Reading 101 Textbook: None. Selected writings found online will constitute the textbook.

Instructor: Mba Mbulu

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Class #1




Reading Hints

In spite of all the changes that have taken place, one fact remains-- reading is still fundamental. The following suggestions might help you improve your reading skills and increase the amount of time you spend reading.

(1) Assume a comfortable position, but get out of it every eight to ten minutes. If the body is uncomfortable, reading is less enjoyable. Assuming a comfortable position increases the chances that reading will be a pleasurable experience.

(2) Practice blinking while you read. It has been noted that the higher an individual's level of concentration, the less that person blinks. In that regard, not blinking is good (it indicates that you are really "into" what you are reading). But there is an underside to this. Not blinking is damaging to the eyes because it encourages the eye to be inactive and weakens the eye's muscles. By blinking, the muscles remain active. Additionally, blinking helps keep other areas of the mind active.

(3) If you read a sentence that "loses" you, STOP! Reread that sentence up to the point where confusion starts setting in, and then pinpoint what is the source of that confusion (a term you don't know the meaning of, a confusing phrase or series of words, an unusual concept, etc.), and do what you can to clarify that confusion. Then reread the section and continue into what follows. This will slow you down, but don't be concerned about how fast you read. It's better to read one page and understand most of what you read than to read one chapter and understand little or nothing..

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Class #1 Reading Extract Book: Not To Be p. 7

"So it came to pass, not being.

"First there were the American people. Then there was the American government. And then there were American commercial interests.

"Now there are American commercial interests. Then there are American leaders. And then there are the American people.

"When the American people are able to accept the extent to which they have been betrayed by their government and leaders, it is possible that they will be again.

"But the American people are not yet able." [Top]

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Explanation of Class #1 Extract

The first sentence informs the reader that a process took place ("came to pass" is the key phrase). This process resulted in a condition ("not being"). The fact that a process led to a condition suggests that a prior condition existed. It can be assumed that "being" was the prior condition, but based on what is written in the first sentence, the reader can not authoritatively state that.

The second paragraph reveals a hierarchy. It suggests that that hierarchy no longer exists ("First" and "were"), but it does not provide enough information to enable the reader to safely reach that conclusion. It does, however, give details about the hierarchy: It has three tiers or levels, and the American people occupy the top tier. The American government occupies the second tier and American commercial interests occupy the bottom tier.

The third paragraph begins by confirming the reader's suspicion that the hierarchy has changed ("Now" and "are"). It tells the reader that the hierarchy is the opposite of what it was. A process has apparently taken place, and a new condition has replaced a previous condition, but the third paragraph goes no further. If, at this point, the reader connects the third paragraph to the condition mentioned in the first paragraph, the reader would be making an understandable but insupportable connection. Sufficient evidence of that connection is still lacking.

The fourth paragraph strengthens the case that the connection can be made. The fourth paragraph suggests that the American people can "be" "again". It also states that the American people have been betrayed by their government and leaders, and hints, but does not state outright, that this betrayal has something to do with the present condition of the American people. Can the American people change their present condition? "When" and "extent" address that question by suggesting that the possibility exists. The fourth paragraph does not take the reader beyond that point.

The fifth paragraph does not treat that possibility either. "[T]he American people are not yet able", it states. For the time being, it suggests, the American people will remain within the confines of their present condition. Does it suggest that a discussion of "possibilities" is a mute discussion? Maybe--- but it definitely does not make that statement outright. Does it imply that a decision should be made based on the present inability ("are not yet able") of the American people? Implications of that nature are difficult to substantiate. Based on the extract, that question can not be safely answered.

One final point, for purposes of clarification. The American people. Who are "the American people"? Based on the extract, the reader can not safely say. Unfortunately, most readers will have already filled in that blank.

Reread the extract!

Questions? Email and list your course title as the subject.

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