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High School — Reading
Literary Text


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    Literary Text


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      Activities: Additional Instruction and Practice

      These activities are useful for students who require additional instruction and practice with Literary Text.

      Fairy Tales Revisited

      To help students consider how point of view affects how a story is written, ask them to study a popular fairy tale and rewrite it from a different character's point of view. For example, they might write the story of "The Three Little Pigs" from the Wolf's point of view, "The Emperor's New Clothes" from the Emperor's point of view, or "Jack and the Beanstalk" from the Giant's point of view.

      Ask students to choose which tale they want to revisit. Then, have them outline the events of the original story before preparing a new outline from their character's point of view. What events and description would have to change, and why?

      Students can present their stories in essay form or as picture books if they have time to illustrate their work. Ask them to read their new versions to the class and have the class discuss the new version. What else did they learn about the story when it was told from this character's point of view? Were they convinced by this new version?


      Ask each student to bring in an early photograph from the life of an adult friend, family member or personal hero. The picture should in some ways represent the beginnings of who the individual became in adulthood. For example, an early picture of a pianist might feature her crawling beneath the piano or a baby picture of a baseball player might show the future athlete with his first glove. Ask students to describe how this picture foreshadowed some element of the adult's life.

      Mood Role-Plays

      Begin this group activity by asking each student to state one word that describes how he is feeling at that moment. Then divide the class into groups according to the general feelings. For example, you might group students together according to who feels anxious, tired, grumpy, happy, angry, annoyed, etc.

      Each group discusses their mood and creates a role-play or short skit that illustrates that mood. If your actors are nervous about performing or need some inspiration, you might suggest a few possible scenarios, such as a beauty pageant, a sports practice, a library during finals week, etc. Each group then takes turns performing the role-play before the class. The audience can discuss how the group created the desired mood through the setting and dialogue of the skit.

      Walking in the Shoes of a Character

      Assign each student a character from a novel or story that you are exploring in class. The student must pay close attention to this character, noting how the character speaks, how the character dresses, and how the character changes throughout the story. Upon completion of the novel, hold a gathering of the characters, such as a dinner party or lunch date. Ask each student to bring or design a costume piece and to write a question or comment to share with the other characters at the gathering. The question or comment must be written in a style and delivered in a voice fitting to the character.

      An image a day, an image a week

      Begin each class period or meeting with a reading of a powerful image from literature. At the end of each week, ask students to describe an image that affected them. Perhaps a student watched the sun set into a blaze of crimson one evening, or witnessed a young boy helping an older man trim his hedges. Have the student describe the image by stimulating the audience's senses. Discuss why these images might have stayed with the students who witnessed them.

      A Little Mood Music

      Play various musical pieces in class, such as classical, jazz and world music. Ask students to describe the mood of each piece. Based on the mood they have established for a particular piece of music, have writers compose a dialogue to accompany the music. In their writing, ask them to refer to colors and symbols that seem to fit the sounds.

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