Developing Reading Skills – Understand Analyse Evaluate

A full study of any text involves a good understanding of what the content is about, an analysis of the way in which the writer goes about expressing these thoughts, and an evaluation of how effective the author is in conveying the said ideas to the reader.

To ensure that individuals are given opportunities to develop their reading skills, questions based on different aspects of the text are frequently explored. Some questions entail finding bits of information that you can easily locate within the text. Others involve a range of other types and levels of questions that require closer engagement with the text.

Readers’ responses will obviously be of different lengths. This all depends on what each question is asking for. It is important that one takes time to carefully interpret each question. Some questions have more than one part. Make sure that all responses address each part of the question. If not, the answer would most certainly be incomplete.

So when answering a question, ensure that each point you make is supported by evidence from the text. Your evidence can be a quotation, which should not be long. Alternatively, you can simply make reference to a part of the text. Having done this, you need to explain in what way or ways your evidence supports the point you are making. Follow the structure, Point, Evidence and Explain (PEE)

You will find yourself producing some very impressive answers!

IMPORTANT!
Remember that your best will always do!

Here is a selection of literary terms that writers frequently use.
A good level of knowledge and understanding of these technical terms will prove to be very useful when studying a text.

GLOSSARY

Imagery– It is a literary device used to appeal to the reader’s five senses: touch, taste, smell, feeling and hearing. Imagery influences imagination and help to build clear mental pictures of something or someone. In other words, it is the picture that is formed of a place, person, object, texture…feeling, as it is being described.

Metaphor – It is a device used for comparison to give a vivid description of anything or anyone, in order to assist the reader to understand the thought that is being conveyed. For example, the metaphor, ‘The woman is a lion’ does not really mean that she is a lion in the true sense of the word but the expression is used to describe the nature of the person. In this case, the writer is hoping that the reader will make the connection between the characteristics of the lion and that of the woman.

Alliteration – It the repetition of initial sounds. Sometimes, writers use three or more words beginning with the same sound. For example, ‘phone, funny fellow floated’ Observe that each of these words starts with the same sound. The words could be slightly separated, and do not have to follow consecutively. Alliteration forces the reader to slow down and focus on the words. It encourages the reader to pay attention to the thought the writer is expressing.

Personification – This is when the writer uses human characteristics to describe inanimate objects

Onomatopoeia – When the word and what it is describing sounds alike. It is used to make writing realistic.

Tone – Is the feelings and attitude of the writer

Mood – The mood is the emotions the reader experiences

Repetition -The repeat of word/words, sentence/sentences and line/ lines. It slows down the reader and engages their attention with the words that are being repeated.

Connotation – Something is written or said that is not clearly stated but implied

Analogy – This is a comparison to show similarity of one thing to the other. For example, ‘Getting a slice of Mary’s cake is like hoping to see a blue donkey’

Language – This is the use of words and phrases

Sensory – Language has to do with the use of the five senses. It is when words and phrases are meant to affect the five senses (touch, smell, hearing, feel, taste)

Simple sentence is a sentence with one main clause

Compound sentence is a sentence with two main clauses, joined by a conjunction

Complex Sentence is a sentence with one main clause and a subordinate clause.

Structure is the order in which ideas in the text are arranged.

Style is the way in which the writer creates the text.

Chronological Structure is a structure that tells a story in the sequence of events that they occur.

Linear Structure is another way of saying chronological structure. The events are told in sequence.

Non- Linear Structure is one in which the story is not told in sequence

Cinematic Structure moves from one focus to another in a way that makes the reader feels as though they are watching a movie.

Context has to do with when and where the text is written. Context is historical and cultural and influences the way a writer approached the creation of text.

Figurative Language is words or descriptions that are not to be taken literary. It is used for effect. For example, ‘As I looked out my window, I saw a sea of people’ ‘a sea of people’ is simply saying that there were a great number of people.

Flashback occurs when the writer takes you from a present event to one in the past.

Pace has to do with the quickness with which the writer takes the reader through the text.

Inversion is used when the writer rearranges the normal order of words to achieve a desired effect.

Motif is when an idea or image keeps on presenting itself in a text.

Narrative is a piece of writing that tells a story or relates an experience

Empathy is when you imagine and connect with the feelings of others

Narrative Viewpoint is the perspective of the person who is writing. This can be determined by establishing whether the text is written in 1st, 2nd or 3rd person.

Viewpoint has to do with the attitude and belief of the writer

Colloquial Language is language that is written informally. It normally takes the form of speech.

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