As my colleagues and I attempted to teach our students to have deeper and stronger conversations about characters, we realized that the trouble they were having wasn’t that they didn’t understand the stories or have ideas about the characters – it was that their vocabularies didn’t contain sorts of “juicy” words that could explain their thinking precisely.
After some research into the ways other people explained and shared these terms with their students, we culled the best of all their ideas, and captured them in the following chart. Once the children familiarize themselves with this character traits vocabulary list, they can learn to discuss characters with more precision, and gradually outgrow this scaffold.
I’m sharing a link from Sharon Taberski’s blog about helping students learn to infer. She spotlights two children’s picture books, Tight Times by Barbara Hazen Shook, and Those Shoes by Maribeth Bolts, and discusses how she would use them to foster inferential thinking. The full post is here:
Sharon blogs regularly at: http://allaboutcomprehension.blogspot.com. On the right side of her blog, she maintains lists mentor texts that go with the topics she covers, such as:
- Short and sweet chapter books: younger elementary-grade readers
- Short and sweet chapter books: older elementary-grade readers
- Picture books to help kids infer
- Books to help kids visualize
- Books that give kids something to think and talk about
- Professional books I mention and recommend