Academic Tips: Get reading outside the classroom (and no I don’t mean TikTok)

Get reading outside the classroom (and no I don’t mean TikTok)

What is the one topic a teacher can mention in class and everybody has something to say about it? Movies.

Get reading outside the classroom (and no I don’t mean TikTok)

We all have our favourites, we all have ones we think are terrible. When we talk about movies we love to try to convince other people to watch the movies we love or hate the movies we hate.

What about people who get paid to do this for a living and how can they help you improve your English?

These people are called move critics and one of my favourites is Dulcie Pearce she writes for The Sun. Now we’re going to examine one of her pieces, this is the review for Top Gun Maverick and you can find the original article here.

Before we even read a word there are clues to help us prepare for what Dulcie is going to say. Did you notice what score she gave it?

Five stars. That is the highest score possible, so that tells us to expect a very positive review.

Now ask yourself what kinds of words do we use to describe things?

Adjectives, right. So if Dulcie gave this a five-star review, we can expect to find very positive adjectives throughout.

Next take a look at the pictures in the article:

A footage of the sequel from 2022.
A footage of the sequel from 2022.

Even if you’ve never heard of Top Gun, this picture should tell you straight away that it’s an action movie.

So far we haven’t read a word and already we know to expect words about action movies and very positive adjectives to describe the movie. Doing this is called top-down processing, and whenever you study you should take a moment to think about what you can figure out on your own before reading or listening or anything like that.


Next, all movie reviews follow the same structure and it looks like this:

  1. Writer’s opinion
  2.  Summary of the plot
  3. Add extra information
  4. Explain why you love/hate it
  5. Give your opinion again.

Dulcie does exactly this, see if you can spot it before I tell you where it is.

Writer’s opinion I FEEL the need…

…his aviators as test pilot Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell in the original.

Summary of the plot We’re introduced to the – only slightly…..

… causing Maverick to flashback to Goose doing the same in the original film.

Add extra info There are further clever uses of flashbacks….

…making a poignant scene between the pilots.

Explain why you love/hate it Apart from a few scene-stealing….

…. hitting you from the big screen.

Give opinion again Dare I say….

…it will take your breath away.

Now you know what to expect both from the language the writer will use to the structure they will follow. So the next time you’re trying to decide what to watch at the cinema, get online, read a review and improve your English without having to feel like you are studying.

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