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Identifying key words

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:30 by NZTecAdmin
Identifying key words (PDF, 28 KB)

The purpose of the activity

The learners read a text to locate key words and work out their meanings from the context. The learners learn to identify key words in texts.

The teaching points

  • Interacting purposefully with texts.
  • Discussing and critically analysing key words.


  • Two passages from texts – have copies for each learner.

The guided teaching and learning sequence

1. Choose two texts, or passages from longer texts.

2. Introduce each exercise as described below, using a different text for each exercise.

Exercise one

Identify some key words from the first text and write them on the board. Ask the learners to find the words in their copies of the text and work out their meanings as they read the text. Discuss these words with the group to clarify meanings.

Exercise two

Have the learners read the second text then work in pairs or groups to discuss it and decide which five words are most important or ‘key’. Ask them to explain the meanings in their own words, then state the main ideas of the text.

Follow-up activity

Encourage the learners to identify key words independently as they read and interpret any new text. They may want to mark the text in some way, perhaps by underlining or highlighting important words in a way that causes no permanent damage to valuable books, for example, by laying a transparency sheet over the top.


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