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~Reading Guide~

Seeing what you read:
Why do some people get so much enjoyment from reading, while others get so little?
Those who enjoy stories and poems and plays are able to translate black words on a page into colourful scenes in the mind´s eye. Reading requires imagination.
To increase your preasure in reading, picture what is being described.
Almost every detail the author mentions is intended to help your pictures in sharper focus.
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Using all your senses:
You should see as you read, but you should hear, too.
Stories and poems appeal to more than your sense of sight.
They include details that appeal to your sense of hearing, and your sense of touch, and of taste, and of smell.
The more of your senses and author can reach through his writing, the more memorably the scenes he is describing, and the people, will be fixed in your imagination.
But you must help. Keep all your senses open as you read.
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Entering the story:
With your senses alert to every detail you read, you will soon find yourself absorbed in the world the author has created, even when that world is an unusal one indeed. One you would not be likely to visit otherwise.
Often you will find yourself identifying with one of the people about whom you are reading; that is, you will enter the world being described with that person as your guide, seeing what he sees, ignoring what he passes by.
Some writers are able to capture your interest to such an extent that for a while you become the person in the story, sharing every one of his emotions, whether of terror or of hope, of joy or of despair.
reading guide 8

Getting to know people:
How do you come to understand the people you are reading about?
You learn about them very much the way you would through living with them.
In stories and poems and plays, you overhear what a person says. You learn how he looks and acts. And you hear other people´s opinions of him.
Of course you cannot always rely on opinion.
In the end, you must decide for yourself what a person is really like, after having weighed all the evidence the author sets before you.
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Playing the author´s game:
Sometimes you will find yourself reading a story that seems very odd indeed.
The time in which the events occur may be peculiar; the place may be unfamiliar; the people in the story may behave in quite unexpected ways.
Don´t be too hasty in condemning such a story, however.
For a while at least, enter the world the author is describing.
Some of the most enjoyable stories concern people utterly unusual, in situations utterly bizarre.
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Reading for information:
Not all writing is alike: fiction differs from nonfiction.
Similary, not all writing is read for the same reasons.
One of the major reasons people read is for information. To learn facts which they would otherwise not know.
In reading for information, you should distinguish between what is more important and what is less important.
Most author´s help you make this distinction by laying particular stress on major facts and ideas.
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Reading for excitement:
Sometimes we read for information, but at other times we read purely for excitement.
In other to excite us, an author will frequently describe a person´s stryggle against frightening odds.
As in warfare and on the athletic field, so in the world of literature: any contest between two well-matched opponents in likely to prove exciting.
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Reading for inspiration.
From reading we gain information, and we may experience excitement.
In addition, we may be inspired by lives we encounter on the printed page.
Through reading we can learn of lives as inspiring, and yet as different from each other, as those of Anne Frank and Abraham Lincoln, for example.
By growing aware of how these different lives have been led, we become more conscious of the possibilities and opportunities that lie before us in our own lives.
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Understanding the author´s attitude:
We don´t always say exactly what we mean. Sometimes, indeed, we say the opposite.
As the smartest student in the class leaves the room after a test, we may remark sarcastically, "I guess you flunked that one too, didn´t you?" Our tone of voice makes our real meaning clear.
In the same way, the meaning an author wants to share is sometimes different from what it appears to be.
He may, for example, choose to describe a man with a poor education who gets angry and loses control of himself, a man who seems to care little about everything except his farm and his everlasting toothaches.
Those details could lead a careless reader to assume that the author does not admire such a man, yet the assumption might very well be in error.
Read "between the lines" to arrive at an accurate understanding of the author´s feelings.
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Reading for patterns and main ideas:
What you read is made up of words grouped in sentences, but not all words and not all sentences are equal importance.
Learn to distinguish important ideas from the less important.
A paragraph may start with a general statement, and the prove the statement by six or seven examples.
The statement is what is important; the examples might well be read more rapidly.
Look for the shapes and the patterns of whole paragraphs.
Does this one describe an action?
Does the next one define an unusual term?
Does the third provide general background?
The more you become aware of such patterns, the more you will remember of what is read.
reading guide 4

Unusual ways of writing:
Not every author uses language the way the rest of us do.
For example, the poet E. E. Cummings delighted in doing such unexpected things with words and phrases that to most readers a Cummings poet is immediately recognizable as unlike any other.
Similarly, prose writers may choose to depart from normal patterns of writting, perhaps by running separate words together, or by unexpectedly resorting to italics, or by identifing frequently within a single paragraph.
About such a writer´s individual way of expressing himself, the only appropiate question to ask is this: are his departures from the normal effective?
In other words, do his peculiar devices work?
If they do, then he is justified in using them.
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Word Pictures:
Much of the appeal of stories and poems is contained in the word pictures they present to the minds of readers.
"The clouds and the sea and the rivers poured upon the Earth. The flood rose higher and higher, and in the places where the pretty lambs had stayed the ugly sea calves now gamboled; men in their boats drew fishes out of the tops of elm treees, and the water nymps were amazed to come on men´s cities under the waves".
The imaginative reader will picture the scene precisely; the stillness of a world of streets and houses under the water, and the eeriness of fishes caught in trees.
The more vividly you as a reader can see such details, the more you will enjoy not only myths, but all other kinds of literature as well.
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Evaluating people:
As you read about people in literature, and become interested in what they are doing, you will hardly be able to avoid evaluating them.
In other words, you will find yourself placing a value on them according to how they speak and think and behave.
One person may seem admirable, another pitiful, a third move worthy than a fourth.
Sometimes your evaluation will change as you read on and get to know better the people about whom you are reading.
And sometimes your evaluation will not be a simple one of good or bad, better or worse.
The same person whom you admire for his bravery you may also dislike for his cruelty.
In good literature people are complicated, just as they are in life.
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Plot:
"What happened next?"
Because people are curious, readers and listeners of all ages and in all times have asked or thought that question.
You may have asked it when reading a novel or short story, or thought plot contains the answer.
Plot means the sequence of related events that occur in a story; and of the many pleasures short stories offer, perhaps that of the plot is the most obviously enjoyable.
reading guide 5

Setting:
In literature, as in real life, events occurs in time and space.
"Afeter twenty years", for example, occurs or is set in New York City early in the tweentieth century.
The setting of a story may provide us with the pleasure of visiting unusual and colourful places:
England in the time of Robin Hood, the American West in the time of Buffalo Bill.
In adition, it may go far to establish the mood of a story, a spingtime, sunlit mood of joy, for example, or a ghost-haunted, desolate mood of mystery and fear.
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Conflict:
People enjoy reading for excitement, for the tension that comes from watching any conflict and the surprise or relief that accompanies the outcome.
Conflict: every short story has it, although it need not be limited to a strunggle between one man and another, or one team and another, or one army and another.
An explorer may be in conflict with the jungle world through which he hacks his ways, or with the mountain he is attempting to climb.
In other words, a man may conflict with the natural world around him.
He may conflict even with himself.
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Characterization:
Short stories allow us to meet people we would not be able to know otherwise.
People in stories are called characters, and the art of creating characters in fiction is known as characterization.
Writers create their characters in a variety of ways: by showing what they do and what they say, and by revealing what the other characters say about them.
But if the story is successful, the reader does more than simply understand the characters; he comes to believe in them.
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Point of view:
Frequently an author will choose to descend into the story and view everything that happens as it appears through the eyes of one if his characters.
One of the most important tasks the author faces is that of selecting the most effective point of view from which to tell his story.
reading guide 2

Review:
A succesful short story combines many characteristics to create the desired effect on the thoughtful reader.
The setting must be appropiate and believable.
The plot must be interesting.
The conflict must be meaningful.
The characters must behave recognizably, with likes and dislikes that lead to significant consequences.
Moreover, the story should be told from the most helpful point of view.
But although we may talk about plot, and then setting, and then conflict, and then characters, and the point of view, keep in mind that the success of a story depends on the skill with which the author blends all such ingredients together.
reading guide 3

Following a story though dialogue:
A person who writes plays is called a dramatist, or playwright; the task such a writer sets before himself differs from that of other writers.
The dramatist must tell his entire story through words spoken by characters on the stage.
Unlike the writers of poems and short stories, he cannot intrude directly to explain what is happening or how we should react to wgat we are seeing.
When we need to know a fact, the must devise a wat to have one of his characters mention that fact.
Everything, who the characters are, how they are related to each other, what has happened of importance before the curtain goes up, what happens afterwards, all must be expressed through action and dialogue, through gesture and the words the characters exchange with each other in the audience´s hearing.
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Shifts in time:
To read with full understanding, you must be alert to shifts in time as a story moves forward or backward from the moment at whitch it begins.
Often such shifts are indicated by adverbs or adverbial phrases.
Meanwhile, on the other hand, in an adverb indicating that two things are going on at the same time.
Pay particular attention to such words and phrases as "meanwhile", "at lenght", "at last", "afterwards", "on fine day", and "late that same afternoon".
These and similar phrases guide you as surely as clock does.
They "keep time," so that sequence of what you read does not become confusing.

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