Saturday, January 8, 2011

Selecting comprehension passage for teaching

1. Select a suitable passage of about 200 words that can be used for intensive reading at grade ten level. Then construct the following questions to test the learner’s understanding of the passage.
(i) Three multiple choice questions
(ii) Two free response questions
(iii) One question with five true or false statements

2. Explain how reading comprehension relates to the teaching and learning of summary, vocabulary, composition writing and grammar. Illustrate your answer using the comprehension passage you have selected in question one



Selecting a suitable passage to teach any grade is an intricate task which calls for serious commitment and considerations by the teacher. Much attention has to be paid to length of the passage, intellectual and lexical level of the class, structural level of the text, subject matter being handled and the cultural appropriateness. Having looked at that, a comprehensible passage can be constructed for a class and such a passage can be used to teach structural and linguistic units such as summary, vocabulary, composition writing and grammar.

Intensive reading is the kind of reading for both denotative and connotative meanings. It is reading for exactly and implied meaning. It calls for intellectual understanding of the learners so that they get the full meaning of the passage. “Intensive reading (study reading) is reading for the purpose of intellectual understanding, knowledge, evaluation and interpretation” (Lungu 2006).

It is evident that every Language is developing time and again. New words are being created while old words are fading out. An important aspect of the general characteristic of language is openness, which argues that all languages are in a continuous process of getting new words and shunning old ones. This development emerges from the people’s cultural context trying to meet the challenges in the new world with some technological advancement. There is a close relationship between language and culture. Conveniently, there is mutual respect between the two terms. The culture of the people is perpetuated from generation to generation through language and language is a vehicle for culture.

However, when developing a language, linguists cannot run away from neologism. When George met this term for the first time, he thought it meant “laughing loud” but later, it was clearly understood to mean three things; creating a new meaning in new form of a word through invention and borrowing, creating a new meaning in old form of a word through Derivation, compounding and backformation and having the old meaning of a word in new form through acronyms and blending.


2.1.1 The three Multiple choice questions.
(i) From paragraph one, what feature of language make it easy to allow new words.
(a) Characteristic
(b) Shunning
(c) Closeness
(d) Openness
(e) Fading

(ii) According to George in paragraph two, the word neologism initially meant.
(a) Creating new words
(b) Three things
(c) Laughing loud
(d) Invention and borrowing
(e) Loan word

(iii) Which word in the passage means the same as ‘the way people live?’
(a) Neologism
(b) Derivation
(c) Blending
(d) Stability
(e) Culture

2.1.2 Two free response questions
(i) In your view, how can you develop your language? (Write half a page)
(ii) Do you think there is any relationship between language and culture? Explain.

2.1.3 One question with five true or false statements.
Write True or False in each of the following statements according to the passage.
(i) It is not impossible to develop a language.
(ii) Neologism as it is used today does not mean laughing.
(iii) Invention and borrowing creates new meaning in new form.
(iv) Blending involves creating new meaning in old form.
(v) Developing a language does not involve neologism processes.

3.1 How a reading comprehension relates to the teaching and learning of summary.

Summary is a brief account of a book, a talk or any piece of discourse. A reading comprehension relates to the teaching and learning of summary in the sense that a teacher cannot ask learners to write a summary of a passage which they do not understand. The teacher must first teach the learners how to extract relevant information from the passage so that learners can express themselves clearly and consciously in their own words. Learners must first understand the reading passage and how information is packaged before summarising the reading passage. When pupils have understood the passage clearly, they can easily select important points, put them in note form and later blend them to a draft stage, editing stage, proof reading stage up to publication stage as summary. The teaching of summary writing from a passage is as good as teaching composition writing because they both involve same skills of writing such as note-taking, drafting, proof reading including the discussion, practice and production at the end. This is how a reading comprehension relates to the teaching of summary.
3.2 How a reading comprehension relates to the teaching and learning of composition writing.

A reading comprehension relates to the teaching and learning of composition writing in the sense that learners will need to firstly understand the subject area they are dealing with. The free response questions in (2.1.2) from the passage require that learners fully understand what is in the passage. They have to carefully and logically think on how to package their information clearly so that there is coherence. A teacher can only ask pupils to write a composition from the passage if he or she has discussed the passage with the class and convinced that the class have understood and practiced it and finally he can demand for production from the class. However, the learners after discussion read the passage more slowly for understanding of what has just been taught. Here a teacher may select a good number of words from the passage for pupils to use in their composition and in this way, learners are also learning Vocabulary.

3.3 How a reading comprehension relates to the teaching and learning of vocabulary.

Vocabulary refers to the user’s knowledge of words. A teacher can teach vocabulary by asking learners to contextualise words as they have been used in the text passage. The teacher must concentrate on the meaning conveyed in the passage and not the dictionary meaning it is important that the learners know the parts of speech to which a particular word belong. Developing students an learn a good number of unknown words from the passage by consulting the teacher or dictionary at times. Teaching and learning based on the context is the best approach of teaching linguistic units as Wallace (1982) stated that;
After several years of teaching, I have found that enabling students to derive meaning with the help of context clues is an effective approach to increase vocabulary and reading comprehension.
The best way to discover meaning of new words is guessing vocabulary from the context of the passage. This can be done by drawing inferences from our intuition.
3.4 How reading comprehension relates to the teaching and learning of grammar
Grammar in the traditional sense is a branch of linguistics which deals with syntax and morphology. Grammar is closely related to vocabulary in the sense that their grammatical patterns as derived from the passage can help the reader guess the meaning of words from the text. This suggests that a word can be both a grammatical item or vocabulary item. This relationship is seen by the interdependence of grammatical and lexical cohesion which support each other in a typical context.

4.0 Conclusion
This paper can be concluded in two fold; Cognitive closure and social closure.

4.1 Cognitive closure
The paper have provided a reading passage for grade tens with respect to the question. It has constructed the different questions in line with the instructions and finally the paper has explained how a reading comprehension passage can be used for the teaching and learning of the various linguistic units and structures in a language.

4.2 Social Closure
It is observed from the paper that, there is a close relationship between a reading comprehension passage and other units in the question. In the same vain, other units like Vocabulary and grammar are intertwined to some extent that they can hardly be separated in the same word.


British Council Teachers. 1980. Six aspects of Vocabulary teaching. RELC Journal Supplement Guidelines, 3, pp. 83–85.

Gairns, R., and S. Redman. 1986. Working with words: A guide to teaching and learning Vocabulary. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

Halliday, M. A. K., and R. Hasan. 1976. Cohesion in English. London: Longman.

Nunan, D. 1991. Language teaching methodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Wallace, M. 1982. Teaching Vocabulary. London: Heinemann Educational

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