Reading between the lines…

What’s the difference between the following two sentences?

A) “I can’t wait for Mr. Hough’s English class tomorrow!” David beamed.

B) “I can’t wait for Mr. Hough’s English class tomorrow,” David mumbled, looking away.

You probably guessed that in the first instance (the correct one!), David was genuinely keen for the class.  In the second, he might be looking forward to the class, but we can’t really tell.  Is he distracted by something else going on in his life?  Is he being sarcastic?  The truth isn’t immediately clear.

The difference between these two is the key focus for this week’s lessons.  Often, meaning in texts is explicitly stated, that is, ‘what is said means exactly that!’ (7A definition).  At other times it is implicit, where meaning can be hidden beneath the surface, with clues left for the reader to uncover what is really going on (another 7A definition).

Sometimes, the implicit meaning can actually be opposite to what is explicitly stated!  A reader must be careful, and so this week we will be examining both explicit and implicit meanings within the play script for ‘Two Weeks with the Queen.’  This is particularly important in our first unit as we are examining the concept of perspective in texts and how ‘stepping into another’s shoes’ can lead to greater understanding and empathy.

To practise, students divided up into groups and selected various scenes.  They used dialogue (speech bubbles) to show what characters explicitly stated, while adding thought bubbles for what might have been implicit in the text.  They also added clues for implicit reading such as:

– posture
– facial expression
– distance between characters
– physical contact between characters
– gesture

Here are the results.  We used dialogue for explicit meaning and thought bubbles for implicit meaning.  Have a look!