The question above may sound like a strange title for a lesson, but each part of this sentence represents what we do during the comprehension process. "What did he say" would be a paraphrase and "what does that mean" would be the inference we create. This is how we assess a situation and make sense of it. We do it every day of our lives!
But let's go back a bit!
Since our goal today is to understand the most important steps in the comprehension process, and to use them effectively in our work, let's begin by looking at the steps themselves.
1. Access background knowledge
3. Ask questions
4. Make inferences
5. Read more text
6. Repeat #2-5 as needed
At this point you will be able to create a main idea of the entire book or selection.
Now let's go back to our two concepts that will lead us to this understanding. For paraphrase, let's look at a photo and take it from there!
What would you say is the best definition for paraphrase after completing this activity? Write it in your own words (and yes, you are paraphrasing right now!) ______________________________________________________
Now let's look at an example in text.
Example: While shopping for groceries, a man fell down and grabbed his arm.
Paraphrase: While buying food, a man collapsed and clutched his arm.
Note: The meaning is the same, but key words are different. We did NOT add our own point of view.
Which key words did we change? What other words could we have used instead? ___________________________
As you can see, we use paraphrasing in many parts of our lives!
In fact, when you bring in words you have added to your personal dictionaries, and you use your own words to create a definition, you are paraphrasing.
To create an inference, however, we add a layer of meaning to what we put into our own words. Where the paraphrase is more of a surface tool, an inference is a deep underwater device.
When we make inferences, we ask a lot of questions to find clues and to understand something better. But we also bring part of ourselves into the inference. We use our background knowledge, and we form opinions by what we have experienced in the past. This is why we could all read the same book and have very different thoughts and opinions about the plot. We would connect to the story quite differently from each other.
Let's try to create an inference using the situation we paraphrased above. Which questions would you ask if someone collapsed on the floor while you were shopping? What inference would the information help you to make? You may turn to a person near you to talk about your questions and the meaning you would find in this situation. I will give you an index card to write down your questions and ideas.
Now, let's go back to a photo, and let's paraphrase, ask some questions, and make an inference! We will do the first one together. Then we will work with a partner to go through this process for another activity!
Before you leave today, we will use our Writer's Notebooks to add a new component to our Quotation and Inference activities! We will work together in setting it up, and I will check in with each of you to be sure you are comfortable with this activity.