2.3 Finding the main points
It’s often harder in a longer text to pick out the main points as they will not always stand out like they do when they are bulleted. It can help to practise spotting the main points in a paragraph of text.
Activity 15 Find the main points
Below is a text from a leaflet on safety in the home.
Read the questions first so that you know what to look out for. This means you will be reading the text in an active way, looking for information. You need to find the answers to the following questions:
- How much do the cheapest smoke alarms cost?
- How does the smoke alarm let you know when a fire has started?
- If you are living in a rented house or flat, does your landlord have to fit a smoke alarm for you?
- How can you be sure that the smoke alarm you choose is a good quality one?
Try to read the text quite quickly.
Smoke alarms for the home
Smoke alarms are cheap, easy to get hold of and, used properly, they are lifesavers. There’s no excuse for not having one.
Smoke alarms save lives. David and Michelle Clarke and their two young children owe their lives to their smoke alarms. In April 2018, an electrical fault started a fire in their home while the family were asleep. Luckily, the smoke triggered the smoke alarms fitted in both the downstairs and upstairs hallways and the family escaped safely. ‘I can’t believe that some people still don’t have smoke alarms’, adds Dave. ‘What’s £5 when it comes to your family’s lives?’
A smoke alarm is a warning device that detects smoke at the earliest stages of a fire. If there is a fire in your home it sounds a piercing alarm to warn you. Many people killed in house fires are asleep at the time. A smoke alarm will wake you up and give you vital extra time to escape.
Smoke alarms cost from as little as £5. They are available from DIY stores, electrical shops, many supermarkets and other high-street retailers.
Many people believe that if you are living in rented accommodation the landlord has the responsibility for fitting and testing smoke alarms. This is not completely accurate; your safety is your responsibility. Your landlord must fit the smoke alarms but you need to test them monthly to make sure you are protected.
There are several models of smoke alarm to choose from. The officers from the local fire service will always be happy to help you to choose the best one for your home. Whichever kind you choose look out for the British Standard Kitemark so that you know it is manufactured to the highest standards, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when fitting the smoke alarm.
Now try the questions. Here they are again:
1. How much does the cheapest smoke alarm cost?
As little as £5.
2. How does a smoke alarm let you know when a fire has started?
It sounds a piercing alarm to wake you.
3. If you are living in a rented property does your landlord have to test the smoke alarms for you?
No. You should test the smoke alarms yourself.
4. How can you be sure that the smoke alarm you choose is a good quality one?
By buying one with a British Standard Kitemark.
Now look again at the article. As it is about fire safety, many of the words and phrases (groups of words) are linked to this subject.
Note down all the words and phrases that you think are connected with fires, alarms or safety.
Did you find the following words?
- smoke, alarms, lifesavers
Did you find these phrases?
- owe their lives
- house fires
- electrical faults
- local fire service
- save lives
- escaped safely
- warning device.
Being able to find words and phrases that are linked closely to the subject of a text is a useful skill. It means that you can find important information quickly by scanning. It also allows you to work out what the text is about and understand the main points.
Activity 16 More scanning practice
Read the following text quickly and answer the questions that follow. Try to scan rather than reading it in detail.
The European Computer Driving Licence
The ECDL is an internationally recognised qualification that allows people to demonstrate their ability to use a computer for all kinds of tasks.
It is the best-known IT certificate in Europe and will soon become the most widely studied computer qualification in the rest of the world.
The ECDL is split into two parts: Level 1 and Level 2. It is designed to cover the key concepts of computing and its practical uses at home, in education and in the workplace.
Registration for the ECDL takes place at any college or school that is a Test Centre. Each student is given a logbook to record his or her progress. As the students pass the tests the results are recorded in their logbook. When all the tests have been completed and passed, the logbook is handed in. Then the full ECDL Certificate is issued to the student.
Most leading companies and other employers understand the importance of the ECDL. They know that any of their workers who has an ECDL Certificate has shown that they have an up-to-date computer qualification. The employers also know that the ECDL is a well-organised course that helps their workers to use computer skills in their jobs.
When you check your answers, note that they may use different words from the answers given but should basically be the same.
1. What do the initials ECDL stand for?
The European Computer Driving Licence.
2. How many parts of the course have to be studied to gain the full Certificate?
There are two parts: Level 1 and Level 2.
3. What is recorded in the logbook?
The logbook is used to record the student’s progress on the course.
4. What happens when the logbook is completed?
When the logbook is completed it is handed in and the ECDL Certificate is issued.
5. Why do employers like their workers to have an ECDL Certificate?
Employers like their workers to have an ECDL Certificate because it will improve the computer skills of their workers.