This book is the first in a series of four readers called The Read and Learn Series for beginning-level students. There are 40 units in each book. The readings in this book average about 50 words in length, and a total of just over 600 different words are used in the 40 readings. A summary of the series is below:
The simple and easy-to-use units follow the same two-page format in all four volumes. A reading is followed by three short exercises that correlate with and expand upon the topical and linguistic content in the reading. Answers to the exercises are found at the back of the book.
The content of the units is broad and comprehensive in its appeal and may be used by learners from middle school to community college, and even beyond.
The readings in the books include a variety of written material: articles, stories, conversations, menus, charts, diagrams, schedules, and Internet pages and messages. The readings are intended to be entertaining, informative, and useful. They focus on the various reading skills required for living and learning in our contemporary English-speaking world. They are international in scope to stimulate interest in and knowledge of other places and cultures, from the Amazon to Mount Fuji, and to emphasize that English is an international language.
Following each reading there are three types of exercises. The first is a simple multiple choice exercise that focuses on the meaning and use of selected vocabulary items from the reading. In general, the items are used in a context that is somewhat different from the context in the reading. The reading exercise checks the students comprehension of the reading. It requires the students to find specific information and to infer additional, more implicit meanings in the text. The grammar exercise expands on a grammatical point (ex: pronoun forms, verb tenses, plurality) or grammatical structure (ex: word order, subject-verb agreement) encountered in the reading. All three exercises require the students to examine the details of the reading passage.
Using the Books
The format of the four-book series is simple and easy to use, allowing for its use by individuals working in an independent mode or by students in a teacher-guided formal class.
Independent Study Mode.
The answers in the back of the book allow learners to work on their language skills completely independently or to use the material as a supplement to a formal study program. The 160 units in the complete series give self-studying learners sufficient material for several hours of study. The progression of the units from short to longer passages provides controlled challenge and comprehensible input. As the passages increase in length and in vocabulary level, the learners known language also increases to meet the challenge of dealing with the unknowns of the passages. The uniformity of the units allows the learners the opportunity to focus on the language and not waste time trying to figure out what to do from unit to unit. Most important, perhaps, by following through the entire series, the learners will experience the satisfaction of feeling and recognizing progress.
Formal Class Mode.
Using the books as part of ongoing class work can be done in a variety of ways. A simple and effective procedure is outlined below:
1) Pre-reading preparation. Introduce the nature of the topic and engage the students in a discussion or question-answer session that activates what they may already know about the topic.
2) Initial, silent reading. The students read the passage silently with (or without, as you prefer) their dictionaries to gain an overall understanding. Depending on the level of the class, one to three minutes should be sufficient for this.
3) Reading aloud. This can be done by the teacher, or by students taking turns. A pause for questions and clarification can be added after each sentence or only after the entire passage.
4) Doing the exercises. This can be done individually, but it is often more effective to pair the students and have them work cooperatively. Simply put, two heads are better than one, and the practice of working and learning together can be a very valuable learning experience in itself.
5) Checking the answers. Self-checking or paired checking may generate some questions which should be clarified either as a whole-class activity or as the teacher circulates and responds to individuals or pairs.
6) Discussion. A teacher-led or small-group discussion of the content gives the students the opportunity to use the language they already command to talk about new information with newly acquired knowledge and skill (new words, phrases, structures).
7) Writing. The students can keep a notebook or journal and record a sentence or two, (Today, I learned . . ), or perhaps a paragraph stimulated by the reading. An alternative is to do a short dictation using sentences based on the information in the reading.
The material can be used in a formal program by having the students read the material and do the exercises out of class. For example, a unit is assigned for homework, and is followed by a brief review the next day. An alternative is a teacher-made quiz to keep the students on task.
Using the CD
A CD is available for each book. It is an optional element, but its
use may provide an important and valuable extra dimension to the reading
program. Obviously, the CD offers an opportunity for the students to
hear a standard pronunciation and phrasing of the text. This can be
a very important supplement to an independent study mode, and it may
also be very useful in a setting where the teachers own pronunciation
is too heavily influenced by their native language. The CD can also
be used to work on listening comprehension. It can be played in class
before or after the reading, or the students can follow along by looking
at the text as they listen.
The Read and Learn Series