Impressions . of the United States

section 1

A First Look

A. Background Building

la. What are the first things you think of when you hear the words, "United States?" What words come into your head? Write them here.


Share your ideas with a classmate.


b. Look at your words again. Are they positive, negative, or neutral (not positive negative)? Write them again here.

What were most of your words? Why?

2a. What is in the illustration on page 1? Write the words here.

b. Why are these things in the picture? What other things do you think should be in the picture?

В. Topic

DIRECTIONS: Before you begin to read, look at these topics. There is one topic for each paragraph. Look quickly at the reading to find these topics. Do not read every word at this point. Write the number

of the paragraph next to the topic of that paragraph.

1. 2____ positive and negative ideas about the United States

3. this book about the United States

4. _______ first thoughts about the United States

C. Reading

DIRECTIONS: Now read, but try to think about groups of words, not individual words. Do

not stop if you do not know the meaning of a word.

The United States. What is your first thought when you hear 1

these words? Is it an image of something typically American?[1] Per – 2

haps you think of hamburgers and fast-food restaurants. Or per – 3

1 haps you have an image of a product, such as an American car or 4

Coca-Cola®. Some people immediately think of American universi – 5

ties. Others think of American companies. Many Americans think 6

of the red, white, and blue flag when they think of the United States. 7

There are many images associated with the name of a country. 8

There are also many ideas or concepts associated with the 9

words United States. Some people think of a positive concept, such 10

as freedom, when they think of the United States. Other people 11

think of a negative concept, such as American involvement in other 12

2 countries. Many Americans have both positive and negative ideas 13

about their country. When they think of the lifestyle or the scenery 14

(landscapes such as mountains or beaches at the ocean), they feel 15

very positive and proud of their country. But sometimes, when they 16

think about the government, they think about nuclear war and in – 17

ternational problems. Then they have negative feelings about the 18

country. 19

These images and ideas are all impressions of a country, the 20

United States. People form these impressions in many different 21

ways. They see American products and advertisements. They read 22

3 newspapers and hear people talk about the United States. They 23

probably see American movies and television shows. These impres – 24

sions are always changing. As people receive more information, they 25

adjust their images and concepts of a country. 26

Knowledge of a country includes many things. Typical prod – 27

ucts and actions by governments are part of this knowledge. But 28

the most important thing in learning about a country is knowledge 29

4 of the people of that country. What are their customs and lifestyles? 30

How do they raise their children? What are their values and beliefs? 31

How do they feel about work and entertainment, about time, about 32

friendships? 33

In this book you will read about many aspects of the United 34

States. You will read about lifestyles, institutions, values, and is – 35

sues which are all part of American life and culture. Before you be – 36

5 gin each chapter, think of your own impressions of the subject, 37

American women, American cities, American families. Use your own 38 impressions to compare with and question the impressions of the 39 authors. Contact the U. S.A. 40

The following vocabulary exercise will help you understand the meaning of new words in the reading without a dictionary.

D. Scanning/Vocabulary

DIRECTIONS: It is important to be able to find information quickly when you read. This is scanning. Scan the reading for these words. Write the number of the line where you find them.

Example: car______ 4______ automobile similar

Now look at the word on the right. Is its meaning similar or different from the meaning of car? The meanings of car and automobile are similar, so you write similar on the line. Remember that the word similar does not mean exactly the same; it means that the two words are close in meaning.

Try another example:

first l last different

In this case, you find first in line 1 of the reading. The meanings are different, so you write different on the line. If you are not sure about the meaning of a word, read the sentence where you find it again. Try to

understand its meaning from the other words in the sentence and the reading.



1. thought


2. image


3. ideas


4. perhaps


5. positive


6. scenery


7. impressions

first ideas

8. form


9. includes

has inside

10. typical


11. products


12. adjust

change a little

13. proud


14. lifestyle


15. compare with

look at side by side

How much of the reading did you understand without using a dic­tionary? Do the next exercise to find out.

E. Reading Comprehension

DIRECTIONS: Circle the letter of the choice that best completes each sentence.

1. There are____ examples given of images associated with the name United States.

a. six b. seven с eight

2. An example of a positive concept is___

a. nuclear war b. freedom с advertisement

3. According to the reading, Americans are about their lifestyle,

a. scenery b. negative с happy

4. According to the author, Americans_____ have negative thoughts about their


a. always b. never с sometimes

5. The author thinks that you, the reader, have_____ the United States already.

a. no knowledge of b. many impressions с negative ideas about


6. In paragraph 5, the author gives the idea that your ideas will—–

a. always be the same b. be wrong с sometimes be differ-

as the author’s ideas ent from the

author’s ideas

7. People probably have____ impressions of American involvement in other coun­


a. positive b. negative с no

8. Foreign business people probably think of an American__ when they hear the

words United States.

a. product b. landscape с institution

9. The term American is used because_____

a. North American is b. people in the United с the book is about

too long States use it Canada

10. People’s impressions_____ when they learn more about a country.

a. are negative b. are never different с change

Updated: 18th July 2015 — 3:10 pm