Reading into Writing: Practice for Integrated Skills Test (The Last Sherlock Holmes Story)

Today, you will practise how to carry out a Reading into Writing Task, which will be part of the test on Thursday.

What is Reading into Writing?

A Reading into Writing exercise asks you to produce a written text based on a passage. Even though you are allowed to be creative, it has to be within certain limits. You are required to take information from the ORIGINAL SOURCE, paraphrase it and use it in your text! Copying the exact words from the original text is not good either. PARAPHRASE instead! Change some words, structures and order so it fits with the rest of your writing.


Read the following passage.

ORIGINAL SOURCE (Michael Dibdin’s The Last Sherlock Holmes Story – Chapter 3, pp 22, 23)
“On Monday night Whitechapel was full of policemen, all ready to catch Jack the ripper. Nothing happened. Only Lestrade enjoyed this.

‘You have failed, Mr Holmes,’ he said. ‘Your idea was very clever, but you made one mistake. You forgot to tell the murderer about it!’

Holmes and I took a cab back to Baker Street. We were both too tired to talk then, but later that day I said, ‘Holmes, what did happen? What went wrong?’

‘We did not really fail. Moriarty could not kill anyone because we were there. But I badly wanted to catch him at his work, and there I failed.’

‘He was there, then?’

‘He was there. He saw what I had done, and realised that he could not kill a woman that night.’

‘Then you did not fail! We have beaten him!’

‘No, Watson. We have not beaten him yet. Think how angry he must be! I have stopped him once, and how he will try harder to kill me. He will go on with his planned murders, and he will do everything possible to make sure that he succeeds.’

‘But Holmes, how do we…?’

‘Remember, he kills, waits a week, kills again and then waits three weeks. So he will kill again next weekend. I must talk to Lestrade. But tonight, Watson, we shall amuse ourselves at the theatre.’

He would say no more, but that night, while we were at the theatre, he disappeared from my side without a word. I did not even see him leave, and for several days I neither saw him nor heard from him. Then, at dinner time on the night  when we had hoped to catch Jack the Ripper at his work, he suddenly appeared again in Baker Street.

‘Holmes!’ I cried. ‘Where have you been?’

‘Don’t worry, old fellow.’ He sat down by the fire. ‘I have been keeping Moriarty busy and playing games with him. He has chased me all over the country, but as you see, I am still alive. I shall tell you my adventures some other time. Lestrade will be here in a minute to discuss tonight’s plan’

TASK: Imagine you are Sherlock Holmes. Write a letter to Dr Watson telling him about his adventure and encounters with Moriarty, after he disappeared from the theatre. Write this letter using between 100-120 words.  Include the following information:

  • A description of the places you visited
  • A description of 3 encounters you had with Moriarty on your trip – WHEN, WHERE, HOW
  • Your plans to catch him in the future.


This is the format of a letter:

  • Opening: “Dear _____________,”
  • Paragraph 1: Explain why you are writing.
  • Paragraph 2: Add more detail
  • Paragraph 3: Write final last sentence – e.g.”I look forward to hearing from you”
  • Signing off: “Yours sincerely” if you know the recipient’s name / “Yours faithfully” if you don’t.

About Alfredo Calderon

Reñaca - Viña del Mar - Chile

Posted on April 22, 2014, in Assignments and Tasks, Period 1, Trinity Exam ISE-I. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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