Renaissance Literature Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

This lesson plan uses a text lesson to teach the characteristics of Renaissance literature as well as key writers and genres. Discussion questions will guide learning along with a quiz and activity to make learning stick.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define Renaissance Literature
  • explain the characteristics of Renaissance literature
  • discuss Renaissance writers and genres


1 - 1.5 hours


Key Vocabulary

  • Renaissance

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.6

Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.


  • Engage students with the topic by writing the word 'renaissance' on the board and asking students to brainstorm its meaning.
  • After a few minutes have students discuss their ideas with partners then share and define as a whole group.
  • Tell students they will be learning about literature that was produced during the Renaissance age. Have students infer and predict what types of work they may encounter.
  • Now distribute copies of the lesson Renaissance Literature: Characteristics & Writers and read the section 'Characteristics of the Renaissance' with students.
  • Discuss with students how the ideas presented-- the divine rights of kings, humanistic ideas, scientific exploration and reformation-- were significant at this time.
  • Have students read the next section, 'Renaissance Literature,' and ask:
    • Who were some Renaissance writers?
    • What were themes or ideas these writers focused on?
    • How did the printing press impact art and literature at this time?
    • Why were English writers trendsetters?
  • Choose a short piece of Renaissance literature to analyze with students.
  • With students analyze the poem, identifying how the work demonstrates characteristics of Renaissance literature in its humanistic ideas or themes of wit, beauty or truth.
  • Now read the 'Lesson Summary' together and take the quiz as a whole group to check understanding of key concepts.

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