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Reading carefully

Learning intention

For students to be able to recognise when the meaning of a text is open to more than one interpretation (ambiguous).

Explain

to students that sometimes it is necessary to read very carefully to ensure you fully understand the text. Sometimes you need to be like a detective examining the evidence to make sure you do not misinterpret it. It is particularly important not to jump to false conclusions.

Ask:

What is the meaning of the word 'ambiguous'? Discuss.

Show

Rick saw the getaway car and he was at the scene of the crime.

Ask

if this means that Rick was at the scene of the crime at the same time as the getaway car?

Encourage

students to consider other possibilities. For example, Rick could have seen the getaway car on its way to or from the crime, or he might have even seen the getaway car on another day.

Discuss

how this sentence is a little misleading or ambiguous. It is easy to draw a false conclusion.

Discuss

the meaning of the word 'and' in this sentence. In this context 'and' means 'in addition' or 'another piece of information'.

Make

the meaning clear.

Ask

students to suggest replacements for 'and' that make it valid to conclude that Rick was at the scene of the crime at the same time as the getaway car.

Make

a list of alternative words for 'and' in this context, such as when, while, because.

Extension

 

Ask

students to generate their own sentences or pieces of evidence that could be a bit misleading. Topics could include homework, a sporting activity or a family outing.

Ask

students to identify how each sentence could lead to a false conclusion.

Compare

students' suggestions and discuss what makes some sentences more misleading than others. For example:

  • They got the apples and they went shopping.
  • Potentially false conclusion: They got the apples when they were shopping.