A web site for the developing language teacher

Developing Effective Reading in Exam Classes by Jeanette Corbett -
lesson plan 4

Handout 1- stage 2 - reading problems

1. I never know what language to expect in a text. Are there any clues?

2. Often the sentences are long and complicated to understand. What would you do?

3. Quite often the text is only an extract - it isn't complete. How can I understand if there's no beginning and ending.

4. Writers use words or phrases, which have more than one meaning. How can I understand them?

5. It's difficult to concentrate on the language used by the writer. It isn't what I would say. Do you have any suggestions?

Handout 2: stages 3 & 4 - reading

Exercise 1
Read the text and answer the following questions

1. How many characters are involved in the text?

2. Define the relationship between:

Martha and Charlie Croker ……………………………….

Martha and Herbert, Glenn, Oskar, Sonny and Joyce


Exercise 2

Summarise, in one sentence, what the text reveals about:

Martha's character

Charlie's character

The others on meeting Charlie


Handout 3: stage 5 - understanding the text

Note: the line numbers in the text have changed in the formatting

Exercise 3
Working with your partner, explain the use of the following words, by referring back to the word/ phrase in the text. Use the text to help you.

1. What does the phrase tell you about the people at the event?
A blur of fancy dressed humanity
Clue: One and all (1), a crowd (2), scores of tuxedos and party dresses (2)

2. What do the following statements indicate, how are the characters feeling?
Charlie's huge chest swelled up inside his white shirt.
Serena stood stock-still, her lips parted, her eyes wide, motionless
Clue: line 7

3. What does this statement mean? What does it tell you about Martha's reaction to Charlie, before he speaks?
A real hambone performance
Clue: line 12, 15

4. Why does the writer add imaginable to the greeting ? Is it a positive or negative greeting?
"Heyyyyyyy, Martha!" he said in the heartiest voice imaginable.
Clue line 16

5. Why does the writer choose to present the greeting in three different ways? What meaning do they convey? How does the writer re-enforce these different presentations in the text?
How you doin' gal? How you doin' "Heh yew dewin'?"
Clue: line 19,20,21

6. What do the following words convey about Martha's reaction to the situation.
To croak out: "Charlie, this is Herbert Longleaf."
Clue: line 22

7. Explain the underlined words. Is the meaning positive or negative?
With the sort of pseudo-rapt Southern manly stare she had seen him use so often
Clue: line 23,24

8. What does the writer mean by the following words?
The great man stoops to converse with us

Find 2 phrases in the paragraph, which convey the same idea.

Handout 4: stage 6 - open cloze

Exercise 4
Read the text and answer the following questions:
Who is the sender?

Read the text again and complete the gaps with the appropriate words. Refer back to the text if necessary and extract information if required.
Remember to use your own words

Dear Margaret
Thank you for your letter, which I received yesterday. I'm so pleased that you are enjoying New York now. It must have been difficult to adapt to northern city after living in Atlanta.
Last night I went to the opening of a new exhibition anyone who was anyone was there! The place itself was absolutely fabulous but I felt dreadfully let down (1) by my guests.
I say this because of what happened as we leaving. As I moved slowly with the crowd of over dressed people (2) towards the front entrance I was suddenly next to my ex-husband and his Serena. I'll tell you now - they were extremely surprised and helpless (3) and I was likewise. I know this from the way they acted for a few moments he was helpless and she was unable to move (4) due to the shock of seeing me
Well you can just imagine what happened next. He hasn't changed a bit - it was one of those performances, how would you describe it, ah yes poorly done and over dramatized. (5) After humiliating me (6) by calling me 'gal', he went on to charm my guests. First he started with my escort Herbert Longleaf, by fixing him with that false look of interest (7) which he used so much during our marriage then he introduced him to Serena. The change in Herbert was instant. What I thought might have been a quick hello became a conversation, with my other guests instantly transfixed (8) too. It's so difficult to describe to you - the smiles became deeper and more helpless by the minute (9). They must have been hoping that by being close to him they would become great too. (10) All the attention was directed towards him.
I don't think I coped with the situation very well because after calling me 'gal' I felt forced to introduce him to Herbert, the words of introduction scarcely came out (11) of my mouth. Then I moved back and away from his new fans, as I didn't want to speak.
So that's all my news from Atlanta. Well I hope you continue to enjoy New York and write soon with all your news.

Handout 5: stage 7 - roleplay cards

You are angry with your friend Joyce. You had thought the evening would have been a success but it wasn't - Joyce organised everything for you - the table and the guests while you paid the money ($20.000). Also she seemed to be impressed by Charlie - your ex-husband. Decide what you want to say to her.

You had a wonderful evening at the exhibition - it was the night of your dreams, all of society was there. You've been helping you friend Martha for some time, after the break up of her marriage. You don't understand what the fuss is about with Charlie. You thought he seemed a really nice man. Decide what you want to say to Martha.

You are sick of society events and acting as the successful tycoon (businessman) but your new wife loves them. Tonight was boring and to top it all - Martha your ex-wife was there with a table of guests. Decide what you want to say to your wife about it.

To the text used in the lesson

To the article

Back to the articles index

Back to the top

Tips & Newsletter Sign up —  Current Tip —  Past Tips 
Train with us Online Development Courses    Lesson Plan Index
 Phonology — Articles Books  LinksContact
Advertising — Web Hosting — Front page

Copyright 2000-2016© Developing