It can be difficult for some children to link what a character is going through in a story to how they might feel in a similar situation, which in turn makes inference a challenge. Techniques such as freeze framing and thought tracking enable pupils to empathise with characters and so to make the connections necessary to understand a situation from someone else’s point of view.
Ruth takes us through how to set up an effective freeze frame activity and puts this into context by explaining how this can work with some of her favourite children’s books. She also goes into more detail on thought tracking and how this dovetails with freeze frames and tableaux to clarify what characters might be thinking at any given moment in the text.
As well as acting out tableaux, we see how a similar process can be applied to pictures, using speech bubbles and other shapes to record what characters are feeling, saying and hoping.
By becoming well versed in thought tracking, children will find they are able to compare different characters’ viewpoints, infer and predict their actions, and understand how these things also influence the plot of a story. This bleeds over into writing too, and pupils’ ability to compose dialogue and alternative endings.
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Former headteacher Ruth is now an independent education advisor, supporting schools, trusts and other organisations across the UK. She is currently chair of the National Association of Advisors in English (NAAE), an associate consultant for the National Literacy Trust (NLT) and a member of The United Kingdom Literacy Association's (UKLA) awards and members committee.
About the Course
Ruth demonstrates a range of drama and role-play teaching approaches for Year 1-Year 6, showing how important drama is in connecting children to narrative by eliciting personal responses as well as supporting children in developing a deeper understanding of the relationships between characters, making inferences from their actions.