Literal and Inferential Questions for Two Hani/Akha Stories

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Questions for the two Hani-Akha stories

Some Suggested Literal and Inferential Questions for

The Grasshopper and the Wren

and Two Akha Brothers Divided a Turtle

The Grasshopper and the Wren

Literal Questions: Questions directly from the text

  1. Where did lady grasshopper and lady wren go everyday?
  2. Why did the grasshopper stay at the wren’s house?
  3. Why did the wren not want the grasshopper to stay at her house?
  4. What was the direct cause of the grasshopper kicking the wren’s baby?
  5. Why did the wren take “the matter” to the headman?

Inferential Questions: Questions about the unknown based on the known expressed in the text

  1. What can you infer about the feeling of personal responsibility expressed by the characters in the story?
  2. Animistic religions express the idea that everything around humans has a kind of life and feelings as humans do; for example, the ground having feelings and choices, water buffalo having feelings and choices, etc. What can you infer about the writer’s opinion on animism as expressed in the story? Does What examples can you provide from the story?
  3. What does the story say about any member of the society having any privilege over another member of the society?

Some Additional Questions Relating the Story to the Students Lives

  1. Can you think of any examples from your own society and culture that privileges one group over another with regards to following the law? If so, please provide a specific example. If not, how does your society/culture make sure that one member of society is not privileged over another with regards to following the law?
  2. Can you think of any example from your society/culture that imagines and places human feelings and emotions in inanimate objects; for example, believing that trees, rocks or the ground have emotions and/or feelings? If you can’t think of something from your own culture, can you think of an example from any of your experiences?
  3. Have you ever had an experience or know of an experience where someone has denied personal responsibility as personal responsibility has been denied in the story?

Two Akha Brothers Divided a Turtle

 

Literal Questions: Literal Questions: Questions directly from the text

  1. When did the Akha brothers go into the forest and what did they do for a living?
  2. What were the main problems the two brothers were having about the turtle?
  3. Who arrived to help the brothers with their problem?
  4. Which brother wanted the head and which brother wanted the tail?
  5. Who took most of the turtle?

Inferential Questions: Usually questions about the unknown based on the known expressed in the text. Sometimes these questions will also involve the student’s background information, as in the Evaluative Question category.

  1. Did the brothers have a knife and what specific information is provided in the story to allow you to infer this information?
  2. What can you infer about the go-between’s sense of fairness from the information provided in the story? How do you feel about the go-between? Why
  3. Why do you think the go-between ran away “as quickly as possible” and why do you think the brothers “stared at each other blankly”?  Can you provide any information from the story to support your answer.

Some Additional Questions Relating the Story to the Students Lives

  1. What is another term for “go-between” (or more than one if you know)?
  2. Have you or any of your friends or family members ever had a similar experience with a go-between as expressed in the story? If so, please describe this? If not, what would you do or what do you do to prevent something like this episode with the turtle from happening to you?
  3. How is this episode with the Akha brothers and the turtle related to the terms retail and wholesale? Please look up the term retail and wholesale in the dictionary.

For more information on levels of comprehension  questions (i.e.,  literal, inferential, and evaluative) see text explicit, text implicit, and experience-based comprehension pp. 187-189 in Readence, J., Bean, T., and Baldwin (2000). Content Area Literacy: An Integrated Approach 7th Edition. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt Publishing.

For more information and discussion of making inferences see: Hayakawa, S.I., (1990. Language in Thought and Action 5th edition. NY: Harcourt Brace.

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