Friday, October 10, 2014

How I Explained "internal logic" to a Student with Reading Comprehension Issues.

As I've mentioned on Facebook but maybe never here, I am an Open Writing Lab and Peer Literacy Tutor at one of my alma maters. The meaning of the latter isn't important in this case, but the former means I take students on a walk-in basis who need help with writing. I help them at all stages of the process, including brainstorming and organization and, sometimes, even comprehension.

Recently, a student came to me wanting help planning a paper he was writing, but also with reading comprehension. The other day, he returned for a second visit and we spent an hour on reading comprehension exclusively. He hadn't brought any reading materials with him, so I printed off my latest film review for The Movie Zone and had him read it and explain what he did or didn't get, line-by-line. One expression he didn't get was the phrase "internal logic."

To be fair, I told him, that's not a commonly understand term. Here's how I explained its meaning to him:

Me: Have you seen the Lord of the Rings movies?

Student: Yeah...

Me: Well, if you walked up to me and told me that was a true story, I'd think you were a raving lunatic.

Student: (Slightly confused) Okay?

Me: Because it hasn't happened and it never will. You look disappointed.

Student: (Laughing) No, no.

Me: Anyway, it's fantasy. However, even though it's a work of fiction, the author has to create certain rules, right?

Student: Yeah. I mean, right.

Me: So, if Frodo suddenly started flying in the third movie so he could throw the ring into the firepit..."

Student: (Laughing) Oh, I think I--

Me: Basically, your reaction would be: "Why the hell did I just spend nine hours of my life watching this guy walk for two movies when he could fly all along?"

Student: Ohhh! So, the logic is based on the way the story is set up!

Me: Internal logic.

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