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Snap Language

Getting Smarter through Language

Advanced Reading Course

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Interpreting What You Read | Part 1

Reading is more than simply understanding words and paragraphs. You must be able to interpret exactly what the author means.

For example, example, let’s say you have just done something that upset, and I say, “That's great... thank you very much!” You must interpret what I am saying beyond just understanding the words I used. There is a “hidden” message in what I am saying. It was not by accident that I responsed to a negative incident using positive words; I wanted to create an effect.

Writers often choose ways of communicating their messages that you must interpret. If you miss out on certain cues while reading, you cannot say you fully understood the content.


In this portion of the course, you will learn two important tools readers should use to better understand what they read:

  • Identifying transition words and phrases to understand the relationship between ideas.
  • Identifying and interpreting figures of speech to understand the writer’s intended meaning.

Transition Words and Phrases

Transition words help writers connect ideas between sentences and paragraphs. They bridge two ideas, sentences, or paragraphs and show how they are related.

Identifying transitions is important when you read because they help you understand not only the ideas themselves but also the relationship between them.


Writers choose transitions carefully so that their ideas are clear. As the reader, you should use them so you understand exactly what the writer intended to communicate.

Video Activity 9

Watch a video to learn about transition words and how they help you understand the ideas the writer wants to express. Take good study notes.

Figures of Speech

Figures of speech are everywhere in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. It is important to know the difference between figurative and literal language so that you can interpret a speaker or writer's intended message rather than what the words actually mean.


Video Activity 10

Watch a video for an introduction to figurative language and figures of speech, including examples of similes, metaphors, personification, and hyperboles. Take good study notes.

Video Activity 11

Watch a video to learn about schemes and tropes. Take good study notes.

This video is quite detailed. It extends Part 1 with more in-depth explanations and examples of different categories of figures of speech and rhetorical devices (i.e., tropes and schemes):

  • Tropes: simile, metaphor, synecdoche, metonymy, personification, euphemism, dysphemism, zeugma, onomatopoeia, anthimeria, periphrasis, hyperbole, litote, aporia, erotema, epiplexis, and oxymoron.
  • Schemes: antithesis, climax, anastrophe, parenthesis, ellipsis, alliteration, assonance, and anaphora.

Up Next: Interpreting What You Read | Part 2

Continue the lesson to learn about interpreting the writer’s purpose, point of view, and tone.