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Учебник английского языка
7 класс

Unit 6.
The Pleasure of Reading


Reading for Information

18. Read the text once very attentively and complete the sentences after it with the appropriate variants.

The Printed Word

The earliest books were written on tablets of wood or pieces of bark. In Greece and Rome the tablets of wood were covered with wax, and writing was impressed upon them with a small stick called “stylus”. These tablets were held together on one side with thin strips of leather or metal rings. In Assyria and Babylonia clay tablets were used for writing, and the words were drawn with a piece of wood. After baking the tablets were kept on shelves just like books are kept today. Although the clay tablets didn’t look very beautiful, they were long-lasting and some of them survived until the present day. The earliest books of the ancient world were written on papyrus Ipa'pairssj and skins of young animals. These books took the form of a long strip rolled from one cylinder to another. These writings were known to the Romans as volumen from which comes the word volume. Though paper has been known in China since the first century, the secret of papermaking came to Europe much later.

Books were quite common in ancient Rome: we know that there were many booksellers and the first public library was founded there about 39 B.C.1 Only the rich could buy books or make their slaves copy books from important libraries. By the time of the Middle Ages all books were handwritten and often beautifully decorated. Libraries used to chain books to the shelves so that they could not be removed from the building. But very few people could read them. The invention of printing was a really great event in history. The first people to invent printing were the Chinese. In Europe there were several people who can be called inventors of printing. The best-known is Johann Gutenberg from Germany.

1 B.C. — Before Christ — до нашей эры (A.D. — Anno Domini — нашей эры)

Printing spread quickly over Europe and by the end of the 15th century there were more than 200 presses. The early printers were not only craftsmen, but also editors, publishers and booksellers. The first printing press in England was set up by William Caxton at Westminster in 1476, and the first printing press in Russia — by Ivan Fedorov in Moscow in 1564. Printed books soon reached a very high standard and the craftsmen were rightfully proud of their work. Eventually there were more and more people in Europe who could read and they wanted more and more books. That led to opening more libraries.

Early libraries were used only by scientists and were few. By and by they grew in number and began to be used by the public. The 19th century saw the appearance of a proper system of public libraries. Now most countries have their own national libraries. Many old university libraries have rich collections of books: Oxford and Cambridge in England, Harvard and Yale JJeil] in the United States. Among the great libraries of the world we can name the British Museum Library (the British Library) in London, the Library of Congress in the United States, the Beijing1 Library in China, the State Public Library in Moscow, Bibliotheque Nationale in France. The world’s largest is the US Library of Congress. It holds about 90 million items — books and manuscripts. The library was founded in 1800 in Washington, DC for the use of Congress and later became a public library. Bibliotheque Nationale dates back to the 17th century and the British Museum Library was set in the 18th century. The State Public Library in Moscow was founded in 1862 and has unique collections of books.

Modern libraries do their best to help people get information as quickly as possible. They use computers and electronic catalogues. Probably the most difficult problem for any library is to keep their books, journals and films. How they do it is a new story.

1. In ancient Rome ________________.

  1. people used to sell books
  2. rich people founded public libraries
  3. a lot of people were able to read books in the libraries
  4. slaves were not allowed to touch books

2. The US Library of Congress ____________________.

  1. has only printed editions
  2. is as big as the British Museum Library
  3. is the oldest of all famous public libraries
  4. is used not only by American congressmen

19. Look through the text again and find out:

  1. what materials were used to make ancient books;
  2. in what places of the world people had books in ancient times;
  3. where and when printing was invented;
  4. by whom early libraries were used;
  5. when many public libraries appeared;
  6. what old universities have good libraries;
  7. what cities of the world have great libraries.

20. Read the text again for more detailed information and find in the text words and word combinations which mean:

1. деревянные дощечки
2. куски коры
3. воск
4. полоски кожи
5. глиняные таблички
6. обжигание
7. они могли долго храниться
8. сохранились до сегодняшнего дня
9. папирус
10. полоска, которая перематывалась с одного цилиндра на другой
11. книжный том
12. Средние века

13. книги были довольно широко распространены
14. приковывать цепями
15. изобретение книгопечатания
16. распространилось по Европе
17. ремесленники
18. редакторы, издатели и книготорговцы
19. появление настоящей системы публичных библиотек
20. девяносто миллионов единиц хранения
21. книги и рукописи
22. уникальные коллекции
23. сохранить

21. Say what new things you’ve learned from the text.

22. The text “The Printed Word” has got a lot of international words. Guess what they are.

23. These sentences are answers to certain questions on the text “The Printed Word". Say what the questions are.

1. On tablets of wood or pieces of bark.
2. With thin stripes of leather or metal rings.
3. In Assyria and Babylonia.
4. They bake them.

5. About 39 B.C.
6. The Chinese.
7. About 200.
8. His name was William Caxton.
9. In Moscow in 1564.
10. The US Library of Congress.

24. Give each paragraph of the text “The Printed Word” a name to make a general outline of the whole text.