Teacher Sign Up
Sign In
Analyze a Poem or Short Story

Students will read a poem or short story about friendship and love. They will analyze the text to identify hidden clues that tell about the topic. Then they will express what they think the author's intent was when writing the poem or story and explain how the author could have expressed these feelings in a different way.

PROCESS:

  1. Select an age-appropriate poem or short story about friendship and love. Inform students that they will analyze this written work to determine how the author used words to tell a story about friendship and love.
  2. Have students examine the title. Explain that the title often provides clues that tell what a poem or story is about. Challenge students to identify any clues in this title that indicate that this is a poem or story about friendship and love.
  3. Instruct students to read the poem or story. Have them write a brief summary explaining why they think it was about friendship and love. 
  4. Point out that in order to truly understand something, particularly something that may have hidden meanings, it helps to read it more than once. Give students time to read the poem or story one or two more times. As they do, encourage them to look beyond the literal meaning of words and phrases. Challenge them to identify hidden clues, such as metaphors or sensory language, that help express the author's message about friendship and love.
  5. Based upon their findings, instruct students to write a brief review about the poem or short story. In their reviews, instruct students to identify what they think the author was thinking about when he or she wrote the poem or short story. Challenge them to explain how the author could have expressed these same feelings in a different way.

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their reviews with the class. Compare and contrast their responses. When differences of opinion occur, examine how the reader's own experiences may have influenced his or her interpretation about the meaning of the poem or short story.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:    

Grades 3-4:
Prior to conducting this activity, select an age-appropriate poem or short story for students to assess. Then conduct the activity as a class. Instruct students to identify specific adjectives, adverbs and action words that helped them identify the author's message. Challenge them to explain how context helped them distinguish between the literal and nonliteral meanings of words and phrases as they read. Encourage them to provide examples of how their own real-life experiences helped them understand what the author was saying about friendship and love.

Grades 5-6:
Prior to conducting this activity, select an age-appropriate poem or short story for students to assess. Then have students read and discuss the poem or short story in small groups. Instruct students to identify relationships in the text-such as cause/effect, part/whole or item/whole-that helped them identify the author's message. Challenge them to explain how context helped them interpret figurative language as they read. Encourage them to provide examples of how their own real-life experiences helped them understand what the author was saying about friendship and love.

Grades 7-8:
Prior to conducting this activity, select an age-appropriate poem or short story for students to assess. Then have students read and discuss the poem or short story in pairs. Instruct partners to identify connotations or relationships between words that helped them identify the author's message. Encourage them to explain how context helped them interpret figurative language as they read. Challenge them to identify specific phrases that helped them understand what the author was thinking when he or she wrote this poem or short story about friendship and love.

Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select an age-appropriate poem or short story about friendship and love. Then have each student in the group read and assess the poem or short story on their own. After students have written their reviews, have groups rejoin so members can discuss their interpretations of the written work. Challenge students' to provide detailed examples for how the author could have expressed his or her feelings about friendship and love differently.