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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Learning task 4: During reading

Writing in role

Keep a log as you read your book. The log should comprise brief entries completed after each reading session. The log should be written in role as either the main character or a minor character who is aware of most of what is happening in the book. The log should:

  • very briefly summarise key events
  • reflect how your character is feeling about those events and other characters
  • reflect how your character is changing in response to other characters and key events.

Exploring the language of a key passage

Choose a climax, an exciting moment, a turning point in the story or a key revelation about a character. Photocopy this section of the book (which should be no longer than one page) and use the guide below to explore how the author has helped create a mood of excitement or tension or sadness or regret or revealed something significant about a character.

Before starting, look at this from a key moment from Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden as a guide to your own analysis.

Read your selected passage closely, several times, and write about how the following helped contribute to the mood or reveal something significant about a character. You need to include at least one example of each technique you mention.

 First, describe the mood created or the nature of the character revelation.

  • Choice of words? Did the author use words with particular connotations or emotive words? Did s/he use active or violent verbs or well chosen adjectives and adverbs? How did these work to achieve the purpose? Was the choice of a particular types of noun (ARB username and password required to view this resource) important?
  • Tense? Is the passage written in the past or present tense? Does this have any effect on you as a reader (for example, something written in the present tense can sound more immediate, perhaps tense)?
  • Imagery? Has the author employed similes, metaphors or personification to achieve his/her purpose?
     Has the author included particular colours or sounds in the passage to achieve a particular effect?
  • Structure? Does the incident come as a shock or surpise after what has come before?
     Does the author employ short sentences to create a sense of urgency or panic or long ones to create slower or sadder atmosphere?
     Are words or phrases or ideas repeated in the passage? Why?
  • Sounds? Has the author used alliteration, onomatopoeia or assonance or other sound devices to achieve a particular effect?
  • Dialogue? Is dialogue used - how does this work in the passage?
  • Punctuation? Has the author used question marks, exclamation marks, inverted commas, italics, capital letters (for whole words) at any stage for a particular purpose?

Provide an overall summary of your selected passage, saying whether you found it effective or not. Did you feel the panic, excitement or sadness? Did you get a deeper or different understanding of a character? Which of the above techniques were most important in achieving these things?

Have your analysis assessed by a peer using the close reading assessment schedule.

Published on: 09 Jan 2018