Lesson Plans for Literature


I. How to Use Our Lesson Plans:

  1. Give your student a month to read a book on the list (those for which we have available lessons).
  2. Have your student respond to the book in some creative way – book cover, poem, artwork, character sketch, etc.
  3. Share the response with someone – parent, friend, grandparent, student.
  4. Use the lesson plans (LPFL) for further discussion with your student or in a group.
  5. Activities listed are for groups or classes.
  6. Get your student’s feedback and make appropriate alterations for future book studies.

II. Teach of Terms for Literary Analysis

Have students identify literary terms and devices in the literature they read and encourage them to use these devices in their own writing. References or allusion in essays for college applications often raise scores.

A. Plot Terms for Analysis (applicable to all literature):

  • Protagonist = the main character in the story – with a goal or objective
  • Antagonist = a person with whom the main character has conflict due to opposing goals or objective
  • Foil = a person, animal, etc., who aids the character in reaching their goal
  • Conflict = the obstacle the main character faces in meeting his/her goal (External conflict = what the protagonist wants vs. what the antagonist wants; Internal conflict = what the protagonist wants vs. what the protagonist fears and/or weaknesses)
  • Climax = highest point of conflict in the story – typically the beginning of the resolution (not the biggest fight scene)
  • Setting = this introduce readers to the time and place, main characters, and goals as well as the obstacles
  • Inciting Event = the event which propels the protagonist forward on their quest (including stakes involved)
  • Rising Action, Climax, Denoument, Resolution (Sequence of Plot Structure or Plot Rollercoaster of Plot) = the events which raise tension, the point of highest tension or conflict, the turning point, and the decrease in tension as the problem resolves

Example using the story, Cinderella:

Protagonist = Cinderella (objective = loving relationship/acceptance)

Antagonist = Step-Mother (and Step-Sisters)

Foil (s) = Fairy Godmother, Mice, Dog, Birds (Disney version)

Conflict = external – Cinderella’s Step-Mother doesn’t love or accept her no matter how hard she works to gain her love

Setting = Countryside villa in greater kingdom, in which Prince needs a wife (but that is his objective!)

Inciting Event = Invitation to ball where Prince will choose a wife

Rising Action = the increasing tension between Cinderella and her Step-Mother as the ball approaches

Climax = Cinderella’s locked in attic by Step-Mother while the Prince is below trying shoes on her Step-Sisters

Denoument (or Falling Action) = Cinderella is free and asks to try on glass slipper

Resolution = Cinderella and Prince are wed

B.  Literary Terms for Analysis (used at author’s discretion):

  • Analogy =  a word picture to describe something or someone – metaphors and similes are examples of analogies (see below)
  • Metaphor = comparison between two different things without using the word like – example: He is an ogre (unless of course, he is actually an ogre) this example compares a man to a monster, giving us a picture of perhaps an angry oppressive individual
  • Simile = comparison of two unlike things using the word like explicitly to make the comparison – example: He is like a marshmallow (note I did not say, looks like a marshmallow) this example tells us perhaps the man is soft and sweet in relation to others
  • Hyperbole = an outrageous exaggeration to make a point – example: She read a million books this summer (I don’t think it’s possible to read a million books in a summer – but I may be wrong)
  • Allusion = an indirect reference to a person, event, place, work of art or literature (the author assumes the reader is familiar with the reference) – example: She went the way of Lot’s wife (I assume you know Lot’s wife turned to salt for disobeying God’s angel) this example makes the allusion to a fateful ending for our ‘She’
  • Paradox = a situation or proposition which seems contradictory or absurd but which in the end describes the reality of the situation – example: Your enemy’s friend is your enemy 
  • Oxymoron = similar to paradox, oxymoron uses contradiction for effect (often two words) – examples: wise fool or jumbo shrimp
  • Onomatopoeia = a word which sounds like or is formed by the thing it is – examples: honk, meow, boom
  • Alliteration = a series of words which begin with the same sound (not always the same letter) – example: twisted turnips taste tart (ok, I made that one up, but you get the point)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s