Choice Novel Unit: Literary Elements

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Examine how an author crafts a story, including the role of a narrator.

Big Idea

Literary elements are the building blocks of a story.

Mini Lesson & Note Taking

15 minutes

We begin class by going through the first ten slides of a PowerPoint presentation. Its purpose is to review and broaden students’ understanding of how literary elements (including setting, characters and plot) are used by authors to craft stories.  The visual presentation of the role of narrator as bridging the gap between the author and the reader is particularly effective in helping students understand and remember this concept. The slides that focus on purpose and appearance of dialogue and the use of quotation marks.

This is followed by information related to characterization, which is the main focus of this novel study unit. It is the first time students are introduced to direct and indirect characterization, so they will need repeated exposure to these terms and will take part in follow up activities to deepen their understanding. This video provides some additional thoughts on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of the lesson.

Group Discussion

20 minutes

The students now have an opportunity to apply what they have just learned about characterization. They work in small groups to identify examples of direct and indirect characterization in the novels they are currently reading. Each group chooses 3-5 examples and presents it to the rest of the class. Since each group is reading a different novel it also gives them a chance to hear about what their peers are reading.

The small groups also review the reading assignment from the night before. They identify important plot events, ask questions and make connections using a bookmark designed for jotting down thoughts while reading.


20 minutes

During the last 15-20 minutes of class, I allow students to work on projects for their novels. They enjoy this time immensely because they get to check in with peers, show off what they have accomplished and troubleshoot problems. It gets messy, but it is worth it!

More information and resources for the projects is available in previous lessons in this unit, including the introduction.