Tools and Tips
Listening and Speaking Strategies
Taking and Leaving Messages
People keep in touch by using the telephone. If you answer a call for someone else, take a message. If you make a call and no one answers, you can leave a message on an answering machine. Read this conversation and Keisha's message. What information did she write?
Saturday, 10:15 a.m.
Dad, please call Mr. Bay at 555-2191.
MR. BAY: Hello, Keisha. This is Mr. Bay. May I speak to your father?
KEISHA: I'm sorry, he can't come to the phone right now. May I take a message?
MR. BAY: Yes, please ask him to call me at 555-2197.
KE1SHA: I'll tell him to call Mr. Bay at 555-2197.
Keisha included all of the information that her father would need in her message. When you take or leave messages, follow these guidelines.
Guidelines for Taking and Leaving Messages
1. When you take a message, write the caller's name, the telephone number, and the message. Ask questions if any part of the message is not clear, and retell the message to be sure you have taken it correctly. Include the day and time that you take the call.
2. When you leave a message, give your name, your telephone number, , and a brief message, including the day and time you called.
3. Be polite. Speak slowly and clearly.
A. Follow the guidelines and practice taking notes as your teacher reads a telephone message.
B. Role-play giving and taking telephone messages with a classmate.
Giving a Talk
When you give a talk, you speak about a certain topic. You need to plan, prepare, and practice your talk before you present it. Follow these guidelines when you give a talk.
Guidelines for Giving a Talk
1. Plan your talk.
• Decide if the purpose of your talk will be to inform, to persuade, or to entertain. The tone of your talk, such as humorous or serious, should match your purpose.
• Think about your audience. Should you use formal or informal language? How much do the listeners know about your topic?
2. Prepare your talk.
• Find the information you need. Gather any graphics or visuals, such as maps, pictures, or objects, that you want to show.
• Jot down notes or key words on note cards. Be sure to use words that are appropriate for your audience.
Kennedy Space Center
• full name: John F. Kennedy Space Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
• location: Merritt Island, Florida, near Cape Canaveral (show map)
• what they do: test, repair, arid launch all manned U.S. space missions
• Be sure your talk has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Put notes in the order you will talk about them. You might want to highlight key words.
Understanding Nonverbal Cues
Look at the students pictured below. Imagine they are talking about having to take part in a new school sport–tennis. Flow do you think each one feels about it?
Just like words, your face and body movements or positions can let others know what you think or how you feel. This "body language" is known as nonverbal cues.
Using Nonverbal Cues
You can use nonverbal cues to support what you are saying. Here are some examples.
• Use facial expressions to match your message.
• Use hand motions to stress a point when persuading.
• Use your hands to show sizes and shapes.
• Point to show a direction or an object. (Don't point to people!)
• Make eye contact to show you're aware of your listeners.
You can use nonverbal cues to send a message without words. Here are some examples.
• Smile and nod your head to show interest and understanding. Look puzzled when something is not clear.
• Put your arm around a family member to show affection or around a friend to show comfort.
• Give a thumbs up to show support.
• Give a high-five to show friendship.
• Smile to show friendliness. Frown to show unhappiness.
• Sit back to show you're relaxed. Lean forward to show special interest.
Warning! Nonverbal cues can give away your true feelings or send the wrong message!
Observing Nonverbal Cues
Watch others' nonverbal cues. A pained look on someone's face may show that you said something that hurt. Someone looking at the ground while talking may be shy or embarrassed. Someone slouching or staring into space may be bored. If you are aware of a person's nonverbal cues, you will know better how to react appropriately.
Guidelines for Nonverbal Cues
1. Always have good eye contact when speaking.
2. Use nonverbal cues to support your words.
3. Use nonverbal cues to show what you think or feel without words.
4. Watch others' nonverbal cues as clues to their thoughts and feelings, and respond appropriately.
With your class or in a small group, take turns demonstrating different nonverbal cues. Discuss what message each nonverbal cue sends.
One way to get facts for a report or a news article is to interview someone who knows that information. An interview is a kind of conversation. One person asks questions and the other person answers them. The interviewer is the person who asks the questions.
To get all the facts you want during an interview takes careful planning. The guidelines below will help you.
Guidelines for Interviewing
1. Decide what you want to know.
2. Think of questions that will help you get the information you want to know. Try to think of questions that begin with Who, What, Where, When, Why, or How. Do not ask questions that can be answered yes or no.
3. Write your questions in an order that makes sense. Leave space after each question for writing notes during the interview.
4. Before you ask your first question, tell the person the reason for your interview.
5. Ask your questions clearly and politely. Pay close attention to the answers.
6. Take notes to help you remember the answers. You may want to write the person's exact words if it is an important piece of information. Write these words as a quotation and use quotation marks.
7. If you don't understand something, ask more questions about it.
The following notes were taken during an interview with a person who plays the steel drums.
QUESTION: What is a steel drum?
—made from an oil barrel
—different parts make different sounds when you hit them
QUESTION: How did you learn to play the drums?
QUESTION: When do you practice?
—twice a week with the band
QUESTION: Where do you perform?
QUESTION: Who comes to see you play?
—people who like the drums
—people who like to dance
QUESTION: Why do you play the drums?
—"Playing the drums makes me feel happy and alive."
Think and Discuss
• What kinds of questions did the interviewer ask?
• Do any of the questions call for yes or no answers? Why not?
• Work with a partner. Make up three more questions you could ask during the interview with the person who plays the steel drums.
A. Pair up with a classmate. Tell each other a topic that you know about. Then interview each other, using questions each of you has written about the other person's topic. Follow the guidelines.
B. Interview a parent, a relative, or a neighbor about that person's job, hobby, or other interest. Use the guidelines. Share your questions and what you learned with your class.
Similes and Metaphors
Writers often describe something by comparing it to something else. The comparison creates a vivid picture in the reader's mind.
The sentence below uses the word like or as to compare two things. A comparison that uses like or as is called a simile.
The moon is like a glowing pearl.
Sometimes writers make comparisons without using like or as. Instead of saying that one thing is like another, they say that one thing is another. A comparison of two different things without using the word like or as is called a metaphor.
The moon is a glowing pearl.
Here are some more similes and metaphors.
Simile: The winter wind sounded like a sad whistle.
Metaphor: The winter wind was a sad whistle.
Simile: His mean words felt as sharp as thorns.
Metaphor: His mean words were thorns.
How do similes and metaphors help you picture what a writer is describing?
Complete each sentence with a metaphor or simile. Use the kind of comparison shown in parentheses.
1. Tyler swam _____. (simile)
2. The kite was _____. (metaphor)
3. The cat's eyes were _____. (metaphor)
4. The water made a sound _____. (simile)
5. Diana raced across the field _____. (simile)
6. The clouds were _____. (metaphor)
You have probably heard people use the expression raining cats and dogs. This expression is called an idiom. An idiom is a phrase that has a special meaning as a whole. The meaning of an idiom is different from the meanings of its separate words. The idiom raining cats and dogs does not mean that cats and dogs are falling from the sky. It means "raining heavily."
Sometimes the context of an idiom makes its meaning clear. Can you figure out the meaning of this idiom?
Gerald is a good dancer, but Tanya has two left feet.
No one can really have two left feet. What the writer means is that Tanya is clumsy on her feet.
Write a word or a phrase from the word box to replace each underlined idiom.
went to bed
1. Benjamin has his hands full. He can't take on more work.
2. We all read our speeches, but Tamako knew hers by heart.
3. I can't make heads or tails of this story.
4. After our long tiring day, we hit the sack early.
5. He didn't like their teasing, so he told them to knock it off.
Synonyms are words that have almost the same meaning. One way to vary your writing is to use synonyms. Look at how a writer used two different words for slippery.
As I caught the egg, it broke in my hand, and the slick goo slid through my fingers. lust then, Bongo raced past and skidded on the slimy floor.
Notice how the synonyms slick and slimy help vary the writing. They have nearly the same meaning, but they look and sound different.
Here are some other synonyms for slippery.
When you write, use a synonym dictionary, or thesaurus, to look up synonyms. The word-processing program on your computer may have an electronic thesaurus to help you find synonyms.
Rewrite each sentence. Replace each underlined word with its synonym from the word box. You may use a dictionary.
1. At night the campers were bothered by mosquitoes.
2. The puppy jumped onto her bed and licked her face.
3. The science fiction story excited her imagination.
4. A large skunk walked down the alley.
5. The bus driver stared at the rude, noisy passenger.
6. He had been so surprised by the question that he hadn't answered.
7. The bird's egg was spotted with tiny brown dots.
8. The joyful winner held up her golden trophy.
Antonyms are words that have opposite meanings. You can use antonyms to show how things are different from each other. In the following sentence, rough is an antonym of smooth.
She sanded the rough wood until it was smooth.
Here are some more antonyms.
One of the two words following each sentence is an antonym for the underlined word in the sentence. Complete the sentence, using the antonym. You may use a dictionary.
1. I will allow you to walk in the garden, but I _____ you to pick the flowers. (permit, forbid)
2. He rebuilt the wobbly fence to make it _____. (stable, rickety)
3. She had no doubt in her mind and answered the question with _____. (certainty, hesitation)
4. The bird rose high into the sky and then slowly _____. (soared, descended)
5. Stop that childish behavior and be _____! (mature, juvenile)
6. The movie was serious, but it had some _____ parts. (grave, hilarious)
The words you use can often create feelings and reactions. The associations that a word brings to mind are called its connotations. Read the sentences below.
When Ms. Orlando arrived, she saw Phillip relaxing on the lawn instead of raking.
When Ms. Orlando arrived, she saw Phillip loafing on the lawn instead of raking.
Relaxing has a positive connotation. It suggests that Ted was resting. Loafing has a negative connotation. Loafing would suggest that Ted was lazy. In order to convey the meaning you intend, it is important to know the connotations of the words you use.
clever, curious, cautious
tricky, nosy, timid
Complete each sentence with one of the two words that follow it. Write the sentence. Then write whether the word you chose has a positive or negative connotation.
1. Janine was _____ about the food she ate. (careful, fussy)
2. The _____ morning air made us feel like walking quickly. (chilly, crisp)
3. A _____ sound came from the old piano. (delicate, weak)
4. The stranger's eyes were a _____ gray. (soft, dull)
5. Once she made a decision, she was _____ about it. (firm, rigid)
A prefix is a word part that you add to the beginning of a word. The word to which you add a prefix is called the base word.
The boy was really comfortable in the big chair. When his brother joined him, they were both uncomfortable.
Like a base word, a prefix has a meaning. The prefix un- means "not" or "the opposite of " Uncomfortable means "the opposite of comfortable."
Here are some other prefixes and their meanings.
Prefix / Meaning / Example / Meaning
mis- / wrong, incorrectly / misspell / to spell incorrectly
re- / again / remake / to make again
pre- / before, in advance / preschool / before school
A. Copy each underlined word. Then underline the prefix and write the meaning of the word.
1. They had misheard the directions.
2. She rewrote the letter several times.
3. I observed an unusual bird.
4. Preheat the oven before you mix the batter.
5. He retold the story to every friend and relative.
B. Add the prefix un-, mis-, re-, or pre- to each of these words. Use every prefix at least once. Check your words in a dictionary. Then use each one in a sentence of your own.
A suffix is a word part added to the end of a base word. The queen held great power, but the king was even more powerful.
Each suffix has its own meaning. The suffix -ful means "full of" Powerful means "full of power."
Here are some other suffixes and their meanings.
Suffix / Meaning / Example / Meaning
-able / able to be / wearable / able to be worn
-er / one who does / walker / one who walks
-ish / like, somewhat / greenish / somewhat green
-less / without / fearless / without fear
-ness / quality of being / kindness / quality of being kind
A word can have both a prefix and a suffix.
un + manage + able = unmanageable
By adding the prefix un- and the suffix -able to the base word manage, a word is formed that means "not able to be managed."
A. Copy each underlined word. Then underline the suffix and write the meaning of the word.
1. The trail seemed endless.
2. Then I fell off the horse and looked foolish.
3. Luckily my clothes were washable.
B. Add a suffix from this lesson to each of these words. Check your words
in a dictionary. Then use each word in a sentence.
One way to learn and remember new words is by looking at their parts. Prefixes, suffixes, and base words are all parts of words. Sometimes the main part of a word is called a word root. A word root has a special meaning but cannot stand alone as a word.
Word Root / Meaning / Example
port / to carry / portable
spect / to look or see / inspect
ped / foot / pedal
loc / to place / local
mit / to send / transmit
ject / to throw / reject
Write the word root in each word. Then write the meaning of each word. You may use a dictionary. You can also find meanings quickly if you have an electronic dictionary.
Regional and Cultural Vocabulary
Which word or words do you use to name this insect? Depending on where you live, you might call it a darning needle, a mosquito hawk, a dragonfly, or a snake feeder. People in different regions of the country sometimes use different words for the same thing. Here are more examples of words that reflect regional differences.
corn on the cob, green corn, roasting ears, sweet corn
couch, davenport, sofa
hero, hoagie, grinder, submarine, poor boy
pop, soda, tonic, soda pop
harmonica, harp, French harp, mouth harp
pocketbook, purse, handbag
People of different cultures and in other countries might also use different words to name the same thing. The game of soccer in the United States is called football by people in other countries, such as Great Britain. In Great Britain, a baby carriage is called a pram, and French fries are called chips. Friends are called mates in Australia and amigos in Hispanic cultures. In Hawaii, people say aloha to greet one another, but in Hebrew, the greeting is shalom.
Choose a word from the examples above to complete each sentence. Use the word that comes most naturally to you. Discuss your choices with classmates.
1. Mom keeps money, keys, and stamps in her _____.
2. A _____ is a sandwich made from deli meats served on a long roll.
3. We were thirsty, so Dad bought us each a can of fizzy _____.
4. The butter melted on the hot _____.
5. The two _____ traded baseball cards.
Research and Study Strategies
Using a Dictionary
Entry Words and Guide Words
Entry Words Each main word listed in your dictionary is called an entry word. It is printed in heavy, dark type.
Guide Words At the top of each page in a dictionary are guide words. The guide word on the left tells the first entry word on the page. The one on the right tells the last entry word. In the sample dictionary page below, mine and minstrel are the guide words. Any entry words that fall alphabetically between these two words will appear on this page.
Other Forms of Words Entry words are usually listed in their simple forms, without endings such as -ed, -ing, -s, -er, and -est. Suppose you are looking for the word mingled on the sample dictionary page. The basic form of mingled is mingle. Find mingle as an entry word. Another form of the word, mingling, is also listed in the entry.
When you come across an unfamiliar word in your reading, first use the context of the sentence to figure out its meaning. If these words do not help you, look up the word in a dictionary.
Words with More Than One Meaning Many words have more than one meaning. Read the meanings for harbor.
Parts of Speech Some words can be used as more than one part of speech. The entry above gives two meanings for harbor used as a noun and two meanings for harbor used as a verb.
Homographs Two or more different words that have the same spelling but different meanings are called homographs. Homographs come from different word roots, or sources. In the entries for mint, each homograph is marked with a raised number.
Look at this picture of a flying reptile that lived during the dinosaur age. Can you pronounce the creature's name?
If you look up pterodactyl in your dictionary, you will find the listing shown above. Notice that the entry word is broken into four syllables.
Phonetic Respelling Following the entry word is a phonetic respelling that tells you how to pronounce the word. The consonant letters stand for the common sounds of those letters. A pronunciation key shows the sounds for the vowels.
Pronunciation Key On every page or every other page of a dictionary, there is a pronunciation key. One is shown below.
Schwa Sound Look at the phonetic respelling of pterodactyl. In the second syllable, you see this mark: (schwa). Find it in the pronunciation key. After a are five words: ago, item, pencil, atom, and circus. The dark letters in those words stand for the a? sound, called the schwa sound.
Accent Marks When a word has more than one syllable, one of those syllables is said with more stress, or force. The dark accent mark after the third syllable of pterodactyl means that desk is spoken with more stress than the other word parts.
Notice the light accent mark after the first syllable of pterodactyl. That syllable is said with more stress than the second and fourth syllables, but it is not spoken as forcefully as the third syllable.
Using the Library
How Libraries Arrange Books
Libraries arrange books into two main categories, fiction and nonfiction.
Fiction books are stories made up by the author. They are arranged alphabetically by the author's last name in one section of the library.
Nonfiction books contain factual information. They are in a separate section and are grouped by subject, such as government, music, or travel. Each subject has its own range of call numbers, which tell where a book is located on the shelves. A specific call number is printed on the spine of each book.
Searching for Books
Using an electronic or traditional card catalog will enable you to find any book a library owns when you know the title or author. It will also help you find a selection of books when you just have a subject in mind.
Using an Electronic Catalog There are many different electronic catalogs, but all are easy to use if you follow the directions on the computer screen. Enter the book's title, the author's name, or the subject of the book. Don't enter the words A, An, or The at the beginning of a title.
The computer will search its database of materials in the library's system for your request. When you make an author entry, you will get a list of all the books the author has written. When you make a subject entry, you will get a list of all books related to that subject. To see an information screen about a particular book, choose an item from the list.
When you enter a book title, you will automatically receive an information screen if the library owns the book. An information screen will give you a book's title and author. If the book is nonfiction, the screen may also display a call number.
Using a Card Catalog A traditional card catalog can also help you to find a book. This type of catalog lists an author card and title card for every book. Some books have a subject card too. The cards are filed alphabetically in long wooden drawers. To help you find the book, write the title, the author, and the call number. Here is a set of author, title, and subject cards for one book.
The library can provide information on almost any subject. Here is a list of nonfiction reference materials in print that can help you. Most of these materials can also be found as electronic versions on CD-ROMs or on electronic databases in your library. (See "The Internet" on pages H45–H46 for more about using computers to find information.)
Encyclopedia An encyclopedia is a set of books that have articles about people, places, things, and events. The articles are arranged in alphabetical order in volumes. Each volume is lettered with the beginning letter or letters of the topics in that book. Guide words at the tops of pages help locate key words related to a topic.
Atlas An atlas is a book of maps. The atlas index provides the page number of each map and also gives the exact location of cities and towns.
Almanac An almanac is published once a year and has facts and other information on important people, places, and events. The index in the front lists every subject covered in the almanac. The most current almanac has the most accurate information.
Thesaurus Like dictionaries, most thesauruses list entry words in alphabetical order. In a thesaurus, however, these words are followed by lists of synonyms and antonyms. Writers use a thesaurus to find words that will make their writing more interesting.
More Dictionaries There are many special dictionaries that deal with specific topics. For example, there are dictionaries of geography or biographies that you can use to search for detailed information.
Periodicals Most libraries subscribe to magazines and newspapers from all over the country. Recent issues are usually available for use, but back issues are often bound into books and stored. Use the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature to find an article on a specific topic in a back issue of any magazine.
Facts can be shown on tables, or charts, that make it easy to see how different kinds of information fit together. The table below shows the typical temperatures of some cities in the United States.
This table has captions across the top and along the left side. The top captions are January and July. The side captions name five cities.
The lines that go across are called rows. The lines that go up and down are called columns. To use the table, trace across the row and down the column that you are interested in. The entry where the row and column meet will give you the information you need.
The bar graph below shows how long certain zoo animals usually live. Like the table above, this graph has captions. Notice that ages in years are shown by lines that cross the entire length of the graph. To figure out how long an animal lives, look where a bar meets a number line.
A bar graph shows how different things compare to one another at the same time. The bars can go up and down or sideways.
A map is a drawing or chart of all or part of the earth's surface, including features such as mountains, rivers, boundaries, and cities.
Legend Every map has a legend, which usually appears in a box near the map. The legend explains the map's symbols, the marks that stand for various things. For example, a star is a symbol for a state capital.
Distance Scale A distance scale is usually shown below the legend. It shows how a particular distance on the map relates to real distance in miles or kilometers.
Compass Rose Another important part of a map is the compass rose. Arrows show the directions north, south, east, and west
A diagram shows how something is put together or how it works. To understand a diagram, read the captions and all the labels.
If a diagram uses unfamiliar words, check the text near it for definitions. If you found this owl diagram in a book and did not understand the term facial disk, you would read the paragraphs near the diagram. You might discover that a facial disk is the ring of short feathers surrounding the owl's eyes.
Research and Study Skills
Whether you are reading, listening to a speaker, or watching a movie, taking notes will help you remember what you read, hear, or see. Good notes will help you remember much more than what you actually write down. The following guidelines tell you important things to remember when taking notes.
Guidelines for Taking Notes
1. Don't copy what you read. Summarize main ideas in your mind, and restate them in your own words.
2. Use quotation marks to give credit for someone's exact words.
3. Write only key words and phrases, not entire sentences.
4. Below each main idea, list the details that support it.
5. Keep careful records of the sources you are using.
Here is text from an encyclopedia entry about Robert E. Lee. A card with notes is also shown. Notice that the card lists the source of the information.
Taking Notes While Listening When you take notes while reading, you can always look back and check facts to see if you missed anything. When listening to a speaker, you have just one chance to hear what is being said. Use the following guidelines to help you take good notes while listening.
Guidelines for Taking Notes While Listening
1. Keep your mind on what the speaker is saying.
2. Pay careful attention to the speaker's introduction and conclusion. A good speaker will outline the speech in an introduction and sum up the main points in the conclusion.
3. Listen for cue words, such as first, the main point, and most important, that signal important information.
4. Don't write everything. Write only key words or phrases.
5. Go over your notes after the speech to make sure you have included all of the main points.
6. Note the speaker's name, the location, and the date of the speech.
Taking Notes While Viewing It takes practice to view something, think about it, and take notes all at the same time. Unless you are watching a video, you can't stop the action and watch the film again. In addition to the general guidelines for taking notes, the following guidelines will help improve your note-taking skills.
Guidelines for Taking Notes While Viewing
1. Prepare for the film or event by reading related material ahead of time
2. Look and listen carefully during the introduction.
3. Be selective. Don't write everything. Listen for important ideas and write only the key words.
4. Use symbols and abbreviations, such as w/for with and #for number.
5. Even though you can't watch while taking notes, listen to the dialogue and learn new information.
6. As soon as the film is over, go over your notes and fill in missing details while they are still fresh in your mind.
7. Be sure to record the title of the film.
An outline is a useful tool for sorting out main ideas and supporting Details when you are reading or writing. When you use an outline to organize a piece of writing, it helps you plan the best order for your ideas.
An outline has a title and is made up of main topics, subtopics, and details. A main topic tells a main idea. Subtopics give supporting facts or details for the main topics. Details give more information about a subtopic. Use the following guidelines to write an outline.
Guidelines for Writing an Outline
1. Use a Roman numeral followed by a period to show each main topic.
2. Use a capital letter followed by a period to show each subtopic.
3. Use a number followed by a period to show each detail.
Here is an example of a topic outline. Note that the outline has a title. Usually the topics, marked with Roman numerals, are answers to questions about the subject.
Topics, subtopics, and details can be words, phrases, or sentences. The first word in each entry begins with a capital letter. There should always be at least two main topics, two subtopics under a main topic, or two details under a subtopic.
Summarizing helps you remember key points when you are reading or studying. A summary includes only the most important information.
Summarizing an Article Suppose that you read a lengthy article. Writing a summary can help you understand and remember details in the article. Read this summary of "Scaredy Cat," found on pages 399-402.
Not all lions are brave and tough! Lions need to work together in groups to survive and do well, but some lions are not very good team players. Some of them will react quickly to trouble, but others will not be so eager. Scientists have found that most of the cowards are female lions who do not follow the leads of their fellow lionesses. This can put the leader in real trouble if she goes out to meet a threat and finds herself alone.
Notice that this summary begins with a clear statement of the main idea. The other sentences give details that support this main idea. The following guidelines should help you to write your own summary of an article.
Guidelines for Summarizing an Article
1. State the main idea of the article clearly and briefly.
2. Look for key words and important names, dates, and places from the article.
3. Use these facts to write sentences that support the main idea.
4. Be sure to explain events or steps in the correct order.
5. Use as few words as possible. Put the facts into your own words without changing the meaning of what you have read.
Summarizing a Story When summarizing a story, briefly retell what happens, making sure to include all the important characters and events. Read the following summary of "The Woman Who Outshone the Sun," the story found on pages 320-324.
Villagers who live near a river depend on it for water and food. In the village lives an unusual woman who loves the river. The river loves her in return. Many people fear the woman because she looks and acts different. They treat her unkindly and force her to leave her home. As she leaves, the river goes with her. Suddenly everyone realizes that without the river there is no water to drink or food to eat. They panic and beg the woman to return the river. She agrees only after they promise to show kindness to each other.
Notice that this summary includes the main events of the story. It also describes the characters' actions and their results. Use the following guidelines when you summarize a story.
Guidelines for Summarizing a Story
1. Decide what is the most important feature of the story. If it is a mystery, you might write about the plot. If the story is about friendship, you might write about the characters.
2. Write clear, brief sentences stating the most important ideas. Include important names, dates, and places from the story but don't include other details.
3. Be sure to give enough information so that the summary makes sense. The order of events in a summary should be the same as the order in the story.
4. To catch the tone or mood of the story, describe a specific character's actions or give a direct quotation.
Many tests ask you to complete word analogies that show how two pairs of words are alike.
Wet is to dry as hot is to cold.
In this example, wet and dry are opposites. Cold completes the word analogy correctly because it means the opposite of hot. Now both pairs of words show opposites.
Often a word analogy is set up with colons. To help you answer it, think of it as a sentence.
Wet : dry :: hot : _____
Wet is to dry as hot is to _____.
This chart shows some ways words can be related.
Word Relationship / Example
antonyms (opposites) / Fast is to slow as narrow is to wide.
synonyms (same meanings) / Surprising is to amazing as unhappy is to sad.
a part to the whole thing / Toe is to foot as finger is to hand.
a whole thing to one of its parts / Car is to wheel as airplane is to wing.
a thing to a category that it belongs to / Banana is to fruit as carrot is to vegetable.
a person to something he or she does / Farmer is to planting as doctor is to healing.
a thing to one of its characteristics / Ball is to round as knife is to sharp.
Guidelines for Completing Word Analogies
1. Figure out how the first two words are alike.
2. If the analogy uses colons, say it as a sentence.
3. If you are asked to choose the second pair of words from a list, choose the pair that has the same relationship as the first pair.
4. If you are asked to fill in the last word, write a word that will make the second pair of words have the same relationship as the first pair.
A. Choose the pair of words that best completes each word analogy.
1. Bark is to dog as
a. scratch is to cat.
b. tail is to pig.
c. hoot is to owl.
d. bark is to tree.
2. Chair is to furniture as
a. car is to automobile.
b. shirt is to clothing.
c. paper is to book.
d. dog is to poodle.
3. Day is to night as
a. tall is to short.
b. happy is to glad.
c car is to engine.
d. horse is to pony.
4. Quiet is to silent as
a. unhappy is to joyful.
b. eager is to bored.
c. sloppy is to messy.
d. hour is to minute.
B. Write the word that best completes each analogy.
5. Chef : cook :: pilot : _____.
6. Month : year :: classroom : _____.
7. Pie : slice :: door : _____.
8. Hurry : rush :: jump : _____.
Sometimes on a test you must read a passage and then write answers to questions about it. Remember these guidelines to help you write a good answer.
Guidelines for Answering an Essay Question
1. Read the question carefully. Find clue words that tell what kind of answer to write, such as explain, compare, contrast, and summarize.
2. Look for other clue words that tell what the answer should be about.
3. Write a topic sentence that uses clue words from the question. Write other sentences that give details to support the topic sentence.
4. Answer only the question that is asked.
Read the following passage and follow the instructions at the end.
Animals in the Arctic
The Arctic is the region at the top of the world. Because it lies so far north, it has very cold, long winters. The temperature can drop to sixty degrees below zero!
Even though the Arctic has bitter winters, many kinds of animals make their home there year round. If you went for a walk on the tundra, you might see caribou, a polar bear, or an arctic fox. These animals have thick fur coats that keep them warm. Some animals that live part-time in the water, such as seals and walrus, also have fur. They also have a thick layer of blubber under their skin to help warm them in the icy water.
The arctic hare, which looks like a rabbit, and the lemming, a mouselike rodent, are small furry animals that protect themselves from the cold by living in tunnels under the snow.
Birds have their own warm coats made of feathers. However, they have a special problem because they have no "leggings" to warm their feet and legs. Only a few birds whose feet and legs can stand very low temperatures, such as the ptarmigan, live in the Arctic.
There's one kind of animal you will rarely find, though–snakes and other reptiles. Very few of these cold-blooded animals could survive an Arctic winter!
Summarize why arctic animals are able to survive the cold winters.
Read these two answers to the instruction. Which one is a better answer?
The Arctic is at the top of the world. It's really, really cold there. Sometimes it gets as cold as b0 degrees below zero. A lot of furry animals live there but few snakes! There are the polar bear, the arctic fox, seals, walrus, and the lemming. If you don't know what a lemming is, it's a rodent that looks like a mouse. Birds and insects live there too because they don't freeze.
Animals in the Arctic have different ways that help them survive the cold winters. Some animals, such as the polar bear, have thick coats of fur. Water animals like seals have fur and blubber. Some small animals live in tunnels in the snow. The birds have feathers and special feet and legs that don't get too cold. These are the ways the animals stay alive in winter.
The first answer names the kinds of animals in the Arctic, but it doesn't tell about why they are able to survive. It also gives facts about the Arctic that the question doesn't ask for.
The second answer uses clue words from the instruction in the topic sentence, such as survive and cold winters. The other sentences summarize the main points about how the animals survive the cold. This answer gives only the information asked for.
Your school may be equipped with computers, or you may have your own. Try to become familiar with the following terms to understand how the computer works.
CD-ROM A flat, round, plastic disk where computer data or music can be stored and read with a laser; many computers have built-in CD-ROM drives.
cursor The blinking square, dot, or bar on a computer screen that shows where the next typed character will appear.
disk drive A device that can read information from a disk or write information onto a disk; you insert a disk into a disk drive through a thin slot.
document A written or printed piece of writing.
floppy disk A somewhat flexible plastic disk coated with magnetic material and used to store computer data.
font Any one of various styles of letters in which computer type can appear. hard copy A computer document that is printed on paper
hard drive A computer disk that cannot be easily removed from the computer; hard disks hold more data and run faster than floppy disks.
hardware The parts of a computer system, including the keyboard, monitor, memory storage devices, and printer
keyboard A part of the computer containing a set of keys.
menu A list of computer commands shown on a monitor
modem A part of a computer that allows it to communicate with other computers over telephone lines. It can be a separate device or inside the computer.
monitor A part of a computer system that shows information on a screen.
printer A part of a computer system that produces printed documents.
software Programs that are used in operating computers.
These commands are often used in word processing. You can give each command by typing a series of keys or by selecting it from a menu.
Close Closes the displayed document.
Copy Copies selected, or highlighted, text.
Cut Removes selected, or highlighted, text.
Delete Removes selected, or highlighted, text.
Find Locates specific words or phrases in a document.
New Opens a new document.
Open Displays a selected document.
Paste Inserts copied or cut text in a new location in the same document or in another document.
Print Prints the displayed document.
Quit Leaves the program.
Return Moves the cursor to the beginning of the next line. Stores a document for later use.
Save Stores a document for later use.
Shift Allows you to type a capital letter or a new character. Activates the spelling tool.
Spelling Activates the Spelling Tool
Tab Indents the cursor to the right.
Writing an e-mail is different from writing a letter or talking on the phone. Follow these guidelines to write good e-mail messages.
Guidelines for Using E-mail Effectively
1. Give your message a specific title in the subject line. The person receiving your message should know the subject before opening it.
2. Use short paragraphs. Long paragraphs are difficult to read onscreen.
3. Skip a line instead of indenting when you begin a new paragraph. Your message will be easier to read onscreen.
4. Remember that special type, such as italics or underlining, may not show up on the other person's screen.
5. Be careful how you use humor. The other person can't hear your tone of voice and may not be able to tell when you're joking.
6. Even though an e-mail may seem more casual than a letter, you should still follow the rules of good writing.
7. Proofread your messages, and fix all capitalization, punctuation, usage, and spelling mistakes.
Subject: New Friends
I just received your first e-mail message. I am so excited to have a Japanese student to write to. We are learning about Japan in my fifth-grade class.
I am ten years old and live in Charlottesville, Virginia. I am tall and have red hair and freckles. I have three sisters and two goldfish. My favorite sport is soccer.
Using a Spelling Tool
Your word-processing program's spelling tool can help you proofread your writing. Having a spelling tool on your computer doesn't mean you don't have to know how to spell, though.
Look at this paragraph. Do you see any misspelled words? If you do, you're smarter than a spelling tool because it didn't find any of the mistakes.
This summer my family and I went on a vacation to the beech. I can still remember the scent of the ocean and the feel of the sand under my bare feet. I spent ours helping my little sister build a sandcastle with a pail and a shovel. One day we saw a pair of star fish. There is no place like the beach!
Think of a spelling tool as a proofreading partner. The spelling tool can help you find mistakes in your writing, but you still need to proofread to make sure the spelling tool didn't miss anything.
Computers and the Writing Process
Computers can help you plan, draft, revise, proofread, and publish your writing more efficiently. Here are some ideas for using a computer in the writing process.
Type your thoughts as you think of them. Don't worry about finishing your sentences or grouping ideas. You can use the Cut and Paste features to make changes later.
Create outlines, charts, or graphic organizers to help you plan your writing. Tip: Some word-processing programs have ready-to-use graphic organizers that you just fill in.
Benjamin Franklin's Career
I. What Ben Franklin printed
A. City laws
B. Notices of meetings and events
C. Pennsylvania Gazette
II. Other jobs Ben Franklin had
Save your prewriting notes and ideas under a new file name, and then expand a list or outline into a draft.
Double-space your draft so that you can write revisions on your printout.
Boldface or underline words you may want to change later
Save a copy of your file under a new name before you begin making changes.
Have a conference with a partner right at the computer. Read your draft aloud and discuss any questions or problems you have. Then insert your partner's comments in capital letters. Later you can decide which comments you agree with.
Use the Cut and Paste functions to make changes. Move or delete words, sentences, or paragraphs with just a few clicks. Tip: If you're unsure about cutting something, just move the text to the end of your document. You can always cut those "throwaways" later.
Rewrite problem sentences or paragraphs under your original text. Boldface your new text and compare the different versions. Delete the version you don't want.
Use the electronic thesaurus in your word-processing program to find synonyms. Be careful to choose a synonym that has the meaning you want.
Check your spelling with your word processor's spelling tool. Then check for errors a spelling tool won't catch! See "Using a Spelling Tool" on page H40.
Turn your sentences into a list. Place the cursor after each end punctuation mark and press Return. Now you can easily spot sentences that are too long or too short, run-on sentences, and fragments. You can also make sure that each sentence begins with a capital letter. When you're finished proofreading, simply delete the extra returns.
Computers make publishing your writing a snap. Here's how you can create professional-looking final products.
Choose your fonts carefully. Designers suggest using no more than three fonts per page.
Use bullets to separate the items on a list or to highlight a passage. Typing Option + 8 usually produces a bullet.
Add art to your paper or report.
• Use the computer's Paint or Draw features to create your own picture.
• Cut and paste clip art, which comes with some software.
• Use a scanner to copy images such as photographs onto your computer. You can then insert them electronically into your document.
If you don't have the equipment to create electronic art, simply leave a space in your document, print out a hard copy, and draw or paste in a picture.
Other key combinations will make special pictures and symbols called dingbats. See how many you recognize.
Create tables, charts, or graphs to accompany your writing. For example, you can chart or graph the results of a class survey on birthdays.
Choose your paper. White paper is always fine, but sometimes you may want to try colored paper or stationery with borders or pictures. Tip: Check with an adult before changing the printer paper. Paper that is too thick or heavy can jam your printer.
Organize your writing in electronic folders. Create separate folders to store poems, stories, research reports, and letters. You can also make a folder for unfinished pieces. Think of your computer as a giant storage cabinet!
Create newsletters, magazines, or brochures using word-processing templates. Look at examples of real newspapers and magazines to see what kind of type to use, how big to make titles, and where to put pictures. Try combining electronic files to create a class newsletter that contains articles written by each of your classmates.
Start an electronic portfolio for special pieces of your writing. You can create a portfolio folder on your hard drive or copy your files onto a floppy disk. Add pieces you choose throughout the year
What Is the Internet?
The Internet is a network of computers that connects people, businesses, and institutions all over the world. It lets computer users communicate with other computer users quickly and easily. Here are some of the many things you can do on the Internet.
• Do research. You can watch a volcano erupt, take a tour of the Smithsonian, or hear music from the Revolutionary War. You can search for current articles or historical documents.
• Visit an electronic bulletin board or a chat room, where users "meet" to discuss specific topics. Here you can join an online book club, chat with other students who enjoy playing basketball, or debate current events.
• Send e-mail to your friends and family. Anyone who is online is reachable. See "Using E-mail" on page H39.
Visit Education Place at www.eduplace.com/kids/hme/ for fun activities and interesting information.
• Use special software to create your own Web site. You design the page, write the text, and choose links to other sites. Your school may also have its own Web site where you can publish your work.
Tips for Using the Internet
Although the Internet can be a great way to get information, it can be confusing. Use these tips to make the most of it!
• Search smart! Use a search engine to help you find Web sites on your topic or area of interest. Type in a key word or search by topics. Most search engines give tips on searching. Some search engines are designed just for kids.
• Write down the source of any information you find on the Internet just as you would for a book. Along with the author, title, date of the material, and online address (URL), make sure you include the date you found the information. Information on the Internet can change daily.
• Check your sources carefully. The Internet is full of information, but not all of it is reliable. Web sites published by well-known organizations may be more trustworthy than those published by individuals.
• Protect your privacy. Never give your full name or address in a chat room.
Creating an Electronic Multimedia Presentation
An electronic multimedia presentation is a combination of words, pictures, and sound. It lets you express much more than you could with just words. For example, an electronic multimedia presentation on rain forests could contain descriptions of the plants found in a rain forest, recordings of animal sounds, photographs of the Amazon rain forest, and a video of flying squirrels.
Here is what you need:
• a personal computer with a large memory
• high-quality video and audio systems
• a CD-ROM drive
• a multimedia software program
Check with your school librarian or media specialist to find out what equipment is available.