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Implicit and Explicit Facts: Teaching the Difference to Your Students

written by: Margo Dill • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 7/31/2014

Knowing the difference between implicit and explicit facts in third grade may be a difficult concept for some students to master. They can participate in a few fun reading activities in order to learn this important skill.

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    Before beginning reading activities on implicit/explicit facts, third grade students need to know the definition of these two terms. Classroom First Impression 

    Students will probably not be familiar with the vocabulary words: implicit or explicit. So, you will need to teach these definitions and then practice the concept with reading activities.

    You can explain the terms using an example. Put these two examples on the chalkboard or chart paper. First, write: "There are 8 planets." Next to this write explicit fact. Then write the names of the eight planets on the other side of the board: "Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. I know there are 8 planets from this list." Next to this write implicit fact.

    With this learning activity on implicit/explicit facts, third grade students can start to understand that implicit facts are stated by gathering information and coming up with a fact. Explicit facts are stated, and there is no question. You can also give students the definition of the two words to help them understand the concept also. Implicit means, "implied or not specifically stated." Explicit means, "leaving nothing implied or clearly stated."

    With some students, you may need to review the difference between a fact and an opinion.

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    Ideas During Reading

    Comprehension can be improved with reading activities on implicit/explicit facts. Third grade students can do these activities while reading a book themselves or listening to a book read by their teacher.

    1. While students are reading a chapter of a book, ask them to write down three explicit facts about the main character. For example, if your students are reading Charlotte's Web, they can write down Wilbur is a pig, a runt, and can talk. These are explicit or clearly stated facts in the book. Next ask students to write at least one implicit fact about the main character. In the Charlotte's Web example, students could write: "Wilbur will make more money for the farmer if he grows larger and stronger."

    2. Create a game with reading activities on implicit/explicit facts. Third grade students can use the books they are reading during literature circles or a class book you are reading to them for this game. Divide the class into two teams. A member of each team competes against each other on one round. You ask a question such as: "What is an explicit fact about Charlie in Willy Wonka's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?" or "What is an implicit fact about the setting of Hoot?" Each student writes down an explicit fact on a small dry erase board or a piece of paper in a set amount of time. When time's up, students share their answers. For every correct answer, the team receives two points. At the end of a set amount of rounds or time, the team with the most points is the winner.

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    As with any reading skill, practice makes perfect with reading activities on implicit/explicit facts. Third grade students can learn while having fun, so use the game above or make up one of your own.

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    Definitions of explicit and implicit: