Competency Puzzle “Read & Write Effectively” Pieces F-07.01 to F-07.16: Get Right to the Point of What’s the Point? Book One—Visually and/or Textually
Blog posts F-00.01 to F-01.10 tell readers To Appreciate Complexity, Let the Visual & Textual Meanings of Written English Proliferate. Basing its suggestions on the pervasive *Corona / COVID 19 symbol, it illustrates how the “most minimalist piece of written language” can expand into composite spheres of meaning touching on just about every area of human existence or endeavor. Parts & Pieces F-00.01 to F-01.10 are inserted as examples from WorkLife English Competency-Based Reading / Writing Books 1, 2, 3.
One of their messages is that even the most straightforward, integrated teaching / learning material (designed for novice language learners / new readers) can be anti-analyzed, dis-organized, un-combined, and dif-fused into separate Parts & Pieces for cursory browsing or closer inspection. Then, on “the other side of the journey through + beyond complexity,” its content can be linked, combined, or blended into productive pedagogy.
Even so, there are other ways to look at the totality of available Reading / Writing matter—to re-examine, re-merge, and re-construct the many types of visuals and text valued in instruction, thinking, language development, and learning. One relatively compact yet comprehensive text, (Book One: Beginning to Read for Meaning), asks in its title, "What's the Point?" It contends that not only can most printed material be meaningful but that it conveys—or ought to deliver—messages. Here are the cover + Table of Contents of that illustrative / illustrated classic:
Competency Puzzle “Read & Write Effectively” Pieces F-07.01 to F-07.16 = What’s the Point? Book One: Beginning to Read for Meaning
This uniquely characteristic Written-Language-Skills Primer bases its pedagogy, content, and anticipated outcomes on two premises:
that virtually all printed material has—or should have—value, defined by its usefulness in linguistic or other learning development, applicability to real-life purposes, and/or improve-the-world universality.
that for the “safety of organization” educators and learners crave, this matter can be classified into Types of Reading / Writing—and that these can be further divided into instructional content designed to build or polish both visual and textual competencies.
So What Are the (At Least) Eight (8) Kinds of Reading Matter That What’s the Point Book One Encircles?
One way to (re-)discover these eight most general Reading Types is to skim the Front Matter of the featured text.
F-07.01: What’s the Point? Book One: Front Matter, pages i-vii displays its (Inside) Cover, 3-page Table of Contents, and four pages of “Instructions for Use for Readers & Helpers.” It may be most useful to teachers or text users as a reference.
For a colorful, hands-on way to begin to identify, distinguish, get examples of, and go beyond some very non-specific, approximate kinds of printed matter, here’s some explanation followed by exercises:
F-07.02: What’s the Point? Book One: Beginning to Read for Meaning Intro: pages 1-6 lists Chapter / Part Titles that name general “platforms” on which written English might appear, followed by more specific possibilities. Then come Visuals 1-32, to match with Kinds of Reading a-z + aa-hh, each of which ends with a brief paraphrases of meaning. Their initial purpose is to encourage text users and other language learners to differentiate between what a piece of material is, what it says, and what it means.
Among Parts & Pieces F-07.01 to F-07.16 are eight excerpts that correspond to eight Parts of What’s the Point? Book One: Beginning to Read for Meaning. All of these—and the 8 offerings in between—are accessible from WorkLife English.com Puzzle Piece F. Read & Write Effectively.
F-07.03: What’s the Point? Book One: Part 1: pages 7-24: the Point of Symbols & Signs. These exceedingly visual sections start with pedagogy on the potential meaning-variety of Symbols: first Numerals and Alphabetic Letters, then Icons recognized universally. Throughout, explanation appears in Sidebars.
Then, divided into 18 sets of 8 or 4 images apieces according to their General Category (like Activities, Kind of Work, Medicine & Health, Weather & Seasons, Directions, etc.), each of 96 Meaning Symbols is followed by 2 or 3 possible answers to choose from. (Images for the detractors appear in corresponding Answer Key pages.)
The second half of the Download covers Signs, many of which include Icons. Text users get to match the most commonly seen of these, such as “No Smoking” or “Handle with Care” with paraphrases of their meanings, as in “I Want You to Not Smoke in Here” or “This End Up—Fragile.” Several actual signs are displayed to produce a chuckle when they’re understood—like “SOTP” and “This Office Will Not Tolerate Redundancy in This Office.”
Finally come seven pages of photos of real signage, classified as "Signs That List Things," "Sign Collections," "Commercial Billboards," and the like. Supplied Vocabulary help readers to answer the quesion, "What are the purposes, points, and/or 'intended messages' of these signs?"
Want more materials devoted to icons, figures, and other meaningful symbols? You can link to F-07.04a & F-07.04b directly from here: Symbols Card Decks A-Z: Creative Activity & Game Ideas for Teaching & Learning Symbols in 26 Meaning Categories (36 Half-Sized Pages in a Book) to be used separately from or along with Symbols Cards Decks A-M & N-Z (24 Full-Sized Pages of Nine Playing Cards Each, with Backs).
F-07.05: What's the Point? Book One: Part 2: pages 25-38: Get the Point Pictures (Visual Images). This even more visually compelling excerpt is the author’s favorite because there’s so much to look at and appreciate. Initially and in Sidebars, there’s commentary about kinds of optical images for learners / thinkers to notice, identify, eyeball, interpret, analyze, and more—photos, paintings, gray-scale drawings, cartoons—plus the many varieties of artwork for everyone to discover and enjoy. Text viewers have opportunity to (choose Vocabulary to) describe what they see—and to answer questions like “What kind of visual is it?” “What does it say (show)?” “What does it mean?” “What’s your reaction to it?” “Which words or phrases best convey its significance?”
Next comes a section on “Picture Titles” to choose from—including the original labels of images plus alternative designations that may be even more explanatory. Finally, in “Visual Speech & Thought,” lookers match wording to picture-caption boxes, speech bubbles, and thought balloons.
What’s unique about Download F-07-05? Its collection of incredibly expressive (serious / funny, calming / evocative, sincere / satirical, etc.) images.
F-07.06: What’s the Point? Book One: Part 3: pages 39-54: Get the Point of One-Liners (Proverbs & Quotes). Teachers of this Part of the text have remarked that learners find it the most challenging of all eight (chapters). That may be because its many very brief “chunks of reading matter” (“One Liners” that are Sayings & Quotes) are intended to project serious, incisive, or ironic meaning inviting a great many interpretations or realizations about virtual or actual life.
As usual, the Download starts with “printed lecture”—in this case, about the “Most Frequent English-Language Proverbs.” After matching traditional adages with possible interpretations, readers are called upon to explain what these aphorisms mean to them, perhaps giving examples from their own observations or experience. In an “International Proverbs” section, their task is to choose three (out of four) sayings from other cultures that “support the wisdom” of English-language ones. Again, they’re asked to explain their thought processes. The same skills are invoked when they decide whether “pairs of truisms” have equivalent (similar) meanings or express approximate opposites.
Next, text users use their “Creative Wisdom.” Applying common “Proverb Patterns,” they complete (sentence or phrase) beginnings in their own ways, expressing “Truths” that are valid for them at the time. A lot of lively discussion is bound to follow.
The last quarter of F-07.06 covers “the Wisdom of Quotations.” Using context clues, text readers try to match well-known quotations with the famous historical figures who first spoke them. Then, in “May I Quote You?” they evaluate “Wisdom from Younger Years,” “Enlightened Thoughts About Life,” & “Deep Truths About Friendship”—before coming up with their own succinct, pithy responses to relevant questions about these and other (profound) issues. They share these with others, evaluate what they read / hear, and go out into the world armed with hindsight, insight, & foresight into whatever the times may bring.
Want more hands-on pedagogy, practice, and amusement based on the most common, recognizable One-Liners (Proverbs, Aphorisms, Adages, Maxims, Axioms, Witticisms, etc.) in the English language? You can link to F-07.07a & F-07.07b directly from here: Phrasing of Proverbs: Card Decks 1& 2 = Beginnings & Endings of 90 Traditional English-Language Sayings—Creative Ideas for Language-Learning Activities Involving “Folk Wisdom” (24 Half-Sized Pages in an Activity & Idea Book) to be used independently from or in conjunction with Traditional English-Language Proverb Decks 1-45 & 46-90 (40 Full-Sized Pages of Nine Sentence Beginnings & Corresponding Endings Each, with Backs).
F-07-08: What's the Point? Book One: Part 4: pages 55-72: Get the Point of Short, Short Fiction: Fables + Folks & Fairy Tales (Stories). By the time language learners / new readers get through the first three Parts of What’s the Point? Book One, the connected text in Part 4: Short Fiction may seem (too) easy—perhaps because they’re more accustomed to (simplified) narrative prose than to the interpretation of visuals or one-liners. In this Download, introductory explanations define helpful vocabulary like fiction, fable, moral, folk tale, fairy tale. Then come illustrated Fables 1-7: “The Cat & the Mice,” “The Boy Who Cries ’Wolf’,” “The Fox & the Grapes,” and four others—for participants to read and enjoy, choose possible Morals (messages / lessons) for, formulate their reactions to, accept or argue with, and/or discuss with others.
Next, there are eight “Folk + Fairy Tales,” with the titles “The Princess & the Pea,” “The Old Man & His Grandson,” “Misfortune,” “The Nail,” “A Wife’s One Wish,” and three others. If text users answer the six questions that follow each story in full sentences with connectors, their speech or writing will sound / read like a plot summary. As expected, the last item to respond to is “Does the story have a moral or a point? What do you think it is? What do you think of it?”
The last three pages of F-07.08 present "The Fables & Folktales of 'Ordinary People.'" They offer 10 (generalized) Story Lines that may be reminiscent of parables, legends, myths, fantasies, and other kinds of short fiction from various world cultures. These "universal plots" may trigger memories or spark creativity--as participants share their favorite (magical) tales with others.
F-07.09: What’s the Point? Book One: Part 5: pages 73-96: Get the Point of True Stories (the News, Real Experiences, Biographies. These non-fiction Stories may be somewhat more challenging for language students / new readers than previously enjoyed Short, Short Fiction. Even so, by now text-users ought to be well-prepared, ready, and perhaps even eager to “handle the truth” about real events, actual occurrences, and important markers from (famous) people’s lives.
To understand and recap News Stories 1-6, participants number salient events in order. Then (in full sentences), they respond to expressly productive questions like “Who is the story about?” “What happened?” “Where & when?” “How might you interpret and/or what have you learned from the narrative?” “Can you recall or find other news articles about comparable occurrences or that make similar points?”
Next comes a unique, amusing section called “Truth or Fiction?” in which readers who think are to judge Headlines as authentic or made-up. (Correct answers appear on relevant pages of F-07.16, What’s the Point? Book One Answer Key.) There’s even an Infographic on “How to Spot Fake News.”
In the exercises for Real-Life Experiences 1-6, learners can’t help but produce accurate Story Summaries by filling in the blanks of paragraphs with phrasing that they’ve read. By then, they’ll be able to sum up narratives in their own words. Advancing language students might even be capable of relating their own actual life experiences to others, whose “stories” they can then retell.
Finally, there are ten Short Biographies with a Point of well-known people (Magic Johnson, Paul McCartney, Oprah Winfrey, Bart Simpson, etc.). Readers get a chance to pick up info and respond to queries like “What is / was . . . most famous for?” “What facts about his / her life are you most likely to remember? Why?” “What can or should be learned from his / her life story (so far)?”
Biographies—especially those short, short accounts of the Life Stories of significant figures in history and culture (with “messages” for the present / future), are apt to be plentiful in print matter and the media. For a 44-page (half-sized) “Starter Book” with condensed Instructions for Use with Beginning to Intermediate students, go to F-07.10 Biographies: Short, Short Stories Based on the “Messages” of People’s Lives.
The 152–page book Biographies: Creative, Motivating Multi-Level, Multi-Skills Language Activities, with extensive ideas for use may be more than you need. With that in mind, the book is available in 5 segments (Parts & Pieces): Beginning through Advanced-Level Readings & Comprehension Aids, identified as:
F-07.12: What’s the Point? Book One: Part 6: pages 97-108: Get the Point of Humor (Comic Strips, Anecdotes, & Jokes). Many images and text (passages) accessible in print and/or online or onscreen elicit smiles, chuckles, or other cheerful reactions. Further, some of what appears is meant to evoke laughter: some examples are Comic Strips, One-Frame Cartoons, (One-Line) Witticisms, Anecdotes, and (Formula) Jokes. Beginning with a “serious printed lecture to study,” this Download offers plenty attempts at humor for your consideration.
(Have your class) Start with the frames of Comic Strips 1-7 (from Comics and Conversation, by Joan Ashkenas, JAG Publications) that are out of sequence. To “Get the Point of the Humor,” number them in order. With or without the help of Possible Answers in Sidebars, try explaining their jokes. Then in the “Anecdotes & Jokes” section, read each of nine humorous stories for meaning, paying special attention to its “punch line.” To express your interpretation of its humor, finish the statement that follows—or explain the point in your own way.
The last three pages of Part 6 offer “Other Kinds of Humor”—riddles, “silly questions,” “daffinitions,” two-line conversations, formula jokes, puns, quips. Though corny enough to generate groans rather than laughter, these may provide a welcome break from more serious reading or study, giving learners a chance to demonstrate their grasp of the lighter side of cultural literacy.
F-07.13: What’s the Point? Book One: Part 7: pages 109-122: Get the Point of Personal Communication (Cards & Letters). Here’s a catchall Download that moves from traditional printed (or online) Greeting Cards, Announcements, & Post Cards to a modern variety of proliferating Letters, Notes, Blog Posts, Articles, & Other Reader / Writer Commentary. As usual, pedagogical explanation appears in an opening print lesson and in Sidebars.
First, (students) match the colorful exteriors of (Birthday, Thank-You, Congrats, Anniversary, Sympathy, Holiday, & Special-Event) Greeting Cards A-Z with the (often humorous, punch-line) messages inside. (They) Show understanding of their points or messages by answering questions about appropriate occasions or purposes for, types of, and receivers’ probable reactions to the Cards.
Second, (text users) connect typical (Birth, Party, Open-House, Wedding, Garage-Sale, & Death) Announcements (on Cards) to their probable meanings, aims, or messages. Then for (simulated) “Newspaper Letters 1-11,” (they) respond to questions like “Who is the letter to?” “What’s its general subject matter?” “What’s its main point, sense, or idea?” (The letters touch on topics such as noise pollution, signals from outer space, conflicts with spouses / co-workers, medical addiction, gifts, English as an ‘official’ language, etc.) And finally, (readers/writers) go “Beyond the Text” to find, skim, note the styles of, get the point of, and/or respond to real-life, current, (social media, texted, perhaps visual / audio / video) attempts at “Personal Communication.” Often, (you’ll / they’ll) be motivated to create (significant) missives of your / their own.
F-07.14: What’s the Point? Book One: Part 8: pages 123-158: Get the Point of Factual Information in Paragraphs). Eventually, the text turns to “academic” Reading Skills & Strategies, referred to in Parts 1-7 but explained and practiced more directly here. Whether you’re / they’re reading textbooks; reference works; other educational materials; and/or magazine, newspaper, newsletter, or posted articles; from the outset language teachers / learners need the ability to determine “Topics, Main Ideas, & Supporting Details” of reading matter.
The general Subject Matter of Paragraphs 1-10 is culturally and/or pedagogically elemental: Traditional Etiquette; the Bible; Mythology & Folklore; Literature; English Grammar Terms; Reading (Aloud); Phonics vs. Whole-Language Methodologies; Vocabulary; (Changes in) National Boundaries; the Physical Sciences. You / Your students can develop the ability to make good use of a reading passage in three stages: first, identify its specific topic. Second, underline its “topic sentence(s)”—(parts of) the one or two most general statements of the main idea. Third, choose the best restatement of the main point. Later, you / they can label or number the most significant pieces of supporting detail. Finally, it will be time to apply these key principles to any (types of) non-fiction (expository) prose you choose to tackle.
So While We’re at It, Is There Anything Else to Consider About What’s the Point? Book 1: Beginning to Read for Meaning?
In relation to Eight Basic Kinds of Reading Material, what else is there to download, browse through, decide to try out (or not), use for instructional support, condense or expand, and/or emulate?
First, based on the author’s experience in teaching this material, there’s F-07.15: Final Tests: Reading Information & Skills, pages 151-158, comprised of six pages ofTest Items A– P (32 Multiple-Choice Questions). These are followed by an 8-Query Essay Test, designed to elicit Examples; Lists of Kinds of Reading in 6 Categories; individuals’ opinions or preferences; Titles of Articles, Stories, or Books; a Four-Column Chart for test-takers to fill in with commentary about their own abilities and choices; and three summarizing questions about their (final) improvement, knowledge, and/or deserved grades. The entire Download can be printed out, back to back, and/or accessed onscreen; it can serve as an actual Quiz, Midterm, or Final Exam. Alternatively or additionally, its pages and items are useful for Review & Summary or additional instruction.
And finally, here’s the pièce de résistance. F-07.16: Answer Key for What’s the Point? Book 1: Beginning to Read for Meaning, pages 1-64, is a comprehensive, colorfully illustrated collection of compact correct responses when they’re called for; sample wording of likely essay answers when they’re elicited; contributory (supportive) factual background information; (alternative) interpretations of targeted visual or textual reading material; and even extra commentary (in footnotes) to go beyond or expand on. Whenever they’re relevant to Written-Language-Skills instruction or testing of the material in What’s the Point? Book 1: Beginning to Read for Meaning, the corresponding pages of this cheerfully informative Key will not only prove practical in (independent) instruction but also stimulating in “Beyond the Text” research and activities.
And What Are the “Whole Products” That These Twelve Downloadable Excerpts Are Derived From or Relate to?
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