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Fresh Takes on Teaching Literary Elements: How to Teach What Really Matters About Character, Setting, Point of View, and Theme
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Fresh Takes on Teaching Literary Elements: How to Teach What Really Matters About Character, Setting, Point of View, and Theme

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  142 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Bring new power and purpose to the study of literature with innovative tools and strategies that deepen students’ understanding of literary elements and help them apply that understanding to their reading as well as their writing. Rich, original passages illuminate the intricacies of character, setting, point of view, and theme, and deeply engaging activities framed by inq ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Scholastic Teaching Resources (Theory an
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Community Reviews

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Rhonda
I missed most of the book club discussions on this book over at the EC Ning, unfortunately. Now that I have the time to read through, I've found this book to be extremely useful and well presented. Wilhelm and Smith provide a sound rationale for their methods AND they provide excellent tools that are ready to use in the classroom.

The past few weeks my students and I have been exploring the section on character and we are enjoying animated and purposeful discussions while students learn how to su
...more
Nick
I'm slightly disturbed at how many teachers docked this book stars based on the "theory" and "dull forewords".

The foreword anecdotes are a little tiresome, if only because they occur so often in this type of book, but the theory/background/research bits of the book are essential to the activities/"the usable stuff". It'd be understandable to dismiss these sections out of familiarity (I assume you do value transfer of knowledge and skill, is anyone teaching "character" for "character"'s sake? I
...more
Erica
This was an interesting book - it dived into the norms of how to teach all of these literary elements but then also gave suggestions for new ways and their target objectives. What was most helpful of all though was the examples they gave - there were all sorts of graphic organizers, etc that could be used in the classsroom to help students understand these concepts. One other thing I thought was an positive of this book was that it didn't stick with just literature; they used pop culture, like m ...more
Declan
Focus, refine, and deepen your thinking about Literary Elements. Instead of teaching a definition, finding examples, and attempting analysis using the examples, this books looks at how we use an understanding of character, setting, point-of-view, and theme as we read, and how those ideas apply to what we know about life.

Reading this book will sharpen your thinking about literary elements, and help you think about how to create experiences which encourage students to do similar kinds of thinking
...more
Claudia
I have forgiven these authors for publishing a book about reading in that state of flow that happens when you lose track of time and place...I have. I was going to write a book of my own on the same subject... Now they've stolen another one of my ideas of really digging into the study of literary elements...I am in awe and in envy.

This provides both the theoretical underpinnings for the work, and the actual examples to use in the classroom. Concentrating on character and theme and setting will w
...more
Erin
Smith and Wilhelm have good ideas that I know my students will embrace. I'm looking forward to trying some of their suggestions in the fall.

However, at times I found this book to be incredibly tedious. I often found myself skimming along in the theory sections so I could get to the practical parts of the book. While explanations and rationales are important, they went a bit overboard.

Also, I understand that sometimes links included in books become outdated, but there is absolutely NO reason wh
...more
Newengland
Good stuff. Excellent practical, road-ready ideas - to - theory ratio. If you struggle teaching literary analysis and teach anywhere from grades 6 to 12, Wilhelm's inquiry approach to teaching character, setting, point of view, and theme is just the ticket. I'm test driving the character unit even as I speak (uh, type -- or whatever) and it's scoring high marks from that tough audience I call my students.
Donalyn
Great, practical ideas and lessons, along with the theory to support these ideas. Just my kind of professional development! I have already used the characterization unit ideas with my sixth graders, and I can tell you that they work. Wonderful scaffold into higher literary analysis and thinking about text.
Jennifer Brinkmeyer
Lots of suggestions for how to make these elements feel relevant for students. I especially appreciate their attention to transfer of skill. This book left me thinking about how I could use the activities here in ways that are meaningful and thorough.
Rikki
Might be useful for older students, but the first read through of the info was way over my head. It's going to take some intense study to pick apart the authors' ideas into something understandable for my students.
Danica
Some really good activities in this book that I want to try incorporating in my classroom; however, some of the explanations and processes used for preparing students were lengthy and a bit confusing.
Anna Lise
This text offers so many great ideas! My students have had a lot of fun using the ideas in this book to begin analyzing character. I look forward to utilizing more of the book in my classroom.
Sara
Starts out pretty boring--I skipped a lot of the theory and went to the practical application chapters! Overall, it just wasn't as innovative or helpful as I thought it would be.
Kerry Kiley
Dull. It may be good for a new teacher,and to keep old teachers like me, to remember what,s important. However, nothing shockingly new or ground breaking.
Jeri
Have only read the first chapter so far, and already have some good, practical ideas to use with students in fall!
Miss Leacock
Jan 22, 2014 Miss Leacock marked it as to-read
This book is worth the price just for chapter 1 -- so thankful for the authors' philosophies.
Stefani
The more I go back and reread this to pull lessons, the more I love it.
Stacey
Thought it was a bit high-brow, especially for my sixth grade students.
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