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I. The theoretical bases of the study.

I. The theoretical bases of the study.

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secondary education test of English, equivalent to 3/10 points. Nguyễn Thị Hồng Nhung

& Nguyễn Bảo Trang (2010) show that the test for reading consists of six types of the

questions, they are questions for specific information, questions for main ideas, questions

for linking, questions for the refference objectives, questions for vocabulary, questions

for inferring, Nguyễn Thị Chi and her partner (2016) say that learners want to do the

reading tests better, they need understand the skills below:

- Scanning is ability of reading passages fast with a view to finding spcific

information to anser the questions.

- Skimming is ability of reading passages quickly to find the main ideas of the

passage;

- Guessing is predicting meaning of the words basing on the specific situation



-



Inference is inferring ability to draw out the conclusion from information of the passage.

- Refering is contrastive skill to understand the the words referring to thing or person

mentioned before in the passage.

In short, both the authors show the important skills to do the reading tests better,

however, Nguyễn Thị Chi and her partner (2016) provides the questions in the scope of

the national general certificate secondary education test of English, I agree with this idea,

therefore, I only focus on five reading skills in this study.



2. Overview of reading exercises in the course books and those in

national general test of English.

2.1. Reading pasages in the national general secondary



education tests of English and those in the sample tests.

To have an overview of the national general secondary education test of English, I have

studied the reading parts in recent exams as well as the sample tests, the result of the

study is shown in the table below;

Table 1: Statistics, skill questions, number of words

Exam



reading

passages



Questions of skill



quantity of

words



Unit 1: 6 questions for the detail of Unit 1: 355

7



the national

general

secondary

education

test of

English



Sample test

2017

number 1



2



information; 2 questions for vocabulary; 1 words

(10

question for objective of referrence; 1 quetions)

question for main idea

Unit 2: 5 questions for the detail of Unit

2:

information;; 2 questions for vocabulary; 1 481words

questions for objective of referrence; 2 (10 quetions)

questions for inferring.



2



Unit 1: 4 questions for the detail of Unit 1: 308

information; 1 question for vocabulary; 1 words

(7

question for objective of referrence; 1 questions)

question for main idea

Unit 2: 6 questions for the detail of Unit 2: 396

information; 1 question for vocabulary; 1 words

(8

question for objective of referrence

questions)



Sample test

2017

number 2



2



Unit 1: 4 questions for the detail of Unit 1: 302

information; 1 question for vocabulary; 1 words

(7

question for objective of referrence; 1 questions)

question for main idea

Unit 2: 5 questions for the detail of Unit 2: 409

information; 1 question for vocabulary; 1 words

(8

question for objective of referrence; 1 quetions)

question for inferring.



Table 1 shows that the national tests of English consists of two reading parts about

from 300 to more than 400 words, reading passages are from foreign sources of

documents with diversal topics, such as; culture, society, education, health, sports… the

reading passages cover the skills through types of questions, for example; questions for

main ideas, questions for detail information, questions for guessing meaing of th words,

questions for referrence, inferring ….. The questions are designed with suitable levels

from kowing, understanding to low and high application. of these questions of reading

passages, the questions for detail information are majorities over 70.



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2.2. The reading units in the course books having the same questions

as those in the national general secondary education tests of

English.

Through the reality of teaching English, I realise that when having the reading

questions like the questions in the national exam, my students are often confused, they do

not know how to do the reading parts in the test. To get proofs for comparing, I have

studied the reading comprehension questions in the course books English 10,11,12, and

the result of the study has been shown below.

Table 2 shows the number of the reading passages in the course books which have

the same questions as in the national tests.



English 10

Unit 4: Special

Education



English11

Unit 4: Volunteer Work



English12

Unit 10: Engdangered

Species



Test Yourself B



Unit 15: Women in Society



Table 2 shows the frequency of appearing types of questions which are the same

as those in the national general tests of English in some units in the course books, such

as, 1 unit in English 10, 2 units in English 11, this figure in English 12. This result shows

that the types of these questions in the national general secondary education tests rarely

appear in the reading passages of the course books English 10,11,12. Although reading

skill are focused, designing the questions for reading passages in the course books are not

corresponding with the questions of reading passage in the national general secondary

tests of English. Intensively studying about reading skill, particularly, the skill for

“finding the reference object” has not been mentioned ,whereas the English tests of the

national general examinations require this skill. It is ths difference from the form and

content that the students’ poor result of the national generral tests is completely

resonable.



II.



The practical bases of the study.



1. Practical situation of solutions to reading skill.

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1.1.



Quality about students’ reading skill.



To know the quality of doing the reading exercises of the twelfth form students, I have

surveyed the comprehenion reading competence of 90 students from two classes at

medium level with two reading passages including 15 questions with the different levels

of difficulty to choose the gifted students for universities and colleges. the time for two

tests lasts 20 minutes. the result of doing the tests of the students has shown below.



Chart 1: Result surveying the competence of doing reading exercise of the students.

Chart 1 shows that the students getting from 2 to 4 true answers accout for 78.8%,

equipvelent to 2,4/10 points of reading part in the test which the students gain. a sad

situationthat after surveying, there are 78,8 % students under average marks of reading

skill, the result also shows that noone got from 10 to 15 true answers, there are only

21,2% of the students gaining the average marks without quite good and good. So I can

say that most students are very bad at reading skill of the nationaf general secondary

exams, on the other hand, if we analyse more about the result of each subskill, most of

the students can not choose the right answer for the questions of reference object,

questions for vocabulay. This fact reflects the most apparent disadvantage that few

former studies have been mentioned.



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1.2. Habits of practising reading skill.

By the bad quality of reading skill, the researcher asked for ninety students’ ideas through

the survey votes in Vietnamese including open and close questions, my purpose is to

investigate my students’opinions as well as their awareness about the reading lessons.

The result shown below:

Ordinal

numbers



Frequency



Quantity



percentage



1



Usualy



7



8%



2



Sometimes



8



9%



3



Rarely



26



29%



4



Never



49



54%



Most students (83%)



answer



“Rarely” or “Never” do the reading exercises



voluntarily, while I asked teachers whether they give students reading exercises after

school, most of them answer “Rarely” or “Never” . So the students have not learn

English voluntarily, the teachers have not focused on reading skill, especially, reading

lessons in the national general secondary exams,



this, obviously, has led to the bad



result.



2. Solutions to improve the problems.

2.1. Questions for detail information.

This is the most common question in the reading lessons, according to my statistics

about the recent national general secondary tests(2016, 2017) and some sample tests, the

number of questions for detail information makes up to 70% in two reading passaes in

the tests. This is, therefore, the first type of questions to be paid attention to and teachers

should guide students to do the reading. From the study, I see that the questions for detail

information often appear by the following types:

Question: According to the passage/paragraph _____, who/ when/ where/ what/ how/

why______?

Question: In the passage/pagraph______, what does the author say about ____?

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Question: According to the passage, which of the following is true about____

Question: In the passage/paragraph _____, the author states that …

Question: According to the passage/paragraph ______, which of the following is

(NOT) true? All of the following are true EXCEPT

Question: All of the following are mentioned in the passage EXCEPT



2.1.1. Questions for detail information from the second sample test of

2017, reading passage 1:

Read the following passage and mark the letter A, B, C, or D on your answer sheet

to indicate the correct answer to each of the questions.

Whales are the largest animals in the world, and the gentlest creatures we know.

Although the whale is very huge, it is not hindered at all by its size when it is in the

water. Whales have tails that end like flippers. With just a gentle flick, it can propel

itself forward. The skin of a whale is so smooth that it does not create any friction that

can slow the whale down. A whale’s breathing hole is located on the top of its head, so

it can breathe without having to completely push its head out of the water. Whales are

protected from the cold seawater by body fat that is called blubber.

Whales live in the ocean but, in terms of behaviours, they are more similar to

humans than fish. They live in family groups and they even travel in groups when they

have to migrate from cooler to warmer waters. The young stay with their parents for as

long as fifteen years. Whales are known not to desert the ill or injured members;

instead, they cradle them.

When whales are in danger, there are people who go to great lengths to help them.

One such case occurred in 1988, when three young whales were trapped in the sea. It

was close to winter and the sea had begun to freeze over. Whales are mammals that

require oxygen from the air, so the frozen ice was a great danger to them. All they had

then was a tiny hole in the ice for them to breathe through. Volunteers from all over

soon turned up to help these creatures. They cut holes in the ice to provide more

breathing holes for the whales. These holes would also serve as guides for the whales

so that they could swim to warmer waters.

(Adapted from http://www.englishdaily626.com?reading_comprehension)



Question : Where is the whale’s breathing hole located?

A. On its head



B. On its back



C. On its face



D. On its tail



Question : According to paragraph 2, the author mentions all of the following to show

that whales “are more similar to humans” EXCEPT .

A. they do not desert the ill or injured members

B. they do not migrate from cooler to warmer waters

C. they live in family groups and travel in groups

D. the young stay with their parents for almost fifteen years

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Question : According to the passage, why was the frozen ice on the sea surface a

danger to whales?

A. Because they couldn’t swim in icy cold water.

B. Because they couldn’t eat when the weather was too cold.

C. Because whales couldn’t breathe without sufficient oxygen.

D. Because the water was too cold for them as they were warm-blooded.



2.1.2. Teaching students strategies to do this type of questions.

This types of question are often not difficult because the information often appear in

the passage. For these basic questions, if students know strategies to do the reading

lessons, they will not take much time to do these quesions. To do these types of advanced

questions for the aims of the entrance requirement to universities, students both have

procedures and understand the reading lesson intensively. To get hifh marks they need to

follow the procedures below:

+ Determiming the meanings of the sentences through key words, question words,

such as what, why, where, when, how… verbs, adjectives. Asking students to pay

attention to proper nouns.

+ Locating the information basing on the key words through scanning. Noticing

students expressions of synanym or the closest meaning expressions to key words. After

locating the information, we read the sentence before and the one after the key word with

a view to finding the answer.

+ Using our first answer to contrast with the available options and choose the

approriate option with the first answer.

For example; for the question “Where is the whale’s breathing hole located?” in

reading lesson of the second national general secondary sample test, 2017, the key words

are Where and breathing hole. Scanning the reading lesson, we realise that



the



information appears in the first paragraph. The word Where helped us determine the word

of place along with the word breathing whole helped us locate the information in the

clause “A whale’s breathing hole is located on the top of its head”, contrasting with our

answer, we know the true answer is A.

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2.2

. Questions to determine the main idea or the title of the

passage.

Through studying the national tests, Each reading lesson has a question of this

type. This is a quite difficult question for all the students at any levels. These questions

often appear with the following types:

Question: What is the paragraph mainly about?

Question: What is the passage mainly about?

Question: Which of the following statements best summerize the main idea of the

passage?

Question: Which of the following would serve as the best title of the passage?

Question: What does the passage mainly discuss?

Question: Which of the following could be the best title for the passage?

Question: What is the main idea of the passage?



II.2.1. Questions for main idea of the passage in the second national

general secondary sample test, 2017, reading passage 1:

Question: Which of the following best describes the main idea of this passage?

A. Successful attempts to rescue whales all over the world

B. Some remarkable similarities of whales to humans

C. Whales as the largest, gentlest but vulnerable creatures

D. Whales as the only animals to live in warm water



II.2.2.



Provide students procedures to do this type of questions.



Study some foreign reading lessons, which are coherent and cohesive, the first

sentence is often the title of the passage, when students have the question for main idea

of the passage, we should guide students to pay attention to the first sentence of the

passage. However, For recent national general secondary examinations, especially, the

sample tests of 2017, 2018, the types of these questions require for determining the main

idea or the title of the whole reading lesson. So in this study, we mainly give students the

strategies to determine the idea or the title of the whole reading lesson.

+ Skim the paragraphs of all the reading lesson then determine the main idea or the

title of each paragraph through the first sentence in each paragraph

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+ Connect the information of the paragraphs to guess gthe general idea of the whole

reading lesson.

+ Use both contrasting methods and exclusive method. Some multiple choice is only

the detailed information or the main idea of one paragraph. This detailed information

sometimes has other expressions to classify the levels of difficulty.

For instance, the quetion “Which of the following best describes the main idea of this

passage?” in the national general secondary sample test, 2017. Reading lesson consists

of three paragraphs, the first one mainly decibes whales, the second one talks abot their

behaviors, the third talks about the dangers whales are facing with. Comparing with the

options we see that the answer “Successful attempts to rescue whales all over the world”,

is the information mentioned in the third paragraph,



th answer “Some remarkable



similarities of whales to humans” is also the information mentioned in the secon

paragraph, and the answer “Whales as the largest, gentlest but vulnerable creatures” is a

true option because it covers the general idea of three paragraphs, the option C is the true

answer for the question.



II.3. Questions for vocabulary.

Determing meaning of the words through situation is a very important skill when

reading, because it helps students overcome the discouragement due to the long reading

lesson with a lot of new words. The course book English 12, practising reading skill is

chiefly through translation into Vietnamese. (Give the Vietnamese equivalents to the

following words). If students do like this, they will have to both determine meaning and

find Vietnamese equipvelents. This is unnecessary and it is a waste of time. For the

national general secondary test this requirement is completely different Đối với câu hỏi

rèn luyện kỹ năng này trong đề thi THPT Quốc gia được thực hiện một cách hoàn toàn

khác, the total questions of this type are 2 or 3 ones in two reading lessons. These types

og wuetions often appear in the tests as the following:

Question: The word/phrase _____ in the passage/paragraph _____ is closest in meaning

to

Question: The word/phrase ______ in the passage/paragraph _____ could best be

replaced by which of the following?

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