A photograph of a young woman sipping from a cup.

Source: Sip, Katy, Flickr

When you jump to conclusions, you decide on a meaning too fast. Similarly, if you gulp a glass of water too fast, you might choke. But if you take small sips, you can enjoy every last bit. As you think about taking sips from a cup, you can easily remember the four components of close reading—SIPS. Click on each of the letters below to reveal what SIPS stands for.

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As you study passages from the screenplay The Monsters are Due on Maple Street, you will use these terms to help explain the playwright’s use of dialogue and stage directions. Take a look at a passage from the play below. As you read, click to highlight examples in the stage directions that tell what the characters are doing. The stage directions are in italics, and the first two examples are highlighted for you. You should find six additional ones.

A photograph of an ice cream truck in a city. There are several young women and a little girl standing next to the truck.

Source: Mister Softee at the Peurto Rican Day parade spillover, churl, Flickr

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A photograph of a “Tip Top” ice cream cone.

Source: Glasstrut, Tip Top, Väsk, Wikimedia

Using your highlighted examples, let’s begin with the first letter of SIPS: S for Summarize. When you summarize, you highlight the main ideas of the passage while still remembering to attribute the ideas to the source, meaning that you should always specify the name of the author or the play's title. Click on the statement below that you think best summarizes the passage you just read.



The neighbors described appear to be bored and in need of a fun activity.
Try Again. Although this statement captures the main ideas, it does not include the name of the source. Also, you don’t know whether the ‘friendly street’ is residential or not. Perhaps, the description could be more specific.

The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street opens with a peaceful scene of a residential street on a summer day, with neighbors interacting, children playing, and an ice cream seller arriving.
Correct! This statement includes the name of the source and precisely describes the type of street.

Great job! Now you know that an effective summary is brief, clear, and precise.

Next, you’ll practice the second letter of SIPS: I for Infer. To infer means you will create a logical guess, or inference, by connecting bits of information. Read the passage above again, and look at the highlighted text. Then, click on the inference below that makes the most sense when you piece together the textual evidence. (Notice how the explanations for each choice include examples of textual evidence.)

The neighbors described appear to be bored and in need of a fun activity.
Try Again. Since people are at home where they “sit and swing” and “gossip,” you may initially think they are bored, but they seem to enjoy what they are doing.

The neighbors described appear to be engaged in chores and typical weekend activities.
Correct! The activities that are taking place—one neighbor “polishes the car” while another “waters the lawn” and others are “conversing” as the children play—are more typical of weekend activities.

A photograph of two young children washing a car in the driveway.

Source: At the Car Wash, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, sisterbeer, Flickr

take notes icon What else can you infer from this passage? Click on the inference below you think is the best. Then, use your notes to supply the textual evidence that supports the inference you chose. When you are finished, check your understanding to see a sample response.

The neighbors seem to know each other well.

The neighbors seem not to know each other well.
Try Again.

Textual evidence to support my inference: ____________________________________

Check Your Understanding
Sample Response

The neighbors seem to have a sense of ease and community while “conversing.” In fact, one neighbor “leans against the fender watching,” while another neighbor washes the car. The tone is comfortable as people “sit and swing” and as children are “buying ice cream.”