Reading and Writing – Intermediate Level

Can we combine Reading and Writing?

Can the combination of Reading and Writing improve students' abilities in both domains?

We have already talked about this issue in the post called Reading and Writing – Introduction.

We will now approach the issue from a different angle. The text will provide information on a certain subject and based on that, students will have to deal with writing activities. Many students find it hard to cope with writing activities. To avoid frustration, we will provide very clear and detailed guidelines geared to the subject and to the writing genre required.

Reading Comprehension Text

Everybody can learn languages. This is easily proved by the fact that most children utter their first syllables before they are one year old and become quite fluent by the age of two or three. Children brought up in bilingual homes usually speak two languages without any particular difficulties. Immigrants learn to communicate with the natives sooner or later. Therefore, there is no rational basis to the belief of certain students that they cannot learn a foreign language. If such a problem exists, it may be due to psychological reasons that can and should be overcome.

Some people learn languages more easily, just as certain people have a special talent for Math or a gift for music. A person's ability to master a foreign language may depend not only on his talent but also on motivation or environmental circumstances.

Most Scandinavians, for instance, speak one or two foreign languages. Since their countries are small, it isn't economically practical to produce movies or academic textbooks in those languages. Besides, very few people outside Scandinavia speak Scandinavian. Therefore, in order to travel or pursue academic studies, these people have to learn languages. In short, they have a greater need for foreign languages and this apparently accounts for their success in learning them.

General Instructions

  • Read the  text.
  • Sum up each paragraph.
  • Give a title to each paragraph.

Suggestions for Class Discussion:

  • Do you speak Hebrew at home? If you don't, what language do you speak?
  • Is that an advantage or a disadvantage? Explain.
  • What foreign languages do you study at school?
  • Would you prefer to study other foreign languages? Discuss.


1. Most infants begin to speak.

a. during their first year.

b. when they are two or three.

c. fluently before they are one year old.

2. If people fail to learn a foreign language, the problem may be

a. rational.

b. psychological.

c. non-existent.

3. Complete the following sentences:

a. Children of bilingual homes are …

b. The fact that babies begin …
and immigrants eventually …
proves that everybody can …

c. By environmental circumstances (para. 2), the author means …

4. Why do Scandinavians need foreign languages when traveling?

5. What word in the first paragraph means pronounce?

6. What phrase in the third paragraph means is the reason for?

Suggestions for Writing Activities

  1. Write a short letter to the English Department at the Tel Aviv University requesting information about the syllabus, entrance examinations, etc.

You may begin and end as follows:

48 Herzl St.


February 28, 2019

Mr. Alon Zehavy

Tel Aviv University

Ramat Aviv – Tel Aviv

Dear Sir,

I am writing to …

I would be very grateful if you could send me information …

I am a high school graduate, after military service, living in …


Thanking you in advance


Miriam Cohen

2. Write a dialogue between two teachers. One believes that Arabic should be taught in all Israeli schools as a compulsory foreign language. The other feels that students should be allowed to choose among Arabic, French and Italian.

Helpful Vocabulary

compulsory – חובה

optional – נתון לבחירה

coexistence – דו-קיום

mutual understanding – הבנה הדדית

language barrier – מחסום לשוני

academic studies – לימודים אוניברסיטאים

syllabus – תוכנית לימודים

And that's all for today. More texts and suggestions in my next post.

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