Functional skills english – reading level 2 Source Booklet

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Source Booklet

  • This source booklet contains three texts for the level 2 reading exam

  • The exam questions are based on this material

  • You must hand in this source booklet at the end of the exam, along with your question and answer paper


The level 2 reading exam will assess your ability to:

  • select, read, understand and compare texts and use them to gather information, ideas, arguments and opinions

  • select and use different types of texts to obtain and utilise relevant information

  • read and summarise succinctly information/ideas from different sources

  • identify the purposes of texts and comment on how meaning is conveyed

  • detect point of view, implicit meaning and/or bias

  • analyse texts in relation to audience needs and consider suitable responses

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Level 2 Reading Texts

What makes you angry in this world?

Have you ever been on a protest march?

More and more young people are starting to protest. The following texts are all about how some people choose to protest about issues they would like to change.

Text 1 is taken from a news account of an incident which occurred at an anti-whaling protest in the Southern Ocean.

Text 2 is taken from an article describing the increased participation of young people in protesting.

Text 3 is taken from the House of Commons website. It gives information about how the UK Government deals with petitions from the public.

Anti-whaling ship sinks after collision

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an anti-whaling protest group. It claimed that the Ady Gil, its 78 ft protest powerboat, was “sliced in half” by the Japanese security ship Shonan Maru 2.

Jeff Hansen, of SSCS, insisted that the Ady Gil was trying to get out of the way when it was hit. The Ady Gil has been cut, hit by one of the harpoon ships,” Hansen said. “Ady Gil was stationary at the time. It tried to back out of the way but Shonan Maru 2 came through and took off a section at the front.” All six crew members were rescued and transferred to another Sea Shepherd ship.

The Shonan Maru 2 was brought in to protect the Japanese ships. Japan’s government-backed Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) has accused the protesters of causing the collision. “The Sea Shepherd activists regularly use stink bombs, ropes to tangle propellers and high-tech sound equipment in an attempt to halt the harpooning of whales. Everyone aboard the Ady Gil is safe. We’ve managed to get everyone off and they’re ok. We have it all on film and we’re getting onto all the authorities at the moment.”

Commercial whaling is banned in the Southern Ocean, but the Japanese have found a legal loophole to continue whaling for “scientific purposes”. This season the Japanese fleet aims to harpoon up to 935 Minke whales and 50 Fin whales, both of which are classified as endangered.

The clash was the most serious in the six years that Sea Shepherd activists have been [harassing] the Japanese fleet. The group claim to have saved the lives of hundreds of whales during their exploits.

Are demos becoming cool?

Having a good cause has suddenly become the fashion

Adapted from Fleur Britten

“You’ve changed,” I said to my friend, Emily. “Is it a new boyfriend?”

No. Practically overnight, Emily’s gone and got herself a cause. Or several. Climate change, human rights, antiwar, anti-supermarket — only the hottest, sexiest causes for Emily. “I wanted more meaning in my life,” she explained. “I found that I was seen as being shallow, and it wound me up.”

Previously, “meaning” to Emily meant shopping. This season, her favourite “fashion accessory” is having something to say for herself. Emily is not alone. The Free Tibet campaign has seen an almost 20% increase in support in the past year. In the past three months, Amnesty International’s followers on Facebook, Bebo and Twitter have doubled. The G20 Protests were full of hip young professionals, many protesting for the very first time, all dressed in look-at-me frocks and trendy parkas.

The new fashion for protest has a whole new set of rules. “The look is really stylish,” says one insider. “But it’s important to get it right. You want to get noticed and look good, but you need to look like you don’t care about your appearance.” Now that any public action ends up on Facebook or Twitter, no wonder appearance is all-important.

Protests can be as much about socialising as demonstrating. “But,” says one experienced campaigner, “at least the kids are involved. If the people who they’re bumping into can educate them, all the better.”

So what is the motivation for this trend? The branding expert, Neil Boorman, says, “When you have tons of money in your pocket, you can afford to be carefree. Now, it’s a different matter. For young people now, caring is a badge of honour, a novelty. It’s simply another brand of lifestyle – protesting makes you look and feel a certain away.”

But has everyone forgotten the cause itself? Are these protestors actually making a difference?

The answer to that is complicated. The impact is hard to measure. But lifestyle change is a huge step in the right direction. To get ‘the look’, Emily has sold the sports car and has taken up cycling, recycling and growing vegetables!

The seats in the House of Commons

The public can petition the House of Commons to make MPs aware of their opinion on an issue and to request action.

Petitioning is a formal process involving sending a written appeal to an MP, following a set format, which is then presented to the Commons by the MP.

Who petitions Parliament?

Anyone can petition Parliament. All that’s needed is that the petition is properly set out and has the signature and address of at least one person.

What happens when the MP gets the petition?

Generally, MPs will present all petitions they receive from their constituents. However, MPs aren't compelled to present petitions and doing so does not imply that they support the action the petition is calling for.

Formal or informal presentation

MPs present petitions by either giving a short statement in the debating chamber of the House of Commons or by simply placing the petition in the Petition Bag (which hangs on the back of the Speaker’s Chair).

After presentation

The Votes and Proceedings publication for the day the petition was presented will record:

  • the petition’s subject matter

  • description of the petitioners

  • whether the petition was presented formally or informally.

A copy of the petition is sent to the appropriate government department. For example, a petition against smoking would be sent to the Department of Health.

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