There are four basic areas in which students may make judgments about a literary work. We have created sentence frames for each.
- Compare and contrast books by the same author or with a similar theme:
_________________________________ and ______________________________, both by Chris Van Allsburg, are two books with similar (settings, problems, solutions, characters).
EXAMPLE: The Garden of Abdul Gasazi and The Polar Express, both by Chris Van Allsburg, have similar themes. You're never too old to believe in magic.
- Comment on the author's use of language and/or author's craft:
EXAMPLE: In The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, Chris Van Allsburg does a great job of creating a sense of mystery about whether or not Fritz was turned into a duck.
- Comment on the literary elements of the work (conflict, objects, unusual events, character development, setting, plot, etc.).
EXAMPLE: In The Widow's Broom Chris Van Allsburg uses a broom to deliver his message of judging others by their actions.
- Relate the work to a personal experience.
Once the sentence frame is written, students build their response around it, providing specific evidence from the text to support their thinking. Writing a response to literature has many benefits. Students develop analytical and evaluative skills, they increase their awareness of literary elements, and they begin to understand how writers deliver a message.