Reading Beyond the Surface


Watch the following video:

Open a Google Doc, title it “Beyond the Surface” and respond to the questions below.  (Note: You will use this Google Doc for everything in this lesson).

Did you count the number of passes correctly? Were you aware of what was going on in the background?

Chances are, the video became much more interesting once you looked at was going on in addition to the people passing the basketball.  Often times, people write off stories or poems as boring or nonsensical because they haven’t been able to discover the underlying meaning or importance that isn’t obvious.

This may happen for a number of reasons.  If a text is difficult, chances are, you are spending the majority of your focus just trying to understand the plot of the story.  In this case, you should consider choosing easier text or asking for assistance with your understanding, so that you can focus on both the basic plot (the people passing the basketball) and the underlying meaning (moonwalking bears).  Sometimes, we as readers can miss the underlying meaning and excitement because we are distracted.  Give the text your full attention.  It’s just like a good movie.  You don’t want to miss any of the action!

Why is it important to read beyond the surface?



Look at the following excerpt from the graphic novel Maus.

To a distracted reader, or one lacking certain background knowledge, this may come across as a comic where mice act like people and go to war.  By making inferences and connections, we are able to associate Maus with the tragic events of the Holocaust. 

Try it!

Read the poem Ode to Marbles by Max Mendelsohn.  Then, write about what the poem is about ON the surface, and then write about what the poem is about BELOW the surface. E-mail your coach if you get stuck and need some help!