Reading for pleasure and profit from reading

Dear learners of English,

 

Let me share with you a part of an Intensive Reading Exercise I used some months ago. The focus here is on vocabulary and reading comprehension.

 

Read the following passage taken from Mitch Albom’s famous novel The Five People You Meet in Heaven. While reading if you come across any unfamiliar word or words, don’t worry. For the time being, make a guess at the meaning using the context and the co-text, but don’t stop reading. You might find some parts difficult in the beginning, but they may make sense as you read on. Once you have read the passage, look up in a standard dictionary and make sure whether your guesses were correct. You might like to look at the annotated passage given below the original one.

 

Please do the exercise and share your experience with me.

 

Happy reading,

Dharmendra Sheth

 

Original Passage

AT THE TIME of his death, Eddie was a squat, white-haired old man, with a short neck, a barrel chest, thick forearms, and a faded army tattoo on his right shoulder. His legs were thin and veined now, and his left knee, wounded in the war, was ruined by arthritis. He used a cane to get around. His face was broad and craggy from the sun, with salty whiskers and a lower jaw that protruded slightly, making him look prouder than he felt. He kept a cigarette behind his left ear and a ring of keys hooked to his belt. He wore rubber-soled shoes. He wore an old linen cap. His pale brown uniform suggested a workingman, and a workingman he was.

 

Annotated Passage

AT THE TIME of his death, Eddie[1] was a squat[2], white-haired old man, with a short neck, a barrel chest[3], thick forearms[4], and a faded[5] army tattoo on his right shoulder. His legs were thin and veined[6] now, and his left knee, wounded[7] in the war, was ruined by arthritis[8]. He used a cane[9] to get around. His face was broad and craggy[10] from the sun, with salty whiskers[11] and a lower jaw that protruded[12] slightly, making him look prouder than he felt. He kept a cigarette behind his left ear and a ring of keys hooked[13] to his belt. He wore rubber-soled shoes. He wore an old linen[14] cap. His pale[15] brown uniform suggested a workingman[16], and a workingman he was.

 

[1] name of the main character of the novel

[2] short and wide, usually in an unattractive way

[3] large rounded chest

[4] the lower part of the arm, between the wrist and the elbow

[5] less bright

[6] marked with thin lines

[7] injured

[8] a disease causing pain and swelling in joints of the body

[9] a long stick

[10] having strong features and deep lines

[11] hair on a man’s cheeks and chin

[12] stick out

[13] tie or fasten with a hook

[14] strong cloth

[15] not bright or strong

[16] a person with a job

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