Dictionary-Based Reading Lesson

Level: advanced.
Ages: adults.
Aims: to engage students with monolingual English dictionaries; to practise identifying relevant meanings in monolingual dictionaries; to practise skim- and scan-reading skills.
Skills: reading; listening; speaking.
Language focus: any vocab that arises in the lesson.

Note: This lesson is designed to be used with the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary.

Dictionary worksheet (1) – using a dictionary (teacher’s notes)

This is an expanded version of a simpler worksheet published by CUP and available here:
http://www.cambridge.org/elt/dictionaries/worksheets/CALD3-Worksheets/CALD3_WS_01UsingADictionary.pdf

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1. Which extract…
…comes from a newspaper? (extract C)
…comes from a website about celebrities? (extract E)
…is about some scientific research? (extract A)
…comes from a website about outer space? (extract B)
…is a description of a plant? (extract F)
…is about English and Scottish history? (extract D)

This is to ensure that students have had a chance to engage briefly with the content of the extracts by skim reading – they do not need to go into detail but they must know what they are reading. The extracts are taken randomly from the internet after putting “partial” into google.

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2. There is one word which appears in all six of the extracts. What is this word? (partial) Find it and circle it in each extract.

This is to give practice in the skill of scanning.

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3. Look this word up in the dictionary.

Read the dictionary definition of this word and answer the questions.
a. What are the three guidewords in the definition? not complete; unfair; liking
b. What is the most common use of this word? The first one
c. What part of speech is it? adjective
d. What does the ‘A’ mean after the first guideword? advanced
e. What is the opposite of this word? impartial

This is to allow students the chance to explore the dictionary entry without being put off by the dense amount of information given.

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4. Which of the three meanings in the dictionary corresponds to each example of this word in the extracts?

This is to give practice in analysing short chunks of text to identify which of several meanings is the relevant one.

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5. Now think about how you would translate this word into your language in three different ways, corresponding to its three different meanings. Try looking up these words in a bilingual dictionary in your first language: hopefully, the result given should be this word. Check with a friend who knows your language.

This is to draw attention to the fact that many words have several translations; that it is not enough just to know what a word means when it stands alone, but to know what it might mean in a variety of contexts.

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6. Which meaning of the following words in the texts (be careful! Are you looking for a noun or a verb, in each case?)

spring (extract F)
brand (extract C)
act (extract D)
diet (extract A)
share (extract B)
come (extract E)

This is to provide further, freer practice of the above activities.

Answers:
spring (noun, meaning 1)
brand (noun; meaning 1)
act (noun; meaning 5)
diet (noun; meaning 2)
share (verb; meaning 5)
come (verb; meaning 8)

Dictionary worksheet (1) – using a dictionary – Students’ Sheet

Extracts
And even if you don’t fast, Mattson says that simply limiting the calories you consume may be beneficial. He points to studies where rats and mice were fed every other day. Compared with those fed normal daily diets, there was a reduction in disease among the rats that were severely restricted in their food intake. Mattson says those findings hold promise that humans could also benefit from partial fasting.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16513299

If you read this week’s SkyWatcher’s Forecast, then you knew several areas of the world were in for a partial lunar eclipse event. While the Moon basically just did a glancing pass through the umbral shadow, the effect was still dramatic and I was hoping that at least one photographer out there would have a picture and story to share!

http://www.universetoday.com/2008/08/18/august-17-2008-partial-lunar-eclipse-caught-down-under/

C Rich Chinese are partial to foreign brands
By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-02-21 07:50

Big foreign labels such as Chanel and BMW continue to dominate as top brands for wealthy Chinese consumers, with their choices determined mainly by quality and environment factors, a recent survey has found.

http://www2.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-02/21/content_6471759.htm

D King James was especially concerned to present himself as impartial, given suspicions that he would be partial in his acts and decrees to the Scotsmen many English feared would impoverish their own country.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2220/is_/ai_16946519

E USA Today reported, at parties in Los Angeles and the Hamptons, Zino Platinum cigars considered the “Cristal of cigars” were given out as part of the festivities. Jay-Z, who says he has smoked cigars “on and off since 1996, ” is partial to Zino Platinums, which come in large silver matchboxes of three cigars for $87 to $127.

http://coolspotters.com/musicians/jay-z/and/products/zino-platinum-cigars#medium-6526

F Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) Grows from 25 to 30 feet tall with a spread of 20 feet. Grows best in moist soil with partial to full sun. White flowers bloom in the spring and are followed by bright red berries. Flowers have a strong sweet fragrance. The fruit has an astringent taste
but does attract birds.

http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:pxMKIdvEg5kJ:www.yardscaping.org/plants/swcdplants/native_shrubs.pdf+%22partial+to+full%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=149&gl=uk&safe=vss

Tasks
1. Which extract…
…comes from a newspaper?
…comes from a website about celebrities?
…is about some scientific research?
…comes from a website about outer space?
…is a description of a plant?
…is about English and Scottish history?

2. There is one word which appears in all six of the extracts. What is this word? Find it and circle it in each extract.

3. Look this word up in the dictionary.

Read the dictionary definition of this word and answer the questions.
a. What are the three guidewords in the definition?
b. What is the most common use of this word?
c. What part of speech is it?
d. What does the ‘A’ mean after the first guideword?
e. What is the opposite of this word?

4. Which of the three meanings in the dictionary corresponds to each example of this word in the extracts?

5. Now think about how you would translate this word into your language in three different ways, corresponding to its three different meanings. Try looking up these words in a bilingual dictionary in your first language: hopefully, the result given should be this word. Check with a friend who knows your language.

6. What is the meaning of the following words in the texts? (be careful! Are you looking for a noun or a verb, in each case?)

spring (extract F)
brand (extract C)
act (extract D)
diet (extract A)
share (extract B)
come (extract E)

(Based on Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary Worksheets, CUP, 2008)

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