scanning, we only try to locate specific information and often we do not even follow the linearity of the passage to do so.” Through the two reading techniques are important for quick and effective reading, they should not be selected separately because a text can be best 3 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ tackled by a combination of strategies. So after skimming and scanning, students need to have the products of critical reading, which would be “chewed and digested” as stated in Francis Bacon (1992:386) that “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested.” 2.3.2- Intensive Reading Nuttall (2000:38) states that intensive reading involves approaching the text under the guidance of a teacher or a task which forces the student to focus on the text. According to Brown (1990:297), intensive reading is usually a classroom-oriented activity in which students focus on the linguistic or semantic details of a passage. The objective of intensive reading is to understand not only what the text means but also how the meaning is produced. 2.3.3- Extensive reading Extensive reading is generally associated with reading large quantities with the aim of getting an overall understanding of the material. Lewis and Hill (1992:109) point out that “Extensive reading means students have a general understanding of the text without necessarily understanding every word”. This type of reading is suitable for students’ self-learning in order to train them to read directly and fluently in the foreign language for their own enjoyment without the aid of the teacher. However, extensive reading can be best achieved only through an instructional program. Extensive reading sometimes involves skimming and scanning as strategies to gain general sense of a text, skimming for the gist and scanning for some key details. In short, for second or foreign language learners, both intensive and extensive reading are of great importance as they act as a means to gain knowledge but also to develop learners’ language skills. 4 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ 2.4- Types of reading comprehension questions According to GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), there are 4 types of reading comprehension questions.  Main idea  Supporting idea  Reference  Inference  Tone & Style 2.4.1- Main idea According to JoAnn Miller (2009:31), Main idea questions ask students to identify the "primary purpose" or "main point" of the passage. In order to answer these questions correctly, students must be able to identify the thesis of the passage and those ideas that support this thesis. The main idea is the central, or most important idea in a paragraph or passage. It states the purpose and sets the direction of the paragraph or passage. The main idea may be stated or it may be implied. When the main idea of a paragraph is stated, it is most often found in the first sentence of the paragraph. However, the main idea may be found in any sentence of the paragraph. The main idea may be stated in the first sentence of a paragraph and then be repeated or restated at the end of the paragraph. The main idea may be split. The first sentence of a paragraph may present a point of view, while the last sentence presents a contrasting or opposite view. To find the main idea of any paragraph or passage, ask these questions: 1. Who or what is the paragraph about? 5 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ 2. What aspect or idea about the ‘who’ or ‘what’ is the author concerned with? Common question stems  Which of the following most accurately states the main idea of the passage?  The primary purpose of the passage is to.................  The passage is primarily concerned with which of the following?  The author of this passage is primarily concerned with.................  The main point made by the passage is that...................  What is the topic of this passage?  What is the main idea of this passage?  Which title best reflects the main idea of the passage? How to identify correct answer Main point questions ask students to identify the importance of the author's point. Students must identify which ideas in the passage play a supporting role and which idea is being supported. In many ways, this is similar to identifying the premises and conclusion to a critical reasoning argument. The correct answer to a main point question is often a paraphrase of the conclusion or thesis statement of the passage. Common incorrect answer choices are those that feature supporting ideas. These answer choices are appealing to many testtakers because the material presented in them is true and based upon the passage. 6 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ Ex 1: The Nobel prizes, awarded annually for distinguished work in chemistry, physic, physiology or medicine, literature and international peace, were made available by a fund established for that purpose by Swedish philanthropist, Alfred Bernhard Nobel. The prizes, awarded since 1901, are administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm. In 1969, a prize for economics endowed by the Central Bank of Sweden was added. Candidates for the prizes must be nominated in writing by a qualified authority in the field of competition. Candidates are judged by Swedish and Norwegian academies and institutes on the basis of their contribution to mankind. The awards are usually presented in Stockholm on December 10, with the King of Sweden officiating, an appropriate tribute to Alfred Nobel on the anniversary of his death. Each prize includes a gold medal, a diploma, and a cash award of about one million dollars. (Retrieved from http://engleza-fse.edu.ro/?q=content/test-reading-1) Choose the best option (A, B, C or D) which contains the main idea of the following paragraph. A. The Nobel prizes B. Great contribution to mankind C. Alfred Nobel D. Swedish philanthropy 7 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ Explanation: (A) is the correct answer. After skimming reading the passage, the readers think about the meaning of the whole text. They identify the ideas about the Nobel Prizes in the passage which play a supporting role. Ex 2: Soccer players learn many skills when playing soccer. Soccer players learn how to dribble and pass the ball. They also learn how to control the ball so they can eventually score. Most importantly, soccer players learn how to work together with their teammates. What is the main idea? A. They also learn how to control the ball so they can eventually score. B. Soccer players learn how to dribble. C. Soccer players learn many skills when playing soccer. 2.4.2- Supporting idea Supporting idea questions are often prefaced by "according to the passage" or "the passage states that". Most of the questions that fit into this category could be called "find the fact" as they rely on your ability to find a specific piece of information, often contained in two or three sentences. These questions tend to be more difficult than main idea questions because they require a more detailed recollection of the test. If necessary, students can return to the text and quickly re-read a few sentences. 8 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ Unlike main idea questions which are more generic in their question stem, these questions tend to incorporate an idea specific to the passage in the question stem. Factual and negative factual questions ask about specific details and facts that are often provided in a single line of text. Sometimes students will be directed to the paragraph that contains the answer. Common question stems: 1. Factual questions: + According to the passage, why did ..................? + According to the information in paragraph 2, where did...............? + Which of the following is true, according to the passage? + The author uses ................. as an example of ............ + The author mentions............ in the third paragraph because it was ......... 2. Negative factual questions: + The author mentions all of the following in the passage EXCEPT ........... + In the passage, the aothor does NOT provide a specific example of ........... + According to the information in paragraph 3, which of the following is NOT ........... 3. Vocabulary questions: + Which of the following could best be substituted for the word “_____” in line 9? 9 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ + The expression “________” in line ..... could best be replaced by ............ + The word “_______” in line ......... is closest in meaning to which of the following? How to identify correct answer In trying to identify the correct answer, it is extremely important that students stick quite close to the text. The words "according to the passage" should be taken seriously. Answers that seem logical but are not directly supported by the text should be avoided. Ex 1: Sally went shopping after school Friday and all day on Saturday and she bought a lot of new outfits. On Sunday her mother took her to the outlet mall so she could finish buying clothes for the new school year. She also bought school supplies so she would be prepared for her classes. What is the main idea of this paragraph about Sally? The main things that this paraghragh is about is the fact that Sally spent the weekend shopping. What are supporting details? Supporting details are examples and extra information that help you understand the main idea. What are some supporting details in this paraghraph? - Sally bought new outfits. - Sally bought school supplies. Ex 2: (1) Due to increasing costs, there will be two changes in the tuition reimbursement program that will significantly reduce employee benefits. (2) 10 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ First, reimbursement has been reduced from 100 percent to 60 percent of tuition costs for each course in which the student earns a “C” or better. (3) For example, if you pay $1,000 for a course, and earn at least a C in that course, you will be reimbursed in the amount of $600. (4) Second, employees will now be limited to $2,000 in reimbursement expenses per year. (5) Thus, if your tuition per course equals $1,000, you will be reimbursed $600 per course for each of your three courses but only $200 for the fourth course because you will have reached the $2,000 limit. (6) Any additional courses in that year will not be reimbursed. Explanation: This paragraph follows a very common pattern. It starts with the topic sentence (sentence 1). Then it offers support for that topic sentence in the form of details and examples. Sentences 2 and 4 give the details of the change in the tuition reimbursement program. Sentences 3, 5, and 6 give specific examples of those changes. Thus, the organization looks like this (sentence numbers are in parentheses): Main idea (1) Detail (2) Example (3) Detail (4) Example (5,6) 2.4.3- Reference questions According to Kate Hardin (2014): Reference questions ask about the meanings of pronouns and demonstratives such as they, it, he, she, which, who, that, and this. The goal of these questions is simple: you need to decide what the pronoun or phrase refers to. You probably already do this automatically when you read; if you don’t, then you probably have trouble understanding the reading passages. Reference questions are one of relatively few question types that very basically test a skill that is necessary to read well. 11 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ Common question stems  The word ................. in the second paragraph refers to ............  The pronoun “it” in line 5 refers to .....................  The phrase ........... in paragraph 4 refers to ............... How to identify correct answer:  Before the readers check to answer such a question, they have to remember two things: 1. The referent almost always comes after the reference word (highlighted word) in the passage.  2. The referent isn't always the closest word to the reference word. Here are some of the reference words (highlighted words) they might be asked about: 1. Personal pronouns/adjectives: he, him, his, she, her, hers, it, its, they, them, theirs. 2. Reflexive pronouns: himself, herself, itself, themselves. 3. Demonstrative pronouns/adjectives: this, that, these, those. 4. Other reference words: some, few, any, none, several, both, here, there,  most, many, one, ones, another, other, others, the former, the latter. How to answer Remember: Reading carefully is the key answer! *Skill 1 o Look at the passage and read the sentence where the highlighted word is mentioned then read a few sentences that come before it. *Skill 2 o Read the four answer choices carefully then substitute each one of them for the highlighted word. Read the sentence again with the answer choice and check if it makes sense. Example: 12 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ A survey is a study, generally in the form of an interview or a questionnaire, which provides information concerning how people think and act. In the United States, the best-known surveys are the Gallup poll and Harris poll. As anyone who watches the news during campaigns presidential knows, these polls have become an important part of political life in the United States. North Americans are familiar with the many “person on the street” interviews on local television news shows. While such interviews can be highly entertaining, they are not necessary an accurate indication of public opinion. First, they reflect the opinion of only those people who appear at a certain location. Thus, such samples can be biased in favor of commuters, middle-class shoppers, or factory workers, depending on which area the news-people select. Second, television interviews tend to attract outgoing people who are willing to appear on the air, while they frighten away others who may feel intimidated by a camera. A survey must be based on a precise, representative sampling if it is to genuinely reflect a broad range of the population. Question: The word “they” in paragraph 2 refers to................ A. North Americans B. interviews C. opinions D. news shows 13 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ Explanation: (B) is the correct answer. Pronoun “they” refer to “interviews” because of the idea in the sentence “While such interviews can be highly entertaining, they are not necessary an accurate indication of public opinion” in paragraph 2. 2.4.4- Inference The inference type can be recognized by the word "infer", or "imply" or "suggest" in the question prompt. Inference means something that is only suggested in the text, it is not something that is directly stated. The readers need to be able to understand all the concepts in the reading passage and from them be able to logically see what else the author is trying to imply. The readers will have to make connections and assumptions to answer this style of question. Unlike factual questions, answers will not often be found in a single line of text. Common question stems  It can be inferred from the passage that..........  In paragraph 4, the author implies that.............  Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?  In the last paragraph, the author suggests that................. How to identify correct answer The correct answer to these questions is usually an obvious logical consequence of a sentence in the text. The logical consequence will be extremely clear. The difficulty in these questions resides in finding the specific sentence in the passage that provides the premise for the conclusion in the correct answer. Stay away from answer choices that do not directly and closely 14 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ follow from a statement in the passage, even if this statement seems plausible based upon the general idea of the passage or commonly accepted knowledge. Example: Read the passage. Then answer the question below. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has 150 member countries. They are looking to improve trade. Trade means the buying and selling goods. The WTO provides a place where these countries can talk about what they need. The goal of the WTO is to make trade grow by removing legal barriers between countries. The WTO helps trade in several ways. First, it asks countries to treat each other equally. They should not give special trade deals to one country and not to another. Also, these countries should not try to stop foreign products from any one country. The idea is that goods and services should be able to cross borders easily. A second way to improve trade is to lower tariffs. These are special taxes for things bought and sold. A third way to strength trade is to make sure that the rules will stay the same. In order for people to invest their money, they need to feel secure for the future. A fourth way is to allow greater competitions between countries. The central belief is that competitions make for a stronger economy. The last way to improve trade is to help countries that are poor. The need help coming up to the level of modern countries. They can be helped by allowing them extra time to get their systems in order. They can be given priority in making deals with other countries. Free and easy trade is the WTO’s goal. It supports rich countries and helps poor ones get ahead. It is one way of improving the lives of more people 15 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ in the world. It asks countries to make laws that help this process. Every year, more countries apply to be in the WTO. They see membership as a good thing. Question: It can be inferred from the passage that...................... A. the WTO helps remove political barriers between countries. B. the WTO’s goal is to trade with other organizations. C. the WTO is a multi-national organization. D. few countries want to become a member of the WTO. Explanation: This question belongs to the inference one. (C) is the correct answer. Because WTO has 150 member countries. (A) is incorrect because the goal of the WTO is to make trade grow by removing legal barriers between countries. (B) is incorrect because the last way to improve trade is to help countries that are poor. (D) is incorrect every year, more countries apply to be in the WTO. 2.4.5- Tone & Style Tone & Style questions ask students to identify the attitude or mood of a specific part of the passage or of the entire passage. A common characteristic of this question type is answer choices that are marked by one to three word phrases containing adjectives. Tone questions test students’ ability to recognize an attitude or disposition of the author, which is signaled by the use of a handful of trigger words. Never base students’ guess about the author's tone on a single word-this is not enough to define the tone of the entire passage. Tone & Style questions tend to be among the more infrequent question types. Common question stems 16 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’  Why does the author mention .................. in paragraph 2?  The tone of the author is best described as..........  The author refers to ............... to indicate that...........  What is the author’s opinion of...................?  Which of the following most accurately reflects the author’s opinion of..............? Example: Read the following passage and mark the letter A, B, C or D on your answer sheet to indicate the correct answer. Ocean water plays an indispensable role in supporting life. The great ocean basins hold about 300 million cubic miles of water. From this vast amount, about 80,000 cubic miles of water are sucked into the atmosphere each year by evaporation and returned by precipitation and drainage to the ocean. More than 24,000 cubic miles of rain descend annually upon the continents. This vast amount is required to replenish the lakes and streams, springs and water tables on which all flora and fauna are dependent. Thus, the hydrosphere permits organic existence. The hydrosphere has strange characteristics because water has properties unlike those of any other liquid. One anomaly is that water upon freezing expands by about 9 percent, whereas most liquids contract on cooling. For this reason, ice floats on water bodies instead of sinking to the bottom. If the ice sank, the hydrosphere would soon be frozen solidly, except for a thin layer of 17 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ surface melt water during of warm and cold currents, which moderate climate, would be notably absent. Another outstanding characteristic of water is that water has a heat capacity which is the highest of all liquids and solids except ammonia. This characteristic enables the oceans to absorb and store vast quantities of heat, thereby often preventing climate extremes. In addition, water dissolves more substances than any other liquid. It is this characteristic which helps make oceans a great storehouse of minerals which has been washed down from the continents. In several areas of the world, these minerals are being commercially exploited. Solar evaporation of salt is widely practised, potash is extracted from the Dead Sea, and magnesium is produced from sea water along the American Gulf Coast. Question: The author’s tone in the passage can best be described as............... A. Dispassionate B. speculative C. biased D. dogmatic 3. FURTHER PRACTICE Methods: Firstly, the teacher asks the students to skim through the reading material quickly in order to get its main points or the intention of the writer. Secondly, before students answer each question, try to determine what type of question is being asked. Importantly, they find out the paragraphs which have the suitable information to answer the questions. Then the students scan the passage slowly and carefully in order to find the answers. Especially, they underline the ideas in the paragraph which are close to the requirements of the questions. Read the following passage and mark the letter A, B, C, or D on your answer sheet to indicate the correct answer to each of the questions. 18 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ Although most universities in the United States are on a semester system, which offers classes in the fall and spring, some schools observe a quarter system comprised of fall, winter, spring, and summer quarters. The academic year, September to June, is divided into three quarters of eleven weeks each beginning in September, January, and March: the summer quarter, June to August, is composed of shorter sessions of vary length. There are several advantages and disadvantages to the quarter system. On the plus side, students who wish to complete their degrees in less than the customary four years may take advantage of the opportunity to study year round by enrolling in all four quarters. In addition, although most students begin their programs in the fall quarter, they may enter at the beginning of any other quarters. Finally, since the physical facilities are kept in operation year round, the resources are used effectively to serve the greatest number of students. But there are several disadvantages as well. Many faculty complain that elevenweek term is simply not enough for them to cover the material required by most college coursed. Students also find it difficult to complete the assignments in such a short period of time. In order to combine the advantages of the quarter system with those of the semester system some colleges and universities have instituted a three-term trimester system. In fourteen weeks, faculty and students have more time to cover material and finish course requirements, but the additional term provides options for admission during the year and accelerates the degree programs for those students who wish to graduate early. 1. Where would this passage most probably be found? The factual question A. In an American newspaper B. In a dictionary published in the United States 19 APPROPRIATE QUESTIONS READING SKILLS. CAN IMPROVE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS’ C. In a general guide to colleges and universities in the United States D. In a college catalog for a university in the United States 2. Which of the following would be the best title for this passage? The main idea question A. The Semester System B. The Academic Year C. Universities in the United States D. The Quarter System 3. A semester system........................... The factual question A. has two major sessions a year (Line 1, 2- Paragraph 1) B. isn’t very popular in the United States C. gives students the opportunity to study year round D. has eleven-week sessions 4. How many terms are there in a quarter systems? The factual question A. Three regular terms and one summer term (Line 1, 2- Paragraph 1) B. One regular term and four summer terms C. Two regular terms and two summer terms D. Four regular terms and one summer term 5. When is the academic year? The factual question A. September to August B. September to June (Line 3- Paragraph 1) C. June to August D. August to June 6. The word “customary” in paragraph 2 could best be replaced by......... The vocabulary question A. agreeable B. limited C. traditional D. length 7. The word “them” in paragraph 2 refers to..................... The reference question A. material B. courses C. faculty D. weeks 8. The word “instituted” in paragraph 3 is closest in meaning to............ 20
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