The Glorious Glossa

article by M Gim , "human tongue" by samlevin is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Analyses key words to make predictions on the subject matter of the remainder of a paragraph.

Read the introduction to the article up to the first subheading ‘speech’ to orient students to the subject matter. Do not allow students to read any of the remaining article just yet. Ensure students identify that the article is about the human tongue.

Display the first line of the paragraph under the sub-heading ‘Speech’, without revealing the rest of the paragraph.

If the tongue were an athlete, it would be a gymnast.

Discuss why a comparison has been used (to provide insight into some of the special features of the human tongue). Identify the key words in the statement (‘athlete’ and ‘gymnast’). Use or another source to look up the meaning of the key words and to identify synonyms. For example:

athlete: a person gifted or trained in physical exploits (synonyms: competitor, player, sportsperson)

gymnast: a person who is skilled in gymnastics (synonyms: acrobat, tumbler)

Use the dictionary definition of the key words, the synonyms and students’ own knowledge to identify the meaning of the statement. Use think-aloud to share your thought process. For example:

Athlete means a professional sportsperson and gymnast means someone skilled in gymnastics so the statement in the article must mean that tongues are very active.

Read the remainder of the text to check if the predictions were correct. Emphasise that the comparison is used to provide an insight into the special feature explained in the remainder of the paragraph.

Place students in groups and provide them with the opening lines of each of the other sections. Sentences provided below:

If the tongue were a colour, it would be a vibrant rainbow!

If the tongue were a household appliance, it would be a washing machine.

If the tongue were an animal, it would be a donkey.

If the tongue were a vehicle, it would be a streetsweeper.

Emphasise that each statement uses comparison and that readers can infer this has been used to provide deeper insight into the special feature of the human tongue that will be included in the remainder of the paragraph.

Instruct students to work with their group, following the same process as before (selecting the key words in each of the comparisons listed above and searching for their meanings and synonyms) to identify the special feature of the human tongue that the remainder of the paragraph will explain.

Once students have discussed their predications for each comparison, read the remainder of the article to ascertain if their predictions were correct.