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Lesson 5: Traditional yet Modern

The Mall and Buckingham Palace. Photo: geograph.org.uk / Oast House Archive, CC BY-SA 2.0



Listen and practice.


Lesson 5: Vocabulary
MEP duke symbol
the EU duchess occasion
Commonwealth heir achievement
monarch heiress national anthem
monarchy hereditary coat of arms
constitutional monarchy throne union Jack
jubilee orricial crown jewels
reign residence treasure
coronation engagement  


Reading Comprehension Skills

In this lesson we’ll look at some ways for you to improve your reading and comprehension skills.

How do you read a text now? Do you simply read it from the beginning to the end, only stopping to check some unfamiliar words in the dictionary? That is how you read novels and other stories for entertainment – most likely skipping the use of a dictionary – but when you are reading a text for some other purpose, e.g. to study for an exam, you need to employ a different method.

Here’s how you can make your reading more effective.

First, before you actually start reading the text, eye through it to get some idea of what the text is about and for what purpose it was written. Take a look at the source and who wrote the text, too.
Second, skim through the text. Skimming means taking a quick look at just some parts of the text to get the main idea of what the writer is trying to say. Look at the title and any illustrations the text may have, for example pictures or graphs. If there is an ingress or summary, read that. Then read the introduction and conclusion and take a closer look at the first sentences of paragraphs to find out what function those paragraphs have (an introduction or conclusion, main points, additional information, examples…) to determine if you need to read them later. Do not stop to check any words in the dictionary at this point. You can mark some unfamiliar words in some way and check them later if it feels like you must understand them in order to understand the text.
Third, read the text. After skimming it, you probably have some idea whether you really need to read the whole text or just some parts of it. The purpose of your reading determines how you read it. Are you looking for more information on something you already know or studying something you know nothing about? Do you need to write a summary of the text? Are you checking some facts? Do you need to take notes?
Fourth, review what you have read. Did you understand and/or learn the content well enough? If you needed to take notes, do you have enough material? Revise your notes if necessary.
One more term you’ll see in reading skills materials is scanning. It simply means taking a quick look at a text to find an answer to a specific question. It could be the year when something happened or someone’s name, a definition of a term, a detail you need to check or something to that effect.

Exercise 5.1 Scanning

Take a look at the Facebook site of Charles, the Prince of Wales.

Describe in 100 words what he has been up to during the past week.

Tehtävä arvioidaan arvosanalla 4-10.


Exercise 5.2 Reading comprehension – Birmingham


Bull Ring, Birmingham, UK. Photo: Flickr / West Midlands Police, CC BY-SA 2.0

Read the article My love affair with Birmingham.

Answer the questions – don’t copy them directly from the text but write in your own words.

Tehtävä arvioidaan arvosanalla 4-10.


1. What is the main point that the writer wants to make?

2. Who are Brummies?

3. How has Birmingham been perceived by Londoners?

4. How did the writer get his friend John to change his mind about Birmingham?

5. What practical advantages of living in Birmingham does the writer mention?

6. What is HS2 and why is it important to the West Midlands?


Exercise 5.3 Reading comprehension – Perth

Perth city centre. Photo: geograph.org.uk / Val Vannet, CC BY-SA 2.0

Read up on Perth and write about 150 words on why you would/wouldn’t want to move there. Write your text in a manner which shows that you have checked out the given website.

Perth, Western Australia


You can also look for a background material of your own on the Internet. In that case remember to add the link to your source.

Tehtävä arvioidaan arvosanalla 4-10.


Exercise 5.4 The Commonwealth of Nations

Listen to the text and fill in the missing words.

Tehtävä arvioidaan S/K.


The Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary intergovernmental association of 53 independent and equal  states. Most of these states were part of the British Empire at some point. It was  during the time of the decolonization of the British Empire in the mid-1900s. Its member states include not only rich and large countries such as Canada and Australia but also many small and poor ones like Vanuatu and Nauru.

More than 2.3 billion people, which is about one third of the world population, live in the Commonwealth, and it covers almost one  of the earth’s land area and spans to five . More than half of the people live in India. The smallest country by population is the tiny Polynesian island nation Tuvalu with its 10,000 . Some of the members are among the richest countries in the world, others among the poorest: some are republics and some monarchies.

The members of this diverse  of nations are united by language, history and culture, among other things. Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of the Commonwealth. Her  is symbolic. Another symbol is the English language; its recognition as the  of communication within the Commonwealth is also a prerequisite for membership in the Commonwealth.

Most of the countries have similar political and  systems. They also share many cultural traditions and customs, for example in sports. Most nations play sports such as rugby, cricket and football. The Commonwealth Games is a sporting event similar to the Olympic Games and held every four years. It is considered one of the key  within the Commonwealth.

Otavan Opisto / Heli Viitanen

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