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Comprehension Toolkit. Character behaviour , feelings and motivation. Character behaviour , feelings and motivation. Comprehension Toolkit. Character behaviour , feelings and motivation. Comprehension means understanding . .

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Comprehension Toolkit

Character behaviour, feelings and motivation

Character behaviour, feelings and motivation

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Comprehension Toolkit

Character behaviour, feelings and motivation

Comprehension means understanding.

The best way to understand a text is to ask yourself questions as you read it.

The answers to some questions are easy to find, while the answers to others are more difficult to work out.

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Comprehension Toolkit

Character behaviour, feelings and motivation

In fiction, characters are the people who act out the story. Their feelings, and the reasons for their behaviour, are revealed in:

  • the words the author uses to describe them and their actions — are the words positive or negative?
  • the characters’ tone of voice — questions can show uncertainty or anxiety, and exclamations can show surprise or fear.

Let’s follow the character of Nathan in the book Making Friends with Samson. We’ll see how the author, Alison Peters, describes what Nathan thinks and says, and so reveals the reasons for his behaviour.

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Comprehension Toolkit

Character behaviour, feelings and motivation

Nathan knew what was in the box. He held in an excited squeal as he lifted the top from the box. He couldn’t wait to meet his new, furry, friendly, jumping, barking, tail-wagging … BIRD?! His dog was a bird! “Oh,” Nathan gulped.

Which two words best describe Nathan’s feelings?

happiness disappointment anger surprise

How do we know that Nathan is surprised and disappointed?

He was sure he was getting a dog.

He was excited about getting a dog.

He describes the dog he was expecting with positive adjectives.

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Comprehension Toolkit

Character behaviour, feelings and motivation

Nathan knew what was in the box. He held in an excited squeal as he lifted the top from the box. He couldn’t wait to meet his new, furry, friendly, jumping, barking, tail-wagging … BIRD?! His dog was a bird! “Oh,” Nathan gulped.

The way bird is written shows Nathan’s surprise.

His exclamation emphasises his surprise.

His interjection and the verb gulped show his disappointment.

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Comprehension Toolkit

Character behaviour, feelings and motivation

“Chirp,” the bird sang, then turned upside down and spread its wings.

“So you can hang upside down. So what? You can’t chase a stick or catch a ball. What good are you?” Nathan grumbled.

What does this tell us about Nathan’s feelings?

Nathan is still disappointed about getting a bird and not a dog.

How do we know?

He criticises the bird and suggests that it’s useless because it can’t act like a dog.

Grumbled suggests Nathan’s dissatisfaction with the bird.

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Comprehension Toolkit

Character behaviour, feelings and motivation

Nathan moved closer to the cage. The bird didn’t move. Nathan put his hand inside the cage. The bird still didn’t move. He tried to grab it and … it bit him hard.

“BIRRDD!!!!” Nathan yelled, “You nearly bit my finger off!”

What does Nathan’s tone of voice tell us about his feelings?

Nathan is angry with the bird.

How do we know that Nathan is angry with the bird?

The way bird is written and the verb yelled show that Nathan is using a loud, angry tone.

Why is Nathan angry with the bird?

The bird bit him on the finger.

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Comprehension Toolkit

Character behaviour, feelings and motivation

Two weeks later, Nathan tried again. Carefully he stuck his finger inside the cage. The bird didn’t move. Nathan put his finger near the perch. The bird HOPPED ON!

“Good bird,” he whispered, “good bird.”

What does Nathan’s tone of voice tell us about his feelings?

Nathan is starting to interact with the bird in a more positive way. He uses a gentler tone of voice when he speaks to it, and calls it a good bird.

Why are Nathan’s feelings changing?

The bird is no longer afraid of Nathan because it hops onto his finger.

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Comprehension Toolkit

Character behaviour, feelings and motivation

The End