IELTS Academic Reading Practice 14

 
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This reading practice simulates one part of the IELTS Academic Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage and answer questions 15-28.

Questions 15-22

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 15-22 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE   if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE   if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN   if there is no information on this

15. Literacy is a crucial concern due to its effect on intelligence
16. It is traditionally accepted that children's books should contain few pictures.
17. There have been no answers to the causes of illiteracy
18. It has been proven that using pictures improves reading ability
19. Most of the books that children first receive contain both text and pictures
20. Pictures help to reinforce and clarify a text for children who are learning to read
21. Learning by rote improves the number of words a child can learn
22. Jay Samuels concluded that children improve their vocabulary when using pictures
Questions 23-28

The reading passage has ten paragraphs labelled A-J.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter A-J in boxes 23-28 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

23 The concerns of the educator.
24 The investigation into the decline of literary standards.
25 Reading methods currently in use go against research findings.
26 Readers able to ignore pictures are claimed to make greater progress.
27 The decline of literacy is seen in groups of differing ages and abilities.
28 Illustrations in books can give misleading information about word meaning.

Answer Sheet
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
N/A
16
N/A
17
N/A
18
N/A
19
N/A
20
N/A
21
N/A
22
N/A
23
N/A
24
N/A
25
N/A
26
N/A
27
N/A
28
N/A
29
N/A
30
N/A
31
N/A
32
N/A
33
N/A
34
N/A
35
N/A
36
N/A
37
N/A
38
N/A
39
N/A
40
N/A


  • help Learn how to HIGHLIGHT & ADD NOTES
    1. HOLD LEFT CLICK
    2. DRAG MOUSE OVER TEXT
    3. RIGHT CLICK SELECTED TEXT

Declining Standards of Literacy

A Across both Europe and North America, falling literacy standards are of growing concern to many educators and parents alike. For example, nearly a third of British teenagers aged 16 exhibit the reading ability of a 14 year old or lower. Intellectual development is affected by literacy, making this apparent decline in standards of literacy all the more alarming. Now, researchers are out to discover what may be causing the issue. Socio-economic factors, as well as types of teaching methods being used in the classroom have been the primary focus of the search thus far.

B No discoveries have yet been made as to what actually impacts literacy. This may be another unfortunate example of the old cliche, “They can't see the wood for the trees.” When picture books are used in the classroom, educators are believed to be upholding a long-established tradition that is universally acceptable. More specifically, within the past 20 years, pictures and images in reading primers are more distracting and noticeable than ever. Meanwhile, language-learning itself has become a weaker point of focus in the classroom.

C  Moreover, no empirical evidence has been shown to support using pictures as educational tools for teaching children to read. In fact, there is actually a growing amount of contrary empirical evidence to this, showing that illustrations do more harm than good. This evidence suggests that using pictures to teach reading is damaging to all aspects in terms of learning to read. In spite of this finding, the first books that many students in western countries receive contain virtually no text.

D Educators of young readers should strive to help children learn the ability to recognise individual words in text, and in addition, how to understand each word’s meaning. Even if a child has the ability to read aloud, his understanding of words is the true key to literacy. When children who can sound out words and read fluently are unable to comprehend what they are reading, this sometimes known as “barking at text.” On a positive note, it seems that any negative effects of television, video games, or lack of communication at home on the effects of language learning can still be counteracted with plenty of language exposure at school.

E It’s common to see a children’s book of over 30 pages to contain little more than a few repetitive phrases of text. On the other hand, illustrations in these same books are often creative and elaborate. These pictures may seem the text seem dull in comparison, or even dampen children’s ability to imagine images for themselves while reading. In fact, viewing pictures may actively prevent children under nine years old from forming their own mental images, while presenting similar difficulties for older children, as well. For children to learn comprehension skills, it is essential for young learners to find ways to form their own meanings from text. Imagination, it appears, may actually be a learned skill that children must master.

F As children mature, many will end up rejecting books that don’t have pictures, and such a reaction becomes increasingly serious in culture which is rapidly becoming more visual than ever. Helping children learn to graduate from picture books to text-only books is a tougher task when most children’s formative reading experiences are associated with the illustrations themselves. And now, many other sources of entertainment may capture a child’s attention. Though lower intelligence is generally associated with lower rates of literacy, some results are revealing that even highly-intelligent children are not immune to the effects of these detrimental factors. Educators have responded to these challenges by further extending their use of picture books, and by simplifying the language-levels they teach, even within secondary education. Recent conferences were held at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge for the purpose of discussing this downward trend in literacy levels among undergraduate students.

G Beautiful, eye-catching pictures can be used as a motivating factor for children to read. However, this kind of motivation for reading is done best while also listening to stories read aloud. Doing this allows children to use their imaginations along with the story. As their reading skills develop, such an experience allows them to better understand new language as a whole. The use of pictures alone will not give children enough of an opportunity to hone these creative skills -- this may lead to a tragic loss of creativity and imaginative skills in future generations.

H Academic journals covering research subjects in education, psychology, language learning, and even psycholinguistics have turned out results from experiments which demonstrate the ways which picture books are problematic for beginning readers. The following is a brief selection of such research:

I Canadian educator, Dale Willows, found results which were both clear and consistent. In this research, Willows concludes that pictures affect speed and accuracy of readers. Moreover, when pictures appeared closer to words, reading became even slower and more inaccurate. She claims that when children come across a word which they are familiar with, pictures are unnecessary and distracting. On the other hand, she shows that children who do not know a word will look to the picture to indicate its meaning. In these cases, they may be misled by aspects of the pictures which are do not match the unfamiliar word’s actual meaning.

J In another instance, the American psychologist Jay Samuels found that lower-level readers who were presented with no pictures learned more words than those who had pictures. He examined other researchers’ work, some of whom had reported problems with the use of pictures, making similar findings about the way children learn words more effectively without pictures. Interestingly enough, he also found that children looking at picture books who seemed to ignore the pictures in favor of pointing to the words themselves were likely to learn more words than the children who pointed at the pictures. Even still, children given books with pictures still learned fewer words than the children who had no illustrated stimuli at all.

Reading Passage Vocabulary
Declining Standards of Literacy

A Across both Europe and North America, falling literacy standards are of growing concern to many educators and parents alike. For example, nearly a third of British teenagers aged 16 exhibit the reading ability of a 14 year old or lower. Intellectual development is affected by literacy, making this apparent decline in standards of literacy all the more alarming. Now, researchers are out to discover what may be causing the issue. Socio-economic factors, as well as types of teaching methods being used in the classroom have been the primary focus of the search thus far.

B No discoveries have yet been made as to what actually impacts literacy. This may be another unfortunate example of the old cliche, “They can't see the wood for the trees.” When picture books are used in the classroom, educators are believed to be upholding a long-established tradition that is universally acceptable. More specifically, within the past 20 years, pictures and images in reading primers are more distracting and noticeable than ever. Meanwhile, language-learning itself has become a weaker point of focus in the classroom.

C  Moreover, no empirical evidence has been shown to support using pictures as educational tools for teaching children to read. In fact, there is actually a growing amount of contrary empirical evidence to this, showing that illustrations do more harm than good. This evidence suggests that using pictures to teach reading is damaging to all aspects in terms of learning to read. In spite of this finding, the first books that many students in western countries receive contain virtually no text.

D Educators of young readers should strive to help children learn the ability to recognise individual words in text, and in addition, how to understand each word’s meaning. Even if a child has the ability to read aloud, his understanding of words is the true key to literacy. When children who can sound out words and read fluently are unable to comprehend what they are reading, this sometimes known as “barking at text.” On a positive note, it seems that any negative effects of television, video games, or lack of communication at home on the effects of language learning can still be counteracted with plenty of language exposure at school.

E It’s common to see a children’s book of over 30 pages to contain little more than a few repetitive phrases of text. On the other hand, illustrations in these same books are often creative and elaborate. These pictures may seem the text seem dull in comparison, or even dampen children’s ability to imagine images for themselves while reading. In fact, viewing pictures may actively prevent children under nine years old from forming their own mental images, while presenting similar difficulties for older children, as well. For children to learn comprehension skills, it is essential for young learners to find ways to form their own meanings from text. Imagination, it appears, may actually be a learned skill that children must master.

F As children mature, many will end up rejecting books that don’t have pictures, and such a reaction becomes increasingly serious in culture which is rapidly becoming more visual than ever. Helping children learn to graduate from picture books to text-only books is a tougher task when most children’s formative reading experiences are associated with the illustrations themselves. And now, many other sources of entertainment may capture a child’s attention. Though lower intelligence is generally associated with lower rates of literacy, some results are revealing that even highly-intelligent children are not immune to the effects of these detrimental factors. Educators have responded to these challenges by further extending their use of picture books, and by simplifying the language-levels they teach, even within secondary education. Recent conferences were held at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge for the purpose of discussing this downward trend in literacy levels among undergraduate students.

G Beautiful, eye-catching pictures can be used as a motivating factor for children to read. However, this kind of motivation for reading is done best while also listening to stories read aloud. Doing this allows children to use their imaginations along with the story. As their reading skills develop, such an experience allows them to better understand new language as a whole. The use of pictures alone will not give children enough of an opportunity to hone these creative skills -- this may lead to a tragic loss of creativity and imaginative skills in future generations.

H Academic journals covering research subjects in education, psychology, language learning, and even psycholinguistics have turned out results from experiments which demonstrate the ways which picture books are problematic for beginning readers. The following is a brief selection of such research:

I Canadian educator, Dale Willows, found results which were both clear and consistent. In this research, Willows concludes that pictures affect speed and accuracy of readers. Moreover, when pictures appeared closer to words, reading became even slower and more inaccurate. She claims that when children come across a word which they are familiar with, pictures are unnecessary and distracting. On the other hand, she shows that children who do not know a word will look to the picture to indicate its meaning. In these cases, they may be misled by aspects of the pictures which are do not match the unfamiliar word’s actual meaning.

J In another instance, the American psychologist Jay Samuels found that lower-level readers who were presented with no pictures learned more words than those who had pictures. He examined other researchers’ work, some of whom had reported problems with the use of pictures, making similar findings about the way children learn words more effectively without pictures. Interestingly enough, he also found that children looking at picture books who seemed to ignore the pictures in favor of pointing to the words themselves were likely to learn more words than the children who pointed at the pictures. Even still, children given books with pictures still learned fewer words than the children who had no illustrated stimuli at all.

 
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