Welcome to our GO Talent: Readers sample lesson for seniors (years 8 and 9)
Each week GO Talent: Readers will have an online meeting of around 30 minutes, to talk about the lesson and what they are currently reading. The online lesson can be accessed and completed at any time, anywhere. The online lesson will take around an hour to complete each week.
Part One: Something to think about... Characters
When we read, we get to imagine the characters in the settings, and we are helped by the author's words.
Compare these two images, thinking about the characters, their relationship with each other, their settings, and how their actions or emotions might be influenced by their settings. How might authors describe these scenes?
Image credit: Flickr user Eric Huybrechts, Sign(s) of the times, licensed for commercial use: CC BY SA 2.0
Image credit: Flickr user Ted Eytan, DC People and Places, licensed for commercial use: CC BY SA 2.0
Each week in GO Talent: Readers, there are three options for activities to help you to develop as a reader - choose the activity that best suits you.
Take a character you know well, and design their ultimate companion. Think carefully about the attributes of your character - you could fill in a personality inventory for your character (download one here) or map your character's attributes on a personality map like the one on this page if that helps. Then create the companion - do you think you should make the companion very similar to the original character? Or should their attributes 'balance' each other? Present your thinking in a way that best suits you - a detailed drawing, a piece of writing, a list of attributes, or something. Record your work in your Reader's Blog (instructions are here).
Do you think there are just a set number of 'stock' characters in the books you read? Do you get tired of the same old hero, the same of villain? Make a list of some of the 'stock' characters (or archetypes) that you commonly see, and record some of their key attributes. Give examples from what you are reading. Use your Reader's Blog (instructions are here).
Here's an example:
Hero - physically and morally strong, brave, works hard
Atypical Hero - morally strong but physically not so, brave when forced to be but not usually by choice
Faithful sidekick - best friend to hero, always has their back, usually a comedian and/or self-deprecating
Alpha - not necessarily the hero, but the one who runs the show, popular, outgoing, could be manipulative as well
Now check out this (exhaustive!) list of character archetypes. Can find examples of any of them in what you are reading? Add some ideas to your Reader's Blog.
Ponder WHY authors often choose to fall back on certain archetypes? What are the benefits (and pitfalls) for readers of authors doing this?
In this activity you need two very different characters from two very different books.
This icon is a thinking tool called origins. See how it looks like rays coming out of sun... that makes me think of the ORIGINS of the solar system (probably not scientifically correct, but a good aide memoire at least!) Consider the origins of your two different characters. What were their backgrounds like? What were their families like? What were they like as small children? etc. You are likely to need to infer a lot of this! Start making a list of factors for each character in your Reader's Blog (instructions are here).
This icon is a thinking tool called, unsurprisingly, parallels. It helps us to consider things that are similar. Can you find any similarities in the origins of your two characters? Highlight them in some way.
This tool is called convergence - see how the arrows converge on one point? Think about what might need to happen in order for your two characters to meet? What plot points, what settings, what events, etc would need to take place. If you like to write, write a few paragraphs that highlight the convergence.
Just briefly today, think about your characteristics as a reader. Are you a 'must finish tonight' reader or a 'taking weeks to read because I LOVE this book so much' reader? Are you a no-nonsense reader who abhors fantasy and only reads 'real-life' or a full-on Hobbity, Narnia-loving dreamer? Write briefly about your self as a reader in your Reader's Blog(instructions are here).