Literature Lesson Plans for Parents and Teachers

Literature is taught at every grade level, starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Whether you're a teacher or a parent who wants to provide extra practice at home, you can use the following lesson plan ideas to engage and challenge students using literature.

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Lesson Plans for Literature


Before introducing a novel or a short story, provide your child or students with background information. The goal of pre-reading lessons is to provide a preview of what may happen in the story before it is read.

For elementary school students, pre-reading activities can be as simple as having the students look at the cover and title and guess what the story is about. You may even have the students write their own story based on their predictions, and then compare their story to the real one.

If the story is from a different era or culture, you may want to begin the lesson with a lecture to orient the students. For middle or high school students, you may have them research the time period or topic related to the story. That way, you're helping students build research skills in addition to familiarizing them with the setting.


When you're in the middle of reading a piece of literature, do activities that help students draw meaning from the text. In elementary school, you might use a visual aid, such as a who, what, where, when, why and how chart, which can help young students understand the plot. As you read a story aloud to your child or students, have them keep track using this chart. Then, go over their answers at the end to review the story.

For older students, the focus should be on identifying themes, character development and tone. For instance, to help them with tone, have a student read a passage aloud to a partner. Sometimes, hearing a character's 'voice' as expressed in the text or hearing a description read aloud can help students discern the emotion that the author of the story wanted to convey.

Help your child or students make a personal connection with the text by comparing their own lives to the life of one of the book's characters. One way to do this is to use a visual aid, such as a Venn diagram. Alternatively, find newspaper articles that describe a conflict similar to the one in the story. Relating literature to real life can engage and motivate students to read more.


After reading a story, students can apply what they've learned by doing a project or writing a paper. You could have students rewrite a scene in the novel and explain how that would have affected the ending. Alternatively, ask your students to write a paper in which they assert their opinions using quotes from the text.

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