Saturday, June 5, 2010

Inference lesson

Sarah, Plain and Tall was never a favorite children's book of mine until I really started applying the reading strategies while reading it with kids. Our grade 4 Trophies (Houghton Mifflin) Anthology has an exerpt, but I would rather read the whole book. The poster shows the lesson "read between the lines" from the first letter Sarah writes to Papa to introduce herself. To grasp what Sarah is really saying you need to have some pretty solid inferencing skills. We as adults clearly pick up on some of Sarah's character traits, but children do not. They have no background knowledge about what it is to be a mail order bride. Words like spinster and old maid may be foreign to them. After this lesson, the children are better equipped to continue with the story. I sometimes have them finish the story and summarize a few chapters a night for homework. If you are interested in building background knowledge about the prairie or pioneers before reading, I would recommend Dandelions by Eve Bunting or Dakota Dugout . Christine

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