AG00030_.GIFExtensive Reading

Reading is a wonderful activity and it is good for your language learning at the same time. You should read the books, articles etc. that interest you, and what you read should not be too difficult. If you need to run to the dictionary after every three words, the text is not for you. On this page there is some work on the book you can read for the C1 written exam. This will give you a chance to prepare some ideas in advance and will help you to feel more confident.

Suggestions to help you with your reading from Sandy Millin's blog Independent Learner

What is the difference between Intensive and Extensive Reading?

Think about this question and then watch the video below:

There is some evidence that reading can help your language skills.Which other areas of Language Learning can extensive reading help you with?


Set Book for 2012 - 2013 This book is no longer on the set book list but you can use it to see some sample essays

"44 Scotland Street" by Alexander McCall Smith

1) Before you start reading you might like to look at this site which gives a short introduction and suggests some questions to bear in mind whilst you are reading.

2) In the exam you will be asked to discuss characters, places, events or themes. Here ia a model question:

"Our neighbours can make life pleasant or can cause us endless problems. Discuss this question with reference to the novel "44 Scotland Street".

You can answer on the discussion board by going to the top of the page and clicking the tab on the right. This is where you can experiment with your ideas, without worrying about the exam. The more people contribute the more ideas can be shared, so don't be shy, join in :-)

Texts on 44, Scotland Street with my comments

Set Books for 2016 - 2017

This year I have decided to make a list of all the set books different teachers have chosen so that you have the opportunity to read more than one, which will give you more options in the written exam as well as being excellent for your English in general.

The books are:

a. Aldous Huxley: Brave New World.

b. Fredrick Backman: A Man Called Ove.

c. Emily St. John Mandel: Station Eleven.

d. Hugh Miles: Playing Cards in Cairo.

e. Mohsin Hamid: The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

My set book this year is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It is the single book that I personally read last year, that still resonates with me constantly, even a year later.
1) Before you start reading, click on the link above for Emily St. John Mandel and find out something about the author. This Wikipedia entry provides you with links to other sites about her. You could also have a look at her Facebook profile to discover more about her public persona.
What do you find that you consider to be of interest and how do you think the person she is will influence the way she writes?
Here our some ideas from our class:

2) Look at the "Station Eleven" link to see if what you thought about the author in question 1 is correct.
Here is a synopsis from the Books Unlimited Site:

3) Read the novel
4) Look at the major themes in the novel. Think about how important these things are in your country and how they reflect everyday life.
5) In the exam you will be asked to discuss characters, places, events or themes.

Here ia a model question:

“The bright side of the planet moves towards darkness
And the cities are falling asleep, each in its hour,
And for me, now as then, it is too much.
There is too much world.” Czeslaw Milosz.

Now that you’ve read the entire novel, go back and reread the passage by Czeslaw Milosz that serves as an epigraph. What does it mean? Why did Mandel choose it to introduce Station Eleven?

Here is my model answer, which is a bit longer than you would be asked to write in the actual exam:

Now watch the author herself talking about the novel:

j0303470.gifOther Discussion Threads on this Page

There are also other discussion threads on this page for different writing questions. Click on the "pin" tab at the top righthand side of the page. Remember that you have to join the wiki to be able to post.

Here is a file with my comments on the "sayings anecdotes". Print the file and see how much you can correct, using a good monolingual dictionary to help you.

Descriptive Texts

Here are some texts from the "terrible inventions discussion:

Here are the "discursive essays" texts:

Here are some more examples of discursive essays in the "problem/solution" style, written in 2013
Interactive text

Word Text

Examples of narrative texts

Mixed Writing examples Narrative and Descriptive 2013
This is the interactive file (You can choose to correct without looking at the correction code first or you can click on the items to see the code for each one

This is the word document:

Description of Verona
Interactive Text

Word Text