By the end of the topic, learners should be able to:
a)Identify types of reading.
b)State the importance of reading.
c)Apply reading skills in different contexts.
d)Answer comprehension questions using contextual information.

2.1.1 Definition

  • Reading is the process of constructing meaning from written texts.
  • A complex skill requires identification of words in the text and constructing an understanding from them in a process called comprehension.

2.1.2 Reading for comprehension

  • It is the act of understanding what you are reading.
  • This is the ability to read text, process it and understand its meaning.

2.1.3 Reading skills

  • Reading involves understanding a written text or extracting the required information from text.
  • Understanding conceptual meaning.
  • Understanding the communicative value of sentences and utterances.
  • Understanding relations with sentences
  • Identifying the main point or important information
  • Distinguish main idea from supporting details
  • Extracting salient points to summarize.
  • Skimming
  • Scanning to locate specifically required information.

2.1.4 Types of reading

A. Intensive reading

  • It is the slow and careful reading of a small difficult text, which a person has to understand and remember.
  • It involves learners reading in detail with specific learning aims and tasks, for example reading for examinations.

B. Extensive reading

  • It is reading as much as possible, for your own pleasure, at a difficult level, which you can read smoothly and quickly without looking up words.
  • It involves learners reading texts for enjoyment and development of general reading skills, for example, reading a newspaper or magazine.

2.1.5 Importance of reading

  • Acquire knowledge.
  • Analyze, for example English literature.
  • Synthesize, that is being able to read in between lines and understand the deeper meaning of statements.
  • Evaluate.
  • Understand.

2.1.6 Speed reading

  • It is any of the several techniques used to improve one’s ability to read quickly.

I. Methods used in speed reading

1. Skimming
  • This is when you read quickly to gain a general impression of a text.
  • Skimming provides an overview of the text; it is useful to look at chapters, summaries and opening paragraphs.
2. Scanning
  • It is a process where one actively looks for information using a brief knowledge formed from skimming.
  • People know what they are looking for, for example, key words and names.
  • When you discover the key words being searched for, you will be unable to recall the exact content of the page.
  • Skimming and scanning are used by meta-guiding your eyes.

2.1.7 Meta guiding

  • It is the visual guiding of the eye using a finger or pointer, such as a pen, in order for the eye to move faster along the length of a passage text.
  • It involves drawing invisible shapes on a page of text in order to broaden the visual span for speed-reading.

2.1.8 Silent reading

  • It is the ability to sit and silently read a text.
  • It is a form of recreational reading, or free voluntary reading, were students read silently.
  • It improves student’s understanding because it helps them concentrate on what they are reading.
  • It helps people form mental pictures of the topic being discussed.
  • It helps develop strategies of reading fast and with better comprehension.
  • It teaches students how to guess the meanings of unfamiliar words from the context.
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2.1.9 Answering comprehension questions

• Reading comprehension implies understanding the meaning of a given article or a short passage.
• Comprehension exercises and tests are meant to test the level of understanding.

Points to note when answering comprehension questions

• Read the instruction carefully.
• Read the questions first.
• Never use outside knowledge.
• Deduce contextual meaning of words.
An example of a comprehension passage
Sam’s visit

When Sam finally reached Gweru, he was tired, hot and dirty. He had been on the road all day. They had a breakdown not long after Kwekwe and did not get moving again for three hours. He and the other passengers had disembarked and waited by the roadside while the driver fiddled with various bits of the engine. Sam was not surprised by the breakdown because the bus had been belching out great clouds of black smoke since they had left Harare. At least people had shared their food so everyone ate something. Sam had bread and oranges of his own and an old woman had given him a big piece of fish. He really enjoyed it, but he was not happy about spending the first day of his holiday sitting beside a broken down bus in the middle of nowhere.

Eventually, someone stopped and helped the driver to get the vehicle back in action. His aunt and cousins had met him at the roadside store that was nearest to their village. Sam and his cousin Sherry chattered nonstop, Sam full of his city news and Sherry promising to show him some mountains, bird nests and wild animals. Sam admitted that Sherry was nearly as good as a boy; though his aunt often scolded her for being such a tomboy. That evening, Sam washed his hands and face before their supper of sadza and dried vegetables.“You will have to wait till tomorrow for a bath,” said his cousin. “We are short of water at the moment.”

Sam was too tired to bother anyway. He had no trouble falling asleep, in spite of strange sounds from insects, cattle and goats instead of car engines, and neighbours’ radios. Sherry and her young sister were so overwhelmed by Sam’s visit that they woke up early. Soon, little David was shaking Sam’s shoulder as Sherry spoke. “Wake up,” she said. “We can go and fetch your bath water. The borehole pump isn’t working so we’ll go to the well. It is not far.” Sam was not completely awake. “What do you mean? Does all your water come from the hole? ” At Sherry’s old place, they only had river water. Sherry was about to laugh at him when she saw that he was genuinely puzzled. Poor Sam, he could not adjust to their rural life.
Sample of comprehension questions
  1. Why did passengers disembark from the bus?
  2. Who was fixing the bus?
  3. What was Sam’s first meal for supper when he got home?
  1. They had a breakdown.
  2. The driver.
  3. Sadza and dried vegetables.


By the end of the topic, learners should be able to:
a) Interpret graphs and answer comprehension questions.

  • A graph is a two dimensional drawing showing a relationship (usually between two sets of numbers) by means of a line, curve, a series of bars, or other symbols.
  • An independent variable is represented on the horizontal line (x-axis) and a dependent variable on the vertical line (y-axis.)
  • You have to understand information given in a graph.
  • Once you have understood the data described in a graph you will be in a position to be able to write about it and refer to the data it contains.
  • The graph below shows rainfall in Harare, for the year 2014.

  • The graph shows the maximum rainfall which was received as from January to December.
  • A lot of rainfall was received in January, February, November and December.
  • Harare had dry periods in May, June, July, August and September.
  • During the wet season, from November to March, rains usually fall in heavy afternoon showers, but they can sometimes be lighter and continuous for a couple of days.
  • The dry season, from May to September, is pretty much rain free and colder.


By the end of the topic, learners should be able to:
a) Identify main ideas from a passage.
b) Make and take notes from different passages.
c) Write summaries using their own words.

  • This is a shortened version of a story or passage.
  • It contains only the important facts or points.
  • It saves the reader’s time because it prevents the reader from having to actually go through and filter the required information from the passage.

How to write a summary

  • First, read the passage to get a general idea of the subject matter.
  • Analyze the question and key demands of the question.
  • Read through for the second time to identify the main points, that is, paragraph by paragraph.
  • Write the main idea of each paragraph in one sentence using your own words.
  • Pull out key facts or findings from the passage, which support the author’s main ideas.
  • Write your points in a paragraph and count the words.
  • Correct the language and write the final draft. Note: Main points should be written in chronological order.

Sequencing details

  • This refers to giving details in their chronological order.
  • Sequencing details refer to the identification of the components of a story, the beginning, middle and the end.
  • It is also the ability to retell the events within a given text in the order in which they occurred.
  • Sequencing details is required when narrating a story or giving a report.
  • Read the comprehension below and try to retell events in their chronological order
A visit to the park
It was on Monday morning and the streets of Bulawayo were full of people. There were so many people that they bumped and jostled each other as they got out of buses. Emergency taxis pulled up to the curb and let out passengers. Most of the taxis were packed tightly because it was the rush hour and everyone was going to work. One of them stopped in front of Centurion Park. Two children struggled out of the back door and stood brushing their clothes with their hands to reduce the wrinkles. “I ironed my dress this morning, now look at it!” said the girl, whose name was Kayla. “I sat next to a woman who was wearing so much perfume that it almost made me sick, ooh!” said her younger brother, Trust. Let’s walk around the park before we go to the shops, suggested Kayla. “The day is so nice that we should enjoy it.”

The Park was full of flowers. At one end was a playground with slides and a roundabout. There was a restaurant nearby. “I wish we could buy scones,” said Trust, looking at the people sitting at tables under the trees. “Wait and see how much money we will have left after we buy the uniforms,” said Kayla. “Things are so expensive that we may need it all.” Trust went down the slides a few times and Kayla pushed the roundabout. They both played on the swings. Trust also sat on a toy train and pretended to be an engine driver, but Kayla thought she was too old for such games.

“Look at that little girl,” she said as Trust got off the train. “She is getting terribly dirty in the mud; I wonder why her mother does not stop her.” “She is eating it too,” cried Trust. He went over and made the little girl open her hands. Clumps of mud fell to the ground. The little girl’s mouth was smeared with dirt. Kayla picked her up and laid her on clean grass. Then, she wet a handkerchief at a tap and washed the child’s mouth. “I wonder what she is doing here,” she said. Trust and Kayla looked at the little girl they had found. “How old do you think she is?” asked Trust. “Three or four, I am not sure, anyhow, she is much too young to be alone.” Kayla set on the grass with the little girl. “Where is your mother?” she asked. The little girl starred at her. “Where is your mother?” Kayla repeated, slowly. “Perhaps she does not speak English,” suggested Trust. She repeated the question in Shona and Ndebele but the little girl continued to stare at them. “She must be too young to talk,” said Kayla. “Surely one of her relatives is in this park. There are so many people here. Now we have to go and buy uniforms. We can come back after we are finished.

They left the little girl sitting on the grass. She did not seem worried or frightened.
Rearrange the following statements in their chronological order in the comprehension.
Kayla asked the little girl where her mother was in three languages.
Trust wanted to buy scones.
Kayla and Trust played on the swings.
There were many people in the streets of Bulawayo.
The park was full of flowers.

There were many people in the streets of Bulawayo.
The park was full of flowers.
Trust wanted to buy scones.
Kayla and trust played on the swings.
Kayla asked the little girl where her mother was in three languages.

In not more than 60 words, summarize what the two children did in the park.

Summary points

  • Kayla and Trust struggled out of the back door of a tax.
  • They stood and removed wrinkles on their clothes by hands.
  • They walked around the park.
  • Trust went down the slides a few times while Kayla pushed the roundabout.
  • They both played on the swings.
  • Trust sat on the toy train pretending to be the engine driver.

2.2.2 Notes

  • These are a brief record of points or ideas written down as an aid to memory.

I Note making

  • This is the link between study readings and answering assignment questions, for example, when you read a passage and simplify it in your own words.
  • When you are learning new material, you have to ensure that the material is processed (understood and remembered) in such a manner that you understand and recall it.
  • It helps you to understand.

II Note taking

  • It is the practice of recording information captured from another source.
  • The notes are commonly drawn from a temporary source, such as an oral discussion with the teacher or a lecturer.
  • For example, when pupils take notes while the teacher is talking.


By the end of the topic, learners should be able to:
a)Deduce contextual meaning of words.
b)Compile individual vocabulary notes.
  • This is the knowledge of words and word meanings, which is acquired everyday through reading.

I. Types of vocabulary:

A. Active vocabulary
  • These are words that we understand and use.
  • We use these words regularly when speaking or writing.
B. Passive vocabulary
  • These are words that we understand but do not or cannot use, for example, words that you understand when you hear them on television but do not use them in everyday speech.

II. Vocabulary building

  • The meaning of words that people come across when reading can be known by their context.
  • The context of the sentence can tell us the part of speech of the unknown word.
  • The context of a paragraph helps to define the unknown words.
  • Using the context is the only way to figure out the meaning of the word as it is used in the sentence, passage or chapter.
  • Susan came home late because she was at a bar.
  • The word bar-it is a common word but without surrounding words, you do not know if it describes soap, a place that serves beer, a sand formation at the beach or a way to lock the door.


By the end of the topic, learners should be able to:
a)Differentiate facts and opinions from given texts.

I. Facts

  • A fact is something that can be checked and backed up with evidence.
  • It is something that has really occurred or is actually the case.
  • For example, in 1980 R.G Mugabe became the president of Zimbabwe. We can check these details by looking at the Zimbabwean records.

II. Opinions

  • An opinion is something, based on a belief or view.
  • This is a personal view, attitude or appraisal.
  • An opinion depends on the evidence available.
  • For example, Wayne Rooney, is the best football player in the English premier league. Some people might think that there are other players in the English Premier League who are better than him.
Fact Opinion
Dogs have fur. Dog fur is pretty.
There was a band. The band sang great songs
11 April is my birthday. 11 April is the best day of the year.

Write down the fact and opinions from the paragraph below.

'Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. He grew up in a log cabin in the state of Kentucky. He is the President responsible for the Emancipation Proclamation, a document abolishing slavery. He gave many speeches as President and he was eloquent. However, he was assassinated on April 15, 1865.'


  • Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.
  • He grew up in a log cabin in the state of Kentucky.
  • He was assassinated on April 15, 1865.
  • He is the president responsible for the Emancipation Proclamation, a document abolishing slavery.
  • He gave many speeches as president and was eloquent.


By the end of the topic, learners should be able to:
a)Draw inferences from passages

• Deduction is an action of subtracting something.
• Inference is a conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning.

The following examples show inference on statements.

Example 1

  • Eric played outside today.
  • How do we know?
    1. Muddy shoes.
    2. The ball, which is outside.
    3. The water bottle.

Example 2

  • Dad seems tired tonight.
  • How do we tell?
    1. Rubbing his eyes.
    2. Yawning at the dinner table.
    3. He is on the couch. Reasoning and the available evidence.

Example 3

Read the statements in column A and try to picture when the story takes place.
Statements/situation Clues-Think about when the story takes place
1. My mother told me to take out firewood. I put on my jacket, grabbed a torch and then rushed out. -Night time, in winter (because the writer had to wear something warm and a use a torch because there was darkness outside)
2. I jumped out of bed, threw on my swimming costume and rushed to the pool. Mother promised us ice cream because it was hot. -Daytime, in summer (We get a clue from activities being done, that is, swimming and eating ice cream.
3. After school, my brother and I put on our boots, woolen hats, gloves and we made fire to warm ourselves during the night. -Nighttime in winter because of the attire they wore.


By the end of the topic, learners should be able to:
a)Analyse characters in different texts.

  • This is when you evaluate a character’s behavior, or manner, their role in the story and the conflicts they experience.

I. Ways of revealing character

  • By the writers direct words.
  • By the person’s actions.
  • By what the person says.
  • By what someone else says about the person.
  • By showing the person’s thoughts.
  • By showing how other people treat the person.
Examples of words used to describe a character
  • Selfish
  • Mischievous
  • Weird
  • Boastful
  • Pessimistic
  • Fearful
  • Descent
  • Wicked
Examples of questions asked about a person’s character
  1. Who is the main character in the story?
  2. In one paragraph, describe the main character’s age, appearance, personality, thoughts and many more.


By the end of the topic, learners should be able to:
a) Identify the tone and the mood of a given text.
b) Describe the attitude of the writer.

  • Tone and mood both deal with the emotions centered on a piece of writing.

I. Tone

  • • This is the author’s attitude towards a subject.
Examples of words used to show tone are:
  • Interested
  • Admiring
  • Annoyed
  • Angry
  • Anxious
  • Joyful

II. Mood

  • It is the general atmosphere created by the author’s words.
  • It is the feeling the reader gets from reading those words.
  • This can change from situation to situation.
Examples of words used to show mood are:
  • Amused
  • Loving
  • Intimidated
  • Annoyed

2.2.8 STYLE

By the end of the topic, learners should be able to:
a) State different styles used by writers to express their opinions.

  • Writer’s style-this is what sets his or her writing apart and makes it unique.
  • Writing style-This is the manner of expressing thought in language characteristic of an individual, period, school or nation. It is the choice of words, sentence structure and paragraphing used by the writer to convey meaning effectively.
  • Style is the way writing is dressed up to fit the specific context, purpose or audience.
  • Word choice, sentence fluency and the writer’s voice contribute to a piece of writing.
  • The way a writer chooses words and structures sentences to achieve a certain effect is also an element of style.

I. Types of styles

a) Expository or Argumentative style

  • Expository writing is a subject-oriented style.
  • The focus of the writer in this type of writing style is to tell the readers about a specific subject or topic and in the end, the author leaves out his own opinion about that topic.

b) Descriptive style

  • In descriptive writing, the author focuses on describing an event, a character or a place in detail.
  • Sometimes, descriptive writing style is poetic in nature, where the author specifies an event, an object or a thing rather than merely giving information about an event that has happened. Usually, the description incorporates sensory details.

c) Persuasive style

  • Persuasive style of writing is a category of writing in which the writer tries to give reasons and justification to make the readers believe his point of view .
  • The persuasive style aims to persuade and convince the readers.

d) Narrative style

  • Narrative writing style is a type of writing where the writer narrates a story.
  • It includes short stories, novels, biographies and poetry.


  • There are three language styles, which are:

1) Formal writing style

  • In formal writing, there are likely to be more longer sentences.
  • The main points have to be introduced, elaborated and concluded in every topic.
  • No contractions should be used to simplify words, for example, people should use “it is” instead of “it’s”.
  • Abbreviations must be spelt out in full when first used, for example, “i.e.” should be written as “that is”
  • Formal writing shows a limited range of emotions and avoids emotive punctuation such as exclamation points.

2) Informal writing style

  • Informal writing is similar to spoken conversation.
  • It may include slang, figures of speech, broken grammar and others.
  • You can use the first or third person point of view (I and we) and the reader can be addressed using the second person (you and your).
  • Short sentences, incomplete sentences or abbreviations are acceptable and sometimes essential for making a point.
  • Words are more likely to be simplified using contractions and abbreviations.
  • Contractions, for example I’m, doesn’t, it’s.
  • Abbreviations, for example TV, Photos.

3) Semi-formal writing style

  • There is less use of colloquial language, for example “Thank you very much for your letter”, instead of “Thanks a million for your letter.”
  • Idioms, phrasal verbs and short forms are less frequently used, for example “I am writing to request information abou…” instead of “I thought I’d drop you a line to ask about ...”
  • There is use of a polite respectful tone, for example, “I was wondering if you had …” instead of “Do you have…”

2.2.9 TEXTS

By the end of the topic, learners should be able to:
a) State qualities of a good text.

  • A text is a piece of written material regarded as conveying the authentic or primary form of a particular work.

I. Qualities of good texts

  • A good text should be:
a. Readable
  • It should be grammatically sound and stylistically clear, requiring only as much work to understand as is necessary.
b. Develop gracefully
  • There should be use of evidence in support of an argument, through the relaying of a narrative, describing events occurring over time without gaps of reasoning, unsupported assumptions, missing information or anything else that would cause a reader to stumble.
c. Flowing
  • Everything in a piece of writing is exactly where it belongs, for example, whatever you need to understand in paragraph three should be present in paragraph one.
d. Concrete
  • It shows in real world ways that are easily approachable.
e. Compelling
  • Revealing the strength of the topic and line of argument.
f. Passionate
  • The written text should be important.


By the end of the topic, learners should be able to:
a)Identify different mediums of communication.
b)Describe how each medium operates.
c)Explain the advantages and disadvantages of each medium of communication.

  • Information technology is the study or use of systems (especially computers and telecommunication) for storing, retrieving and sending information.
  • Communication media refers to the means of delivering and receiving data or information.
  • Media is a collective communication outlets or tool that is used to store and deliver information or data.
  • The following are mediums of communication;

1. Newspaper

  • It is a serial publication containing news, other informative articles and advertising.


  • It delivers accurate and reliable news.
  • It is easily accessible.
  • Anyone can publish an advert through newspapers.
  • They are light in weight so anyone can carry them anywhere.
  • They are also easy to recycle.


  • Newspapers are now outdated.
  • They cost a lot of money to produce.
  • They do not deliver breaking news as they are printed once a day.
  • They have poor quality of images.
  • Some news is false.

2. Internet

  • It is a worldwide system of computer network of which users at one computer can get information from any other computer.


  • It reaches a global audience.
  • It is not expensive to advertise on internet.
  • There is unlimited communication.
  • There is easy sharing of information.
  • All types of information are found on internet.


  • Internet news is only seen by those who own and operate a computer.
  • Spam mails can be sent to random people by mistake.
  • Viruses can destroy information.
  • People can be addicted to internet.
  • Leakage of private information
  • Children can be exposed to adults only content.

3. Telephone

  • It is a telecommunication device that permits two or more users to conduct a conversation when they are far apart to be heard directly.


  • There is immediate personal response.
  • It allows people to express emotions through voice tones.
  • It is confidential and safe.
  • It is easier to build rapport through speaking on the telephone than through emails and letters.
  • It can pass sensitive messages such as condolences and disciplinary issues.


  • It is expensive because it needs money for all the communication.
  • It can be used for threats and criminal activities.
  • There might be network problems at times.
  • It promotes sexual abuse.

4. Television

  • It is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting sound with moving images in black and white or in colour ,displaying them electronically on a screen.


  • It relieves people from anxiety and monotony.
  • It entertains people.
  • Media interviews help us build up our carriers.
  • It teaches moral lessons to the society.


  • It negatively affects the studies of children as they take more time watching television than reading.
  • Dull and indecent programs divert the attention of people so that at times they miss important adverts or information.
  • Some shows and adverts will be unhealthy for youngsters.
  • It wastes time as people watch television during working hours.

5. Radio

  • It is the technology of using radio waves to carry information, such as sound by systematically modulating some property of electromagnetic energy waves transmitted through space.


  • It covers a huge population.
  • It can be enjoyed anywhere.
  • You can listen to it in any language.
  • Advertising is done at a lower rate.
  • Important information or news can be easily spread.


  • During bad weather, you cannot listen to the radio properly.
  • There is little and limited channels available compared to other communication mediums.
  • It is only an audio medium for communication.

6. Magazines

  • These are publications, usually periodical publications that are printed or electronically published.


  • Magazine titles are well respected in their field so an advert in a magazine will improve your status.
  • They separate stories in different books making it easier for people to buy a book with the section they like.
  • The superior paper used in magazines also makes it possible for the advertisement to be attractive.


  • Few people read magazines.
  • Advertising costs are high.
  • They are expensive to buy.

Ways of operating electronic media

1) Television

  • Plug in the power cable.
  • Press the start button on the remote.
  • Press the speaker as desired.
  • Select the preferred channel.

2) Radio

  • Plug in the power cable.
  • Press the start button on the radio or remote.
  • Tune the required volume.
  • Select your choice of radio station.

3) Computer

  • Make sure the power cord is firmly connected to the back panel of the CPU and is plugged into the wall socket.
  • Make sure the mouse and keyboard are securely plugged to the back panel.
  • Also check if they are connected to the correct port by checking on the markings.
  • When connections are secure, start up the machine by pressing the power button normally located in the front panel of the CPU.
  • Click the start menu and choose all programs and select from the menu the program intended to be run.
  • When switching off the computer, click the “start” button and choose the “turnoff computer” option.

4) Telephone

  • Switch on the phone.
  • Dial the number you wish to call and press the calling button.
  • When the phone is answered, say out your message to the person you have called.
  • When you are done press the “end call” button.

Taking care of electronic equipment

  • Regularly clean your equipment.
  • Use surge protectors and proper cords to avoid electric fires, shorts or other risks.
  • Place your equipment in a dry and well ventilated place.