Personal letters- deconstructing

In class today we have started analysing personal letters in preparation for our upcoming assesment.

We started with a practice analysis, with the improbable scenario of describing an apple to an alien who has never seen one before.  By doing so, we found out that analysing means to ‘break down in order to bring out the essential elements or structure.’


Next, we did the same thing with some examples of personal letters.  Here are the features that we came up with.


“All’s Well That Ends Well?” Finishing ‘Two Weeks with the Queen’

1. What did Ted pretend to be at the airport?

2.  What was Colin’s reaction to the letter from Buckingham Palace?  Why do you think he acted this way?

3.  What reaction do you think Mr. and Mrs. Mudford had to see Colin standing in Luke’s hospital room, when they thought he was safely in England with his relatives?

4.  What was Luke’s reaction to Colin’s arrival?

5.  Do you think the ending was a ‘good’ ending?  Explain.

6.  Finally, what is the significance of the title, Two Weeks with the Queen?  Does this tell you anything about the main ideas in the story?

Reading Journals

Reading journals contain short responses to stories you are reading at the moment.  They are a great way to develop a variety of reading skills.

• To help you capture your developing responses as a reader
• To help you understand what you are reading
• To show how you are improving as a reader

What you could write about (pick one or two per entry):
Speculations about how the story might develop (what will happen next?)
Accounts of things that have happened to you that you are reminded of by events in the book
Reflections on things in the book that really strike you
Reactions to characters and what they do
Comments on how the author is telling the story
Connections to other books, films, plays or poems that you have read
Questions you think of as you are reading
Inferences about the underlying messages of the text
Identification of the author’s purpose, important details, main ideas and themes
Evaluations and opinions about the text

When you could write a response:
• At the beginning of a book
• As you are reading
• After an interesting part of a story
• At the end of a book (definitely!)

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!