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What's Wrong?

Intensive Reading

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The following lesson focuses on reading intensively, in other words, understanding every word. Generally, teachers tend to ask students to read quickly for a general understanding. This method of reading is called "extensive reading" and is very helpful in getting students to deal with large chunks of information. However, at times students do need to understand details and this is when "intensive reading" is appropriate.

Aim: Developing intensive reading skills, vocabulary improvements concerning fine differences between related vocabulary terms

Activity: Intensive reading exercise in which each sentence must be read very carefully to discover mistakes and inconsistencies of syntax

Level: Upper-intermediate

Outline:

  • Discuss different types of reading skills with students:

    • Extensive reading: reading for pleasure with emphasis on general understanding
    • Intensive reading: reading carefully for an exact understanding of text. Necessary for contracts, legal documentation, application forms, etc.
    • Skimming: quickly looking through text to get an idea of what the text concerns. Used when reading magazines, newspaper articles etc.
    • Scanning: locating specific information in a text. Usually used in timetables, charts, etc.

  • Ask students to give examples of when they employ the various reading skills. This part of the discussion can serve to raise awareness concerning the fact that it is not always necessary to understand every word.
  • Pass out handout and have students get into groups of 3-4. Ask students to read one sentence of the stories at a time and decide what is wrong with the sentences in terms of vocabulary (contradictions).
  • Follow-up with a class discussion about the various problems with the text.
  • Have students get back into their groups and try to substitute appropriate vocabulary for the incongruencies.
  • As homework, ask students to write their own "What's Wrong?" story which will then be exchanged with other students as a follow-up activity to the lesson in the next class period.

What's Wrong?

This exercise focuses on intensive reading. Read one sentence at a time and find the inappropriate vocabulary mistake or contradiction. All errors are in the choice of vocabulary NOT in grammar.

  1. Jack Forest is a baker who always provides his customers with tough meat. Last Tuesday, Mrs Brown came into the shop and asked for three fillets of brown bread. Unfortunately, Jack only had two fillets remaining. He excused Mrs Brown and promised her that he would have too much bread the next time she came. Mrs Brown, being a reliable customer, assured Jack that she would return. Later that day, Jack was sealing the shop when he the phone sang. It was Mrs Brown requiring if Jack had baked another slice of brown bread. Jack said, "As a matter of truth, I burnt some extra loaves a few hours ago. Would you like me to bring one buy?". Mrs Brown said she would and so Jack got into his bike and road to Mrs Brown's to deliver the third pound of brown toast.

  2. My favorite reptile is the Cheetah. It is truly an amazing creature which can trot at a top speed of 60 m.p.h.! I've always wanted to go to the cool planes of Africa to see the Cheetah in action. I imagine it would be a disappointing experience looking at those Cheetah run. A few weeks ago, I was watching a National Geographic special on the radio and my wife said, "Why don't we go to Africa next summer?". I hopped for joy! "That's a lousy idea!", I stated. Well, next week our plain leaves for Africa and I can hardly imagine that we are going to Africa at first.

  3. Frank Sinatra was an infamous singer, known throughout the world. He was a novice at singing in the "crooning" style. During the 50s and 60s grunge music was very popular throughout clubs in the US. Las Vegas was one of Frank Sinatra's favorite squares to sing. He often traveled into Las Vegas from his hut in the woods to perform in the evening. Audiences inevitably booed as he sang encore after encore to the delight of international fans from around the county.

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