Baby Literary Essay For 3rd Grade

After attending a great summer institute breakout session at the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College this summer, I came back with a slightly deeper understanding of how I might move my students into writing stronger literary response essays, in less time. The most important thing that I took away was that I realized that I needed to lift the level of the way my students were closely reading and interpreting text, in order to lift the level of the baby literary essay. Here's the gist:


  • First, students read the text. (start off with short texts such as short stories, picture books, or excerpts from longer texts)
  • Reread to interpret the text 
  • Rehearsing
  • Fast Drafting


As students are working through the Reading to Interpret the Text phase, they can ask themselves questions such as:
  • Whose story is being told?
  • What kind of a person is the character? What traits could I use to describe the character?
  • What does the character want at this point?
  • What are some of the emotions and feelings the character has during this part?

As students continue reading through the middle of the text, they can ask themselves questions such as:
  • What gets in the way of the character getting what he wants?
  • Have the character's feelings and emotions changed? How and why are they changing?
  • Are there any problems or issues starting to arise?

As students continue to read and interpret the text through the end, they can ask questions such as:
  • What is the message the author wants us to notice?
  • Is there a life lesson being taught?

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Literary Essay Framework:

Book title: 

Author's name:

Brief summary of the text:

Sentence about the theme, or big idea, from the text:







- Когда эти стены рухнут, вся планета получит высший уровень допуска к нашим секретам. Высший уровень. К отчетам о секретных операциях. К зарубежной агентурной сети. Им станут известны имена и местонахождение всех лиц, проходящих по федеральной программе защиты свидетелей, коды запуска межконтинентальных ракет.

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