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Reading Non-Fiction: Swimming

In this worksheet, students read an article and analyse the techniques used and how effective they are.

'Reading Non-Fiction: Swimming' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:   Reading

Curriculum subtopic:   Support Comprehension Through Knowledge

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Read this article, written by a student for their secondary school newspaper.

 

 

More swimming lessons in school-time!

 

For ages, my friends and I have asked why P.E. seems squeezed out of the curriculum; as if it is a second-class subject to more 'academic' ones like Maths and Science. Even when we do P.E. and lessons are not cancelled in exam periods or for other 'more important' things, we only get to go swimming in year 7 for half a term. That's six lessons. Six lessons in five years. How stupid is that?

I asked Mrs Brute, head of P.E. in our school, why this was the case. She said that “Swimming lessons are expensive and older students often don't want to go. Rather than waste money, we bought three trampolines for the sports hall instead.” A good answer, you might think. But ask yourselves this: is a trampoline likely to save your life?

 

A recent survey for the Amateur Swimming Association discovered that 51% of seven- to 11-year-olds could not even swim the length of a standard pool. I know this is talking about primary school students, but if we get barely any lessons in secondary school, how are we supposed to improve on this? There are three main reasons why we need more swimming lessons:

  • Exercise. To combat obesity. This is a major problem amongst teenagers today.
  • Lifesaving skills. We live on an island, we go to the beach or use swimming pools on holiday.
  • Cost. Yes, it may be expensive for the school, but it is MORE expensive for us out of school. Schools have budgets for stuff like this. We don't need any more trampolines!

 

So fight with us to stay healthy - sign our petition today!

 

 

 

In this worksheet you must answer questions based on the extract above. If you need to read the extract again, you can do so by clicking on the Help button.

The writer uses some informal words and phrases. Match up the informal language they have chosen with the formal equivalent.

Column A

Column B

Talking about
A long period of time
Friends
Sidelined
Stupid
Unintelligent
For ages
Referring to
Squeezed out
Peers

Why does the writer choose to use some informal words or phrases in the article?

To fit the layout

To fit the purpose

To fit the audience

Which literary technique is included in each of the three paragraphs?

 

Hint  (Two words, the first beginning with R, the second with a Q)

To fit the layout

To fit the purpose

To fit the audience

Read this student's work. Choose the best quotation for them to use. 

 

The writer uses repetition to emphasise his or her point: _______________________.

That's six lessons. Six lessons in five years.

I asked Mrs Brute, head of P.E. in our school...

Exercise. To combat obesity.

The writer quotes a reliable source:

A recent survey for the Amateur Swimming Association discovered that 51% of seven- to 11-year-olds could not even swim the length of a standard pool.

 

Why have they chosen to include this? Choose THREE options.

Because it rhymes

Because it was on the news

To support their argument

To help persuade teachers

So that adults will listen to them

Look at the section where the writer uses a list of three reasons, with bullet points.

 

We're going to consider how this looks, what are we specifically analysing at this point? 

 

Hint - it begins with an 'L' and is really important in the way something looks

 The writer includes a quotation from Mrs Brute, head of P.E. Why have they chosen to do this? Choose THREE options.

So they can counter her points and make her look silly.

Because she is also good at swimming.

So the article looks more balanced.

Because it is a rhetorical question.

To allow her to defend the decision.

The writer uses personal pronouns throughout the article. For more of it they use 'I' and 'you', but in the last line, this changes:

So fight with us to stay healthy - sign our petition today!

 

Why do they use 'us' and 'our' when they talk about the petition?

 

It makes it more informal.

It suggests there is a group of you so it is more likely to change things.

Because they wanted to use rule of three.

Imagine that you had to write a reply to this article from the governors of the school. Which THREE main points would you use to argue that things should stay as they are, and no extra swimming lessons should be added?

They are expensive

Students might get verrucas

Students might get their hair wet

Students might truant or be 'ill' to avoid it

Other sports will not get covered in P.E

Read this student's work and write the whole of the missing word in the answer box below:

 

Although most of the article is serious in tone, there are times when the writer tries to engage with the reader through using h_____________.: "A good answer, you might think. But ask yourselves this: is a trampoline likely to save your life?". 

  • Question 1

The writer uses some informal words and phrases. Match up the informal language they have chosen with the formal equivalent.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Talking about
Referring to
Friends
Peers
Stupid
Unintelligent
For ages
A long period of time
Squeezed out
Sidelined
EDDIE SAYS
Did you match these up correctly? We often speak in informal language, but there is a place for it in written English too. When we write, we need to consider our audience. In this case, the writer is trying to encourage other students to sign their petition, so it's important that they write in a way that relates to and is understood by their classmates. You may hear more informal language called 'colloquial' language, which simply means language that is relevant to a time, and social group, it is definitely not formal language.
  • Question 2

Why does the writer choose to use some informal words or phrases in the article?

CORRECT ANSWER
To fit the audience
EDDIE SAYS
Can you remember the other word we used to describe informal language? The word we need is colloquial, impressive and a bit tricky to pronounce! The audience are students in a secondary school, so the writer uses informal language to appeal to them. The writer wants to call his peers to action so that they sign his petition.
  • Question 3

Which literary technique is included in each of the three paragraphs?

 

Hint  (Two words, the first beginning with R, the second with a Q)

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
A rhetorical question is a question that is posed whereby the person asking the question does not expect an answer. Think about what rhetorical questions you've been asked today. 'Can you come here please' said by a teacher is a good example. They're not really asking, it's more of a command but posed as a question. Does that make sense? (Deliberate rhetorical question included!)
  • Question 4

Read this student's work. Choose the best quotation for them to use. 

 

The writer uses repetition to emphasise his or her point: _______________________.

CORRECT ANSWER
That's six lessons. Six lessons in five years.
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do, did you spot the repetitive phrase? Repetition just means to repeat something. A writer will do this for effect, as they want to make sure their point has been received. Have you heard the phrase, tell them once, tell them again and tell them once more. That's the basis of repetition, repeat that point until it cannot be forgotten!
  • Question 5

The writer quotes a reliable source:

A recent survey for the Amateur Swimming Association discovered that 51% of seven- to 11-year-olds could not even swim the length of a standard pool.

 

Why have they chosen to include this? Choose THREE options.

CORRECT ANSWER
To support their argument
To help persuade teachers
So that adults will listen to them
EDDIE SAYS
Take a look at a newspaper article, often the journalists are writing to get a response from their readers. Or, think about politicians they also love to persuade! People are much more likely to buy into or agree with someone if they can back their opinion up with fact. It's a persuasive technique and can really have an impact on the reader.
  • Question 6

Look at the section where the writer uses a list of three reasons, with bullet points.

 

We're going to consider how this looks, what are we specifically analysing at this point? 

 

Hint - it begins with an 'L' and is really important in the way something looks

CORRECT ANSWER
Layout
EDDIE SAYS
Did you get the word layout? When someone writes something for an audience, they will be carefully considering the 'layout' of the text. The layout is important because if something looks unappealing, it is less likely to be read. For this reason, people that write to persuade avoid length essays and often use bullet points to get their points over in a short succinct manner.
  • Question 7

 The writer includes a quotation from Mrs Brute, head of P.E. Why have they chosen to do this? Choose THREE options.

CORRECT ANSWER
So they can counter her points and make her look silly.
So the article looks more balanced.
To allow her to defend the decision.
EDDIE SAYS
Have you noticed that authors do this? Again think about politicians, adverts or even perhaps your school website. Quotes from individuals are powerful in persuasive pieces, it shows how the topic is relevant to people, we would call this 'humanising the problem'. You may also have noticed that it is important who you quote in a piece like this. The person needs to be credible and relevant to the situation discussed. It's no good having a quote from the Head of Technology on a topic about school sport!
  • Question 8

The writer uses personal pronouns throughout the article. For more of it they use 'I' and 'you', but in the last line, this changes:

So fight with us to stay healthy - sign our petition today!

 

Why do they use 'us' and 'our' when they talk about the petition?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
It suggests there is a group of you so it is more likely to change things.
EDDIE SAYS
Look out for this trick when you are reading any kind of advert or request for your support. By writing 'we' 'us' the writer is aiming to appeal to the reader and show that they are all in it together. It makes a sense of community and suggest the writer has a real understanding of the reader's frustrations. A clever trick, used everywhere, keep an eye out!
  • Question 9

Imagine that you had to write a reply to this article from the governors of the school. Which THREE main points would you use to argue that things should stay as they are, and no extra swimming lessons should be added?

CORRECT ANSWER
They are expensive
Students might truant or be 'ill' to avoid it
Other sports will not get covered in P.E
EDDIE SAYS
When you give this answer it's important to get into the mindset of the writer. We know that the governor's, in this case, are not supportive of more PE, so we have to think about how they would explain this. In this case, they are going to give the most powerful reasons to support their own argument. Students with wet hair, although accurate is not
  • Question 10

Read this student's work and write the whole of the missing word in the answer box below:

 

Although most of the article is serious in tone, there are times when the writer tries to engage with the reader through using h_____________.: "A good answer, you might think. But ask yourselves this: is a trampoline likely to save your life?". 

CORRECT ANSWER
Humour
EDDIE SAYS
Humour is another persuasive technique as you want to engage your reader and keep them reading on. Humour can also appeal to the younger audience in this case. Now you're finished, make sure you look out for all of these tricks in the advertising around you and see how effective it is!
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