Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tough Questions

"Tough Questions" is the last signpost from Notice and Note.  Students frequently think they have a solid understanding of this signpost, but sometimes have a tendency to confuse this with asking questions; a comprehension strategy from CAFE.  The CAFE strategy requires the reader to ask questions typically regarding the plot.  However, "Tough Questions" is when the main character within the story asks a question that allows the reader to better understand the internal conflict in the story (credit to Brent Peterson for the video

Sharon Draper's Out of my Mind is one of my all time favorite books.  Melody is a young lady with cerebral palsy who is not given much credit after being included in the general education classroom.  She is incredibly intelligent, but others frequently only see her for her disability.

As the story progresses, she decides to try out for her quiz team.  She is having success with initial tryouts, but doesn't believe that her fellow classmates or even her teacher have faith in her.  She asks herself a tough question; "Why is it worth studying if I won't even be allowed on the quiz team?"  Recognizing that Melody has asked herself a tough question is the first step, but then the reader must also ask themselves "What does this question make me wonder about?"  As I was reading, it made me wonder if she would ever be accepted and also what would have to happen in her classroom so that she feels as though she is accepted.

Each of the signposts asks readers to do some initial work as far as identification, but the true value of the work comes from the follow-up questions once the signposts have been identified within the reading!

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