As promised in the last post, here are the details of what your child should reflect and report on while reading at home. At least eight posts, one for each section, should be completed before the end of term in December. But more are welcome, especially if the student is genuinely compelled to share his/her reading experiences with the world!
Demonstrate your ability to make inferences while you read. Include a sentence or passage from the book (“in quotes”) and then describe the information you’re able to infer from it. Some new character trait? A prediction?
What’s the problem?
Every story has a main conflict and a resolution. You might think it’s “Aliens are trying to destroy the planet!” but if you dig deeper, what problem is actually guiding the story? It’s usually related to the main character(s). Is he/she lacking confidence? Angry because of a past experience? Missing something in his/her life? And then the resolution would not be “With his self-designed shrinking ray-gun, Johnny turned the attacking aliens into small, insignificant creatures, therefore saving the day,” but probably, “Johnny’s scientific genius was finally appreciated and he was no longer bullied.”
Characters change over the course of a story, and they usually learn something about themselves or others along the way. Pick a character from your book (probably the main character, but not necessarily), and describe his/her change. If possible, use quotes to support your ideas.
What genre(s) have you read this year? Start keeping track. We want you to read deeply, to enjoy your books; this is not a competition. But we do want you to start exploring a variety of genres, to consider the differences in styles, and to identify the components of each. Start a Numbers spreadsheet on the titles of books you’ve read, the genre, and perhaps the amount you read in a given week (time, pages, etc.). Further instructions to come.
What do you see when you read? Are you able to make “mind movies” and really be in the experience? As you read your book(s), be on the lookout for a scene that was so vividly described by the author, you felt like you were actually living it.
Choose the passage, copy it (“in quotes”) into a blog post, and then share your experience. What are you seeing? What are you feeling? Smelling? Hearing?
Who is your favorite author? Or, which author has captured your attention recently? Share what you’ve observed about his/her style.
- Does the author follow a similar pattern in all his/her books?
- Are there common themes?
- What else have you learned about the author? (web sites?)
Why not write a letter to your author? Contact information is sometimes available from publishing companies.
List the books you’ve read from this author, as well.
Literary Devices / Figurative Language
Metaphors, similes, alliteration, onomatopoeia, personification, idiom, hyperbole…and more! You’ll be learning about these literary elements throughout the year. If you encounter one while reading, share it (“in quotes”), and explain what it means to you, or the reason why you think the author used it.
Book report, movie trailer, book talk to the class or on video, explore author’s website, form a book club with friends, make a poster advertising your book, act out one of the scenes, write an additional chapter for the book in the author’s style, talk to Miss Orlagh about an official recommendation in the library or writing a review for her…the possibilities are endless. Have fun!
And as usual, always be on the lookout for new and interesting words you’d like to analyze. Note to self, start a “Cool and interesting words I discovered while reading…” poster in the classroom.