Thursday, April 13, 2017

Support the Statement

On many occasions, I have been asked about ways to assess reading comprehension, outside of the traditional "What is X doing?","Where is X?","Who is X?" because that gets very boring and predictable for students (see previous post regarding why we should assess reading comprehension in L1, instead of L2). An easy way to assess reading comprehension is to give a statement to students, and they must find the sentence(s) from the reading passage which supports that statement.

  1. Using a known-reading, create statements in English about something in the passage. The statements need to be in English so that when a student writes down an incorrect answer in the target language, then you as the teacher know that the student did not understand the target language in the reading. If the statement itself is written in the target language and the student writes down an incorrect answer in the target language, then too many questions exist as to why the student missed it: did the student not understand the target language in the reading? did the student not understand the target language in the statement? If the statement had been written in English, would the student have written down the correct answer in the target language? 
  2. Give students both the reading and the statements. 
  3. The statement should not contain the wording itself of the sentence which you are asking students to find. That makes it too easy; in addition students will look for those exact words instead of reading through the passage.  
  4. The answer to the statement needs to be obvious to students. What may seem obvious to you as the teacher is not always obvious to students. 
  5. It is okay if there are multiple sentences from the reading which support the statement. 
  1. If students are familiar with the reading, this type of assessment should not take long at all.
  2. This is a great way for students to re-read a passage with a purpose. 

Latin Example - Dragonboy (based on a Movie Talk)

Puer florem facit. Puer picturam in flore ponit (puts). In picturā sunt puella et puer. Ecce puella in castellō! Puer et puella in fabulā sunt. Puer puellam valde amat. Ecce alius puer! Puer est dux in fabulā.

Puer valde tristis est, quod putat (he thinks) puellam amāre ducem. Puella in castellō ducem non amat, quod dux molestus est. Dux puerum pulsat, quod dux molestus est.

Subito dracō apparet! In fabulā est draco! Puer est dracō in fabulā. Puella in castello fingit sē valde timēre, quod est actor! Puer fingit sē esse draconem, quod est actor! Auditorium laetum est, et plaudit. Puella laeta est - non fingit sē esse laeta!

Subito dux apparet! Puella in castellō fingit sē amāre ducem, quod est actor! Puer valde iratus est, quod dux molestus est. Dux puerum petit. Dux puerum pulsat, et puer ducem pulsat! Puella in castellō valde timet! Quid accidet (will happen)?

1) The first boy is not a real dragon but acts like one in the play.

2) The first boy thinks that the girl does not like him.

3) A fight breaks out in the play.

4) The second boy is a pest and harasses the first boy.

English example - Dragonboy
The boy is making a flower. The boy puts a picture in the flower. In the picture are a boy and a girl. Behold - a girl in a castle. The boy and the girl are in a play. The boy loves the girl very much. Behold - another boy! The boy is a leader in the play.

The boy is very sad, because he thinks that the girl loves the leader. The girl in the castle does not love the leader, because the leader is annoying. The leader hits the boy, because the leader is annoying. 

Suddenly, a dragon appears! In the play is a dragon. The boy is a dragon in the play. The girl pretends that she is very scared, because she is an actor. The boy pretends that he is a dragon, because he is an actor. The audience is happy and applauds. The girl is happy - she does not pretend that she is happy.

Suddenly, the leader appears. The girl in the castle pretends that she loves the leader, because she is an actor. The boy is very angry, because the leader is annoying. The leader heads for the boy. The leader punches the boy, and the boy punches the leader. The girl in the castle is very scared. What will happen?

1) The first boy does not like how the second boy is treating the girl.

2) The audience likes the performance of the boy.

3) The second boy is a bully and harasses the first boy in the beginning.

4) The girl is pleased with the performance of the boy and is not acting.


  1. What I love about this the most is that this is a great way to train them in thinking & writing critically, as well as a way to get them re-reading. I have been adding the instruction "and tell me the Latin words that give you the answer" when we do reading comprehension questions, but they definitely need training on that. This is an awesome tactic for training that specific skill. Further, this activity is something you can point to as teaching skills for the whole school curriculum, not just Latin. As usual, an excellent and helpful and clear post, Keith! Thank you!

  2. Love this idea! Always looking for new ways to check reading comprehension.