When looking at Reading Standard 3, I find it interesting how the anchor standard only really uses the language of the informational standard. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text. The literary side of the standard will key in on characters, settings, major events, and theme. The informational side of the standard doesn’t stray much from “individuals, events, and ideas” in its language of details.
As I delved into analyzing both standards at the same time, I wondered whether I would find more similarities or more differences. As I thought about this idea, I realized that nuances within a text type and comparison were a lot for one post. So, I’ve broken them up into a few posts, which you can access all at once. Or, you can let the ideas of one post simmer before delving into the horizontal alignment of literary and informational texts.
This post is the first of 3 posts and follows the ideas found in the Reading Literary Texts, Standard 3.
Reading Standard 3 Lit
The standards appear to introduce a concept, refine or define the concept, and then remove the scaffolds. This cycle repeats itself until grades 11 and 12 assumes a student understands what “develop and relate elements of a story or drama” means. Compare this wording to kindergarten where the emphasis is placed on “identify[ing] characters, settings, and major events”. When 11/12 uses “story elements”, they really mean all the different story elements like “characters” or “settings” that have previously been introduced.
Take a look at some of my highlighted differences in wording as the standard progresses through grade levels. What do you initially notice or think about the progression?
Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).
Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).
Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).
Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
Grades K-4 highlights the cycle of defining, refining, and removal. Kindergarten introduces that students should pay attention to “characters, settings, and major events” while 1st grade asks students to “describe” with “key details”. At second grade, there is a refinement of “describe” by isolating the student to pay attention to a key relationship. In this case, the story’s events are almost static and only the characters are seen as dynamic and responsive to events. Now that the relationship between characters and settings are set, the 3rd grade student is asked to consider that events are not static, but events can be influenced by events. In addition, the 3rd grade students are given some refinement of what is important to pay attention to about a character through the use of the (e.g.). Once the student enters 4th grade, the scaffolds, defining, and nuances are removed so that the student should understand what can be considered “in depth” description.
Eventually, you will arrive at a grade level like 7th grade that appears to need a lot of nuance and defining or unpacking. If you are like me, you might have done what I did when reading these standards the first time. I pulled out the 6-12 bands of standards and examined them, but I barely touched the K-5 standards. Perhaps that is a fault of the layout of the standards that isolates K-5 and 6-12 into separate sections. If I don’t read K-5, I would have to use past practice and grade 6 to help define “particular” and “interact” in standard 7, which isn’t all bad. Just, probably more work for me and the students to connect with each other’s understandings.
Standard 7: Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).
The Elusive Author
What intrigues me the most about this standard is the author remains elusive until grade 11/12 in the literary standard, and they don’t appear in the anchor standards. It kind of reminds me of a National Geographic Special. The once elusive author has been spotted in their natural habitat. It is now that we see this elusive author as the true mastermind behind the text, the one making choices for the characters. While this elusive author appears in the 11/12 literary standard, the author actually appears in the 9/10 informational standards and then disappears once again
Ready for more? Continue your thinking by reading about Informational Text progression here.