Reading module Essay

On Your Own

Directions:  After reading the assigned passage, apply the reading strategies by adding  your answers to the boxes below each passage. Do not forget to spell check and proofread your work. When you have completed this exercise, please upload it to the Dropbox for this week.

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Note:  Clues will be provided after each question to guide you in your answer for Reading #1.  Clues will not be provided in Reading #2.

Reading #1:  Gang Members

According to government figures, over 16,000 gangs are active in this country, and at least half a million gang members commit more than 600,000 crimes each year. Many members are young people who come from unhappy homes. They feel neglected or abused by their parents. In addition, their parents may be gang members themselves. Also, gang members often have a history of poor performance in school, and they have trouble making and keeping friends. Sometimes they feel threatened by peers or the violence in their neighborhoods. Others live in poor neighborhoods with little outside help or support.

[Adapted from McWhorter, The Skilled Reader, 2004, p. 389.]

Topic of the Passage
As you read, ask yourself, “Who or what is this passage about, and how are the ideas related?

Clue:  Look for words that seem important in the passage.  For example, I notice the terms gang members, unhappy homes, and poor neighborhoods. How are these ideas related?
Answer: The passage is about gang members who may come either from unhappy homes or from homes that already have exposure to gangs.

Key Supporting Details
What are the key supporting details of the passage?

Clue:  Look for facts, descriptions, and reasons given.  One detail is “gang members commit more than 600,000 crimes each year.”  Is the author describing their crimes?  List the important details from the passage, and think about how they are related to the topic.
Answer: The author states that there are over 16,000 active gangs in the country, and over 600,000 crimes being committed by gang members. He also states that members come from unhappy homes and that the members usually do poor in school. The facts would make the reader convinced that gang members are only capable of committing violent acts and crimes.

Unstated Main Idea
What is the unstated main idea?  (What point is the author trying to make?)

Clue:   Now that you have identified the topic and supporting details, think of one sentence which ties them together.  Turn the topic into a question and see if that helps you think of a sentence which conveys the author’s message.
Answer: Gang members have a great chance of committing crimes due to their backgrounds.

Reading #2:  American Generosity

Between September 11, 2001, and October 29 of the same year, $1 billion was raised for victims of the tragic destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City. Many individuals and organizations gave generously; the following list is just an example of this generosity. The Red Cross raised $452 million. The September 11th Fund raised $171 million. The Salvation Army took in $35 million. And the Families for Freedom Scholarship Fund collected $10 million. This last fund was set up by former President Bill Clinton and Senator Bob Dole to pay for the education of the children who lost their parents in the attack. The total amount is the largest amount of money ever given to help others in the history of the world. Americans are big-hearted people.

[Adapted from Henry, The Skilled Reader, 2004, p.182]

Topic of the Passage
As you read, ask yourself, “Who or what is the passage about?  How are the ideas related?”

Answer: The passage is about how Americans can become the most generous people in the world.

Key Supporting Details
What are the key supporting details of the passage?

Answer: The key supporting details include the overall monetary count that was raised for the victims of the World Trade Center bombing, which was $1 billion. The Red Cross raised $451 million, the September 11th Fund raised $171 million, the Salvation Army raised $35 million, and the Families for Freedom Scholarship Fund raised $10 million.

Main Idea
What is the unstated main idea?  (Why do you think the author wrote this passage?)

Answer: Americans can be very generous, especially if they work together for the good of their fellow Americans.

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