School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 6

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 8. Read critically to evaluate literary texts

Objective d. Identify and explain the relationship between the structure and the purpose of the text


Provide students with a complex, age-appropriate literary text. Students should silently read the text. Once reading is complete, both teacher and students should complete a literature chart like the one below.

Key Words

When the chart is complete, the teacher and students should determine the purpose of the text from the key words, feelings, ideas, and images presented within it. Next, the teacher and students should determine and discuss whether or how the structure of the text is effective in relaying the purpose of the text.


Provide students with multiple age-appropriate literary texts. Each of the texts should be structured differently but have a common idea or situation. For example, Irene Hunt's Across Five Aprils, Walt Whitman's "Captain, O My Captain," and Jim Bishop's The Day Lincoln Was Shot have a common situation, the death of Abraham Lincoln. Across Five Aprils is a novel divided into chapters. "Captain, O My Captain" is poetry, and The Day Lincoln Was Shot is journal-like in that it moves hour by hour in telling the events of that day. The structure of each text is different as is the mood, tone, and author's style. Students should read entire texts or designated portions of text and discuss the relationship between structures and purposes of the texts. After the discussion is finished, students should be able to explain how the common situation or idea is presented differently in each text and how the structure of each text helps determine that difference.


Select a literary text where the structure includes a flashback. The teacher and students should read the text together, and the teacher should indicate the beginning and end of the flashback. Teacher and students should discuss the information given by the flashback and determine its purpose in the text. Does the flashback enhance the reader's understanding of a character, the setting, the mood, etc…? Next, the students should determine how the purpose of the flashback affects or reflects the purpose of the complete text.


An adjusted form of the previous seed requires a literary text where the structure includes a flashback. Prior to students reading, the teacher should remove the flashback from the text. After reading, the teacher and students should discuss the literary elements in the text and determine reasons for them. Once that discussion is complete, the teacher should show students the correct placement of the flashback within the text and have them reread with the flashback in place. Once that reading is finished, the teacher and students should review their previous discussion to determine whether the altered structure of the text affects their understanding of character, setting, mood, tone etc…