Reading and Using Texts

Home Learning Focus

Learn how to read and analyze texts.

This lesson includes:

  • two activities

  • three videos


Unfamiliar vocabulary

It’s important to understand unfamiliar words so that you can interpret the overall meaning of a sentence. Misunderstanding a tricky word can prevent you from understanding the meaning of a text.

It’s important to have a plan for working out the meaning of unfamiliar words, especially when you don’t have a dictionary to hand. You can:

  • Use the surrounding words to see if there are any clues.

  • Decode the word by breaking it down into sounds or words that you know.

Watch this video to learn how to make sense of words that are unfamiliar or tricky.


Some texts (especially stories) give clues that help you to work out (or infer) what’s really happening.

For example, custard pies were stolen. The housekeeper looked nervous and her apron had a yellow stain.

From this, we can infer that the housekeeper stole the pies. Inference helps you to make decisions based on the information presented to you.

Watch this video to recap what inference is and how you can use it when reading.


You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Use inference to match these sentences to the correct situation. One has been done for you.

Sentence match activity.
Sentence match activity.

Activity 2

There are lots of ways to find information from a text but two of the best methods are skimming and scanning.


Skimming is letting your eyes and mind ‘skim’ over the text to get a quick but very general idea of it. You can’t read the text closely when skimming it, but instead you aim to pick out key words and sentences and get the general feel and meaning of the text.

A topic/introduction sentence is often the first sentence in a paragraph. You should always read it fully even when skimming as this will give you a summary of that paragraph’s subject.


Scanning is the method of looking for key words or phrases to find out specific information. It is most useful for answering questions about a text.

Watch this interesting video about civil rights activist Rosa Parks.

Using your scanning, inference and decoding skills, read the text in this article and answer the questions below.

  1. What year did Rosa Parks refuse to give up her place on the bus?
  2. What movement did her protest start?
  3. How long did it take to change the law?
  4. What job did she do alongside being an activist?
  5. Where did she move to after losing her job?

Top tip!

Remember to read each question carefully. Circle, underline or highlight the very important word within the question and see if you can find the same word/phrase (or similar one) within the text.

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