Charles: Focusing on Literacy Skills [Connecting]

Making CONNECTIONS to a text allows the reader to develop a stronger understanding of the events, characters, and actions by considering how they relate to familiar, personal, or societal experiences.

Charles: A Focus on Literacy Skills

Charles is a short story written by Shirley Jackson in 1948.  A full copy of the text can be READ HERE.  This SERIES will focus on all TEN KEY LITERACY SKILLS.  The lessons are arranged in SEQUENTIAL ORDER which builds a strong foundation before moving on to the next skill.

This series is an excellent way to BEGIN your class’s semester, ensuring everyone has a strong understanding of BASIC LITERACY SKILLS before you gradually release responsibility, asking them to put those skills into practice.

Explore other SHORT STORY LITERACY SKILLS ASSIGNMENTS for more ways to instruct your students.

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Connecting

There are three main types of connections: Text to Text, Text to World, and Text to Self. A text can be – but is not limited to – a book, an article, a song, a video game, a painting, etc.  A TEXT TO TEXT connection requires you to draw specific links between the assigned text, and another text with which you are familiar. A TEXT TO WORLD connection requires you to draw specific links between the assigned text, and events occurring in the world around you. A TEXT TO SELF connection requires you to draw specific links between the text, and your own personal life.  Specific examples must be used from both sources when expressing a textual connection.

What Makes a Strong Connection?

A strong connection uses SPECIFIC DETAILS from both things that are being connected.  The best sort of evidence comes in the form of EMBEDDED QUOTATIONS.  Additionally, a strong connection must explain why the connection is IMPORTANT, highlighting what new awareness has been brought forward because of it.

 

 

Text to Text Connections

A TEXT TO TEXT connection creates an deeper understanding by asking the reader to consider another TEXT that has a similar theme, concept, or character.  By finding the commonality between the two texts they will develop strong insight into them.

Example

Throughout the text Charles the reader assumes that Laurie and Charles are two unique individuals.  When Charles explains that “Charles bounced a see-saw onto … a little girl” (25) the reader thinks he is horrified by this, especially as it “made her bleed” (25).  However, when the teacher claims she doesn’t “have any Charles in kindergarten” (92) the reader is made aware of the fact that Laurie is Charles.  This is similar to the story Fight Club where the reader assumes that The Narrator is separate from Tyler Durden, looking to escape from the situation that he has been thrust into.  However, near the end of the text it is revealed that The Narrator is Tyler Durden, which causes the reader the view past actions through a new lens.  The importance of this connection is that is demonstrates that one’s willingness to conceal the truth from others through the invention of a new personality is not limited to adults.  It is something that happens with young children as well.

 

Text to World Connections

A TEXT TO WORLD connection ensures the reader considers how their text is still relevant in the WORLD today.  By considering similar events or experiences they will see that the work of fiction also strongly relates to their non-fictional reality.

Example

Laurie shows an unwillingness to take ownership of his actions.  When he is made to stay late after school, rather than admitting the truth to his parents he claims that he and “all the children stayed to watch [Charles]” (40) when he was held back.  Rather than telling his parents that he “yelled so much that [a] teacher came in from first grade” (39) to reprimand him, making him stay behind, he invented another reason to excuse his actions.  This is similar to how politicians refuse to take ownership for their choices.  Rather than owning their decision to walk back a previously made promise, they claim that due to the actions of a past government they are no longer to act on their promises.  This connection highlights that despite elected officials being held to higher standards, in some ways they are no different than kindergarten students.

 

 

Text to Self Connections

A TEXT TO SELF connection ensures the reader understands how the text is relevant to their own unique SELF.  Rather than claiming that the text has nothing to do with them, they are directed to discover the strong connection that makes their reading of the text relevant.

Example

Laurie’s parents constantly worry about him in the short story Charles.  They listen to their son explain his day, asking probing questions trying to uncover any safety issues he may face.  As Laurie is still a small child they worry that “kindergarten [may be] too disturbing for [him]” (31), going so far as to “look over the faces of all the … mothers” (81) at the Parent-Teachers meeting in an attempt to identify Charles’s parents.  The worries they experience are similar to the worries I content with as I picture my son taking his first few steps to school next year.  While I will walk him to school myself, rather than let him go off “look[ing] as though he [is] going off to a fight” (2 – 3) I am still worried that when he leaves my care, the world will become a harsher place full of bullies and violence that I cannot protect him from.  This connection brought to light the fact that even the parents of the misbehaving children and bullies still look out for and love their children.  This connection will allow me to consider each transgression on a case by case basis, understanding that most parents only want what is best for their child, and that many times they may not even realize the pain their child causes to others.

 

 

Writing Your Own Connections

Use the space below to write one TEXT TO TEXT and one TEXT TO SELF connection.  Use SPECIFIC DETAILS from each source to support your connections.  Ensure that you write a section explaining the IMPORTANCE of your two connections.

Text to Text

 

Text to Self

 

 

 

 


What’s Next

Having made a number of INTERTEXTUAL connections we will now be looking to make INTRATEXTUAL connections, shaping messages and meaning through COMPARING different aspects within the text itself.


 

Resources

Charles – WhatBinderDotCom Literacy Skills – Connecting.PDF

 

 

 

 

Charles: Literacy Skills Series

CHARLES: ANNOTATING

CHARLES: DETERMINING IMPORTANCE

CHARLES: SUMMARIZING

CHARLES: VISUALIZING

CHARLES: INFERRING

CHARLES: QUESTIONING

CHARLES: CONNECTING

CHARLES: COMPARING

CHARLES: PREDICTING

CHARLES: SYNTHESIZING

X: A Fabulous Child’s Story – Literacy Skills Review

Whether you’ve arrived here as part of the larger Gender Representation Unit, or while searching for a strong short story to use with your students, X: A Fabulous Child’s Story by Lois Gould is perfect for your classroom.  A copy of the story can be purchased online or downloaded from The Gender Centre (currently the fourth link from the top at the time of posting).

 

What’s the Story About?

This is the story of a baby named X.  The game is raised Gender Neutral; the parents refuse to tell anyone the sex of the child.  While this causes problems for X when X goes to school, other children soon see the benefit in being more like X.  As, is often the case, it is the parents who worry.

While this story is a work of fiction, it connects to many real-life examples, some of which were inspired by this piece.

 

A Focus on Literacy Skills

This story will refresh student’s knowledge when it comes to writing Point Evidence Evaluation paragraphs.  It will also focus on the following Literacy Skills:

Inferring

Students will be asked to make and support inferences about the parents in the story, as well as the other community members.  They will be challenged to use the information presented to them in the text, as well as their own person knowledge, to make a strong educated guess about motivation.

Questioning

Students will identify question types, focusing on both Literal and Evaluative.  They will then have to write a response in P.E.E. format, explaining if they would want to raise a baby X of their own.

Summarizing

Students are offered limited room to summarize a large amount of information.  This will help demonstrate the need to only add specific details while avoiding all unnecessary information.

Visualizing

Students are asked to recreate a part of the story, paying attention to how all five senses are activated during that moment.  Students will create a stronger understanding of the characters when considering what taste they might be experiencing, and what sounds would stand out to them.

Connecting

Students will be asked to make Text to Text, Text to World, and Text to Self-connections with the story.  By doing so, they will work to create meaning, and develop a strong foundation for future discussions.

 

 

Related Articles

Parent’s Keep Child’s Gender Secret – Toronto Star, May 21, 2011

Baby Storm Five Years Later – Toronto Star, July 11, 2016

 

 

Downloads

X – A Fabulous Child’s Story – Literacy Skills – 2018.pdf

X: A Fabulous Child’s Story (from The Gender Centre) – Direct Link