Literacy 4-6

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Literacy 4-6 > Factors > Verbal Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning

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Verbal Reasoning is used when we make inferences about things not directly stated in a text and for understanding figurative language like metaphors. Students understand what they read by connecting new details with things they read earlier in the book and with their Background Knowledge. Students also use Verbal Reasoning skills to produce compelling writing by making and presenting connections in their narratives, analyses, and arguments.

Main Ideas

Because most texts require the reader to draw upon Background Knowledge for inferring the full meaning, Verbal Reasoning can break down when the reader lacks the relevant Background Knowledge, possesses incorrect Background Knowledge, or has the applicable Background Knowledge but does not use it to properly form inferences.

  • Local inferences require the reader to connect and integrate information within the text. For example, understanding the relationship between concepts and ideas across several sentences.
  • Global inferences require the reader to draw on Background Knowledge external to the text.

Understanding figurative language, including metaphors and idioms, also requires Verbal Reasoning skills. Children who can understand figurative language are able to understand the full meaning of text, particularly when the intended meaning is different from the literal meaning (e.g., the idiom "hold your tongue" means to remain silent, not to literally hold your tongue). Children who understand figurative language can also use it to produce more complex writing. Figurative language can be subtle and potentially ambiguous; thus, while the skills required to understand figurative language begin to emerge at a young age, they continue to develop into adulthood.

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