Charles: Focusing on Literacy Skills [Inferring]

When you are not LITERALLY told something you are required to make an EDUCATED GUESS about what is happening.  This literacy skill is called INFERRING.  By using your own PRIOR KNOWLEDGE as well as information from the TEXT you can support your conclusion.

 

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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Inferring

When you INFER, you are reaching a conclusion based on information from the TEXT, as well as your own PRIOR KNOWLEDGE.  An inference is an “EDUCATED GUESS” which must be proved using specific details from both the text, and your own experiences.  Inferring requires you to read between the lines about something that has happened, or that will happen in the future.

What’s Really Going On Here?

At the end of the short story, Charles, the reader is left wondering who Charles is.  While Laurie’s parents have heard nothing but how difficult Charles made kindergarten for their son, the teacher reveals that she has no student named Charles.  There are three possibilities:

  1. Laurie was wrong about the student’s name
  2. The teacher was mistaken about the students in her class
  3. There is no student named Charles

Coming to a Conclusion

No matter which of the three conclusions you reach, you will need evidence to support your decision.  The GRAPHIC ORGANIZER below will help organize your thoughts.

 

Conclusion Supporting Details
Laurie was wrong about the student’s name ·         Laurie is a little child who could be easily confused
The teacher was mistaken about the students in her class ·         The teacher has a number of students in her class, and might have forgotten some of them
There is no student named Charles ·         Laurie claimed that when “Charles stayed after school … all the other children stayed to watch him.” (60)  It is unlikely that Laurie would be mistaken about this child’s name after a week of observations.

·         Laurie’s teacher states that Laurie “had some trouble getting used to school…[b]ut [she] think[s] he’ll be all right.” (88)

 

Based on the evidence above, it seems more CONVINCING that there IS NO STUDENT named Charles.  This can be expressed by writing a sentence using the details from the text as support.  Notice that the strongest details come from QUOTATIONS.

Who Is Charles?

Use the graphic organizer to collect some evidence that supports YOUR CONCLUSION about who Charles actually is.  WRITE a paragraph supporting your opinion on a separate sheet of paper.

Conclusion Supporting Details
I think Charles is…

 

 

 

 

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·

·

 

 

 

 

 

 


What’s Next

Now that you understand INFERRING we are ready to look at QUESTIONING.  The three main types of questions are INFERENTIALEVALUATIVE, and LITERAL.  Your foundation of both what has literally been stated, as well as how to infer information about the text will aid you in this next section.


 

 

Resources

Charles – WhatBinderDotCom – Literacy Skills – Inferring.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

 

Charles: Focusing on Literacy Skills [Visualizing]

Placing yourself in the text, IMAGINING the world brought to life, grants a stronger understanding of the environment, the characters’ choices, and the ability to predict things to come.  VISUALIZING demands that you focus on all FIVE SENSES to explore the text’s environment as if you were there.

 

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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Summarizing

Visualizing is the act of CREATE AN IMAGE in a reader’s mind.  The image should stimulate as many of the FIVE SENSES as possible: Taste, Touch, Sight, Sound, and Smell.  By visualizing, a reader enhances their connection to a text by immersing themselves within a specific situation.

Visualizing the Parent-Teachers Meeting

Read the final TEN to FIFTEEN lines of the story.  Imagine that you are LAURIE’S MOTHER or FATHER.  Try to think about what you would notice at the Parent-Teacher meeting.  Use the GRAPHIC ORGANIZER below to collect your thoughts.

SIGHT

At the meeting I would see…

·         The calm faces on the other parents in the room.

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·

 

HEARING

At the meeting I would hear…

·         The bored drone of the teachers’ voices.

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·

TOUCH

At the meeting I would feel…

·         My sweaty hands on the chair as I looked for Charles’s parents

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·

TASTE

At the meeting I would taste…

·         Chalk dust floating around the air after a day of school.

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SMELL

At the meeting I would smell…

·         The body odor of other parents cramped into this room.

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·

OTHER

Other details about this meeting are…

·         The teacher was confused when I asked about Charles

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·

 

Write a Visualizing Paragraph that Includes the Details You Noticed

You are free to use the PARAGRAPH TEMPLATE below, however you may wish to write your own paragraph on a separate sheet of paper.  Refer to the template for an understanding of how to connect all the REQUIRED DETAILS together in your piece.

During the __________________________ I couldn’t help but notice the strong smell of __________________________.  The taste of __________________________ was on my lips because __________________________.  My hands brushed against __________________________, and it was impossible not to feel __________________________ while the sound of __________________________ swirled around me.  Before me, I saw __________________________ which made me think of __________________________.  Finally, something that I couldn’t miss was __________________________.

 

 


What’s Next

Having placed yourself WITHIN THE TEXT you now have a stronger understanding of the environment.  This will allow you to better understand the EVENTS of the story.  You are now prepared to INFER – make educated guesses – about some of the unspecified parts of the story.


 

 

RESOURCES

Charles – WhatBinderDotCom – Literacy Skills – Visualizing.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

 

Charles: Focusing on Literacy Skills [Summarizing]

Now that you have selected the IMPORTANT DETAILS from the short story, you are ready to connect them together to form your own SUMMARY of the text.  By rewriting the text keeping only the key details while omitting the unnecessary you will have a strong grasp of the ACTION in the text..

 

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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Summarizing

When summarizing a text, you select only the MOST IMPORTANT pieces of information that are needed to communicate the author’s ideas.  This can be done by highlighting one sentence per paragraph, or a few sentences per page. By looking at the highlighted passages you may find you have already identified Main and Supporting details, which are required for a successful summary.

Summarizing a Paragraph

Below is a passage from Shirley Jackson’s short story Charles.  The IMPORTANT DETAILS have been underlined.  The example below shows how key details can be connected to form a new paragraph.  Note that the summary is written in plain sentences, avoiding unnecessary details while maintaining elements required to understand the passage.

Selected Passage

    On Saturday, I talked to my husband about it. “Do you think kindergarten is too disturbing for Laurie?” I asked him. “This Charles boy sounds like a bad influence.”
“It will be all right,” my husband said, “There are bound to be people like Charles in the world. He might as well meet them now as later.”

Summarized Example

Laurie’s mother asked her husband if he thought Charles’s bad influence made kindergarten difficult for Laurie.  Her husband said Charles would be fine as he’d meet people like that eventually.

 

Summarizing a Passage

Selected Passage

    On Monday of the third week, Laurie came home with another report. “You know what Charles did today?” he asked. “He told a girl to say a word, and she said it. The teacher washed her mouth out with soap, and Charles laughed.”

“What word?” his father asked.
“It’s so bad, I’ll have to whisper it to you,” Laurie said. He whispered into my husband’s ear.
“Charles told the little girl to say that?” he said, his eyes widening.
“She said it twice,” Laurie said. “Charles told her to say it twice.”
“What happened to Charles?” my husband asked.
“Nothing,” Laurie said. “He was passing out the crayons.”

 Summarization


 


 


 


Summarizing Page One

Return to your ANNOTATED short story.  Read through the FIRST PAGE once more and highlight FIVE more important SENTENCES and STAR one more important PARAGRAPH.  Now, look at your selected words, sentences, and paragraphs.

Use the self-selected details to summarize the first page on a separate sheet of paper.

 

 


What’s Next

Now that you have SUMMARIZED the first page of the text, you are prepared to use deepen your knowledge of the text by writing a VISUALIZING paragraph that draws upon the five basic senses.


 

 

RESOURCES

Charles – WhatBinderDotCom – Literacy Skills – Summarizing.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