Literacy level 2 - modelled reading

Lesson overview

This modelled reading lesson acknowledges the playful language the author Roald Dahl uses to enhance the storyline and connect with the imagination of the reader. Readers of this text are required to use their knowledge of grammar and syntax to bring meaning to the unusual or 'made up' words read in context. To further enhance understanding, the comprehension strategy of visualisation can be used to prompt discussion about the identified words.

Text details: 

  • Roald Dahl - The BFG

The text contains:

  • imaginative narrative, including plot, settings, characters (protagonists, antagonists)
  • 'made up' words that mimic real words - snozzcumber, clockcoaches, disgustable, human beans, wigglis.

Victorian Curriculum – English

Level 2

  • Read familiar and some unfamiliar texts with phrasing and fluency by combining phonic, semantic, contextual and grammatical knowledge using text processing strategies, including monitoring meaning, predicting, rereading and self-correcting (VCELY221).
  • Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning and begin to analyse texts by drawing on growing knowledge of context, language and visual features and print and multimodal structures (VCELY222).
  • Analyse how different texts use nouns to represent people, places, things and ideas in particular ways (VCELY223).
  • Understand the use of vocabulary about familiar and new topics and experiment with, and begin to make conscious choices of, vocabulary to suit audience and purpose (VCELA237).
  • Manipulate more complex sounds in spoken words through knowledge of blending and segmenting sounds, phoneme deletion and substitution (VCELA238).

Learning intention

We are learning to use our knowledge of grammar and syntax to bring meaning to unfamiliar words in context.

Success criteria

I can draw a picture about the 'made up' words based on my knowledge of how words work in a sentence. I can share my reasons with others.

Extension idea

Extend the success criteria (outcome):

  • I can compose a dictionary definition for a 'made up' word based on my knowledge about how words work in a sentence and share my reasons with others.
  • I can create 'made up' words based on my knowledge about how words work in a sentence and share my reasons with others.

Lesson sequence

  1. Clearly articulate the learning intention and success criteria:
    • When reading, it is important to understand what we are reading about. Sometimes when reading we come across words we do not know the meaning of. When that happens we can use what we already know about words and sentences to help us. For fun today, we are going to practise this strategy with the 'made up' words used by the author in 'The BFG' by Roald Dahl. I am going to show you how to do this by thinking aloud as I read.
    • After I have finished reading, I am going to ask you to draw a picture about one of the 'made up' words you heard today. Think carefully about what sort of word it could be and then what it might look like. You will share your pictures and talk about the reasons for drawing what you have.
  2. Select the relevant part of the text where the 'made up' words are found. Write the 'made up' words on the whiteboard so that all students can see them. Begin reading CHAPTER 8 - Snozzcumbers text to students (if selecting another section, ensure the selected part has relevant contextual cues to assist problem solving).
  3. Model the think aloud strategy as you come to the word snozzcumber. Point to it on the whiteboard:
    • The BFG didn't want to eat humans so he ate a snozzcumber instead. I wonder what a snozzcumber is? I know the snozzcumber must be a noun because it is a thing he ate. Let me check. If I substitute another noun would this sentence make sense? (use an example)
    • Now, I am going to look at the word. Is there part of the word that I recognise? Underline the 'cumber' part of the word. I know another word like this. This part of the word is in cucumber so maybe a snozzcumber is a kind of cucumber?
    • This enables students to think about what they already know (background knowledge). I am going to try drawing a new type of cucumber and call it a snozzcumber. As the BFG is a giant, I am going to make the shape of the snozzcumber quite large.
    • Think about if there are any other words that sound familiar: repulsant - repulsive? Re-read the second and third pages of Chapter 8 - Snozzcumbers. (for example, 'Here is the repulsant snozzcumber!' cried the BFG.) Is this just not very nice or completely horrible? What makes you think that?
  4. Continue reading. This time include the 'made up' word clockcoaches in the reading ("To me it is tasting of clockcoaches and slime-wanglers!"). If using another word, ensure the selected part has relevant contextual cues to assist problem solving.

  5. Pause at the end of the relevant section. Ask students to turn and talk to a partner about what they think a clockcoach is:
    • Prompt them to think about where it appears in the sentence and what type of word it may be.
    • Prompt students to look at the word and think of any part they recognise.
    • Prompt students to visualise what the word might look like.
    • Prompt students to draw their visualisation.
  6. Return to the success criteria. Ask students to share their drawings and articulate their reasons for their visual representations. Does their drawing acknowledge the grammar and syntactic clues in the text? Does their drawing make sense with the larger meaning of the text? 

Extension ideas

High-ability students could be: 

  • paired together for the discussion about clockroaches.
  • asked to describe a clockroach to their partner.
  • asked to make up their own item or object that would fit the text and give this object a made up name. Students could then describe this word to their partner and explain why this word works in the context of the story and the sentence.
  • asked to create a dictionary definition entry for one of the made up words. This entry needs to indicate type of word (noun, adjective etc) as well as a definition that contains some description (large, green etc). Students will explain their definition to their partner.