Developing pupils’ skills with fiction
Use these practical teaching approaches and learning opportunities to help develop pupils’ use of active reading skills and strategies with fiction texts and to explore layers of meaning.
Select the following ideas to find approaches you can use to create opportunities for pupils to develop their skills as critical readers of fiction who can analyse and explore different layers of meaning.
- Develop active reading skills and strategies
Prompt pupils to read backwards and forwards, through statements such as those below.
- 'My first impressions of… were… because…'
- 'If I just read back I can see that the author describes her as… and the way she speaks is described as… this suggests to me that the author wants to present her as…'
- 'I felt angry when… because…'
- 'Make predictions, such as I think that she is going to struggle with the challenge because…'
- 'The author has finished this chapter in an unusual way. This suggests to me… because…'
Interact with the text at various stages to explore subject matter using the following activities:
- letters to a character
- character problem pages and replies
- character diary entries or news reports on a series of events in the text.
- Exploring layers of meaning
Model for pupils how to use visualisation and word association to explore layers of meaning within texts. Follow this with a ‘challenge’ question to encourage pupils to develop these strategies into written work, such as: ‘How does Wordsworth’s description of the butterfly show his feelings about the natural world?’ Work on a ‘point, evidence, explanation’ (PEE+) response in a shared writing session and follow up with pupils working on the next paragraph in pairs. Using peer assessment sheets that identify successful features of PEE+, ask pairs to mark one another’s work and set targets for improvement.