Teaching Students to Analyze Literature

Whether you are a parent or a teacher, there are some great resources to help you encourage students to think analytically about the books they read.

From University of Connecticut’s Schoolwide Enrichment Model Reading program, comes Using the SEM-R Bookmarks (first click on "Implementation Resources." I like the suggestions provided at this website because they explain how adults can model the thinking they want to develop in children. For example:

How would the problem change if the story took place elsewhere?

The teacher could say, ‘I’ll show you how I might answer that question. First I would think of a different place or setting—maybe here in Willimantic. Then I would think about what is different between Willimantic and the setting in the book. (She could talk about some of these differences.) Now I would think about how these differences might change the problem.”

By modeling all behavior, we help students to better understand.

Be sure and download the “Bookmarks” provided at the link above. These bookmarks provide many pages of good higher level questions to pose when discussing books of all types. Even if you haven’t read the book that the child is discussing, you can elicit a conversation with these questions.

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