Read with a Purpose

Here’s an article shared on our www.EdValue.com:
A parent once asked me the following question. “Reading is important, but why is it that my child has shown no improvement although she reads her textbooks thoroughly? I even snip out newspaper articles such as “社论” for her.”
To that, I gave her a simple reply – her child does not know the purpose of reading.
Read with a purpose. Before you pick up a book, magazine, or newspaper, start by asking why you are reading or studying it.
The following are some aspects you can look out for to make your studying much more effective.
1) Master vocabulary by identifying their pairs (词语搭配)
If your child has not being scoring well for cloze passages(综合填空), the best solution would be to ask him to read while searching for the “good friends” of particular words. Take for example –
柔和goes with 灯光
柔顺goes with头发
柔软goes with 身体
If you know who their “good friends” are and are also familiar with common idioms and phrases such as “铿锵有声”,“霍然开朗”and“追溯历史”, you will find that the cloze passage can be done with ease!
2) Grasp the structure of a good essay (报章报道/议论文)
While reading, take note of the structure of different essays. You will realize that “报章报道”always starts with the narration of a piece of news, and will include the writer’s personal feelings or opinions in the first paragraph. Thereafter, he will write about the causes of such a trend as well as the consequences should nothing be done to curb it (Cause and Effect). He will then end off by offering solutions to the problem, and insert a conclusion. Should you master this structure, you will never walk out of the exam hall exclaiming, “Oh No! I forget my conclusion!” Or, the like.
3) To Boost Your Knowledge and Enhance Your Content
If you are weak in Chinese but fantastic in English, this article will bring good news to you! I often tell parents that reading for content should be the last thing their child is reading for. This is because he/she has most likely already done a lot of reading in English. What is the point of reading for more content when the child already has a lot of information inside? Therefore, my suggestion would be to do some simple note-taking. Begin by selecting a theme. Take for example, domestic helpers (女佣). Gather all information on similar cases as well as solutions. Stories such as “雇主虐待女佣”,“女佣虐待小主人”and“女佣应该放假”should instantly appear in your mind. Then, note down reasons behind these similar yet different pieces of news.
Where is the fun element? If you think that your reading ability is poor, you are very wrong! My previous article on scoring in the comprehension paper discussed the importance of a student’s mindset. It is the same here. Should you flip through your textbooks or vocabulary guidebooks, you will see many words which you have learnt, and which are useful for your essays.
Take for example words like: 根深蒂固,低贱,屈服淫威之下,遍体鳞伤and弊病. Don’t they look familiar? 
All you have to do is put them together into sentences like these –
许多雇主都有一种根深蒂固的观念,认为女佣地位低贱,因此把他们打得遍体鳞伤也不觉得有任何不合理的地方。而有些女佣也有同样的观念,因此他们总是屈服淫威之下,不敢对外求助。
Sounds profound? However, none of these words are new to you!
Read with a purpose, and set an expectation before you read. Should you follow these simple tips, you will no longer feel bogged down by Chinese reading. Instead, you will find yourself starting to appreciate the beauty of the language. It’s time to fall in love with Chinese if you haven’t already done so!
Sherina is a Chinese specialist with years of experience in both MOE and the private sector. She has coached hundreds of students of students and has a track record of having 90% of her students score As. An innovative and energetic coach, Sherina was also a member of the team which developed Creative Technology’s bilingual iflashbook, Aligning her methods with the current emphasis on application and interactivity, Sherina believes that the coaching of Chinese should never be just about books. With the right strategies and technologies, every moment is a coachable moment, and every child has the potential to score an A1 with the right mindset!
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