Mastery of English Creative Comprehension & Summary For SSCE


The aim of this book is to broaden the horizon of both teachers and students in the area of reading comprehension and summary writing skills. Both skills constitute a very important aspect of English language education. Thus, in public examinations such as those set by the West African Examinations Council and the National Examinations Commission, reading comprehension and writing skills account for about 30% of the total score. But these are skills in which students perform rather woefully. Indeed, many research studies attest to the fact that learners’ performances in English language is determined to a large extent by how well they are able to read. In other words, students who are able to read efficiently and effectively have a very good chance of performing well in other parts of the examination such as the tests of continuous writing as well as lexis and structure. This implies that students need to be helped in solving the problems confronting them in reading to comprehend effectively. The authors of this book seek to do so through two psychophilosophical approaches: (a) mastery learning and (b) advanceorganiser . Many researchers in the Western world have proof that both approaches greatly assist in guiding learners towards a thorough mastery of the concepts being taught in various subjects. Mastery learning and advance organisers can be applied to the learning of any school subject. In the present book they are geared towards the mastery of reading skills, so that students can attain efficiency in the tasks of reading comprehension and summary writing. The book is built around the concept of the advance organizer while we provide a general guide to the use of mastery learning. There are various types of advance organisers such as the
Key words and pre-question organisers but for this book, we have used the main idea organiser, which has been found most effective. The design of this book is such that the following are clearly taken care of:
a. It provides a theoretical basis for choosing a suitable method of improving students’ reading comprehension and summary skills;
b. It acquaints the teacher with the mechanics of the advance organiser as a method of teaching reading comprehension and summary writing skills;
c. It helps students to improve their reading comprehension and summary skills with the aid of the main idea organiser; and
d. It exposes the learner to different reading comprehension and summary passages which enrich his knowledge. This book is, thus, divided into three parts. Part One gives the detailed introduction to the theories underpinning the book. It also addresses the student on how to understand and tackle comprehension and summary passages effectively. Part Two discusses the rudiments of summary and comprehension writing skills. This is followed by exercises using the advance organiser in the treatment of 10 sample passages. Each of these exercises has sub sections, viz:
*the main idea organiser for each passage;
*the passage for reading comprehension and summary writing exercise;
*objective comprehension questions;
*free expression questions; and or
*summary writing questions.
These sections are designed to engage the class for about 40 minutes. The first section, main idea organiser or the study guide consists of the main ideas based on the passage, which the learner is supposed to study for some minutes. After this, the teacher is expected to explain in detail to the students each of the main ideas before she allows them to read the passage. The second section, which consists of the reading passage, is a fairly long passage which the learner reads at his own pace. For each passage, various language devices have been used to convey the writer’s feelings, to provoke thought as well as to purge emotion. The passages dwell on students’ ability to recall, infer, interpret, identify, etc. The third section is on the objective questions set on each of the passages. These are designed to help students develop the ability to analyse and process information. The student is expected to answer the questions set on each passage. The last two sections dwell on free expression questions and summary writing and are prepared to establish students’ ability to summarise effectively. Part Three consists of 30 summary and comprehension exercises, ending with a chapter on notes, guides and model answers to the 30 exercises. Students are however advised not to deceive themselves by just copying out the model answers to a particular comprehension or summary passage under the pretext of impressing their teacher or parents. The model answers should be discretely and sincerely used as a guide towards a proper mastery of the passage.