TEACHING LITERATURE
Suggestions for Reading Short Stories

     

    A- Before you begin reading ...

     
    1- Recall or research information on the author. Knowing the
    background of the writer and what themes or settings the writer
    often explores can help you interpret a story.

    2- Examine the title and consider possible meanings. The title is often a significant clue to help you identify the story's central ideas.


    B- To begin reading ...

    Read the first paragraph. Try to identify:

    * The setting - when and where the story is taking place. If you are unfamiliar with the time or place setting, consider doing some research to familiarize yourself with the setting.

    * The point of view - whose perspective is the story being told from?

    C- As you read ...

    1- Be an active reader. Interact with the story as you read. Make
    Interactive Notes.

    2- Try to identify:

    - How the plot is developing
    - The major and minor characters
    - The conflicts, external and internal, and how they relate to each other
    - The importance of setting
    - Ideas or images that are repeated to create symbols and develop motifs
    - The tone or mood the author creates. Do these change?
       How does the writer create mood and tone?

    3- Ask both personal and critical questions, recognizing differences between the author's opinions and your own.

    4- Connect details to expand the picture that the author is painting. Recognize that all words in a story should contribute to the overall impression.

    5- Pay particular attention to the ending of a story.
       Ask yourself: - why did the author choose to end the story here?
                            - what are the central ideas (themes) of the story?

    D- Rereading the story...

    Be prepared to reread the story or parts of the story to:

    - confirm your initial impressions
    - answer questions you have
    - alter or correct your ideas

    E- To conclude your reading ...

    1- Talk and listen to others to clarify impressions and interpretations

    2- Record personal insights or reactions as a way of deepening your
    understanding

    3- Continue to ask questions that extend the meaning of the story.

    Remember that the most important questions we are left with, often do not have "right" answers.

    4- Examine the author's technique and style or writing. What traits dominate? How does the author's style contribute to the overall
    impressions of the piece?

    5- Fit all the parts of the story into a whole by rereading and
    rethinking your ideas.


 Page Created on September 8th, 1998
 Last updated on April 20th,1999
   Copyright (C) 1998/1999 by Nada AbiSamra.
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