Main Body

What’s Your Story?

Learning Goals

In this chapter, you will learn to:

  • Use the suffixes -tion and -ize to understand meaning
  • Draw inferences and conclusions
  • Summarize information from a text
  • Discuss and respond to the digital story 7th Word
  • Identify and correct sentence fragments
  • Use subject-verb agreement
  • Write a descriptive paragraph that describes an important place in your life

Get Ready to Read
  • What is your favourite kind of story: funny, scary, dramatic, fantasy, or romantic?
  • Try to think of a famous story (book, movie, TV show, video game) about:
    • a relationship
    • an adventure
    • an accomplishment
    • a special place
    • a job or hobby
    • a discovery
  • How do you feel when your instructor asks you to write a story?


Scan What’s Your Story? to find a bold word for each of the following.

1. A group of people or things that are similar in some way

2. A person who is involved in an activity

3. Changed or affected by someone or something

4. Produced or caused something

5. Producing good effects on the body or mind

6. So confusing or difficult you feel like you can’t do it

7. Something that greatly affects people’s emotions

8. Succeeding at something by working hard

9. The act of saying who or what something is

10. Very useful, helpful, or important

Check your work with the Answer Key at the end of this chapter.

Word Pattern

tion is a suffix that means “the act of.”

ize is a suffix that means “make or become.”

Use the vocabulary words and affixes above to build a word for each definition below.

11. ___________________________: the act of participating

12. ___________________________: to make categories

13. ___________________________: the act of identifying

14. ___________________________: to make a drama

Check your work with the Answer Key at the end of this chapter.

Reading Strategy

Readers check their understanding of a text while they read. One strategy is to stop after each paragraph and try to retell the main idea in your own words.

Try this strategy as you read What’s Your Story?

Check Your Understanding

1. A good way to check your understanding of a text is to summarize it. A summary is an explanation of the main ideas of a text. A summary does not include details or examples. It does not include your opinion of the text. Write a summary of the six types of stories described in this chapter.

2. An inference is an educated guess about what a text is saying, using your knowledge and logic. What’s Your Story suggests that students should avoid exploring personal stories with lots of difficult emotions when at school. Make an inference about why this might be a good idea.

3. As we read, we form our own thoughts about the text. We form judgments, or opinions. This is often called drawing conclusions. Draw a conclusion about which category 7th Word fits into best. Give reasons.

Check your work with the Answer Key at the end of this chapter.

Writing Task

Another way to check our understanding of a text is to apply what we have learned. Try this:

1. In the text, locate the five activities Joe Lambert recommends for finding a story to tell.

2. Choose one of these activities and try it.

3. Play with your story ideas until you find the seed of a story you want to tell.

4. Write down the basics of your story idea, so that you don’t forget them later.

5. Share your idea with your instructor.

Sentence Fragments 

Grammar Rule

A complete sentence needs three things: a subject, a verb, and a complete thought. If a sentence is missing one of these, it is called a fragment. Sentence fragments are a common mistake in people’s writing.

  • This sentence is missing a subject: Is the second-largest country in the world.

Fixed: Canada is the second-largest country in the world.

  • This sentence is missing a verb: James Naismith, the inventor of basketball.

Fixed: James Naismith was the inventor of basketball.

  • This sentence is missing a complete thought: Unless it rains.

Fixed: We will have a picnic tomorrow unless it rains.

Are these complete sentences or fragments?

1. The photo on the wall.

2. The car had a flat tire.

3. In a hurry.

4. Sleeping until noon.

5. I think I lost a $50.00 bill.

6. On Tuesday morning.

7. A sale on tomatoes.

8. Sofia’s ice cream melted in the sun.

9. We are cheering for the Toronto Blue Jays.

What is missing from these sentences: a subject, verb, or complete thought?

10. If you have a sunburn.

11. Will send you an email.

12. Since it is a holiday.

13. The tiger at the zoo.

14. When we walk the dog.

Check your work with the Answer Key at the end of this chapter.

Subject-Verb Agreement

Grammar Rule

You have learned that subject refers to the people, places, or things that do the action in a sentence. In this lesson, you’ll study how verbs must “agree” with their subjects.

  • If the subject is singular, then the verb must be singular.
    Example: She listens to the radio every morning.
    She is the singular subject, and listens is the singular verb.
  • If the subject is plural, then the verb must be plural.
    Example: They listen to the radio every morning.
    They is the plural subject, and listen is the plural verb.

Collective nouns are nouns that name a group of persons or things. A collective noun is often considered to be singular.

band crowd gang
staff team pair

Non-count nouns are things we cannot count. A non-count noun is considered to be singular.

news water advice milk bread fruit
rain coffee tea clothing sugar rice
Choose the verb that agrees with each subject.

1. This coffee looks/look very strong.

2. The band play/plays at the pub on Monday nights.

3. We plans/plan to get married this summer.

4. The staff at the hotel is/are always very friendly.

5. Juan and Ted has/have two cats.

6. The team is/are hoping to win the Stanley Cup.

7. My new pair of shoes have/has gone missing.

8. The water was/were so warm, I jumped right in.

9. The fruit is/are ripe and ready to eat.

10. The crowd go/goes wild when Omar goes on stage.

11. The caves is/are fun to explore.

Check your work with the Answer Key at the end of this chapter.

Grammar Rule

These pronouns go with singular verbs:

anybody anyone everybody everyone
nobody no one somebody someone

Example: Everybody is welcome at our party.
Everybody is the singular subject and is is the singular verb.

Subjects with the following words usually go with singular verbs:

any each either every
neither none one

Example: Each of the apples has a big brown spot.
Each is the subject and has is the singular verb.

Choose the verb that agrees with each subject.

12. Neither of the fields is/are growing corn this year.

13. Each chapter was/were better than the one before it.

14. None of these socks have/has a match.

15. One of these tickets is/are the winner.

16. The buses get/gets very crowded at around 5:00 p.m.

17. No one is/are sitting next to me on the plane.

18. Somebody have/has left me a phone message.

19. Everybody was/were late for the party.

20. Stamps is/are expensive now.

21. A book of stamps is/are $10.00.

Check your work with the Answer Key at the end of this chapter.

Writing Task

Follow the steps below to write a descriptive paragraph on a place in your life.

1. Think: Brainstorm a big list of places that have played a role in your life. For example, the place could be a home, a town, a gathering place, a mountain, or a forest. Then, choose one place from your list and fill out the Mind Map. Ask your instructor for a copy or open and print one from the link. You will also find a printable version in Appendix 1.

2. Organize: Choose the best ideas from your Mind Map. Put a number next to each idea, to show what you will write about first, second, third, and so on.

3. Write: Follow your outline as you write a first draft of your descriptive paragraph. Don’t worry too much about spelling and grammar. Just get your ideas down in a way that makes sense. At this point, you may want to put your draft aside so you can look at it with fresh eyes later.

4. Edit: Use a different colour to make edits to your writing. Check to see how it sounds when you read it out loud. Is the meaning clear? Are there any details that are missing or off topic? Should you use different sentence types to make it flow more smoothly? Are there any words that you want to change to make your writing more alive? (Use a thesaurus to find more interesting vocabulary words.) Are all your sentences complete? Do you need to check the spelling of any words in a dictionary?

5. Rewrite: Write a final copy of your paragraph that includes all your edits. You may wish to type it on a computer. Finally, hand it in to your instructor.

Answer Key

1 category
2 participant
3 influenced
4 generated
5 therapeutic
6 overwhelming
7 dramatic
8 achieving
9 identifies
10 valuable
11 participation
12 categorize
13 identification
14 dramatize
Check Your Understanding  
1 What’s Your Story describes six story types. Some stories are about someone important in a person’s life. Other stories are about adventures and what was realized along the way. There are stories about accomplishments and stories about an important place. There are stories about what a person does as a job, hobby, or volunteer. Finally, there are discovery stories about how a person learned something new.
2 Answers may vary. It can be unsafe to explore difficult experiences when we do not have the right emotional supports around us. Sharing our difficult stories can trigger other people’s bad memories. We can feel embarrassed if we share information about ourselves that we later wish we had kept private.
3 Answers may vary. 7th Word may be described as a discovery story because Taté discovered that he knew a seventh word in the Lakota language.
Sentence Fragments
1 fragment
2 sentence
3 fragment
4 fragment
5 sentence
6 fragment
7 fragment
8 sentence
9 sentence
10 complete thought
11 subject
12 complete thought
13 verb
14 complete thought
Subject Verb Agreement
1 This coffee looks very strong.
2 The band plays at the pub on Monday nights.
3 We plan to get married this summer.
4 The staff at the hotel is always very friendly.
5 Juan and Ted have two cats.
6 The team is hoping to win the Stanley Cup.
7 My new pair of shoes has gone missing.
8 The water was so warm, I jumped right in.
9 The fruit is ripe and ready to eat.
10 The crowd goes wild when Omar goes on stage.
11 The caves are fun to explore.
12 Neither of the fields is growing corn this year.
13 Each chapter was better than the one before it.
14 None of these socks has a match.
15 One of these tickets is the winner.
16 The buses get very crowded at around 5:00 p.m.
17 No one is sitting next to me on the plane.
18 Somebody has left me a phone message.
19 Everybody was late for the party.
20 Stamps are expensive now.
21 A book of stamps is $10.00.


Image by sebadelval is in the public domain.


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BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English - Course Pack 6 Copyright © 2015 by Shantel Ivits is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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