Esoma Online Revision Resources

Reading - English Form 4

Read the following oral poem

Food for the couple

He hadn't gone to the wedding ceremony

At the local parish.

I asked him why.

'Man, its my brother Sitha,' he started.

'He courted her for three years

They went steady for four years.

They quarreled, he went to Jo'burg

And swore he didn't want her

There were brighter girls there -

What was she but an old maid?

Away he went for five years.

Until he heard she was marrying

This morning her former high school teacher

his arch rival.

He came back last night - almost graying all over.

And a damned stupid thing he did

This morning. He hanged himself

in the Lavatory.

Mafika Gwala, South Africa.


To appreciate this lesson, knowledge on reading skills is important.

Examples of reading skills are scanning, skimming, silent reading, SQ3R and critical reading.

On the onset, one must understand the purpose of reading.

For example, you could be reading for leisure, for specific information or you could be reading for an examination.


By the end of the lesson, you should be able to:

1. Demonstrate the understanding of the common and distinctive features of the literary genres.

2. Acquire life long interest in reading oral literature material.

Features of oral literature

watch the following video


They are divided into various categories:


Stories relating to creation and the fact that there is a supreme being who is responsible for this phenomena.


These are heroic tales.

Aetiological stories

They explain why certain things are the way they are.

Trickster narratives

A character uses his wit to dupe others.

Ogre/Monster narratives

They involve imaginary beings that change their forms depending on the situation.

They have grotesque physical features and are evil.

Dilemma narratives

These are stories in which characters are faced with two or more choices to make, each with inherent consequences, thus, making it hard to decide.

Read the following narrative

The man who lived with the tribe of his wife.
There was a man, it is said , who lived with the ethnic group of his wife.

One day, he said to his wife,we are moving away, tell your people.

So she told her people and they gave him the customary gifts and returned to him part of his bride wealth.

Then, this man who had been living with his family and wife set off on his journey, and after he had walked all day he set up camp in a certain place.

He said to his wife, Woman there is a matter I have to discuss with the people whom we left and I am going back to them. Pen the animals and wait for me.

So he went back, and when he reached the village in the late evening, he sat down in the clearing by the huts intending to eavesdrop. The people were gossiping about him and someone said,

Well, let us give our opinion of that man who stayed with our tribe for such a long time!

He was a good man,said one. By God, he was a brave man.

By God, he was a generous man. By God, he looked after the animals well.

By God, he had some knowledge of man.

The whole village praised him, and all the time the man was listening. There was a pause, and then a young girl spoke,

but I know something about him that was bad!

He didn't go far away enough from the huts when he urinated!

At this, the whole village burst into laughter, but the eavesdropper was so angry that he stood up and said to them,

well, by God, I have moved far away enough now! to the great astonishment of the whole village.

Features of Oral Narratives

Oral narratives have the following features:

Listen to music from an obokano and then answer the question below.

What purpose would music play in the narration of a story?

View the following animation

1) Opening formula

which can be, long time ago, once upon a time or there was once...

The opening formula alerts the audience that the story is beginning.

2) Fantasy

Characters do extraordinary things which are not possible in reality. For example, someone eating a whole cow.

3) Timelessness

The narrative cannot be ascribed to a particular time in the history of mankind. A long time ago can be anytime.

4) Moral lesson

Narratives have teachings.

5) Closing formular

Brings back the audience to the world of reality from the world of fantasy.


There are various categories of songs.

Lullabies - songs sung to soothe the baby

Children's play songs

work songs


Love songs

War songs

Political songs

Spiritual songs


initiation songs that depict rites of passage and they include circumcision and wedding songs.

Praise songs which commend deeds, heroes and events that happen in the society.

Short forms of oral literature

Read the following genre of oral literature

In this riddle we ought to note the following :

Who the challenger is, acceptance by the audience , guesses, the prize, acceptance of the prize and the answer.


Are short pithy sayings.


Short witty sayings.

Tongue twisters

Short repetitive sayings.

Note that questions paused in a riddle are from objects found in the environment.

Functions of riddles

-They teach children about items in the environment -They allow the challenger to practice to become a narrator of longer and more complex genres and

-they promote critical thinking.


watch the following video clip

In this lesson, we have learnt that oral literature reflects a people's way of life, experiences and concerns as captured throughthe medium of the spoken word. The oral word and performance are its key components.

It is a reflection of our beliefs, practices and concerns.

The genres of oral literature are: narratives, songs and short forms. In narratives, the characters are human beings, animals and supernatural beings.

The various genres are understood well by elaborating on the aspects of theme, features of style, characterisation and more importantly, the moral lesson.

Therefore, intensive reading is a vital skill that assists in paying attention to detail when studying the various genres of oral literature.

It is important to note that:
1. Songs address issues that are contemporary.
2. The soloist sings directly to the audience.
3. Most times, songs are sung with accompaniments.

Let us view a video on reading

From the video we have watched, we can see that reading helps us gather a lot of information.

Reading is a deliberate and conscious act of engaging one's eyes for purposes of understanding, obtaining general information or pleasure.


By the end of the lesson, you should be able to:

Demonstrate awareness of contemporary issues.

Acquire life long interest in reading

Enhance vocabulary and knowledge use through reading.

Extensive Reading

Extensive reading is an approach to language learning by means of reading a wide range of literary and non literary materials.

This type of reading, ensures that there is a lot of reading of interesting material that is slightly below, at or barely above the full comprehension level to the reader, leading to improved language skills.

look at the following pictures which feature people in various settings.


Comprehension involves reading a text with a view to understanding it both for surface and deeper meaning and giving the learner written or oral questions of various types and levels of difficulty to test comprehension.

Your experience in tackling comprehension extracts in the lower classes will come in handy in this lesson.


By the end of the lesson you should be able to:

1. Enjoy reading literary and non literary materials.

2. Enhance vocabularly and knowledge of language use through reading.

Listen to the following signiture tune.

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