Reading: Lesson One

Welcome, new readers. Perhaps you've never read a thing before, but if you study this lesson assiduously, you will be acquainted with simple reading skills that will enable you to peruse such common, everyday texts as the Telephone Book and the Sports Section with partial to complete comprehension.

The basic building blocks of printed text are letters. For example, here is a letter:


There are 25 other letters. To save space, we won't list them here, but it is important to understand the difference between a letter and a punctuation mark. An example of a punctuation mark is


There, that was easy, wasn't it? Now that we have the basic building blocks “under our belt”, let's move on to groups of letters, commonly called words. It's pretty easy to tell when something is a word. For example


is a word, but


is not a word; it is three words.

Words are grouped into units called sentences. It is easy to tell a sentence from something that is not a sentence by the fact that it ends with a punctuation mark “.” called a period. Like all rules about writing, that's not a hard and fast rule though. Some sentences end with other marks, such as “?” or “!”, or perhaps with nothing at all if the author forgets. Even authors are not perfect

Sentences are but stepping-stones to the next unit that readers need to be concerned about: paragraphs. Now, paragraphs are very easy to spot. A paragraph is just an ordered sequence of sentences. The first line of a paragraph is either indented or separated from the preceeding text by a blank line. You can usually tell the last line of a paragraph by the fact that it is significantly shorter than the various and sundry other lines which are in it.

There, that's all for today. We've covered the art of reading all the way up to paragraphs. Using what you've learned, you will be able to read, for example, one-paragraph stories in the Sports Section. You can tell when a story is more than one paragraph by the fact that you will not be able to read it. But do not lose hope; you will be able to read such stories after studying Lesson Two.

To test your understanding of today's lesson, here are some


1. Which of the following are words?

(d) All of the above and all of the below
(e) All of the above

2. In Chekov's “Three Sisters”, what is the significance of stage setting in developing the theme of the play?

3. Get a dictionary and look through it. How many words can you spot?

Happy reading!

© by John Remmers.