THE FCE BLOG by Claudia Ceraso

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Text X-ray

Essay Reading and Writing

Reading comprehension is quite a challenge for some students. First of all, it is hard to distance yourself from your own culture and the possible interpretations that can force into a foreign text. It can be learnt, though.That's something that takes a lot of reading in original texts or dialogues.

Next, we need to recognize the anatomy of a text. You need to learn to develop an X-ray view of a it. That is to say, learn to see the logical nodes, the progression of ideas, the links. Forget about the details or the specific content. I'm talking about learning how it is that a text flows naturally while making sense.

So the idea is to learn to identify this with the aim of improving our capacity to read and eventually write a sequence of organized paragraphs. This link from Victoria University of Wellington will help you to do just that.

What you will learn:
-Identifying topic sentences
-Rearranging sentences to form a paragraph
-Incorporating sources
-Types of paragraphs: introductory, body, and concluding paragraphs.

This online 'course' might take about two hours of your time to complete. It's simple basic knowledge of how to go about an essay or any article paragraph. This is a recognition exercise before you try your hand at writing. At FCE and BEC Vantage level, I'd say this knowledge is sort of taken for granted.

Make sure you get the basics! Improving reading and writing go hand in hand.

Hat tip to Carl Dowse for sharing the Academic Writing link in his Business English wiki.

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