Reading skill Essay

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Highlighting or Underlining Key Ideas When you highlight or underline key words and ideas, you are identifying the most important parts of the text. Theres an important skill at work here: You cant highlight or underline everything, so you have to distinguish between the facts and ideas that are most important (major ideas) and those facts and ideas that are helpful but not so important (minor or supporting ideas). Highlight only the major ideas, so you dont end up with a text thats completely highlighted. An effectively highlighted text will make for an easy and fruitful review. When you jump back, youll be

quickly reminded of the ideas that are most important to remember. Highlighting or underlining major points as you read also allows you to retain more information from the text. Skim ahead and jump back. Mark up the text. Make speci? c observations about the text. Skimming Ahead and Jumping Back Skimming ahead enables you to see whats coming up in your reading. Page through the text youre about to read. Notice how the text is broken down, what the main topics are, and the order in which they are covered. Notice key words and ideas that are boldfaced, bulleted, boxed, or otherwise highlighted.

Skimming through the text beforehand will prepare you for what you are about to read. Its a lot like checking out the hills and curves in the course before a cross-country race. If you know whats ahead, you know how to pace yourself, so youre prepared to handle whats to come. When you ? nish your reading, jump back. Review the summaries, headings, and highlighted information in the text. Notice both what the author highlighted and what you highlighted. By jumping back, you help solidify in your mind the ideas and information you just read. Youre reminded of how each idea ?

ts into the whole, how ideas and information are connected. When you make connections between ideas, youre much more likely to remember them. Circling Unfamiliar Words One of the most important habits to develop is that of circling and looking up unfamiliar words and phrases. If possible, dont sit down to read without a dictionary by your side. It is not uncommon for the meaning of an entire sentence to hinge on the meaning of a single word or phrase, and if you dont know what that word or phrase means, you wont understand the sentence. Besides, this habit enables you to quickly and steadily

expand your vocabulary, so youll be a more con? dent reader and speaker. If you dont have a dictionary readily available, try to determine the meaning of the word as best you can from its context”that is, the words and ideas around it. (Theres more on this topic in Lesson 3. ) Then, make sure you look up the word as soon as possible so youre sure of its meaning. Marking Up the Text Marking up the text creates a direct physical link between you and the words youre reading. It forces you to pay closer attention to the words you read and takes you to a higher level of comprehension. Use these three

strategies to mark up text: x HOW TO USE THIS BOOK Making Marginal Notes Recording your questions and reactions in the margins turns you from a passive receiver of information into an active participant in a dialogue. (If youre reading a library book, write your reactions in a notebook. ) You will get much more out of the ideas and information you read about if you create a conversation with the writer. Here are some examples of the kinds of reactions you might write down in the margin or in your notebook: ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ Making Observations Good readers know that writers use many different

strategies to express their ideas. Even if you know very little about those strategies, you can make useful observations about what you read to better understand and remember the authors ideas. You can notice, for example, the authors choice of words; the structure of the sentences and paragraphs; any repetition of words or ideas; important details about people, places, and things; and so on. This step”making observations”is essential because your observations (what you notice) lead you to logical inferences about what you read. Inferences are conclusions based on reason, fact, or evidence.

You are constantly making inferences based on your observations, even when youre not reading. For example, if you notice that the sky is full of dark, heavy clouds, you might infer that it is going to rain; if you notice that your coworker has a stack of gardening books on her desk, you might infer that she likes gardening. If you misunderstand what you read, it is often because you havent looked closely enough at the text. As a result, you base your inferences on your own ideas and experiences, not on whats actually written in the text. You end up forcing your own ideas on the author

(rather than listening to what the author has to say) and then forming your own ideas about it. Its critical, then, that you begin to really pay attention to what writers say and how they say it. If any of this sounds confusing now, dont worry. Each of these ideas will be thoroughly explained in the lessons that follow. In the meantime, start practicing active reading as best you can. Begin by taking the pretest. Questions often come up when you read. They may be answered later in the text, but by that time, you may have forgotten the question! And if your

question isnt answered, you may want to discuss it with someone: Why does the writer describe the new welfare policy as unfair? or Why does the character react in this way? Agreements and disagreements with the author are bound to arise if youre actively reading. Write them down: Thats not necessarily true! or This policy makes a lot of sense to me. Connections you note can be either between the text and something that you read earlier or between the text and your own experience. For example, I remember feeling the same way when I . . . or This is similar to what happened

in China. Evaluations are your way of keeping the author honest. If you think the author isnt providing suf? cient support for what he or she is saying or that theres something wrong with that support, say so: He says the dropping of the bomb was inevitable, but he doesnt explain why or This is a very sel? sh reason. xi READING COMPREHENSION SUCCESS IN 20 MINUTES A DAY Pretest B efore you start your study of reading skills, you may want to get an idea of how much you already know and how much you need to learn. If thats the case, take the pretest that follows.

The pretest consists of 50 multiple-choice questions covering all the lessons in this book. Naturally, 50 questions cant cover every single concept or strategy you will learn by working through this book. So even if you get all the questions on the pretest right, its almost guaranteed that you will ? nd a few ideas or reading tactics in this book that you didnt already know. On the other hand, if you get many questions wrong on this pretest, dont despair. This book will show you how to read more effectively, step by step. You should use this pretest to get a general idea of how much you already know.

If you get a high score, you may be able to spend less time with this book than you originally planned. If you get a low score, you may ? nd that you will need more than 20 minutes a day to get through each chapter and improve your reading skills. Theres an answer sheet you can use for ? lling in the correct answers on page 3. Or, if you prefer, simply circle the answer numbers in this book. If the book doesnt belong to you, write the numbers 150 on a piece of paper and record your answers there. Take as much time as you need to do this short test. When you ?

nish, check your answers against the answer key at the end of this lesson. Each answer offers the lesson(s) in this book that teaches you about the reading strategy in that question. 1 LEARNINGEXPRESS ANSWER SHEET 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b 3 c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c d d d d d d d d d d

d d d d d d d 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b b c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c c d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d d PRETEST Pretest The pretest consists of a series of reading passages with questions that follow to test your comprehension. Cultural Center Adds Classes for Young Adults The Allendale Cultural Center has expanded its arts program to include classes for young adults. Director Leah Martin announced Monday that beginning in September, three new classes will be offered to the Allendale community.

The course titles will be Yoga for Teenagers; Hip Hop Dance: Learning the Latest Moves; and Creative Journaling for Teens: Discovering the Writer Within. The latter course will not be held at the Allendale Cultural Center but instead will meet at the Allendale Public Library. Staff member Tricia Cousins will teach the yoga and hip hop classes. Ms. Cousins is an accomplished choreographer as well as an experienced dance educator. She has an MA in dance education from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she wrote a thesis on the pedagogical effectiveness of dance education.

The journaling class will be taught by Betsy Milford. Ms. Milford is the head librarian at the Allendale Public Library as well as a columnist for the professional journal Library Focus. The courses are part of the Allendale Cultural Centers Project Teen, which was initiated by Leah Martin, Director of the Cultural Center. According to Martin, this project is a direct result of her efforts to make the center a more integral part of the Allendale community. Over the last several years, the number of people who have visited the cultural center for classes or events has steadily declined.

Project Teen is primarily funded by a muni? cent grant from The McGee Arts Foundation, an organization devoted to bringing arts programs to young adults. Martin oversees the Project Teen board, which consists of ? ve board members. Two board members are students at Allendales Brookdale High School; the other three are adults with backgrounds in education and the arts. The creative journaling class will be cosponsored by Brookdale High School, and students who complete the class will be given the opportunity to publish one of their journal entries in Pulse, Brookdales student literary magazine.

Students who complete the hip hop class will be eligible to participate in the Allendale Review, an annual concert sponsored by the cultural center that features local actors, musicians, and dancers. All classes are scheduled to begin immediately following school dismissal, and transportation will be available from Brookdale High School to the Allendale Cultural Center and the Allendale Public Library. For more information about Project Teen, contact the cultural centers programming of? ce at 988-0099 or drop by the of? ce after June 1 to pick up a fall course catalog. The of? ce is located on the third ?

oor of the Allendale Town Hall. 2. Which of the following statements is correct? a. Tricia Cousins will teach two of the new classes. b. The new classes will begin on June 1. c. People who want a complete fall catalogue should stop by the Allendale Public Library. d. The cultural centers annual concert is called Pulse. 1. The Creative Journaling for Teens class will be cosponsored by a. The Allendale Public Library. b. The McGee Arts Foundation. c. Brookdale High School. d. Betsy Milford. 5 PRETEST 6. The title of the course Creative Journaling for Teens: Discovering the Writer Within implies that

a. all young people should write in a journal daily. b. teenagers do not have enough hobbies. c. writing in a journal can help teenagers become better and more creative writers. d. teenagers are in need of guidance and direction. 3. According to Leah Martin, what was the direct cause of Project Teen? a. Tricia Cousins, the talented choreographer and dance educator, was available to teach courses in the fall. b. Community organizations were ignoring local teenagers. c. The McGee Arts Foundation wanted to be more involved in Allendales arts programming. d. She wanted to make the cultural center a more

important part of the Allendale community. 7. Which of the following correctly states the primary subject of this article? a. Leah Martins personal ideas about young adults b. The McGee Foundations grant to the Allendale Cultural Center c. three new classes for young adults added to the cultural centers arts program d. the needs of young adults in Allendale 4. Which of the following factors is implied as another reason for Project Teen? a. The number of people who have visited the cultural center has declined over the last several years. b. The cultural center wanted a grant from The McGee Arts Foundation.

c. The young people of Allendale have complained about the cultural centers offerings. d. Leah Martin thinks classes for teenagers are more important than classes for adults. 8. This article is organized in which of the following ways? a. in chronological order, from the past to the future b. most important information ? rst, followed by background and details. c. background ? rst, followed by the most important information and details. d. as sensational news, with the most controversial topic ? rst 5. From the context of the passage, it can be determined that the word muni? cent most nearly means a.

complicated. b. generous. c. curious. d. unusual. 6 PRETEST (excerpt from the opening of an untitled essay) John Steinbecks Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939, was followed ten years later by A. B. Guthries The Way West. Both books chronicle a migration, though that of Guthries pioneers is considerably less bleak in origin. What strikes one at ? rst glance, however, are the commonalities. Both Steinbecks and Guthries characters are primarily farmers. They look to their destinations with nearly religious enthusiasm, imagining their promised land the way the Biblical Israelites envisioned Canaan.

Both undergo great hardship to make the trek. But the two sagas differ distinctly in origin. Steinbecks Oklahomans are forced off their land by the banks who own their mortgages, and they follow a false promise”that jobs await them as seasonal laborers in California. Guthries farmers willingly remove themselves, selling their land and trading their old dreams for their new hope in Oregon. The pioneers decision to leave their farms in Missouri and the East is frivolous and ill-founded in comparison with the Oklahomans unwilling response to displacement. Yet, it is they, the pioneers, whom our history books declare the heroes.

11. Which of the following excerpts from the essay is an opinion, rather than a fact? a. Both Steinbecks and Guthries characters are primarily farmers. b. Steinbecks Oklahomans are forced off their land by the banks who own their mortgages¦ c. John Steinbecks Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939, was followed ten years later by A. B. Guthries The Way West. d. The pioneers decision to leave their farms in Missouri and the East is frivolous and ill-founded in comparison with the Oklahomans¦ 9. From the context of the passage, it can be determined that the word frivolous most nearly means

a. silly. b. high-minded. c. dif? cult. d. calculated. 10. Suppose that the author is considering following this sentence with supportive detail: Both undergo great hardship to make the trek. Which of the following sentences would be in keeping with the comparison and contrast structure of the paragraph? a. The migrants in The Way West cross the Missouri, then the Kaw, and make their way overland to the Platte. b. The Oklahomans jalopies break down repeatedly, while the pioneers wagons need frequent repairs. c. Todays travelers would consider it a hardship to spend several days, let alone several

months, getting anywhere. d. The Joad family, in The Grapes of Wrath, loses both grandmother and grandfather before the journey is complete. 12. The language in the paragraph implies that which of the following will happen to the Oklahomans when they arrive in California? a. They will ? nd a means to practice their religion freely. b. They will be declared national heroes. c. They will not ? nd the jobs they were promised. d. They will make their livings as mechanics rather than as farm laborers. 7 PRETEST Bill Clintons Inaugural Address (excerpt from the opening) When George Washington ?

rst took the oath I have just sworn to uphold, news traveled slowly across the land by horseback and across the ocean by boat. Now the sights and sounds of this ceremony are broadcast instantaneously to billions around the world. Communications and commerce are global. Investment is mobile. Technology is almost magical, and ambition for a better life is now universal. We earn our livelihood in America today in peaceful competition with people all across the Earth. Profound and powerful forces are shaking and remaking our world, and the urgent question of our time is whether we can make change our friend and not our enemy.

This new world has already enriched the lives of millions of Americans who are able to compete and win in it. But when most people are working harder for less; when others cannot work at all; when the cost of healthcare devastates families and threatens to bankrupt our enterprises, great and small; when the fear of crime robs law-abiding citizens of their freedom; and when millions of poor children cannot even imagine the lives we are calling them to lead, we have not made change our friend. 15. When President Clinton says that most people are working harder for less, he is

a. reaching a reasonable conclusion based on evidence he has provided. b. reaching an unreasonable conclusion based on evidence he has provided. c. making a generalization that would require evidence before it could be con? rmed. d. making a generalization that is so obvious that evidence is not needed. 13. What is the central topic of the speech so far? a. how Americans can keep up with global competition b. ways in which technology has undermined our economy c. ways in which technology has improved our lives d. how change has affected America and our need to adapt 14.

By comparing our times with those of George Washington, Bill Clinton demonstrates a. how apparently different, but actually similar, the two eras are. b. how technology has drastically speeded up communications. c. that presidential inaugurations receive huge media attention. d. that television is a much more convincing communications tool than print. 16. Assuming that Clinton wants to add something about crime being a more serious threat in our time than in George Washingtons, which of the following sentences would be most consistent with the tone of the presidential speech? a.

If Id been alive in Georges day, I would have enjoyed knowing that my wife and child could walk city streets without being mugged. b. In George Washingtons time, Americans may not have enjoyed as many luxuries, but they could rest in the awareness that their neighborhoods were safe. c. George could at least count on one thing. He knew that his family was safe from crime. d. A statistical analysis of the overall growth in crime rates since 1789 would reveal that a signi? cant increase has occurred. 8 PRETEST The Crossing Chapter I: The Blue Wall (excerpt from the opening of a novel by Winston Churchill)

I was born under the Blue Ridge, and under that side which is blue in the evening light, in a wild land of game and forest and rushing waters. There, on the borders of a creek that runs into the Yadkin River, in a cabin that was chinked with red mud, I came into the world a subject of King George the Third, in that part of his realm known as the province of North Carolina. The cabin reeked of corn-pone and bacon, and the odor of pelts. It had two shakedowns, on one of which I slept under a bearskin. A rough stone chimney was reared outside, and the ? replace was as long as my father was tall.

There was a crane in it, and a bake kettle; and over it great buckhorns held my fathers ri? e when it was not in use. On other horns hung jerked bears meat and venison hams, and gourds for drinking cups, and bags of seed, and my fathers best hunting shirt; also, in a neglected corner, several articles of womans attire from pegs. These once belonged to my mother. Among them was a gown of silk, of a ? ne, faded pattern, over which I was wont to speculate. The women at the Cross-Roads, twelve miles away, were dressed in coarse butternut wool and huge sunbonnets.

But when I questioned my father on these matters he would give me no answers. My father was”how shall I say what he was? To this day I can only surmise many things of him. He was a Scotchman born, and I know now that he had a slight Scotch accent. At the time of which I write, my early childhood, he was a frontiersman and hunter. I can see him now, with his hunting shirt and leggins and moccasins; his powder horn, engraved with wondrous scenes; his bullet pouch and tomahawk and hunting knife. He was a tall, lean man with a strange, sad face.

And he talked little save when he drank too many horns, as they were called in that country. These lapses of my fathers were a perpetual source of wonder to me”and, I must say, of delight. They occurred only when a passing traveler who hit his fancy chanced that way, or, what was almost as rare, a neighbor. Many a winter night I have lain awake under the skins, listening to a ? ow of language that held me spellbound, though I understood scarce a word of it. Virtuous and vicious every man must be, Few in the extreme, but all in a degree. The chance neighbor or traveler was no less struck with wonder.

And many the time have I heard the query, at the Cross-Roads and elsewhere, Whar Alec Trimble got his larnin? 18. Judging by the sentences surrounding it, the word surmise in the third paragraph most nearly means a. to form a negative opinion. b. to praise. c. to desire. d. to guess. 17. Why did the narrator enjoy it when his father drank too many horns, or drafts of liquor? a. The father spoke brilliantly at those times. b. The boy was then allowed to do as he pleased. c. These were the only times when the father was not abusive. d. The boy was allowed to sample the drink himself.

9 PRETEST 22. Which of the following adjectives best describes the region in which the cabin is located? a. remote b. urban c. agricultural d. ?at 19. The mention of the dress in the second paragraph is most likely meant to a. show the similarity between its owner and other members of the community. b. show how warm the climate was. c. show the dissimilarity between its owner and other members of the community. d. give us insight into the way most of the women of the region dressed. 23. The author most likely uses dialect when quoting the question, Whar Alec Trimble got his larnin?

in order to a. show disapproval of the fathers drinking. b. show how people talked down to the narrator. c. show the speakers lack of education. d. mimic the way the father talked. 20. It can be inferred from the passage that Alec Trimble is a. a traveler. b. a neighbor. c. the narrators father. d. a poet. 21. What is the meaning of the lines of verse quoted in the passage? a. Men who pretend to be virtuous are actually vicious. b. Moderate amounts of virtuousness and viciousness are present in all men.

c. Virtuous men cannot also be vicious. d. Whether men are virtuous or vicious depends on the dif? culty of their circumstances. 10 PRETEST (excerpt from a letter to a pet-sitter) Dear Lee, As I told you, Ill be gone until Wednesday morning.

Thank you so much for taking on my children while Im away. Like real children, they can be kind of irritating sometimes, but Im going to enjoy myself so much more knowing theyre getting some kind human attention. Remember that Regina (the queen in Latin, and she acts like one) is teething. If you dont watch her, shell chew anything, including her sister, the cat. There are plenty of chew toys around the house.

Whenever she starts gnawing on anything illegal, just divert her with one of those. She generally settles right down to a good hour-long chew. Then youll see her wandering around whimpering with the remains of the toy in her mouth. She gets really frustrated because what she wants is to bury the thing. Shell try to dig a hole between the cushions of the couch. Finding that unsatisfactory, shell wander some more, discontent, until you solve her problem for her. I usually show her the laundry basket, moving a few clothes so she can bury her toy beneath them. I do sound like a parent, dont I?

You have to understand, my own son is practically grown up. Reginas food is the Puppy Chow in the utility room, where the other pet food is stored. Give her a bowl once in the morning and once in the evening. No more than that, no matter how much she begs. Beagles are notorious overeaters, according to her breeder, and I dont want her to lose her girlish ? gure. She can share Rex (the Kings) water, but be sure its changed daily. She needs to go out several times a day, especially last thing at night and ? rst thing in the morning. Let her stay out for about ten minutes each time, so she can do all her business.

She also needs a walk in the afternoon, after which its important to romp with her for awhile in the yard. The game she loves most is fetch, but be sure to make her drop the ball. Shed rather play tug of war with it. Tell her, Sit! Then, when she does, say, Drop it! Be sure to tell her good girl, and then throw the ball for her. I hope youll enjoy these sessions as much as I do. Now, for the other two, Rex and Paws¦ (letter continues) 26. According to the author, his or her attachment to the pets derives at least partially from a. their regal pedigrees and royal bearing.

b.having few friends to pass the time with. c. these particular animals exceptional needs. d. a desire to continue parenting. 24. The tone of this letter is best described as a. chatty and humorous. b. logical and precise. c. con? dent and trusting. d. condescending and preachy. 25. If the pet-sitter is a business-like professional who watches peoples pets for a living, she or he would likely prefer a. more ? rst-person revelations about the owner. b. fewer ? rst-person revelations about the owner. c. more praise for agreeing to watch the animals. d. greater detail on the animals cute behavior. 27.

The information in the note is suf? cient to determine that there are three animals. They are a. two cats and a dog. b. three dogs. c. a dog, a cat, and an unspeci? ed animal. d. a cat, a dog, and a parrot. 11 PRETEST 29. From the context of the note, it is most likely that the name Rexis a. Spanish. b. English. c. French. d. Latin.

28. Given that there are three animals to feed, which of the following arrangements of the feeding instructions would be most ef? cient and easiest to follow? a. all given in one list, chronologically from morning to night b. provided separately as they are for Regina, within separate passages on each animal c. given in the order of quantities needed, the most to the least d. placed in the middle of the letter, where they would be least likely to be overlooked.

30. If the sitter is to follow the owners directions in playing fetch with Regina, at what point will he or she will tell Regina good girl? a. every time Regina goes after the ball b. after Regina ? nds the ball c. when Regina brings the ball back d. after Regina drops the ball (excerpt from a pro-voting essay) Voting is the privilege for which wars have been fought, protests have been organized, and editorials have been written.

No taxation without representation was a battle cry of the American Revolution. Women struggled for suffrage as did all minorities. Eighteen-year-olds clamored for the right to vote, saying that if they were old enough to go to war, they should be allowed to vote. Yet Americans have a deplorable voting history. Interviewing people about their voting habits is revealing. There are individuals who state that they have never voted. Often, they claim that their individual vote doesnt matter. Some people blame their absence from the voting booth on the fact that they do not know enough about the issues.

In a democracy, we can express our opinions to our elected leaders, but more than half of us sometimes avoid choosing the people who make the policies that affect our lives. 33. By choosing the word clamored, the author implies that a. eighteen-year-olds are generally enthusiastic. b. voting was not a serious concern to eighteenyear-olds. c. eighteen-year-olds felt strongly that they should be allowed to vote. d. eighteen-year-olds do not handle themselves in an adult-like manner.

31. This argument relies primarily on which of the following techniques to make its points? a. emotional assertions b. researched facts in support of an assertion c. emotional appeals to voters d. emotional appeals to nonvoters 32. Which of the following sentences best summarizes the main idea of the passage? a. Americans are too lazy to vote.

b. Women and minorities fought for their right to vote. c. Americans do not take voting seriously enough. d. Americans do not think that elected of? cials take their opinions seriously. 12 PRETEST Improving Streamside Wildlife Habitats (excerpt from Habitat Extension Bulletin distributed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department) Riparian vegetation [the green band of vegetation along a watercourse] can help stabilize stream banks; ?

lter sediment from surface runoff; and provide wildlife habitat, livestock forage, and scenic value. Well-developed vegetation also allows bank soils to absorb extra water during spring runoff, releasing it later during drier months, thus improving late-summer stream ? ows. In many parts of the arid West, trees and shrubs are found only in riparian areas. Woody plants are very important as winter cover for many wildlife species, including upland game birds such as pheasants and turkeys. Often this winter cover is the greatest single factor limiting game bird populations.

Woody vegetation also provides hiding cover and browse for many other species of birds and mammals, both game and nongame. Dead trees (snags) are an integral part of streamside habitats and should be left standing whenever possible. Woodpeckers, nuthatches, brown creepers, and other birds eat the insects that decompose the wood. These insects usually pose no threat to nearby living trees. Occasionally a disease organism or misuse of pesticides will weaken or kill a stand of trees. If several trees in a small area begin to die, contact your local extension agent immediately. 36. Assume that the author has done some other writing on this topic for a different audience.

The other piece begins: Remember the last time you walked along a stream? No doubt thick vegetation prevented easy progress. What is the likely effect on the reader of this opening? a. an aroused interest, due to the reference to the readers personal experience b. resentment, due to being addressed so personally c. loss of interest, because the opening line makes no attempt to draw the reader in d. confusion, because not every reader has walked along a stream 34. What is the effect of the word choice riparian?

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