13 Mar It’s Monday! We Are Slicing about What We Are Reading #SOL17
Hey, let’s listen to my book club’s choice on our trip. I am only a few chapters into it and I am having trouble following it. Maybe if we listen to it together that will help me.
What is it?
What is it about?
The Vietnam War.
I restart the book from the beginning and stop it at the end of the first chapter.
Are you following what is happening? I can’t figure out who is who.
My son looks at me.
I am following it. What is confusing you?
I launch into a barrage of questions. He listens until I am done.
How much do you know about the Vietnam War?
I realize I don’t know as much about the Vietnam War as I do other wars. It is a time in history I have not read as much about or learned about in my education.
Not that much.
How can that be? It is a major event in our history.
Well, it was not a part of history for me. I was born in 1970 so I never really learned about it in school they way you have. It was also a topic people just didn’t talk much about. I know people in my life who were in Vietnam, but it is just never really discussed.
Well, that’s why you are finding it confusing. It is assuming you know a lot about it. Do you know what a sympathizer is?
I realized in that moment I did not even stop to think about the title of the book. I just got my assignment, downloaded it and began to listen.
I think I do, but I did not think much about it.
Let me give you some background about the war. I think that will help.
My son talked to me about the history of the war for the next hour. We then continued to listen together. We paused the story intermittently and my son added background knowledge and details to explain what was happening. Our dialogue made the book come to life for me. It is far longer in duration than our trip, so I have continued to listen on my own. The background knowledge he provided is giving me the support I need to access the text on my own.
This experience is reminding me of the importance of background knowledge in comprehension. It is critical to slow down when you realize that you do not have information about the topic, setting or genre of a text. I was able to follow the basic plot, but I knew I was missing something. I could not visualize what was happening or where the characters were in each scene. I could retell what happened but I did not know why the characters were doing these things. I was missing character motivation and point of view. If I continued on without building my schema, I would have most likely abandoned the book or finished a surface read. Either way I would have missed an incredible story and the opportunity to learn about a time in history.
If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it!