Inferential comprehension

Strategy – engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate.

This model develops levels of cognitive understanding.

Engage – within a range of accessible texts, ensure students select the books that they want to read, do not select for them. Setting rich meaningful tasks within contexts students find relevant will also assist students to engage with texts.

Explore – have students explore stories through rich discussions about the background of the stories and by connecting their own experiences with those of the characters.

Explain – teachers explain words and concepts that students do not understand and students explain why they think characters act they way they do and how the characters are feeling.

Elaborate – students justify their explanations by identifying the part of the text that made them decide on their reasons. Students might also relate their own experiences to the characters.

Evaluate – students consider and acknowledge the ideas of others and compare them with and evaluate their own ideas.

Activity 1: play boxes

Have play boxes with dress-ups and props that would go with the books in those play boxes. Adults read the book in the box to the children and allow children to engage with the play equipment. The adults ask questions that will extend the students' spoken language and understanding of characters while they are acting out their response to the story.

Activity 2: role play

After reading a story to the class and exploring the background, have students act it out. The teacher could ask students to move like a character is feeling and choose who will play each character based on the best actions or this could be planned in advance. Students will also have to discuss why the characters do what they do so they will know how to act. Before the role play discuss with students how they will act out any physical activity without touching each other.

Activity 3: readers' theatre

Readers’ theatre is best used with short plays but after reading a story to the class, you can ask students how they think a character was feeling and to speak like that character would speak. The teacher could choose who will read each character based on the best vocal characterisations or this could be planned in advance. Readers' theatre is also enhanced by a few props such as glasses frames, hats, scarves, and so on to identify characters.

References

Australian curriculum – ACELY1660: Interpreting, analysing, evaluating: Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning about key events, ideas and information in texts that they listen to, view and read by drawing on growing knowledge of context, text structures and language features. ACELY1670: Interpreting, analysing, evaluating: Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning and begin to analyse texts by drawing on growing knowledge of context, language and visual features and print and multimodal text structures.

NSW syllabus – EN1-4A: Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning and begin to analyse texts by drawing on growing knowledge of context, language and visual features and print and multimodal text structures

NSW literacy continuum – Comprehension, Cluster 6, Marker 4: Analyses and evaluates a character’s actions/motives in a story.

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