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Chunking or Building Vocabulary Skills with Set Phrases


This upper level reading comprehension is provided as a means for students to learn chunks of relevant language as well as appropriate vocabulary.

Aim: Learning Vocabulary Chunks

Activity: Reading comprehension with follow-up chunking exercise

Level: Upper Intermediate to Advanced


  • Start off the lesson by asking students to write down phrases related to the enviornment and pollution in particular.
  • As a class, write these phrases on the board (remember, students are to provide phrases not single words).
  • If you have a monolingual class, ask students to come up with a few related phrases in their mother tongue.
  • Quickly discuss the idea of langauge chunks and how useful learning set chunks of language can be especially when writing.
  • Give each student the worksheet.
  • Check answers (see following page for some suggestions to possible answers).
  • Build on this exercise by asking students to find articles in newspapers, magazines or on the Internet. Have students repeat the exercise for the individual articles.
  • Build vocabulary as a class by asking students to share their vocabulary chunking sheets and articles with the rest of the class.


Western countries are currently rethinking their attitudes towards the environment. Water, air and noise pollution are continually becoming more of a threat to the environment. Further, there is increasing evidence that the ozone layer is being slowly threatened by the ever-increasing output of carbon monoxide which, in turn, has begun to play havoc with world weather patterns. El Nino is just one example of these changes to our environment.

Governments are now beginning to combat these problems with a series of different measures. They are increasingly regulating industry and employing sophisticated scientific research to develop new solutions to the threat of pollutants. Recently, noise pollution has also begun to be noticed, as it has become increasingly difficult to escape the noise of the city. There are also conferences being held on a world level to combat these serious problems. Working together, governments hope to soon find solutions.

Which phrases express the idea that there are problems with our world?



Which phrases express governments' reaction to these problems?



Which words or phrases express types of pollution?



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