itsy bitsy inferences

I’ve been thinking that it seems to me that a good chunk of the book depends on me inferring things to keep up with the story. Not sure if this is Stephanie Meyer’s “style” or if this is intentional, or if this story demands this, or if I just have noticed how often I am asked to do this. In any case, I’m making itsy bitsy inferences right and left.

Here’s where I am stuck. “We” seem to spend a lot of time telling our kids to infer thinking/understanding around the “big ideas” {and I, I notice I spend a lot of time pushing my inferences towards synthesis}, and that smaller inferences aren’t as meaningful, those smaller inferences don’t get us to Level 4 thinking…

So, yeah. Here’s where I am stuck today: In real reading, I have to infer to keep up. I don’t really have anything to think, yet, in Chapter 1 about the big ideas — I am just trying to get my sea legs under me here. My Forks legs. I need to infer to keep up. Kind of like these early connections. These are small but necessary, but meaningful. These are the in-reading things I think some of our kids miss in comprehension if they don’t already know to do it, or how to do it. They’re tiny things, these inferences, but big. {I do love a contradiction.} I am wondering if maybe this changes with the length of the text. I am looking thirteen pages into Twilight. In a picture story book, thirteen pages could nearly be the whole thing. I could/should {shcould} be inferrring to main idea or whatever biggie I see by thirteen pages, if there are only eighteen in all. Thirteen pages into Twilight, we haven’t even seen the Cullens in the cafeteria yet. I ain’t gots no big idea. But I do gots lots of itsy bitsy inferences that I probably couldn’t move forward fully meaningfully without making sense of. It remains to be seen if any of these little guys add up for big thinking later…

p9 back to Bella and tiny Forks high school vs. Phoenix in the last paragraph on the page and the first sentence on the next: “I would be the new girl from the big city, a curiosity, a freak.” I am inferring here that Bella feels that she will ‘stand out’ more here in Forks than a new kid at a huge high school like the one she left in Phoenix. She goes on to say almost as much on p10, “And if I couldn’t find a nich in a school with three thousand people, what were my chances here?” but not exactly said. Still with this school business, when she says on p13, “Where was the feel of the institution? I wondered nostalgically. Where were the chain-link fences, the metal detectors?” I have to infer that her school in Phoenix was like this, and so I can maybe infer that some/many big city schools are like this. The use of “nostalgic” lets me know she is thinking of something in her past experience, and I have seen representations of such schools depicted in movies and television shows, and have seen the fences around urban schools, without having this type of school environment in my own history. I don’t really think I need to name the shows and movies, or the cities or neighbourhoods I’ve seen fences in — I know what I know, you know. SO – not big meaty inferences, but help me to see the context and understand more about the change that Bella has made in her life by coming to Forks.

p15 “I went through different arguments with her in my head while the teacher droned on.” I think I can make a choice here, as a reader. I can go on and infer, mostly from my schema, what these arguments might be. We are never told and the story doesn’t come back to this, so I am not predicting. Also, because we don’t come back to this, it’s not terribly important whether or not I imagine/infer these arguments. It’s sort of entertaining, I can indulge for a minute with part of my mind, but it’s really, really not central and I can tell that, so I also don’t have to do it at all. Moving on, then. But wait, what I do know now is that I am able to affect my understanding of the text and what is not written by my level of participation. Ah, this is important! As a reader, I need to know this, and then be able to transfer it, and apply it in other instances/texts where it will matter more than this paragraph.

There’s more but that’s enough for tonight. I am going to go and let Ray Lamontagne and Jason Mraz battle it out on my ipod. And a little Iron & Wine in there too, of course.


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