Introduction to the Teacher

Contact U. S.A. is a reading and vocabulary text for high-beginning and low-intermediate ESL/EFL students. Although its structure and exer­cises are aimed primarily at developing academic reading skills and vo­cabulary, its content (a look at changes in values and lifestyles in the United States) is highly appropriate for all non-native English speakers, including immigrants, students in higher educational institutions, and students of English in foreign countries.


Reading for high-beginning and low-intermediate students is some­times a frustrating experience. Books that are appropriate in terms of the students’ active English proficiency are often not challenging for adult readers, either in structure or content. Readings that match the student’s intellectual or conceptual interest level usually have exercises requiring a more advanced active English proficiency. We have written this book on the premise that adult students at this level of English proficiency are able to read and understand more in English than they are able to pro­duce actively. Therefore, although the readings may appear to be difficult for students at this level at first glance, the first analytical exercises are relatively simple, requiring only passive reading and vocabulary skills. We feel that these types of reading and vocabulary skills are important for students to develop, particularly because the analysis of a reading beyond their proficiency level is a process that students confront in stan­dardized tests in English. The reading exercises in this book progress from main idea to inference. The following is a general outline of each chapter.

Chapter Outline

Section 1: A First Look

A. Background Building

B. Topic (skimming reading for topic of paragraphs)


C. Reading

D. Scanning/Vocabulary (similar-different analysis of vocabulary in the context of the reading)

E. Reading Comprehension (multiple choice)

Section 2: Look Again

A. Vocabulary (multiple choice)

B. Reading Comprehension (cloze summary or outline)

C. Think About It (active comprehension analysis of reading)

D. Reading (graphs or short readings related to the topic—can be used out of sequence in the chapter)

Section 3: Contact a Point of View

A. Background Building

B. Timed Reading (a personal observation followed by True, False, or Impossible to Know statements)

C. Vocabulary

D. React (semi-controlled discussion activities)

E. Word Analysis (Part 1: progressing through the book from recogni­tion of function and form to production of appropriate forms; Part 2: stems and affixes)

Section 4: Look Back

A. Vocabulary (multiple choice)

B. Matching (synonyms)

C. Synthesis Questions (questions for discussion and suggestions for ex­tension activities)

D. Vocabulary Preview

The teacher’s guide contains Vocabulary Review Tests and Answer Keys (both for chapter exercises and the review tests).


This book was written with the firm belief that dictionaries are gen­erally a reading inhibitor rather than a reading enhancer. With this in mind, the cardinal rule of the book is NO DICTIONARIES ALLOWED. The meaning of much of the vocabulary is implied within the reading passage, as the students discover when they complete the first vocabu-

lary exercise, which requires them to analyze words within the context of the reading and compare them to other words that they already know. The vocabulary exercises and the inaccessibility of a dictionary force the students to look for meaning within the context, an essential reading skill. This book serves as a vocabulary builder because we reuse the vo­cabulary throughout the book so that students are forced to recall vocab­ulary from previous chapters, where it is used in different contexts. This leads to actual acquisition of the words in the text.

Подпись: Content
From our experience as teachers, we feel that adult language learners need stimulating reading materials that (1) provide them with background information about American culture, (2) encourage their awareness of their environment, (3) prepare them to deal with the environ­ment of the United States, and (4) let them draw their own conclusions about the United States. The presentation of information about the life and values in the United States is a very touchy subject; students are sensitive to "pro-America" rhetoric. In spite of this wariness, however, students want to understand some of the basic values and issues in the United States. We have chosen themes that have always generated a lot of discussion in class and about which students have strong opinions. The focus of these readings is primarily cross-cultural. The readings enable students and the teacher to examine American culture, to evaluate their feelings, and to redefine their positions in this culture or in their own cultures. We have tried to present, as far as possible, an apolitical por­trayal of the United States. The first reading in every chapter is general, giving the overall idea and the key vocabulary items connected to the subject. The timed reading is a personal point of view about some aspect of the subject. For example, the timed reading in the chapter on immigra­tion is from the point of view of a native American. The chapter on race issues has a second reading about reverse discrimination. These points of view are closely tied in with the speaking activities in each chapter, encouraging students to express their ideas about te subject. Since these readings are our personal impressions, and are, as such, debatable, we encourage teachers to feel free to contribute their own personal points of view and to express their cultural perspectives.

Подпись: Introduction to the Student

Contact U. S.A. has two purposes:

1. to improve your READING ability, and

2. to improve your VOCABULARY.

Each chapter in the book has:

A First Look: exercises to determine general meaning of reading and vo­cabulary items.

A. Background Building

B. Topic

C. Reading

D. Scanning/Vocabulary (similar/different)

E. Reading Comprehension

Look Again: more detailed exercises in reading comprehension and vocab­ulary

A. Vocabulary

B. Reading Comprehension С React

D. Reading

Contact a Point of View: additional reading:

A. Background Building

B. Timed Reading Exercise С Vocabulary

D. React

E. Word Analysis

Look Back: review of the vocabulary from the chapter:

A. Vocabulary

B. Matching

C. Synthesis Questions

D. Vocabulary Preview

The first chapter, "Impressions of the United States," has special instructions for each exercise. These instructions will teach you how to use the book effectively.