Ch 8: Analyze Texts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.9

About This Chapter

Use the following lessons to enhance your understanding of the Common Core English Language Arts requirements, and teach 8th-grade students how to analyze literature and literary nonfiction. Decide if your students have met the standards-based competencies, and find useful tips on how to use the lessons in your classroom.

Standard: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research.

About This Chapter

Students who have mastered this standard know how to apply 8th-grade reading standards to literature and examine how a work of fiction makes use of the themes, characters and plots found in myths, traditional tales or religious stories, including the Bible. They also know how to apply grade-level standards to literary nonfiction, and evaluate the credibility and evidence of an argument.

The lessons included in the analyzing texts standard cover topics in:

  • The step-by-step analysis of a literary passage
  • Reading comprehension
  • Literary inference and its limits
  • Contextual clues and meaning, including prior knowledge and word structure
  • The use of visualization as a reading strategy to construe meaning, dramatize the text and feel empathy for a character or situation
  • Close reading versus big picture reading strategies
  • Interpreting literary meaning and the importance of words
  • Informational texts and evidence, including analysis, meaning and plausibility.

Students provide proof of mastery by using reading comprehension strategies to construe meaning from literary works. They understand and apply the difference between big picture and close reading when comparing an overall theme with a more in-depth analysis of a specific passage. Students use context to fill in the gaps in a written work and determine the importance of words to find literary meaning. They can also identify the main point, weigh evidence and assess plausibility in an essay.

How to Use These Lessons in Your Classroom

Step-by-Step Analysis of a Literary Passage Lesson

Watch and review the step-by-step analysis of a literary passage lesson. Assign a short passage of fiction for homework, such as a fable or a myth. Ask students to write a short essay in which they address the main literary components of the story, including theme, characters, setting and plot, as well as how these elements contributed to their enjoyment (or lack of enjoyment) of the written work.

Literary Context Lesson

Assign the literary context lesson for homework, and follow up with a discussion of definitions, antonyms, synonyms and word substitutions. Distribute a short informational or literary passage with complex or unfamiliar words, and have students try to determine their meaning from the surrounding text. No dictionaries allowed!

Reading Strategy and Visualization Lesson

View and discuss the reading strategy and visualization lesson in class. For homework, ask students to prepare a short pantomime to dramatize an existing or original narrative text and elicit sympathy (or another emotion) for their character. Follow up with a discussion on how the activity enhanced their ability to write, or write about, the passage.

Close Reading vs. Big Picture Reading Lesson

After watching the reading lesson, either in class or for homework, have students read a short literary passage, using both the big picture and close reading approaches. As a homework assignment, students must identify the main ideas of the passage and create a comic strip or a storyboard about a specific character action or event.

7 Lessons in Chapter 8: Analyze Texts: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.9
How to Analyze a Literary Passage: A Step-by-Step Guide

1. How to Analyze a Literary Passage: A Step-by-Step Guide

In this lesson, we will examine the steps involved in the basic analysis of literature. Then, using a well-known fable, we will go through each step of analysis: comprehension, interpreting and drawing conclusions.

What is Inference? - How to Infer Intended Meaning

2. What is Inference? - How to Infer Intended Meaning

In this lesson, we will define the terms inference and intended meaning. We will then discuss what steps to take when making inferences in literature.

Constructing Meaning with Context Clues, Prior Knowledge & Word Structure

3. Constructing Meaning with Context Clues, Prior Knowledge & Word Structure

In this lesson, you will learn how readers use prior knowledge, context clues and word structure to aid their understanding of what they read. Explore these strategies through examples from literature and everyday life.

Reading Strategies Using Visualization

4. Reading Strategies Using Visualization

In this lesson, we will define visualization. We will then discuss why this step is important, how we can visualize, and when you should visualize. Finally, we will look at a sample from a poem and practice visualizing.

How to Use Context to Determine the Meaning of Words

5. How to Use Context to Determine the Meaning of Words

With diligence and intrepid ingenuity, you can use context to ascertain the purport of a word. In other words, in this lesson, we'll find out how to use context to figure out what words mean.

Close Reading vs. Big Picture Reading Strategies

6. Close Reading vs. Big Picture Reading Strategies

In this lesson, learn about two different approaches to reading a work of literature: big picture strategies and close reading strategies. Discover how these two perspectives can be put into practice through examples from the play 'Romeo and Juliet.'

Interpreting Literary Meaning: How to Use Text to Guide Your Interpretation

7. Interpreting Literary Meaning: How to Use Text to Guide Your Interpretation

In this lesson, we will discuss how to find and interpret literary meaning in writings. The lesson will focus on using the text to find key elements to guide your interpretation.

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