USING DVD’S to teach inferential comprehension

I used the gorgeous NARNIA DVD, to demonstrate how to write a movie / book report. I used the timeline idea, to help the students pick out the 6 main ideas or events, in the story. This movie was hugely popular with the students, so I decided to select certain parts of the movie, to teach inferential comprehension. I selected parts such as the end of the movie, when Lucy is seen to run off to an injured member of Aslan’s army and bob down beside him. The students were able to tell me that she was using her magical “cure all” mixture, to bring all of the injured and dead, back to life. I pointed out to them, that this was not actually stated – that they had in fact, used inferential comprehension, to infer meaning. In my research, I came across this comprehension activity which can be used in conjunction with the Harry Potter movies.

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Using a short one page excerpt from one of may favourite books The Dragonkeeper, by author Carole Wilkinson, I proceeded with the lesson the following way:

• Orientate students to the cover of the book, title, and author, but not blurb
• Predict what story might be about but don’t go into depth
• Hand out the excerpt and give students time to read silently
• Do a read aloud with the group when they have all finished reading quietly
• On smart board, rule up CORNELL NOTES – with headings:
o What I know
o My evidence
• Students list what they know about Ping, Hua and Master Lan in the left column
• Then list the evidence from the text, which leads them to believe this. Eg quotes, actions, mannerisms, behaviours etc – which are INFERRED
• Then we had a fruitful, whole class discussion about what sorts of clues authors give us, without actually stating the facts.
• We discussed how we have to look for the clues, join the dots and come up with the inferred meaning of the text.
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Another very effective way of teaching inferential comprehension is to use this reciprocal reading sheet as a way of providing prompts and preparation for literature circles.

…..are the traditional 4 elements of reciprocal reading. A very valued colleague and friend of mine, added in:

After reading the nominated number of pages/chapters, group members individually fill in the reciprocal reading prompts.
1. Predict what is going to happen in the next few chapters
2. Select 4 words you don’t know or words which have an interesting spelling or words which are fun to say out loud. Write these 4 words down with their meanings.
3. Write 3 questions which try and trick your group members. The answers must not be on the line. They must require the reader to make links between a couple of pieces of information, or to use clues about behaviour and events, which will provide the answers.
4. Summarise these chapters, briefly, by filling the gaps in the following template:
These chapters about……………………… begin with……………………… add detail about…………….and end with……………………..
5. Write down something that these chapters remind you of. Explain
6. Draw the images that are in your head, after reading these chapters.

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  1. Pingback: Teaching inferential comprehension | Technoliteracy

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