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SKKN sáng kiến kinh ngiệm some skills to help students to do reading comprehension tests better at trieu son upper secondary school no2

PART a: introduction
1. THE REASON FOR THE STUDY
The thoughts for this study comes from my own year-to-year efforts to teach
students to do the Reading comprehension tests in Grades 10, 11, 12 at
trieu son upper secondary school No2.I think that the majority of
students always find it difficult to do this kind of tests. At first sight, they do
not figure out the content of the passage, but they are not patient enough to
read the passage to the end under the pressure of time during the test. Also,
this part accounts for a small percentage in the whole test. As a result,
students usually put this part aside and return to it at the end of the test time.
At that time, students will make ticks on this part without intention. On the
other hand, teachers rarely show or sometimes refuse to teach students how to
do the Reading Comprehension test due to the seemingly unsuccessful results
despite their unfailing endeavor to improve students’ reading. Although there
have been plenty of descriptions of what teachers have done or what materials
have been presented, there have still been few practical results of how or / and
what our students learn.
I am assumed that the part in which students usually make the most errors is
Reading Comprehension because students have a small number of
vocabulary. I think that in a passage of English, students often do not master
all the vocabulary, so they cannot understand the meaning of the passage. I

advise that students should carefully read each sentence and calmly read the
whole passage in order to analyze the meaning of the sentences.Because of
the necessities, I have decided to choose “SOME SKILLs
student

to

help

TO DO READING COMPREHENSION TESTS better”

at trieu son upper secondary school No2 as my topic of the study.

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2. AIMs OF THE STUDY:

With the above mentioned reasons in

mind, I have the specific aims as follows:
2.1. To help students improve the skills of doing reading comprehension tests.
2.2. To encourage students to confidently cope with this type of tests so as to
complete the tests at best they can.
2.3. To encourage students to get full mark on this part of test.
3. the tasks of the study
3.1. to study the logical base of some skills to help student to do reading
comprehension tests
3.2. to study the practical base of teaching student to do reading
comprhenion tests
3.3. so that we can compare them with the results after applying the new
methods.
3.4. as the result, we will have some useful lessons after studying.
4. The objects and

areas of the study.

Because of the limit of time, so in this topic I only apply “SOME SKILLs
to


help

students TO DO READING COMPREHENSION

TESTS better ” at trieu son upper secondary school No2.
5. The methods of the study: In order to carry out this
experience initiative, with the help of both the teachers and the students at
trieu son upper secondary school No2 I have used some methods below.
5.1. Reading some related documentaries.
5.2. Using logical and analysed methods of the problems.
5.3. Using methodology.
PART B: contents
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1. logical base : The importance of reading skill at
trieu son upper secondary school no2.
As regards the teaching of reading, I do not totally deny the energies the
teachers in explaining the text. However, in discussion with the teachers in
our school, I feel that our investment of energies in teaching the reading part
is meaningless. It is because most students learn in advance from the
Instruction Books the content of the text in Vietnamese, not in English, while
teachers take no notice of that. Little by little, students get a habit of being
unable to read the English passages by themselves. They always expect their
teachers to translate the passages into Vietnamese, or choose the options
without intention.
As for teachers, after asking students, especially good students, to translate
the text, or doing it for the worse students, teachers let students do the tasks
without giving any explanation. As a result , students get confused and do not
know what they want to find from the text and how to choose the answers. In
the end, students refuse to read the passage or read them without intention,
then choose the answers at random and never know whether their answers are
right or not. As a result, students put no efforts into the part of Reading
Comprehension.
I always see that the greatest problem students face in any English paper is
Reading Comprehension. Students either spend much time on it without
knowing for sure the answers or do it without intention. As for me, I would
like to present in this paper some following skills to help my colleagues teach
students how to get over this problem so that the latter can do this part more
easily and exactly. I hope that my topic “SOME

SKILLs

to

help

students TO DO READING COMPREHENSION TESTS better”
can result in effective ways in teaching students how to complete their tests
perfectly.
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2. The status of teaching reading skill at trieu son
upper secondary school No2.
Although English has become a main subject at school, the motivation of its
useful benefit hasn’t been concerned about very much. The vital reasons are
the lacks of materials and facialities of teaching, furthermore, the qualitiy of
teaching or learnig is not appreciated, in other way, It has not apealed to the
passinate interest of the students. This is clearly shown in many teaching
periods, students always ignored to read the long passages owing to the new
words ( complex words) , structures or contex of the reading passages, so
most of the students are bad at reading skill, in other word, they are not good
at doing the reading comprehension tests.
This study has been used in the school year 2013 – 2014 at classes 10C1,
10C5, 10C7, 12A5, and 12a9, and the result is as follows:
Before the study:
Students’ number of doing tasks
Class

Not very

%

well

%

well
10C1

30/45

66.6

15/45

33.3

10C7

21/43

48.8

22/43

51.1

12A5

24/55

43.6

18/55

32.7

12A9

18/37

48.6

8/37

21.6

For these above reasons, I think that my topic “SOME

SKILLs

help students TO DO READING COMPREHENSION

to

TESTS

better” can result in effective ways in teaching students how to complete
their tests well.
3. The methods to carry out some skills to help
students TO DO READING COMPREHENSION TESTS better:

4


Each reading passage is often followed by 5 questions of reading
comprehension and vocabulary. Topics of the reading passage are varied, but
they are often informational subjects such as history, literature, art,
architecture, geology, geography.... Time is definitely a factor in the Reading
Comprehension.
Some students, especially average students, note that they are unable to finish
all the questions in this section. Others cannot understand what the passage is
about, so they do without intention and don’t know surely if their answer is
true. Therefore, they need to make the most efficient use of their time in this
section to get the highest score. The following method is the best way of
attacking a reading passage to get the most questions correct in a limited
amount of time.

STRATEGIES FOR THE READING COMPREHENSION
QUESTIONS
1. Skim the reading passage to determine the main idea and the overall
organizations of ideas in the passage. You do not need to understand
every detail in each passage to answer the questions correctly. It is
therefore a waste of time to read the passage with the intent of
understanding every single detail before you try to answer the
questions.
2. Look ahead at the questions to determine what types of questions you
must answer. Each type of question is answered in a different way.
3. Find the section of the passage that deals with each question. The
question – type tells you exactly where to look in the passage to find
correct answers.
3.1. For main ideas questions, look at the first line of each paragraph.

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3.2. For directly and indirectly answered detail questions, choose a key
word in the question, and skim for that key word (or a related idea) in
order in the passage.
3.3. For vocabulary questions, the questions will tell you where the
word is located in the passage.
3.4 For overall review questions, the answers are found anywhere in
the passage.
4. Read the part of the passage that contains the answers carefully. The
answer will probably be in the same sentence (or one sentence before
or after) the key word or idea.
5. Choose the best answer to each question from the four answer choices
listed in the textbook. The best answer can be chosen according to
what is given in the appropriate section of the passage, eliminate
definitely wrong answers, and mark the best guess on the answer sheet.
The following skills will help students to implement these strategies in the
Reading passage of the test.
3.1. QUESTIONS ABOUT THE IDEAS OF THE PASSAGE.
It is very common for reading passages of the test to have questions about the
overall ideas in the passage. The most common type of question asks about
the main idea, topic, title, or subject.
Skill 1. Answer main idea questions correctly.
Students may be asked to identify the topic, subject, title, primary idea, or
main idea. These questions are all really asking what primary point that the
author is trying to get across in the passage, and it is not difficult to find the
main idea by studying the topic sentence, which is most probably found at the
beginning of a paragraph.
If the passage consists of only one paragraph, students should study the
beginning of that paragraph to determine the main idea. If a passage consists
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of more than one paragraph, students study the beginning to determine the
main idea.
Example 1. In the Second Semester Test, Grade 12, year 2013 -2014, Code
AV 121, the Reading comprehension is that:
The Asian Beach Games is a multi – sport event held every two years among
athletes representing countries from Asia. The games are regulated by the
Olympic Council of Asia. The first Games were held in 2008 in Bali,
Indonesia.
This Games will be composed of sports with strong television appeal such as
windsurfing, kite boarding, swimming, beach volleyball, beach handball,
beach soccer, and dragon boat racing.
The Asian Indoor Games is a multi – sport event held every two years among
athletes representing countries from Asia. The Games are regulated by the
Olympic Council of Asia. The first Games were held in Bangkok, Thailand.
This Games will be composed by sports with TV broadcasting potential and
not included in the Asian Games and Winter Asia Games Programs and are
not Olympic sports. The sports program will comprise from six to eight
exciting sports with strong television appeal, including electronic sports,
extreme sports, aerobics, acrobatics, indoor athletics, dance sports, inline
hockey, fin swimming, and 25 meters short course swimming.
Question 27. The passage is about …………………………
A. The Asian Beach Games and the Asian Indoor Games.
B. The Olympic Council of Asia.
C. The Asian Games and Winter Asian Games Programs.
D. The Asian Indoor Games and Winter Asian Games Programs.

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In the above given passage, there are four paragraphs. Students should be sure
to read the first sentence of each paragraph to determine the subject, title, or
main idea. In Example 1, the first sentence of the first paragraph of this
passage discusses the Asian Beach Games, and the second paragraph begins
with “this Games”, which means that it is about the Asian Beach Games. The
first sentence of the third paragraph tells of the Asian Indoor Games, about
which the fourth paragraph tells, also beginning with “this Games”. So the
whole passage discusses the two kinds of games: the Asian Beach Games and
the Asian Indoor Games. Therefore, the best choice is answer A.
The following chart outlines the key information that students should
remember about main idea questions:
MAIN IDEA QUESTIONS
HOW TO IDENTIFY What is the topic of the passage?
THE QUESTIONS

What is the subject of the passage?
What is the main idea of the passage?
What is the author’s main point in the
passage?
With

what

is

the

author

primarily

concerned?
Which of the following would be the best
title?
WHERE

to

find The answer to this type of question can

the answer

generally be determined by looking at the
first sentence of each paragraph.

HOW TO ANSWER

1. Read the first line of each paragraph.

THE QUESTION

2. Look for a common theme or idea in
the first lines.

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3. Pass your eyes quickly over the rest of
the passage to check that you really
have found the topic sentence(s).
4. Eliminate

any

definitely

wrong

answers and choose the best answer
from the remaining choices.
3.2. DIRECTLY ANSWERED QUESTIONS.
Skill 2. Answer mentioned detail questions correctly.
A stated detail question asks about one piece of information in the passage
rather than the passage as a whole. The answers to these questions are
generally given in order in the passage, and the correct answer is often a
restatement of what is given in the passage. This means that the correct
answer often expresses the same idea as what is written in the passage, but the
words are not exactly the same.
Example 2: In English 10, page 45 and 46, Unit 4 “Special Education”,
Part Reading, the second paragraph:
At first, there was a lot of opposition from the parents of the disabled
children. They used to believe that their children could not learn anything
at all. In the first week, only five children attended the class. Gradually
more children arrived. Their parents realized that the young teacher was
making great efforts to help their poor kids.
Question 2: At first the parents were ____________ the idea of sending
their children to the special class.
A. interested in

B. opposed to

C. satisfied with

D. worried about

Since in the first sentence of the paragraph, there is the noun “opposition”,
we can see from the four answers the verb “opposed” in the answer B, they
are in a family. So the answer B is the best one.
9


The following chart outlines the key information that students should
remember about stated detail questions:
MENTIONED DETAIL QUESTIONS
HOW TO IDENTIFY According to the passage, …
THE QUESTION

It is stated in the passage …
The passage indicates that …
The author mentions that …
Which of the following is true …?

WHERE TO FIND The answers to these questions are found in order
THE ANSWER

in the passage

HOW TO ANSWER

1. Choose a key word in the question.

THE QUESTION

2. Skim in the appropriate part of the passage
for the key word or idea.
3. Read the sentence that contains the key
word or idea carefully.
4. Look for the answer that restates an idea in
the passage.
5. Eliminate the definitely wrong answers and
choose the best answer from the remaining
choices.

Skill 3. Find “not mentioned ” details.
Students will sometimes be asked to find an answer that is not stated or not
mentioned or not true in the passage. This type of question really means that
three of the answers are stated, mentioned, or true in the passage, while one
answer is not. The actual job is to find the three correct answers and then
choose the letter of the one remaining answer. The teacher asks students to
notice that there are two kinds of answers to this type of question:
1) There are three true answers and one answer that is not discussed in the
passage.
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2) There are three true answers and one that is false according to the
passage.
Example 3: In English 12, page 163 and 164, Unit 15 “Woman in
Society”, Part Reading, the last paragraph:
Today, although their status varies in different countries, women in most
parts of the world have gained significant legal rights. The most important
of these are: the right to have equal work opportunities and pay to men,
the right to vote, and the right to formal education.
Question 5: Which of the following is NOT mentioned in the last
paragraph as one of women’s legal rights today?
A. the right to hold property
B. the right to equal pay
C. equal employment opportunity rights
D. the right to vote
The question asks for the one answer that is not mentioned, so three of the
answers are listed in the passage and one is not. Since the right to equal pay,
equal employment opportunity rights, the right to vote, are listed in the
passage, answers B, C, and D are incorrect. However, the right to hold
property is not listed in the passage, so answer D is the best answer to this
question.
The following chart outlines the key information that students should
remember about “unstated” detail questions:
“not mentioned” DETAIL QUESTIONS
HOW TO IDENTIFY Which of the following is not stated …?
THE QUESTION

Which of the following is not mentioned …?
Which of the following is not discussed …?
All of the following are true except …?

WHERE TO FIND The answers to these questions are found in

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THE ANSWER

order in the passage.

HOW TO ANSWER

1. Choose a key word in the question.

THE QUESTION

2. Scan in the appropriate place in the
passage for the key word (or related
idea).
3. Read the sentence that contains the key
word or idea carefully.
4. Look for answers that are definitely
true

according

to

the

passage.

Eliminate those answers.
5. Choose the answer that is not true or
not discussed in the passage.
Skill 4. Find pronoun referents.
In the Reading comprehension of the test, you will sometimes be asked to
determine which noun a pronoun refers to. In this type of question it is
important to understand that a noun is generally used first in a passage, and
the pronoun that refers to it comes after. Whenever you are asked which noun
a pronoun refers to, you should look before the pronoun to find the noun.

Example 4:
Arctic Ice May Disappear in a Decade
A new report on global warming predicts the frozen Arctic Ocean will soon
be like a normal sea in the summers. There are shocking changes happening
in the polar environment and its fragile eco-systems. For millions of years,
the sea around the North Pole has been frozen all year round. Recent research
from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Catlin Atlantic Survey show
things are changing fast. They predict that within a decade, the Arctic will be
largely ice-free in the summer. They base their prediction on the rate at which

12


the sea ice is currently thinning. The lead researcher, professor Peter
Wadhams said, “The area is now more likely to become open water each
summer, bringing forward the potential date when the summer sea ice will be
completely gone.”
An ice-free Arctic will have consequences for the whole world’s weather
patterns. The Arctic sea ice is a key part of the Earth’s climate system.
Experts call it Earth’s “refrigerator”. They said that as it disappears, the world
will become a lot warmer. Scientists are still unclear exactly what changes
there will be to our weather. Forecasters predict an increase in all kinds of
disasters and extreme weather events. These include massive flooding, much
more dangerous hurricanes and the spread of the world’s deserts. These new
findings provide an urgent call for world leaders to act. The timing of the
WWF report is a reminder to those attending the UN climate summit in
Copenhagen in December. Rich countries will face pressure to agree to reduce
their carbon emissions by40 per cent by 2020.
Question: 33. What does the word “it” in paragraph 2 refer to?
A. the Arctic sea ice
B. climate system
C. refrigerator
D. the Earth
To answer this question, students should look before the pronoun it for
singular nouns that pronoun could refer to. An ice sea Arctic, the Arctic sea
ice, the Earth’s climate system come before the pronoun, so they are possible
answers. Then students should try the three possible answers in the sentence
in place of the pronoun. From the following sentence students should notice
that as it disappears, the world will become a lot warmer , so the best answer
to this question is answer A.
The following chart outlines the key information that students should
remember about pronoun referents:
13


PRONOUN REFERENTS
HOW TO

The pronoun “…” in line N refers to which of the

IDENTIFY THE

following?

QUESTION
WHERE TO FIND The line where the pronoun is located is generally
THE ANSWER

given in the question. The noun that the pronoun
refers to is generally found before the pronoun.

HOW TO

1. Find the pronoun in the passage. (The line

ANSWER THE

where the pronoun can be found is generally

QUESTION

stated in the question.)
2. Look for nouns that come before the pronoun.
3. Read the part of the passage before the pronoun
carefully.
4. Eliminate any definitely wrong answers and
choose the best answer from the remaining
choices.

3.3. INDIRECTLY ANSWER QUESTIONS.
Some questions of the Reading Comprehension section of the test will require
answers that are not directly stated in the passage. To answer these questions
correctly, you will have to draw conclusions from information that is given in
the passage. Two common types of indirectly answer questions are:
(1) implied detail questions and
(2) transition questions.
Skill 5. Answer implied detail questions correctly.
You will sometimes be asked to answer a question by drawing a conclusion
from a specific detail are details in the passage. Questions of this type contain
the words implied, inferred, likely, or probably to let you know that the
answer to the question is not directly stated. In this type of question it is
14


important to understand that you do not have to “pull the answer out of thin
air.” Instead, some information will be given in the passage, and you will
draw a conclusion from that information.
Example 5: In English 10, page 45 and 46, Unit 4 “Special Education”, Part
Reading, the second paragraph is :
At first, there was a lot of opposition from the parents of the disabled
children. They used to believe that their children could not learn anything at
all. In the first week, only five children attended the class. Gradually more
children arrived. Their parents realized that the young teacher was making
great efforts to help their poor kids.
Task 2:
Question 3: It can be inferred from the second paragraph of the reading
passage that there has been ______________________.
A. a change in the parents’ attitude towards the class
B. a lot of protest from the parents against the class
C. a feeling of doubt in the teacher’s ability
D. a belief in the parents’ opposition
To answer this question, students should refer to the part of the passage where
it states that in the past the parents had a lot of opposition, but now they don’t,
so the answer B is incorrect. It also says that their parents realized that the
young teacher was making great efforts to help their poor kids, which means
the parents don’t have the feeling of doubt in the teacher’s ability, then the
answer C is incorrect, too. The sentence “Gradually more children arrived”
shows that the parents have a change in the parents’ attitude towards the
class, so the answer D can’t be correct and the best answer is A.
The following chart outlines the key information that students should
remember about implied detail questions:
IMPLIED DETAIL QUESTION

15


HOW TO IDENTIFY It is implied in the passage that …
THE QUESTION

It can be inferred from the passage that …
It is most likely that …
What probably happened …?

WHERE

TO

FIND The answers to these questions are found in order

THE ANSWER

in the passage.

HOW TO ANSWER

1. Choose a key word in the passage.

THE QUESTION

2. Scan the passage for the key word (or a
related idea).
3. Carefully read the sentence that contains
the key word.
4. Look for a answer that could be true,
according to that sentence.

3.4. VOCABULARY QUESTIONS
In the Reading Comprehension section of the test, there will be a number of
vocabulary questions. To answer this type of question, it is of course useful if
you know the meaning of the word that the test is testing. However, it is not
always necessary for you to know the meaning of the word; often there are
skills that you can use to help you find the correct answer to the question:
(1) finding definitions from structural clues;
(2) determining meanings from the word parts, and
(3) using context clues to determine meanings.
Skill 6. Find definitions from structural clues.
When you are asked to determine the meaning of a word in the Reading
Comprehension section of the test, it is possible
(1) that the passage provides information about the meaning of the word,
and
(2) that there are structural clues to tell you that the definition of a word is
included in the passage.
16


Example 6:
In law, a nuisance is an act that has no legal justification and which interferes
with the safety or comfort of other people. Public nuisances, those which are
injurious to the community, may be prosecuted as crimes.
Question: A nuisance is _______________.
A. a protective law

B. an injurious act

C. a legal justification

D. a safety precaution

We should choose answer B because a “nuisance” is an act which interferes
with the safety of others, that is, an injurious act.
The following chart outlines the key information that students should
remember about structural clues to help you understand unknown vocabulary
words:
STRUCTURAL CLUES
HOW TO IDENTIFY What is …?
THE QUESTION

What is the meaning of …?
What is true about …?

TYPES OF CLUES

Punctuation:

comma, parentheses, dashes

Restatement: or, that is, in other words, i.e.
Examples:

such as, for example, e.g.

WHERE TO FIND Information to help you determine what
THE ANSWER

something means will generally be found
after the punctuation clue, the restatement
clue, or the example clue.

HOW TO ANSWER

1. Find the word in the passage.

THE QUESTION

2. Locate any structural clues.
3. Read the part of the passage after the
structural clue carefully.

17


4. Eliminate any definitely wrong answer
and choose the best answer from the
remaining choices.
Skill 7. Use context to determine meanings of difficult words.
On the test you will sometimes be asked to determine the meanings of the
difficult words, a word that you are not expected to know. In this case, the
passage will give you a clear indication of what the word means.
Example 7:
Arctic Ice May Disappear in a Decade
A new report on global warming predicts the frozen Arctic Ocean will soon
be like a normal sea in the summers. There are shocking changes happening
in the polar environment and its fragile eco-systems. For millions of years,
the sea around the North Pole has been frozen all year round. Recent research
from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Catlin Atlantic Survey show
things are changing fast. They predict that within a decade, the Arctic will be
largely ice-free in the summer. They base their prediction on the rate at which
the sea ice is currently thinning. The lead researcher, professor Peter
Wadhams said, “The area is now more likely to become open water each
summer, bringing forward the potential date when the summer sea ice will be
completely gone.”
An ice-free Arctic will have consequences for the whole world’s weather
patterns. The Arctic sea ice is a key part of the Earth’s climate system.
Experts call it Earth’s “refrigerator”. They said that as it disappears, the world
will become a lot warmer. Scientists are still unclear exactly what changes
there will be to our weather. Forecasters predict an increase in all kinds of
disasters and extreme weather events. These include massive flooding, much
more dangerous hurricanes and the spread of the world’s deserts. These new
findings provide an urgent call for world leaders to act. The timing of the

18


WWF report is a reminder to those attending the UN climate summit in
Copenhagen in December. Rich countries will face pressure to agree to reduce
their carbon emissions by40 per cent by 2020.
Question 32: The word “fragile” in the passage mostly means
…………………..
A. easily broken

B. easily damaged

C. physically weak

D. extremely complicated

To answer this question, students should look at the sentence that contains the
word fragile. It comes before the word eco-system, which means that it is an
adjective of the latter word. So it cannot be easily broken, physically weak or
extremely complicated, then answers A, C, and D are incorrect. As a result,
answer B is the best answer to this question.
The following chart outlines the key information that students should
remember about vocabulary questions containing difficult words:
VOCABULARY QUESTIONS CONTAINING DIFFICULT
WORDS
HOW TO IDENTIFY “What is the meaning …?”
THE QUESTION

“Which of the following is closest in
meaning to …?”
The word is a difficult word, one that you
probably do not know.

WHERE TO FIND The question usually tells you in which line
THE ANSWER

of the passage the word can be found.

HOW TO ANSWER

1. Find the word in the passage.

THE QUESTION

2. Read the sentence that contains the
word carefully.
3. Look for context clues to help you
understand the meaning.

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4. Choose the answer that the context
indicates.
Skill 8. Use context to determine meanings of simple words.
You will sometimes be asked to determine the meaning of a simple word, a
word that you see often in everyday English. In this type of question, you
should not give the normal, everyday meaning of the word; instead, the test
wants to know the meaning of the word in this situation.
Example 8: A line from the passage:
….. He put his answer this way ….
Question: The word “put” is closest in meaning to which of the following?
A. placed

B. set

C. expressed

D. handed

In this type of question, students should understand that put is a normal,
everyday word, and they are not being asked to give the regular meaning of a
normal, everyday word. Because the primary meaning of to put is to place,
answer A is not the correct answer. To answer this type of question students
must see which of the answers best fits into the sentence in the passage. We
cannot place an answer or set an answer or hand an answer, but we can
express an answer, so answer C is the best answer to this question.
The following chart outlines the key information that students should
remember about vocabulary questions containing simple words.
VOCABULARY QUESTIONS CONTAINING SIMPLE WORDS
HOW TO IDENTIFY “What is the meaning …?”
THE QUESTION

“Which of the following is closest in meaning
to …?”
The word is a simple word, one that you see
often in everyday English.

WHERE TO FIND The question usually tells you in which line
THE ANSWER

of the passage the word can be found.

20


HOW TO ANSWER

1. Find the word in the passage.

THE QUESTION

2. Read the sentence that contains the
word carefully.
3. Look for context clues to help you
understand the meaning.
4. Choose the answer that the context
indicates.

3.5. OVERALL REVIEW QUESTIONS
Often in the Reading Comprehension section of the test, the last question (or
two) for a particular reading passage is an overall question, one that asks
about the passage as a whole rather than one small detail. The overall review
questions are generally not main idea questions; instead they ask about some
other aspect of the passage as a whole. The most common types of overall
review questions are
(1) questions that ask where in the passage something is found;
(2) questions about the tones of the passage;
(3) questions about the author’s purpose in writing the passage, or
(4) questions about which course the passage might be a part of.
Skill 9. Determine the tone, purpose.
Other types of overall review questions occur occasionally in the Reading
Comprehension section of the test. Possible questions of this type are those
that ask about:
(1) the tone of the passage;
(2) the author’s purpose in writing the passage, and
A question about the tone is asking if the author is showing any emotion in
his or her writing. The majority of the passages on the test are factual
passages presented without any emotion; the tone of this type of passage
could be simply informational, explanatory, or factual. Sometimes on the test,
however, the author shows some emotion, and you must be able to recognize
21


that emotion to answer a question about tone correctly. If the author is being
funny, then the tone might be humorous; if the author is making fun of
something, the tone might be sarcastic; if the author feels strongly that
something is right or wrong, the tone might be impassioned.
A question about purpose is asking what the author is trying to do in the
passage. You can draw a conclusion about the author’s purpose by referring
to the main idea and the organization of details in the passage. For example, if
the main idea is that George Washington’s early life greatly influenced his
later career and if the details give a history of his early life, the author’s
purpose could be to show how George Washington’s early life influenced his
later career. However, the answer to a purpose question is often considerably
more general than the main idea. A more general author’s purpose for the
main idea about George Washington would be to demonstrate the influence of
early experiences on later life (without any mention of George Washington).
Example 9: In English 10, page 45 and 46, Unit 4 “Special Education”, Part
Reading:
A TEACHER IN A SPECIAL CLASS

Like other teachers, Pham Thu Thuy enjoys her teaching job. However, her
class is different from other classes. The twenty-five children, who are
learning how to read and write in her class, are disabled. Some are deaf, some
dumb and others mentally retarded. Most of the children come from large and
poor families, which prevents them from having proper schooling.
At first, there was a lot of opposition from the parents of the disabled
children. They used to believe that their children could not learn anything at
all. In the first week, only five children attended the class. Gradually more
children arrived. Their parents realized that the young teacher was making

22


great efforts to help their poor kids.
Watching Thuy taking a class, one can see how time-consuming the work is.
During a maths lesson, she raised both arms and opened up her fingers one by
one until all ten stood up. She then closed the fingers one by one. She
continued the demonstration until the children realized they had just learned
how to add and subtract. The children have every reason to be proud of their
efforts. They know a new world is opening up for them.
Question 5: The writer’s attitude towards Thuy’s work in the passage can be
described as_____________.
A. humorous

B. angry

C. suspicious

D. admiring

The question asks about the tone (writer’s attitude) of the passage. To
determine the tone of a passage, students should look for any indications of
emotion on the part of the writer. In this passage, the writer shows the great
efforts the teacher has made to help the poor kids who later see a new horizon
opening up for them. Therefore, the best answer to this question is answer D.
There is nothing in the passage to indicate any humor A, anger B, or suspicion
C on the part of the writer.
The following chart outlines the key information that students should
remember about tone, purpose, or course questions:
TONE, PURPOSE
HOW TO IDENTIRY Tone:
THE QUESTION

What is the tone of the passage?

Purpose: What is the author’s purpose in
this passage?

WHERE TO FIND

Tone:

There will be clues throughout

The answer

the passage that the author is showing some
emotion rather than just presenting facts.
Purpose: Draw a conclusion about the
purpose form the

23

main idea and


supporting details.
HOW TO ANSWER Tone:
THE QUESTION

1. Skim the passage looking for clues that
the author is showing some emotion .
2. Choose the answer that identifies the
emotion.
Purposes.
1. Study the main idea in the topic sentence
and the details used to support the main
idea.
2. Draw a conclusion about the purpose.

4. resultS OF THE STUDY:
Over a year of teaching according to the previously given rules, I found that
my students’ skill of doing the reading comprehension has improved
remarkably.
This study has been used in the school year 2013 – 2014 at classes 10C1,
10C5, 10C7, 12A5, and 12a9, and the result is as follows:
After the study:
Class

Students’ number of doing tasks
Not very well

%

well

%

10C1

10/45

22.2

35/45

77.7

10C7

6/43

13.9

37/43

86

12A5

10/55

18.1

32/55

58.1

12A9

8/37

21.6

25/37

67.5

Together with this result, my students are not only confident to do the type of
Reading Comprehension test but also able to get full mark in it. They are no
longer scared of coping with the Reading Comprehension tests. Instead of
that, they are eager to do this part because it make their scores perfect.
PART C: CONCLUSION
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This article has reviewed some practical ways to teach students how to do the
Reading part in their tests. It can be thought that the tips or strategies
mentioned above are not always completely effective. However, I have lately
succeeded myself in using them for teaching skills how to do the Reading part
in the tests. I found that the attitude of students towards the Reading
Comprehension tests has changed. They have eagerly tried to do their best in
completing the part of reading comprehension of their tests.
I hope that this article will prove useful to some of my readers, especially the
teachers of grade 12, who badly need to provide their students with skills of
fulfilling their coming final examinations. Besides, this kind of skill is helpful
for all students who have English tests in all examinations. Most of the
students follow the teacher’s instructions and know for sure what to do. I have
found it less time-consuming and more labor-efficient from a practical point
of view. Above all, through the Reading passages, students gain a good
command of such fields as cultures, societies, peoples, and so on, of other
countries in the world.
The measures I’ve given out are just from my own experiences during the
process of teaching students in grades 10 and 12. I have not appointed to
teach grade 11, so I have not dealt with the texts in grade 11’s curriculum. I
think that with the affection for our students and with the devotion to
teaching, we – the teachers – will have more methods of teaching language,
because our aim is to help our students become good learners. Above here are
only my little ideas, I am looking forward to receiving your comments so that
I may more and more improve my teaching in English.
The materials that have been greatly valuable to my study are from the book
of Toefl, Preparation Course, Reading Comprehension. Besides, the
examples to illustrate my thesis are all in the textbooks - Tiếng Anh 10, 12 –
Nhà xuất bản Giáo dục, and also from the latest one-period tests as well as the
first and second semester tests.
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