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Issue #026 -- Week 02/11/14-08/11/14
November 13, 2014
Greetings and General Information
First of all, I apologise for the delay in publishing this issue of our e-zine, due to the exams we had at the University where I'm currently teaching. I am planning for the next issue to be sent to you as scheduled, on Monday 16 November.
A warm welcome to our new subscribers! I wish you will find My English Club fun and instructive and I look forward to welcome you as a new valued member soon. Read, learn and communicate around the world!
I noticed that some subscribers didn't insert a name in the appropriate field, so I named you 'Reader', to avoid you getting my emails addressed to "Dear ,". You can always write back to me, to add your name - this is not public information, as all the issues are sent to each individual reader separately.
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Month 3 ~ Lesson 11
We started studying three subjects back in September 2014: pronunciation and grammar for improving your communication skills, as well as website design and development, for applying your English in practice once you get skilful in English and website building. Once we covered the basics of pronunciation in English, we started a new course in reading in our last issue.
You can find our past lessons as follows:
Enjoy this issue and practise the lessons whenever you have a chance!
Reading ~ The Basic "Ingredients" of a Reading Programme
I was telling you in our last lesson that reading must be enjoyable, to start with. However, it must also be systematic as well, in order for the reader to build the necessary skills through a progressive, step-wise reading scheme. The result of such a scheme is building one’s proficiency, self-confidence and promoting an interest in reading.
There are a number of ‘tricks of the trade’ that one can undertake in building and improving reading skills, such as comprehensive exercises, word and sentence building, puzzles and games – all of which are meant to stimulate the mental processes involved in reading and help one’s memory during the reading process, to assimilate new vocabulary every time.
To build on what we have already, I shall direct you to the previous course we had in September and October, on pronunciation. You had quite a few lists of words in there, that belong to various categories of words, such as the CVCs 017, the CCVCs and CVCCs 019 and the so called ‘sight words’ 021. I advise you to familiarise yourselves with these until you can read them automatically, within a fraction of a second. Reading a complete list within one minute, or if the list is longer, then within 2 minutes and reducing this time every time you read it (aloud) is the aim of the exercise. Equally, you can have your child performing this, if you’re going to use this course for teaching your children to read in English. The aim of this exercise is to establish first of all the level of word recognition and comprehension that a learner has reached, before trying to read at a mismatched level.
You need to have a clear idea of your level, before the building process can begin. It is a fact that you need to build on your abilities in small, graded steps, to allow your brain to process and assimilate the new vocabulary as well as skills.
Beginners and slow readers must take a progression of carefully organised steps in their reading, but more advanced learners and fast readers can also benefit from a careful ordering of activities. If you consider yourself a better reader than you actually are (in other words if you suffer from delusion in this respect), and try to apply shortcuts for a faster progress, you will reach the feeling of failure and discouragement at some point, trust me!
For you to get an overall idea about what to expect, you need to understand what exactly is involved in reading. The nature of reading is complex: you see, reading is not just recognising words, but it also includes understanding of those words’ meaning, sentence meanings, the events in a story or a passage of writing and, at a higher level, inferences. We shall talk about inferences at a later stage, as this is a big subject in itself.
Progression from a beginner to an intermediate/advanced level
Children, as well as beginners, will move from picture-assisted text to reading novels, or factual writing. In doing so, one will make a transition from thinking in terms of concrete words and ideas, to attempting to understand more abstract words and thoughts. A reader needs to be able to bridge this gap and add the emotions and higher ideas in parallel to the real-life objects and actions that one is reading about in a text.
The organised scheme of exercises will include a mix of simple picture stories with slightly more difficult reading pieces, simple comprehension exercises with puzzles and word searches, followed by word building exercises, with spelling and grammar. During all these stages, two aspects are very important:
- Motivation must be kept strong;
a) My father is
writing a novel this summer.
Starting from next time, we shall look into some possible testing methods, in order to help you assess your reading attainment, so that you can then build on it.
Grammar ~ Linking Signals ~ Continuation
Having discussed the kind of words and expressions we need for linking sentences in order to make a new start in a conversation, changing the subject and listing and adding new information to a conversation, in this lesson we shall consider expressing
2) summary and generalisation
1) Reinforcement is another way of adding a point in an argument. We use this technique when we feel that a preceding argument may not be sufficient. The sentence adverbials we can use can be either
My friend will not come to John’s party. Besides, he doesn’t even know about the party yet.
You don’t really want to see them failing, do you? In fact I think you’d rather be inclined to help them win this match.
2) Summary and generalisation linking words are used in order to lead into a brief summary of points already made in discourse.
We can use expressions like in a word, in short, in conclusion or to sum up for this purpose:
The company grew from a family business to a well-established local enterprise. It built a lot of housing estates; it raised funds for the homeless in the region; and it helped war orphans to find reasonable employment, by organising regular training programmes for successful graduates. In a word, it did plenty to enhance the living standards of the local community.
For a similar ending of a trail of thoughts, other linking phrases can be used, to indicate a generalisation from points already made: in all, all in all, altogether, more generally, etc. These can actually replace the adverbials I referred to above, for example we could use altogether instead of in a word in the example above.
Website Design with SBI! ~ The "Depth" of a Website
Step 1: Determining Overall Depth
We'll start by clicking Clear All in Seed Words and then on All Keywords in the Basic Task Bar, to clear our MKL, bringing back all words for all Seeds and clearing all sorts, filters, etc. For this final phase, it's important to remember that each of the 3 Site Concepts used the "Site Concept Finder". So, each should have brought back up to 333 keywords.
Now, an examination of the lowest Demand keywords will yield "overall depth" information about each niche. Here's how...
First, we need to click on each Seed Word and find out if any Seed delivered a lot less than 333 keywords, in which case that Seed is very shallow.
Next, we click on Clear All in Seed Words to bring back all the keywords in your list. Then click twice on the Value Demand label to view the lowest Demand words at the top, to examine them:
• All these "bottom of the Demand barrel" keywords belong to "antigua and barbuda."
At this point, we could eliminate "antigua and barbuda" . If you remember the Site Concept Tolerance Range, the key factors are time availability, monetizability, passion, and knowledge.
It's always wiser to put your efforts into winning a smaller niche that you love than struggling to compete in a niche that's too broad that you are less excited about.
If you can devote around 10 hours per week to your site, "antigua and barbuda" limits the maximum compensation for this niche (unless you have a high-monetization plan such as selling villas). There's just not enough good, in-demand content to build a business upon. However, there's more to life and business than just the numbers and we’ll show you how a "smaller" niche may be the best choice.
Step 2: TIER 2 Groups Depth
Another way to look at depth is to see how many groups of keywords there are, and how many keywords are in each group. For example, "anguilla" has 57 small groups (the largest group size is 9 keywords). "Antigua and barbuda" has 27 groups, and the largest has 19 keywords. "Caribbean cruise" has 65 groups, and the largest has over 100 keywords in it.
What does this tell us? That at this point in our research, all three could have many small TIER 2 groups about a particular topic (each group could become a "mini-site" within your main site). "Antigua and barbuda" can have fewer "mini-sites" but some could have more TIER 3 pages. And "caribbean cruise" could have a large number of "mini-sites."
But… what are the TIER 2 and TIER 3 pages? I’ll tell you: the Home Page and all the “head-pages” that have sub-pages, like for instance all the buttons on the left hand side of my home page will take you to a TIER 2 page and all the links you find on those pages will take you to TIER 3 pages in turn. We’ll have a separate lesson on these later on.
A review of the "caribbean cruise" groups indicates that the three largest groups are all about "Royal Caribbean cruises." The keywords in just these three groups account for well over half of all the keywords for this Seed Word. So we would need to have a very high interest in Royal Caribbean cruises to want to write about this niche.
Based on both parts of the Phase 3 research, we could eliminate "antigua and barbuda" due to having low overall depth, and "caribbean cruise" for being too concentrated on just one sub-topic. For now, though, we'll keep both, until we have evaluated the 7 key factors in our next lesson.
For now you have a strong idea of the potential of each Site Concept Keyword. We have all the information needed to make the final decision, considering more than just numbers.
Remember: the "Vertical Keywords" are your site's backbone
We are about to choose your Site Concept (niche). No matter which one we select, the vertically brainstormed words for each niche are the most important ones. Soon, we’ll be ready to delete some that don't "work" for our niche. But overall, we have just completed the single most important step of DAYs 2 and 3 – the most technical stage in starting an online business.
This Is It, Folks!
I hope you find this information useful and not too confusing. Even though you're in the stage of building on it, have patience at this point in your learning and you'll be able to reap the fruit of your work later on, whichever aspect of our lessons you are concentrating on.
Please feel free to comment and suggest your ideas by replying to this email - I look forward to hearing from you.
OK, I wish you all a great weekend.
Have fun, as always!
Lucia da Vinci
Founder of My English Club
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