Often, in the classroom, we ask students to read longer texts in order to teach comprehension and inference. But for many students, this can be an arduous task that seems to have no bearing upon their ‘real life’.
Visit any cafe, website or blog, and you are likely to find motivational quotes that range from the ridiculous:
“I put coffee in my coffee.”
To the quasi profound:
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”
Because of their brevity, these sorts of quotes are an excellent way of regularly teaching students how to both comprehend, infer and make connections.
In class, you can ask students to look at a quote (this works especially well if you use a quote from a cafe or shop that many students have walked past during the week) and ask them first to re-write the quote in their own words. This first step is vital for teaching students how to literally understand what the text is telling them. It’s useful if you also brainstorm alternative words for the key words in the quote, like in the table below:
|worrier||adversity||lucky chance||positive thinker|
|cynic||predicament||stroke of luck||stargazer|
This will help students develop their vocabulary, as well as give them a strategy for decoding words and sentences (as well as essay topics!) they don’t know.
After re-writing the quote, provide students with the opportunity to reflect upon their own experiences, or their knowledge of others’ lives, so they can infer what the quote means and how it can have a relevance for their lives. Students should begin with a think, pair and share about the significance of the quote, before engaging in some silent writing in their workbooks, to consolidate their thoughts.
A great deal of educational research demonstrates that capable readers make connections between the text and their own lives. By practising this skill regularly in the classroom, students will become more confident and better able to decode longer texts.
You can easily find motivational quotes by doing a quick Google search, but here’s a site to get you started: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/motivational.