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Now, let’s look at the second vocabulary word, pensive. Again, the context provides us with strong clues. Amy states that she and Andy “are opposites”—that though they look alike, they have opposite dispositions. She is quiet, and he is loud. Thus, we can expect that the next pair of descriptions will be opposites, too. So we simply have to look at her description of Andy and come up with its opposite. If Andy “doesn’t seem to stop to think about anything,” then we can assume that Amy spends a lot of time thinking.
Active readers use the following strategies: LOOKING FOR CLUES We’ve already mentioned the word “clues” a couple of times in this lesson. That’s because good readers are a lot like detectives. They don’t read just to get through a passage; they pay careful attention to words and details, much like Sherlock Holmes would do if he were solving a mystery. Detectives look for clues that will help them better understand the writer’s ideas. These clues come in many forms such as: ■ ■ ■ 1. skimming ahead and jumping back 2.
But not all paragraphs begin with a clear topic sentence. Sometimes writers begin with specific supporting ideas and lead up to the main idea. In this case, the topic sentence is often found at the end of the paragraph. Here’s an example: School is tough enough without having to worry about looking cool every single day. The less I have to decide first thing in the morning, the better. I can’t tell you how many mornings I look into my closet and just stare, unable to decide what to wear. I also wouldn’t mind not having to see guys wearing oversized jeans and shirts so huge they’d fit a sumo wrestler.