..reading is a transactional act, with a text’s words only coming to life as they interact with a reader’s mind and heart, and that the students who leave our schools will need to know how to interpret many things, not just analyze them, we need to bring interpretation — and feelings — back into our classrooms.— page 133
Every chapter I read in Vicki Vinton’s new book opens up a new door for me as a reader and a reading teacher. I believe I will be reading it again and again during the school year, seeing more each time as I use this line of inquiry with my students.
Vicki takes simple ideas and books and subtly addresses the craft of interpretation in Chapter 7. The work readers do to interpret a text, supports their eventual understanding or analysis. Our natural pattern-seeking behavior drives the process of inquiry and interpretation. When a pattern breaks, it calls readers to revise what we thought we understood, and create a new pattern or a new line of inquiry. This complex work of interpretation is the heart of how readers can make the leap to analysis and meaning. Interpretation is how we support our thinking.
Some big ideas from Chapter 7:
While Common Core standards ask students to analyze more than interpret, we as teachers know for students to analyze, they must spend time and energy around interpretation. Interpretation is the basis for any analysis.
The process of interpretation is essential not just for readers but for historians, writers, scientists, inventors, leaders, thinkers. Without interpretation that involves examining multiple lines of inquiry, we can not make meaning.
Details offer keys to interpretation, and we often miss them while we are figuring out the story. A simple move I plan on to make next year is at the end of a Read Aloud, rereading the beginning with the end in mind. Asking readers, what details did we over look and how might these details enhance our interpretations and final analysis.
We know nonfiction writers want to inform their readers about the topic they’re writing about by giving us lots of facts and information, but they don’t always explain those facts in a really clear, understandable way. That means that, as readers, we could know those facts well enough to answer a question or use them in our writing, but not fully understand them. — page 147
This quote from Chapter 8 is a key idea I’ve highlighted to start my nonfiction reading and writing work next year. Too often young readers come to nonfiction thinking they will be spoon fed the information. Or worse, that they can scour for the answer to a specific question about the text. To read nonfiction, we must take an investigative stance. One that requires us to figure it out and be at risk of confusion.
Our work this coming year will be about finding those confusing moments when we need to build understanding with logic and inference.
Some big ideas from Chapter 8:
Expository nonfiction often requires a logical, “if-this-then-that” approach. By recognizing places of confusion, we can teach readers to ask how does this work, how does this connect, how did this happen, and/or is something missing.
Nonfiction is full ideas and language that the writers assume readers understand. Be aware and ready to address this through inquiry.
Court confusion and it’s more confident cousin curiosity. Embrace confusion as natural part of learning.
Thanks to the #cyberPD community for choosing this book.