Boost Your Brainpower
In this chapter, you will learn to:
- Use pre-reading strategies
- Figure out unknown words while you read
- Build your vocabulary
- Understand the main ideas and details of a text
- Spell words with the suffixes -tion and -sion
- Use commas in a series
- Write compound sentences
- Write a descriptive paragraph
Get Ready to Read
Think about the questions below or discuss them with a partner.
- What things affect how well you learn?
- How do you deal with stress?
- How do you motivate yourself to try your best in school?
- What would your perfect classroom physically look like?
Readers check their understanding of a text while they read. When you struggle to figure out a word, don’t just skip it. Try this strategy instead. When you see a word you do not know, underline it. Go back and read the words before it. Then read the words after it. Now think of a word that would make sense in the spot that you underlined. Does it sound right? Does it make sense?
Try this strategy as you read Boost Your Brainpower.
Find these words in the text. Use the context to choose the best meaning.
1. _______________________ is something found in the air that is needed for life.
2. A _______________________ is something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention.
3. The ability to pay attention to one thing is called _______________________.
4. If you have _______________________, you have the ability to see.
5. _______________________ are used to measure the energy in food that gets released into the body.
6. _______________________ are the things that are most important and should be done first.
7. To _______________________ someone is to make them eager to work.
8. A liquid, or something that can flow like water, can be called a _______________________.
9. _______________________ is used to give power to something.
Check Your Understanding
Match each detail to the main idea.
1. Motivate yourself
2. Challenge yourself
3. Create an environment where you work well
4. Eat healthy food
5. Involve your senses
6. Drink enough water
7. Get oxygen to your brain
8. Organize yourself
a. Make to-do lists
b. Avoid sweet fizzy drinks
c. Try thinking “how fascinating” when you make a mistake
d. Try new things
e. Turn off your cellphone
f. Go for a walk
g. Take notes in different colours
h. 20% of the calories we eat are used to fuel our brain.
i. Avoid exciting activities before you go to sleep.
A suffix is the end part of a word. Study these words ending in -tion and -sion. Arrange a date to be tested on your ability to spell these words.
One way to figure out how to spell a new word is to write down some possible spellings and see what looks right. Fill in the blanks with t or s based on what looks right.
Commas in a Series
Commas can be used to separate items in a list. Look at how the comma is used in these sentences:
- Research suggests that some foods might be especially good for memory and concentration. Examples include: egg yolk, whole grains, nuts, fish, dark leafy green vegetables, beans, strawberries, and blueberries.
- Using a day planner will help you plan ahead, set priorities, be on time, and meet deadlines.
- Going for a walk, a run, or a bike ride really helps get oxygen to your brain.
- Reward yourself by doing something you enjoy like watching a TV show, talking to a friend on the phone, eating a treat, or taking a rest.
- Most brains have five senses: vision, hearing, smell, touch, and taste.
Notice that the comma does not go before the first word in the list. Also notice that the word “and” or “or” appears before the last item in the list. The comma goes before “and” or “or” but not after.
Add commas to the sentences below.
1. The brain needs food oxygen and water.
2. To help your brain remember the names of the Great Lakes, think of the word HOMES: Huron Ontario Michigan Erie and Superior.
3. People began performing brain surgery 7,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians Romans Greeks Chinese Indians and Incas all performed brain surgery.
4. Emotions are an important part of survival: Fear tells you to run away from danger anger tells you to fight for your life and love creates a need for connection.
5. The brain has many chemicals that affect our feelings. Dopamine causes us to feel pleasure excitement pain and nausea.
6. Serotonin plays a role in feelings of happiness sleepiness and fullness.
7. Endorphins play a role in relaxation and reducing pain.
8. Noradrenaline can cause us to feel alert excited or anxious.
9. Oxytocin is the chemical that gets released in our brain when we fall in love.
A compound sentence is made by joining two complete sentences using a comma and one of these joining words: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, or so. To remember these joining words, think of the word FANBOYS.
|For||Use to explain||Study next to an open window, for fresh air may help your brain focus.|
|And||Use to add information||Barbara learned to tell time, and she began to understand the rules of math and grammar.|
|Nor||Use to list items that are not options||You should not play video games during the hour before bedtime, nor should you watch television.|
|But||Use to show contrast||You were born with most of the neurons you have now, but when you were a baby you didn’t have many pathways to connect them.|
|Or||Use to list options||You could go for a walk to get more oxygen to your brain, or you could do some stretches.|
|Yet||Use to add surprising information||Einstein failed a test to get into university, yet he went on to become one of the world’s best-known geniuses.|
|So||Use to show cause and effect||Research suggests your brain does not do well with sudden rushes of sugar, so sweet fizzy drinks do not really help your brain.|
Combine the two complete sentences into one compound sentence. Replace the period with a comma and one of the FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).
1. The most commonly written word in the English language is “the.” The most commonly spoken word in the English language is “I.”
2. Today, it would be rude to wipe your dirty hands on a tablecloth. The original purpose of the tablecloth was for wiping your hands after eating!
3. Honey tastes delicious. It is the only natural food that doesn’t spoil.
4. You can see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from the top of Mount Irazu on a clear day. The top of the mountain is usually very cloudy.
5. The ad for the first Ski-Dog snowmobile accidentally called it a Ski-Doo. The company changed the snowmobile’s name to match the ad.
A descriptive paragraph helps your reader visualize the person, place, or thing that you are describing.
A descriptive paragraph should:
- Begin with a topic sentence that says what you are describing
- End with a concluding sentence that reminds the reader of the topic
- Appeal to the senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound
My dog, Huckleberry, is not very popular with my friends. If they don’t pay attention to him, he makes a high-pitched whining sound like air slowly being let out of a balloon. Other times, he makes the hacking noises of a 90-year-old smoker. He snores like a chainsaw and his breath has the scent of last month’s garbage. But if you plug your nose and your ears, you’ll notice how soft and warm he is to cuddle with. With his white fur and big black spots, he looks like the world’s tiniest, cutest cow. His scruffy beard makes him look rough around the edges, but wise. He’s almost 10 years old, but he has the energy of a puppy. He may not be popular with my friends, but he’s popular with me!
Identify the details in the descriptive paragraph above that appeal to these senses:
Write a descriptive paragraph about your perfect classroom. Follow the TOWER method.
- Think about all the things that help you learn. Now imagine what a classroom would physically look like if it was perfectly set up to help you learn. Be creative. Write down all your ideas. Choose the ones you want to use. Think of some descriptive details that appeal to the senses.
- Organize your ideas. Decide what order you will include them in.
- Write your first draft. Include a topic sentence, your descriptive details, and a concluding sentence. Use linking words to show how the ideas are related. Linking words that are helpful for describing a place include:
under over next to on top of above beside near close to inside outside
- Edit your paragraph with the help of your instructor and the Boost Your Brainpower description checklist.
- Rewrite your paragraph. You may wish to type it on a computer. Finally, hand it in to your instructor.
Ask your instructor for a copy of the checklist, or print one from the link above. For a printable version, see Appendix 2.
|Check Your Understanding|
|Commas in a Series|
|1||The brain needs food, oxygen, and water.|
|2||To help your brain remember the names of the Great Lakes, think of the word HOMES: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior.|
|3||People began performing brain surgery 7,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Indians, and Incas all performed brain surgery.|
|4||Emotions are an important part of survival: Fear tells you to run away from danger, anger tells you to fight for your life, and love creates a need for connection.|
|5||The brain has many chemicals that affect our feelings. Dopamine causes us to feel pleasure, excitement, pain, and nausea.|
|6||Serotonin plays a role in feelings of happiness, sleepiness, and fullness.|
|8||Noradrenaline can cause us to feel alert, excited, or anxious.|
|1||The most commonly written word in the English language is the, and the most commonly spoken word in the English language is I. (You could also use but instead of and.)|
|2||Today it would be rude to wipe your dirty hands on a tablecloth, but the original purpose of the tablecloth was for wiping your hands after eating! (You could also use yet instead of but.)|
|3||Honey tastes delicious, and it is the only natural food that doesn’t spoil.|
|4||You can see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from the top of Mount Irazu on a clear day, but the top of the mountain is usually very cloudy.|
|5||The ad for the first Ski-Dog snowmobile accidentally called it a Ski-Doo, so the company changed the snowmobile’s name to match the ad.|
|1||Sight: He has a scruffy beard that makes him look rough around the edges, but wise.|
|2||Smell: His breath has the scent of last month’s garbage.|
|3||Touch: He is soft and warm to cuddle with.|
|4||Sound: He makes a high-pitched whining sound like air slowly being let out of a balloon. He makes the hacking noises of a 90-year-old smoker. He snores like a chainsaw.|