Issues and Answers: A Competency-Based Reading/Writing Book offers background readings on current issues of interest and slightly simplified "media realia"-typical examples of the kinds of newspaper and magazine reading materials that usually interest adults. The comprehension exercises focus on getting the main ideas, scanning for relevant information, and making inferences; additional exercises present techniques for building vocabulary and utilizing other reading skills, such as recognizing reference words, replacement expressions, connotation, and ellipsis. Students are given ample opportunity to organize, express, and rethink their opinions on the issues presented and discussed in the reading selections.
The writing selections, which are closely correlated with the readings, offer instruction in writing mechanics (capitalization, punctuation, paragraph and letter form, etc.) as well as in writing style (combining short sentences with connecting words, using adjective clauses, providing specific support for generalizations, etc.). Students not only have an opportunity to express their views in writing but also to use "writing as a process" to clarify their thoughts and to improve their language skills.
Like most other books in the Life Skills program, Issues and Answers: A Competency Based Reading/Writing Book consists of an introduction and ten chapters, each divided into four parts with specific purposes.
- A Vocabulary Section provides illustrations to discuss as a "warm-up" to the chapter theme as well as an introduction to the important vocabulary to follow.
- Part One: Background Reading offers a five-paragraph description of the major subissues on the chapter theme, followed by comprehension activities, discussion questions, and topics for informal "debate."
- Part Two: Building Vocabulary and Reading Skills presents various kinds of exercises in vocabulary building and the details of reading for meaning.
- Part Three: Practical Reading consists of slightly simplified "typical" newspaper and magazine articles on the chapter theme, along with comprehension and "beyond the text" reading activities.
- Part Four: Writing about the Issues begins with an explanation of and practice in writing mechanics, organizations, and style; it ends with a writing activity in which students are encouraged to formulate and exchange ideas, refining their writing in the process.