English Language JSS2 First Term

Week 8


Language Structure

Reading Skills: Surveying, Skimming and Scanning.

Language Structure

1. Talking about Possibility

Read this dialogue:

Driver:           Don’t touch him! He may be suffering from an infectious disease!
Passenger 1:  In that case we may be stuck here for hours!
Passenger 2:  Or we might end up in the hospital!

The driver was not sure what was wrong with the man. He thought it was possible that the man might be suffering from a contagious disease. The passengers thought that they might end up in trouble , so they ran off.

When we talk about things that are possibl we often use the modal verbs may or might. The two words mean almost the same thing, though might often indicates something less possible than may.

Look at this sentence:

Ali: When I leave school I shall get a job.

Ali seems very certain about what he’s going to do when he leaves school. Most people are not so sure as Ali! For example, look at what Joseph says:

Joseph: When I leave school I may get a job. I’m not sure yet. I might go to the university instead.

Notice that the voice goes down on sure, then up again on the word yet.

Table 1

When I leave school, I may join the army, But I’m not ↑ sure, ↓ yet
go to university,
get a job,
get married,
go abroad,
move to Abuja,

2. Future Possibilities

Ask and answer these questions.

  1. What do you think you might do when you leave school?
  2. What do you think you might do when you are 16 if you pass all your exams?
  3. Where do you think you might be in the next 5 years?
  4. Do you think you might travel overseas?

3. Present Possibilities

So far we have been talking about the future. We can also talk about possibilities in the present. Practise these dialogues:

Mary:   Where’s Caleb? He’s not here today.
Grace:   He may be ill.
Mary:    Or the bus may be late
Grace:   In that case, he may be coming later

Sule:    Where’s Uche?
Bill:       He said he is ill.
Sule:      In that case, he may be too ill to come
Bill:       Let’s go and see him.

Jeff:      We’re short of a player for today’s match
Henry:  I think James may be available. Let’s ask him
Jeff:       I’m not so sure. He said he might be going to Lagos today.
Henry:   Well, he may be back in time. I’ll go and see.

4. Reporting Commands and Instructions 

Read this Dialogue:

Teacher:  Stop talking, everyone, and pay attention!
Maduka:  (who did not hear what the teacher said) Hey, Emeka did you –
Emeka:     Sssh! He told us to stop talking!

Here, Emeka is reporting what the teacher said. His statement consisted of:

The subject:                  He
The reporting verb:   told
The object:                     us
An infinitive phrase: to stop talking

Table 2

The doctor

The article





us to

not to

stretch the patient out flat
loosen all tight clothing
move the patient nearer the window
throw cold water unto the patient’s face
open all the windows
slap the patient’s face
apply artificial respiration if necessary
receive the patient by putting a match to his feet
keep our heads
lose our heads

Table 3

Verb +(pro)noun + to + infinitive
He instructed me/you/him to

not to






told her/us/them
advised Mary/ Audu
asked Mr Ojo
ordered the boy
paid the driver
  • Make true sentences from Table 2 above.
  • There are many different reporting verbs as shown in Table 3. Look at the table and make up 6 similar sentences

5. Indirect Speech: Punctuation

With direct speech, we use inverted commas.

For example:
‘Park your car at the side of the road’,  ordered the policeman.

When we report this in indirect speech, we do  not use inverted commas:
The policeman told us to park our car at the side of the road.
Write out the following speech in indirect format:

  1. ‘Take the second turning on the left,’ he told them.
  2. ‘Go along the corridor and wait outside Room 12,’  the clerk instructed Ali.
  3. ‘You’d better see a specialist,’  advised the doctor. (Use me, and leave out better.)

Reading Skills: Surveying, Skimming and Scanning.

Surveying, skimming and scanning texts can dramatically reduce the time wasted on researching. You will also need to read texts thoroughly for detail. Some of the texts you will read are likely to be complex and it is common that you will need to reread articles to fully understand them

SURVEYING: Surveying the text means looking at the table of contents, at chapter headings, at summaries or abstracts to get a broad, overview of content and purpose.
Purpose – to get broad, overall picture of essentials in article, chapter, or book.

How do you do it?
1) read title
2) read abstract or first paragraph
3) read all headings, italicized words, graphs and tables
4) read last paragraph and/or
5) read summary

How will surveying help me?
1) facilitates reading–increases subsequent reading speed
2) improves comprehension
3) gives you ideas about whether to skip material, skim, read, study–helps you to be selective

SKIMMING: Skimming is looking quickly through a text to gain a general impression of what it is about. Skimming means looking over a text quickly, looking for key words, headings, tables, images and illustrations, to get the gist of the content. This will help you to decide whether you should read further and how useful the document will be to your project.
Purpose – concentrates your attention on the essentials of a paragraph or series of paragraphs

How do you do it?
1) read first sentence of paragraph
2) read last sentence of paragraph
3) read key words in between

Two skimming patterns:
a) for formal style typical of most text books (with long involved sentences and long paragraphs: read using 3 steps outlined above)
b) for informal style (shorter sentences and paragraphs) read using first two steps only

How will skimming help me?
1) after surveying article, you may feel it doesn’t merit reading, but is too important to discard
2) use to review material (previously studied) just before a test
3) will help you get through material faster

SCANNING: Scanning means looking quickly through the text to find a specific piece of information. If you only need a specific piece of information, scan the text to find it. Don’t read the whole text in detail.
Purpose – to help you find one specific bit of information within a relatively large body of information

How do you do it?
1)  visualise the words/phrases first
2) visualise things to be spotted – get clear mental picture of the words
3) use all available clues– Look at capital letters, hyphens, italics, synonyms, key words and items in bold
4) use paragraph topical clues, such as words in boldface or italics
5) use systematic

canning patterns
a) run eyes rapidly down middle of column using a zig-zag motion
b) use wider side-by-side movement for solid pages of print

How can scanning help me?
1) uncovers relevant information
2) accelerates reading speed and flexibility (can scan ten times your present reading rate)
3) two situations where scanning is helpful:
a) you know material has information you want, but can’t remember specifically what it is or where it is in the chapter
b) you are looking for something unknown – you won’t know exactly until you find it (i.e., processing large amounts of information as part of your job)

Scanning is useful if you know the article has the information you want but can’t remember where.

Researching and reading tips
– Make notes in your own words not necessarily with the words of the passage
– Write down questions. What do you want to find out?
– Identify key points
– Create a mind map or lists on on what you have learned
– Question the author’s position on the topic


Folktale: Features 


  • Characters are flat, simple, and straightforward. They are typically either completely good or entirely evil and easy to identify.
  • The hero and heroine are usually young.
  • The heroine is usually fair, kind, charitable, and caring.
  • The hero is usually honorable, courageous, unselfish, and caring.
  • Both usually have special abilities or powers. The hero or heroine is often isolated and is usually cast out into the open world or is apparently without any human friends. Evil, on the other hand, seems overwhelming. Therefore, the hero/heroine must be aided by supernatural forces, such as a magical object or an enchanted creature, to fight against evil forces
  • The characters are usually stereotypical, for example, wicked stepmothers, weak-willed fathers, jealous siblings, faithful friends. Physical appearance often readily defines the characters, but disguises are common.
  • Motivation in folktale characters tends to be singular; that is, the characters are motivated by one overriding desire such as greed, love, fear, hatred, and jealousy.


  • Place is described easily and briefly (humble cottage, magic kingdom) that fits the typical geography of the culture or it is not mentioned but assumed.
  • Most folktale settings remove the tale from the real world, taking us to a time and place where animals talk, witches and wizards roam, and magic spells are commonplace
  • Time is in the past (usually long-ago) imbedded within the history of the culture. The settings are usually unimportant and described and referred to in vague terms (e.g., “Long ago in a land far away…” and “Once upon a time in a dark forest…”)
  • Time is fantasy time (Once upon a time sets the stage and They lived happily ever after closes the tale.) any time or any place, timeless or placeless, or long long ago.


  • Very simple, though interesting.
  • Thought provoking to didactic.
  • Is full of action and follows specific and simple patterns. The plot starts right out with fast moving action that grabs the listeners interest and keeps it. Conflicts are usually resolved with great deeds or acts of human kindness related to good and bad/evil.
  • The action tends to be formulaic. A journey is common (and is usually symbolic of the protagonist’s journey to self-discovery). Repetitious patterns are found, suggesting the ritual nature of folktales and perhaps to aid the storyteller in memorization; for example, events often occur in sets of three sometimes (e.g., three pigs, three bears, three sisters, three wishes),


  • Usually universal truths, lessons, and values related to people, their actions, and/or material goods that is valued by the group that creates the folktale.
  • Often the tales tell what happens to those who do not obey the groups traditions.
    1. Problems of young adults
    2. Security
    3. Fear of leaving home
    4. Fear of not having children
    5. Fear of not being loved or giving love
    6. Reflect basic values and concerns of different cultures
    7. Good and evil
    8. Right and wrong
    9. Justice and injustice
    10. Happiness, kindness, friendship, loyalty
    11. Love and loyalty
    12. Discuss basic values of people
      Common folktale themes include the following
    1. The struggle to achieve autonomy or to break away from parents (“Beauty and the Beast”)
    2. The undertaking of a rite of passage (“Rapunzel”)
    3. The discovery of loneliness on a journey to maturity (“Hansel and Gretel”)
    4. The anxiety over the failure to meet a parent’s expectations (“Jack and the Beanstalk”)
    5. The anxiety over one’s displacement by another – the “new arrival” (“Cinderella”)


  • Descriptions are quick and to the point with little description and detail.
  • Plausability story is possible but not probable.
  • A promise father promises to send one daughter, if set free; promises first son, if spin gold;
  • Number three father has three daughters and three sons, and three weeks to return
  • Magic Supernatural beings Objects (mirror, beans, golden objects) Spells, Enchantments,
  • Magical transformations, Character transformed by a spell and only the love or loyalty of another character can break the spell Ugly person casts a spell on … Spell is broken and turns into a …
  • Run away from home Gingerbread Boy – English, The Bun – Russian, The Pancake –
  • Norwegian Cumulative Henny Penny, sequence of events or characters that accumulate.
  • Repeat phrases, develop logic and sequential thinking (for preoperational children), and understanding for more sophisticated literature. The House that Jack Built, The Old Lady that Swallowed a Fly.
  • Folktale motifs (i.e., recurring thematic elements) are quite prevalent; they may have served as mnemonic devices when the tales were still passed on orally. Examples of common motifs include journeys through dark forests, enchanted transformations, magical cures or other spells, encounters with helpful animals or mysterious creatures, foolish bargains, impossible tasks, clever deceptions, and so on.
  • Extraordinary animals, monster, or other animated things. Three Little Pigs, Shrek
  • Explain a natural phenomena or custom. How Rabbit Stole Fire, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in people’s Ears, Tikki Tikki Temkbo.


  • Good versus bad/evil
  • Reflection of human strengths, frailities, weaknesses, or imperfections.
  • Reader is led to new insights and/or understandings.

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