Have you been frustrated with a student who is very literal? "You said we'd be leaving in 2 minutes. Well, it's been 3 and half." Well, I've had a big AHA this summer with those special friends. My grade level and I attended a Reader's Workshop conference this week. Although the rooms were over crowded with no air conditioning, we gained a lot!
Our presenter proposed that there are several "pathways" to unlock meaning (comprehend).
*envisioning-how you are making a movie in your mind (aka visualizing)
*synthesis-the ability to put things together and have an idea
*interpretation-finding the big ideas
*critique-ability to push back into a text (aka evaluation)
*prediction-(the most over-taught)
*monitoring for meaning
Our presenter has had many debates with people about whether or not inference is one of the pathways or not. Her opinion is that you have to be able to infer to use the other pathways. So, inference is embedded into each of the pathways.
Inferential readers are those that use the pathways. They read for meaning. Literal students need more coaching to develop into an inferential reader. Here's an easy way to assess all your students.
We were each given 4 post its to respond on as she read:
WOW! What a great historical fiction story!!! After key moments in the story (I don't have the book yet, so I can't note the exact pages) she asked us:
on post it 1, to jot about what we were picturing
on post it 2, to jot about a character
on post it 3, to jot about what's changed
on post it 4, to jot a lesson or message we might think about with this text
After each post it, we would share our responses with a partner. Then, she'd continue reading. After finishing the story, collect and sort the post its without the students present into 3 piles: low, medium, high.
The low pile has your literal "on the page" responses. The students did not add their own thinking to the post it. ex. I see a girl with a bracelet.
The medium pile has your "scene makers." They are attempting to construct the scene "off the page." ex. I see a girl with tears in her eyes as she is wandering through her home."
The high pile has your "outside of the book" responses. The students are your "theory makers" who look at the big picture. They respond with connections they felt as a reader. ex. "I see a girl who is worried and uncertain about what has happened and what is going to happen."
So, now you should have a good idea where your students are!
Now, how do you move them across the comprehension continuum? Coach them into envisioning more: What do you see? What do you hear? and ALWAYS add "and that makes me think...." after their response! Or, "and that makes me wonder..." Or, "so my theory is..." The best place to model this is during Interactive Read Aloud or Shared Reading---probably my next post! (I learned how to better "beef" those up for upper graders.)
Right now, I've got to go get ready for the final day of the Conference!
What has worked well with your literal readers and writers? I'd love to know! :)