1. Finding out word meanings 2. Distinguishing between facts and opinions 3. Reading for the key ideas in sentences 4. Reading for the main ideas in paragraphs 5. Understa
nding idiomatic（惯用语，习语，成语） expressions 6. Reading between the lines 7. Understanding figurative language 8. Scanning and Skimming 9. Predicting the writer’s ideas and Identifying the writer’s purpose 10. Distinguishing between Denotation(本意) and Connotation(言外之意)
I Finding out word meanings
The most commonly seen contextual clues include: 1. Definition: Some words or phrases give the definition of an unknown word, usually by using punctuation（标点符号）. 2. Examples: examples relating to the unknown word, usually introduced with “for example, for instance, such as, including”. 3. Synonyms: one or more words that mean the same or almost the same as the unknown word. 4. Antonyms: words or phrases that mean the opposite of an known word. 5. Word stems（词干）and affixes(词缀): word stems and affixes are important clues in guessing the meaning of unknown words. 6. General sense of a sentence: Sometimes you can figure out the meaning of an unknown word by basing on the general information of a sentence, or relying on common sense or your own experiences. Exercise: 1. Many people find that the online method requires them to use their experiences and that online learning offers them a place to communicate with each other. This forum for communication removes the visual barriers that hinder some students from expressing themselves. A. the online method B. a place for online learning C. a place to communicate with each other D. the experience of online learning 2. This forum for communication removes the visual barriers that hinder some students from expressing themselves. A. hide B. prevent C. help D. advance
3. Remember that instructors cannot see their students in an online course. This means students must be absolutely explicit with their comments and requests. If they experience technical difficulties, or problems in understanding something about the course, they MUST speak up; otherwise there is no way anyone can know something is wrong. A. correct B. careful C. attentive D. clear 4. Online courses require students to make decisions based on facts as well as experience. It is absolutely necessary for students to assimilate information and make the right decisions based on critical thinking. A. take in B. take down C. put into different class D. make an analysis of 5. Just as many excellent instructors may not be effective online facilitators, not all students have the necessary qualities to perform well online. A. students B. learning assistants C. inspectors D. course designers
II Distinguishing between facts and opinions
The ability to tell the difference between facts on the one hand and the writer's opinions or interpretations on the other is a crucial reading skill. Facts are statements that tell what really happened or what the case is, and they are usually based on direct evidence. Eg: The radio clicked on. Rock music blasted forth. Like a shot, the music woke Sandy. She looked at the clock; it was 6: 15 A.M. Opinions, on the other hand, are statements of belief, judgment, or feeling. Opinions, of course, are often based on facts, but they also involve the writer's personal interpretation of the facts or of a character in a story, which may or may not match your interpretation of them. Eg: Why do you have to listen to such horrible stuff? It's the same thing over and over. I'm not sure it is really music, though it does have rhythm. Sometimes it isn't easy to separate fact from opinion. Writers may combine fact and opinion in a way that makes it hard to tell where the facts end and where the opinions begun---- or they may present opinions as if they were facts. Eg: After Sandy had left for school, Jane Finch sat down in peace and quiet to drink her coffee. The biggest difficulty in distinguishing facts from opinions, however, may arise when you agree with the writer's or one of the character's opinions: when you believe something very strongly, it's easy to mistake an opinion for a fact! So critical reading involves careful examination of your own beliefs as well as those of the writer or a character.
III Reading for the key ideas in sentences
Although a sentence may give a great deal of information, it usually offers one key idea. Readers must be able to find the key ideas in order to understand sentence meanings clearly. Here is how to find the key ideas in sentences: 1.Ask who or what the sentence is about. 2.Ask what the person is doing or what is happening to the person or object. 3.Learn to separate minor details from the main idea. Many words in a sentence describe things about the subject of the sentence and merely add details to it. If you ask when, where, how, or why, you will find details and it will be easier to see the key idea. On one occasion a fight broke out at a beach party, with everyone punching and shoving. Key idea: A fight broke out. We see that the key idea of this sentence is "a fight broke out", as this tells us about what happened. All the other information is about where, when, and in what way the fight broke out. Of course, it is not always easy to decide which details give the key idea and which add to the key idea. However, the starting point for determining the key idea in a sentence is to find who or what the sentence is about and what the person or object is doing.
IV Reading for the main ideas in paragraphs
A paragraph is a group of sentences about related ideas or subjects. As you read a paragraph, you look for the key idea that each sentence presents. Adding up these key ideas, you see that each sentence helps build the main idea of the paragraph, the basic subject that all the sentences are related to. In order to understand the information you are reading, you must know what the main idea of the paragraph is. Often one sentence in a paragraph tells the reader what the rest of the paragraph deals with and, therefore, gives the main idea. This sentence may appear at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of the paragraph. Example:The trick is to be consistently you, at your best. The most effective people never change from one situation to another. They're the same whether they're having a conversation, addressing their garden club or being interviewed for a job. They communicate with their whole being; the tones of their voices and their gestures match their words. Main idea: Be consistent in whatever you do. The main idea of a paragraph might be stated clearly in a sentence in a paragraph. However, it is also possible for the main idea to be expressed in more than one simple sentence or even to be implied or suggested.
V Understanding idiomatic（惯用语，习语，成语） expressions
The meaning of idiomatic expressions can be very hard----even impossible----to guess. Word structure doesn’t always help, and can even fool us entirely! But good readers don’t give up on the first try. They keep reading, in search of contextual clues----examples, explanations,
opposites, or similar phrases----that can help them figure out the meaning of idiomatic expressions. Exercise: 1. He did not divide his time with outside interests, unless, of course, you consider his monthly game of golf. Meaning: 2. The youngeat child is twenty, a boy, a high-school graduate and like a lot of his friends, is content to do enough odd jobs to stay in grass and food. Meaning: 3. She was afraid he would read her bitterness and, after all, she would need him to straighten out their finances----the stock options and all that（诸如此类的事情）. Meaning: 4. Phil was overweight, always wound up and worked too hard. Meaning: 5. He was a natural choice for a heart attack. Meaning:
VI Reading between the lines
Reading between the lines means drawing inferences about the writer's ideas from what is written and from what is not written. Writers don't always express all their thoughts directly, as a matter of style, or because they assume we know and share their views. This means that we readers have to work with the writer to discover his or her meaning. Reading between the lines usually requires close, careful reading of the entire text, rather like detective work! But by using contextual clues, common sense, and our knowledge of the world, by connecting ideas and drawing conclusions, by forming and testing ideas about what the writer was trying to say, we can usually "fill in the blanks" and discover the writer's real meaning. And that's a big part of what effective reading is all about. Eg: Like most city folks, I'm cautious. I scan the street and pathways for anything---- or anyone---- unusual before pulling into the garage. That night was no exception. Q: What do these sentences imply? The writer is very cautious every night when he is back at home. This implies that the city has security problems and people have to be on guard against robbery or something unexpected.
VII Understanding figurative language
To make language clearer, more interesting, and more striking, all of us use expressions which are not literally true. We make comparisons in speaking and writing. Figurative language---language that is used not in its literal meaning, but in a way that makes description more interesting or impressive---paints a picture for the reader. Figurative language can be confusing if it is understood literally. The ability to recognize and interpret or explain figurative language may help us fully understand a writer's point.
1.For what, I sometimes wonder; so that she can struggle to breathe through most of her life feeling halfher strength, and then die of self-poisoning, as her grandfather did? 2.Smoking is a form of self-battering that also batters those who must sit by, occasionally joke or complain, and helplessly watch. In both examples, smoking is compared to a form of self-poisoning and self-destroying, thus making the evil effects of smoking cigarettes more alarming. There are different ways of using figurative language. Listed here are just a few of them: a)Similes(明喻),figurative expressions which directly compare one thing to another by using as or like. b)Metaphors(暗喻),figurative expressions in which comparisons are only implied, without using as, like or the like. c)Personification(拟人),figurative expressions which compare non-human things to humans.
VIII Scanning and Skimming(用于快速阅读)
Scanning(有目的性搜寻细节) To scan is to read quickly in order to locate or find the place where a particular item of information is given. This skill is particularly useful in reading newspapers or maganzines. The steps involved in scanning are as follows: 1. Decide what information you are looking for, and think about the form it may take. For example, if you want to find out who did something, you would look for a name. 2. Decide where you need to look to find the information you want. 3. Move your eyes as quickly as possible down the page until you find the information you need. Skimming（获得文章大意） To skim is to read quickly in order to get the general idea of a passage. Unlike scanning which involves searching for details or isolated facts, skimming requires the reader to note only information and clues which provide an idea of the central theme or topic of a piece of writing. When we skim, we read only selected sentences in order to get the main idea. We should also use textual clues such as italicized(斜体字) or underlined words, headlines(标题) or subtitles （副标题）, spacing and paragraphing. We don’t read every word or sentence.
IX Identifying the writer’s purpose
People write for a purpose. Three common purposes of writing are: 1.to inform---to provide readers with information about a topic; 2.to persuade---to convince readers to believe a certain viewpoint or to take a certain course of action; and 3.to entertain---to amuse readers in some way, though very often there's some food for thought as well. Reading effectively means recognizing the writer's purposes, which may not always be as easy as it appears, especially when we are reading in a foreign language.Writers sometimes disguise their aims: A text that appears to factual information may really be full of emotional appeals meant to persuade us into accepting the writer's point of view;or an apparently serious piece of
persuasion may in fact be a humorous text intended mainly to amuse you. There are also times when the question of whether a writer is serious depends largely on each reader's individual philosophy. However, there are some clues that effective readers can watch for to help them identify what kind of writing they're dealing with: 1.Informational writing features facts and evidence, not opinions or value judgments. It often contains dates, statistics or other figures, and/or quotes. Depending on the subject, the language may include technical jargon(行话)， the vocabulary and sentence structure are often simple. bu 2.Persuasive writing features emotional appeals: opinions and arguments(which may be presented as if they were facts, so be careful!);rhetorical questions; evaluating language(good/bad, right/wrong, horrifying/wonderful,etc.) and/or judgmental language(must,should,had better,etc.). 3.Texts written mainly to entertain can, of course, be varied---but they often use rather informal language, simple sentence structures, dialogs, puns(双关语) and/or figures of speech.
X Distinguishing between Denotation(本意) and Connotation(言外之意)
Both denotation and connotation refer to the meanings of words. Denotation is the literal meaning of a word---what we find in a dictionary. Connotation, on the other hand, is the implied meaning of a word---what a word suggests to us, or what it makes us fell or think. The word"die",for example, means"stop living" in denotation. But in the sentence "Some die at 30 but are not buried until they're 70", the word"die"connotes"stop living spiritually"or"stop growing intellectually". Example 1 Night after night, in the hot summer and early of 1940, a deep, steady voice came over the Atlantic Ocean from England to America, telling of England's battle for survival under the waves of German bombers. Denotation: a line of water that rises up on the surface of the sea, lake, river, etc. Connotation: a quick succession of a certain intense activity(It has a rough, stormy, and unpleasant sense.) Example 2 On September 7,1940, nearly four hundred German bombers hammered the city with bombs in broad daylight. Denotation: strike or beat as with the repeated blows, or the force of a hammer Connotation: attack with great force(It also has a sense of forcefulness and heavy casualty.)