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Inferring character

Learning intention

For students to be able to infer a character's overall attitude.

Explain

to students that sometimes a text does not tell you how a character feels, but gives you lots of clues so you can work it out yourself. 

Show

The Homecoming

When mother came home from the hospital, she looked taller and she held a bundle of blankets.

'Why don't you give your little sister a kiss?' she said to Tara.

Tara took a step backwards.

'I think she has your eyes. Don't you think she's got Tara's eyes?' Mother turned to Michael, 'And your nose of course.'

Tara felt her face, relieved at the brush of lashes against her fingers.

'Come here, girl.'

She skidded away to the bedroom door.

'Don't you even want to see?'

Tara shook her head.

Mother bent over the bassinette and cooed at the baby.

Tara felt a noise rising inside her, the type of noise Michael hated most. Her dying seal noise he called it.

The blankets started to cry.

Both the adults started forward at once.

'Oh Tara,' her mother sighed. 'Now look what you've done!'

Ask

students how Tara feels about her baby sister. Highlight all the evidence in the text that gives us clues about Tara's feelings. Encourage students to think of different word to describe how Tara feels. For example, jealous, unhappy, worried, afraid, left out, unloved.

Discuss

which word is the best for describing Tara's feelings. 

Ask:

Is the mother being mean to Tara?

Ask

students to support their responses with evidence from the text. 

Identify

that there is evidence of mother being nice at the start, but then blaming Tara at the end. You need to find out more about the mother to see if she is usually nice to Tara or a bit mean.