Monthly Archives: May 2013

Types of Reading Question Paper 1.

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Question types:

1. Understand explicit text details.

2. Understand vocabulary.

3. Understanding vocabulary and appreciate implicit (hidden) suggestions in the writer’s choice of words.

4. Summarise relevant information.

EXAMPLES

(a) From paragraph 1, give two reasons why the writer wanted to visit the province in the Philippines. [2]

Question (a),requires understanding of explicit textual details.

(b): Explain, using your own words, what is meant by “truly enticing in the frigid winter” (line 8). [2]

Question (b) tests the candidates’ understanding of vocabulary contained in the passage.

(c) Why do you think the writer described the owner of the football pitch as a “vain” man (line23)?

(d ) Re-read paragraph 7, “Following a flat tyre…utterly dreamlike!” (lines 27-33). Choose three words or phrases which the writer uses to describe her enjoyment of this part of the journey. Explain how each of these words and phrases helps you to imagine this pleasure.

Responses to questions (c) and (d) require not only understanding of vocabulary but also an appreciation of the implicit (hidden) suggestions in the writer’s choice of words.

(e) Re-read paragraphs 3 and 4 (“Our descent…end of the day”) and then write a summary of what the writer found unpleasant and what she found enjoyable about the downhill journey. Write a paragraph of about 50-70 words. [7]

Question (e) tests the candidates’ ability to identify relevant points and use them to write a summary of a section of the passage.

Past Tense In Narrative Compositions

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Read this narrative and take note of how the writer has kept the narrative in the past tense, you should to the same.

I arrived in Seattle on a cold, rainy night in October. As I stepped off the train and heard the door close behind me, I suddenly realised I had left my purse in the overhead compartment. This stupid event was the latest in a series that had plagued me all day, suggesting I should have just stayed in bed.
Cursing myself under my breath, I trudged along the rain-soaked street looking for a payphone. Finally, six blocks later, one appeared in front of a market to my left. I fumbled in my pocket for some change and the number I had written on a scrap of paper before leaving my apartment twelve hours before. Luckily, the phone wasn’t as grungy as I had expected it to be, so I dropped my quarters in the slot and waited for that familiar voice.

“Hello?”

“Sis, it’s me.”

“Good gracious, are you all right? I’ve been worried sick!”

“I’m not great, but I’m here. Can you come get me?”

“Before you can hang up, I’ll be there.”

I had been sitting there only a few minutes when she sped around the corner and skidded to a stop in front of the phone booth. The car was battered and cold, but I would have happily jumped into a manure truck at that point. I huddled in my seat and shivered, waiting for her to ask the question I knew she would.

 

Narrative Hooks

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Don’t forget a good hook at the beginning of your narrative.

The first few lines of any piece of writing are essential because they set the tone and, hopefully, make the reader want to read on. This is known as a ‘hook’.

The first line should leave the reader asking a question.

This question should invite the reader to keep reading. (These techniques can also be used to start your paragraphs)

Here are some techniques for writing hooks and some examples:

Description of character:

Most really pretty girls have pretty ugly feet, and so does Mindy Metalman, Lenore notices, all of a sudden. The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace

Description of setting:

The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet Drive. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling

Action

Peter crouched over the fire, stirring the embers so that the sparks swarmed up like imps on the rocky walls of hell. Count Karlstein by Phillip Pullman

Dialogue

“I’m going shopping in the village,” George’s mother said to George on Saturday morning. “So be a good boy and don’t get up to mischief.” George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl

Question

Ever had the feeling your life’s been flushed down the toilet? The Toilet of Doom by Michael Lawrence

A statement

It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful. Matilda by Roald Dahl

Here are some other famous examples. Identify which one you like and why.

  • Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
  • It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. – George Orwell
  • Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. – James Joyce, Ulysse
  • It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the house-tops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. – Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford
  • Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. “Stop!” cried the groaning old man at last, “Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree.” – Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans
  • It was the day my grandmother exploded. – Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road
  • Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. – George Eliot, Middlemarch
  • “Take my camel, dear,” said my Aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass. – Rose Macaulay, The Towers of Trebizond .
  • Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital; my keeper is watching me, he never lets me out of his sight; there’s a peephole in the door, and my keeper’s eye is the shade of brown that can never see through a blue-eyed type like me. – Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum

 

Journal Example.

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May 1st 2013. Our Journey On The Wild River.

Sometimes I wonder what I am doing here; the jungle contrasts so greatly to my normal domain. I am my happiest sitting on my old chesterfield sofa, pen in hand, notebook on my lap. Indeed, that is how I have written my greatest poems. Now the heat of the roaring fire has gone and instead the heat of the Borneo sun beats down on my back. Redmond, whom I have only known for six months, somehow persuaded me to accompany him on one of his harebrained adventures. At least I have this, my journal, and my notebook of poems to escape into when his absurd talk of crocodiles and other jungle creatures becomes too much.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against animals or nature. But I like to see trees in paintings, in photographs or out of the window of my car as I’m driven to the library. I have no interest in listening to Redmond recite the Latin name of hundredth specimen of tree we have passed that day in our rickety canoe. And what’s wrong with wanting to travel in comfort? A ship, a yacht, a ferry: all respectable forms of waterborne transport. But a dugout canoe? I was aghast when Redmond revealed it to me. An expression of barely contained glee all over his rugged face, he was like a child at Christmas receiving his first pushbike. I dread to think where he will take us next.

At night he spreads out his maps and talks of where we will go next. I have heard him mention eagles, lizards and monkeys. Even at night I am awoken from my delightful dreams of stanzas and sonnets by his mumbles about hidden coves and undiscovered whirlpools. Richmond tells me we will be traveling back with the current, so the journey should be faster but smoother. I pray that the next few days are a steady meander over calm waters, allowing me peace and time to compose more works for my next anthology. Needless to say my suggestions are overlooked.

I made the same request for a peaceful course this morning and settled myself at the back of the canoe, put my straw boater on my head and lent back ready to immerse myself in the poetry of Swift, only to be rudely interrupted by Richmond twittering about rapids. I managed to keep Swift dry, but I was drenched in river water. I debated talking to Richmond about searching for a calmer route, but he was already gazing into the sky again at some large and ungainly bird flying by, so I thought better of it and carried on reading. Richmond and I are two men so similar in upbringing and education and yet our interests are so different. It dumbfounds me.

In a few days our ‘adventure’ will be over. Not soon enough for me! If Richmond manages to successfully transport us through this tropical nightmare of creepers and critters we will emerge from the wilderness and arrive at a small settlement, the nearest this backwater has to civilization. I sincerely hope to find a shop selling the amenities I am so desperately craving. Never again will I bemoan the quality of my dear wife’s cooking. Never again will I grumble when my beautiful daughters’ cheerful playing disturbs my afternoon nap. And never again will I allow myself to be tempted to travel to far flung places by the inane ramblings of a mad man.

It was a wise man who said “I have travelled the world through my reading.” Indeed, from now on, the great works of Literature are the only transport I need.

Transforming stimulus materials for Directed Writing.

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TRANSFORMING FOR DIFFERENT STYLES
The same detail will transform in different ways depending for the style you will be writing in.

Take this detail: superstitious times in a village whose oldest inhabitant could remember the plague, carried by vermin, which had wiped out three quarters of their population.

Look how it changes depending on the style…

News Report: Only 80 years ago, 75% of Malsam’s population was killed in a similar plague,it was also spread by rodents. The oldest inhabitant of the village, Jenny Jackson 96, has now witnessed both disastrous events.

Letter: How terrible! This is the second time such a disaster has struck. Old Jenny so gloomily told us how, when she was a child, three quarters of the town was killed by an almost identical disease. Three quarters! Can you imagine living through two such experiences?

Speech: It is undeniable this is a tragedy. I accept that. But, it is a tragedy we can conquer, it is a tragedy that our ancestors in Malsam have conquered before. Three quarters of our people were struck down years ago. One quarter rebuilt this town. One quarter grew strong. They made us what we are today. Jenny here is living proof of our survival. Can we not repeat this positive? Are we not strong like they were?

Interview:
Interviewer: How does it feel to be watching history repeat itself?
Jenny: It’s….it’s…unimaginably hard. You see some things so terrible. You lose so many friends. You only expect that to happen once, you know?
Interview: It is so hard.
Jenny: Malsam is a good town, with good people. The Duvalls seemed kind, but…

Diary Entry Example.

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Anne Frank’s Diary
MONDAY 26TH JULY 1943

Dearest Kitty,

Yesterday was a very tumultuous day, and we’re still all wound up. Actually, you may wonder if there’s ever a day that passes without some kind of excitement.

The first warning siren went off in the morning while we were at breakfast, but we paid no attention, because it only meant that the planes were crossing the coast. I had a terrible headache, so I lay down for an hour after breakfast and then went to the office at about two. At two-thirty Margot had finished her office work and was just gathering her things together when the sirens began wailing again. So she and I trooped back upstairs. None too soon, it seems, for less than five minutes later the guns were booming so loudly that we went and stood in the passage. The house shook and the bombs kept falling. I was clutching my ‘escape bag’, more because I wanted to have something to hold on to than because I wanted to run away. I know we can’t leave here, but if we had to, being seen on the streets would be just as dangerous as getting caught in an air raid. After half an hour the drone of engines faded and the house began to hum with activity again. Peter emerged from his lookout post in the front attic, Dussel remained in the front office, Mrs van D. felt safest in the private office, Mr van Daan had been watching from the loft, and those of us on the landing spread out to watch the columns of smoke rising from the harbour. Before long the smell of fire was everywhere, and outside it looked as if the city were enveloped in a thick fog.

A big fire like that is not a pleasant sight, but fortunately for us it was all over, and we went back to our various jobs. Just as we were starting dinner: another air-raid alarm. The food was good, but I lost my appetite the moment I heard the siren. Nothing happened, however, and forty-five minutes later the all-clear was sounded. After the washing-up: another air-raid warning, gunfire and swarms of planes. ‘Oh gosh, twice in one day,’ we thought, ‘that’s twice too many.’ Little good that did us, because once again the bombs rained down, this time on the other side of the city. According to British reports, Schiphol Airport was bombed. The planes dived and climbed, the air was abuzz with the drone of engines. It was very scary, and the whole time I kept thinking, ‘Here it comes, this is it.’

I can assure you that when I went to bed at nine, my legs were still shaking. At the stroke of midnight I woke up again: more planes! Dussel was undressing, but I took no notice and leapt up, wide awake, at the sound of the first shot. I stayed in Father’s bed until one, in my own bed until one-thirty, and was back in Father’s bed at two. But the planes kept on coming.

Example Conversation.

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Topic: Should domestic cats be eradicated?

Emine Saner: Do you think owning a cat should be made more difficult?

Tom Cox: All cats should be chipped. A cat licence could work, definitely.

Emine Saner: The study in the US published this week showed stray and feral cats were the bigger problem than domestic cats, although these contributed to the killing of birds and mammals, too. Gareth, are you concerned about domestic cats as well?

Gareth Morgan: For me, it’s all cats. I would love New Zealand to have no predators at all. Well, that’s a bit extreme – what I mean is no non-confined predators. I’m fine with dogs on leashes. I’m happy with cats as long as they’re confined. Our cat population is exploding, and it is ferals and strays who are free to roam.

Tom Cox: It’s that question about what nature is. You could say it’s not natural for cats to be here killing so many birds, but that’s part of nature in itself – the fact that, however many thousands of years ago, we realised cats were good at hunting rats and mice, and it’s evolved into this thing where they’re now wonderful companions to people. It’s part of the question of what is natural.

Emine Saner: Cats are responsible for the deaths of wildlife all over the world. Do you think other countries should consider getting rid of their cats?

Gareth Morgan: That’s not for me to say. That’s a national conversation. I did this to spark the national conversation in New Zealand – I didn’t expect it to go all around the world.

The problem is that you get swamped with the numbers of cats, that’s the issue. Let me put this another way – we do this with stray dogs, but not with cats. Why the discrimination? I think it comes down to the strength of the cat lobby.

Tom Cox: There’s the cliche of the crazy cat lady, and people who don’t like cats say cat-lovers are weirdos. That’s not true – cat lovers are mostly people with a lot of compassion, but there is a minuscule percentage of people who are a little bit over-the-top about cats. I imagine that would be a challenge you might face, Gareth. Have you ever had a cat?

Gareth Morgan: Absolutely. We have cats in the family now – my daughter has one. But it is confined, and that’s the issue, really.

Emine Saner: Could you see a point where cats become indoor-only pets?

Tom Cox: That’s never the way I’ve lived with cats, apart from a short period when I lived in a flat in London. I didn’t feel they were happy. Sometimes I feel, when I meet some people’s indoor cats, they seem a bit dopey, like they’re not properly having the life they should.

Gareth Morgan: I suppose I’d put it another way: do we wait until all our endemic species are extinct and then wonder what we’ve done? That’s up for the public to decide. There is a trade-off here. I’m asking for them to be confined. We’re at a tipping point in New Zealand. We have the highest rate of cat-ownership in the world – 48% of households have one or more cats. It’s a different situation elsewhere, which is why I’m reluctant to translate the New Zealand experience anywhere else. What I’m advocating, policy-wise, for local councils is to trap wandering cats, and if they’re chipped, they go back to the owner. Whether they fine the owner or not – that’s none of my business. I’m not talking about any euthanasia of owned cats.

Emine Saner: But you have said that people shouldn’t replace their cats when they die naturally?

Gareth Morgan: There are people who would find it far too hard to confine them, either physically, or they wouldn’t feel right about it. In those instances, I’m saying make this cat your last, because you owe it to the New Zealand fauna not to let your cat roam.