Teaching point of view can be tricky, especially as students get older and progress through the point of view standards. There are three main steps for teaching point of view and they build upon one another.
These steps are the same whether you are using fiction or nonfiction texts.
In this blog post, I am going to share the three steps with you and talk about troubleshooting if your students have difficulty with point of view.
Step 1: Teaching Point of View Type (Who is speaking?)
The first step of teaching point of view is to teach students to identify who is speaking in a text. Is it a character? An outside narrator? The author?
Anytime you read a text to your class, the first thing you should do with them is identify who is speaking. Keywords can be taught to help identify what type of point of view is being used.
Here is a chart showing different keywords for the different points of view.
It is important to not just teach students to rely on keywords. In many texts, keywords from both columns will be used. If students only rely on the keywords, they will struggle to identify the correct point of view. Check out this example:
“I couldn’t wait to go to the amusement park,” she said.
This example is obviously written in third person. But, it may be tricky for students to determine that based on the use of quotes and the word I.
That’s why it’s important to teach them to read the entirety of the text and determine who is telling the story.
Teacher tip: SHOW your students EXAMPLES of when simply relying on keywords won’t work!
Step 2: Teaching Point of View Feelings (What are their feelings?)
Now that your students are able to identify who is speaking, the next step for teaching point of view is to teach students to determine the speaker’s feelings.
In fiction texts, once students know who is speaking, they can determine:
- How does the character feel about ___?
- What is the character’s opinion about ___?
- Do both characters have the same feelings?
- What does the narrator say about the character?
In nonfiction texts, students can determine:
- What is the author’s opinion about ___?
- Would the author agree or disagree with ___?
- What clues did the author give me to tell me how they felt?
Look at the example paragraph above. How does the author feel about deserts? What words told you that was the author’s point of view?
Teacher Tip: If students struggle to determine how the speaker feels, teach them to look for opinion words.
Step 3: Teaching Point of View Differentiation (Do I agree with them?)
Now that students have determined the author or speaker or character’s feelings and/or point of view, they can decide if they agree or disagree with them.
Students can discuss how a character handled or reacted to a problem. Do they agree or disagree with how it was handled?
The character felt ___ when ___ happened. Do you think you would have felt the same way? How would you have reacted?
The author feels ___ about ___. Do you agree or disagree with the author’s point of view?
Now that you have taught your students all three steps, it is important to go through them each time you are working on point of view.
If your students were given a task such as:
Read the paragraph. Explain the speaker’s point of view and tell whether or not you agree with them.
Would your students know how to tackle this type of problem? You can make a helpful anchor chart for your students to remind them of the three steps outlined in this post.
You can also grab a copy of these bookmarks that show the three steps for point of view!
Let me help you teach point of view! Check out these print and digital resources in my TpT store!
Be sure to check out our next post!