How to Read a Comprehension
Learning English Language could be a wonderful experience because of its most important tool of learning, ‘comprehension’. The concept of comprehension seems to be as old as the cult of telling stories followed by a child’s curiosity to understand it by throwing a volley of questions on the story teller.
Then it is used to be on the part of story teller how he answered various queries by making different faces, producing various kinds of sounds, making strange movements and so on. The story teller acted like a sound magician displaying the tricks of his trade and thus always sustained the interest of the listener in him. Even as days and months passed, he was never tired of his role and always worked interestingly to make his ‘magic’ more appealing and hence, finally it reached the stage of ‘self explanatory approach’ to make the whole process highly effective and successful.
An individual should keep the following points in his/her mind while writing a comprehension passage.
- Comprehend the theme/topic of the given passage.
- Every comprehension passage offers a situation-comprehend it.
- Underline various important points/sentences and connect them.
- Write down just two sentences summarising all the important points, i.e., to comprehend the comprehension.
- Understand questions thoroughly and pick up relevant answer points.
- Develop these points into a well defined answer.
- It is desirable to include an illustration/example.
- Puzzle out difficult words.
- Use simple and natural language.
- Try to keep your approach positive.
The idea behind adding this ‘Comprehension topic’ to ICSE syllabus is to make the children able to understand the given comprehension. Every comprehension passage offers a unique opportunity to the students to ‘open’ their minds and ‘react’ to the contents the way it appeals to them.
This is the basic principle of comprehension and this is how they should welcome comprehension passage as and when they confront one. A comprehension passage therefore, text set for testing the reader’s ability to receive or take in the sense of the text by scanning, understanding the meaning of written or printed matter, learning from what one has seen or found in writing or printing.
A comprehension passage of prose of about 500 words will be given. Uncommon items of vocabulary or structure will be avoided. One question will be set to test vocabulary. Candidates will be required to show that they understand the words/phrases in the context in which they have been used. A number of questions requiring short answers will also be asked on the passage. These questions will test the candidate’s ability to understand the explicit content and organisation of the passage and to infer information, intentions and attitudes from it.
The last question will consist of a summary that will test the candidate’s ability to distinguish main ideas from supporting details and to extract salient points to re-express them in the form of a summary. Candidates will be given clear indications of what they are to summarise and of the length of the summary.
Important Steps while Attempting Comprehension Questions
Steps to be followed while attempting comprehension questions.
Here are few steps to make the process easy for the students.
Reading is the root step to solve this puzzle. The first hand reading gives an idea what the passage is about. The first reading should exclusively aim at grasping the base meaning of the passage without giving much importance to the difficult words.
After the first reading it is positively advisable to go for a second reading quickly marking various important points or ideas in order to make your understanding complete. This will enable you to solve the vocabulary questions quicker.
Once the reading drill is over now concentrate only on underlined portions as well as the questions given. There is 90% chance that you will find the answer of all the questions in the underlined portion. Even if any question seems to be out in this circle, you can easily interpret its answer on the basis of your marked portion.
Now you need to pick up questions one by one and answer them in your own language. Understanding of the questions is of the prime importance too. If you don’t understand any word in the passage, try to puzzle it out again in the context of the given passage as you have done earlier.
Evaluate yourself the meaning of the complete answer. Include only those points which are necessary to mention. Keep your answer in a clear, correct and simple language, to make it easy for the examiner too.
Most passages require at least two readings
- Before writing the answer, check the questions again to be sure you’ve really understood them.
- You must write complete sentences as answers.
- Answers must be relevant and to the point.