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The Teacher Tip

Construct Powerful Interpretations by Teaching Students How to Journey Through the Process

April 13, 2018

Adapted from Teaching Interpretation by Sonja Cherry-Paul and Dana Johansen. 

To demystify the process of interpretation for teachers and students, try using an interpretation framework:

1. Generating or coming up with initial ideas

  • Forming big ideas and claims
  • Uncovering issues

2. Experimenting or testing out ideas

  • Locating text evidence
  • Identifying how the evidence supports a claim
  • Weighing and determining strength of evidence

3. Rethinking or grappling with multiple ideas:

  • Interrogating characters, authors, and issues
  • Considering other times, texts, and our world
  • Marinating in the opposite and varied viewpoints including those of our peers
  • Realizing when we’re just plain wrong

To learn more about Teaching Interpretation and download a sample chapter, visit

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