Literary Postcards: Writing From A Character's Point of View

October 13, 2014

Literary postcards are a great activity to reinforce the ideas of character and point of view in any novel or short story and can be used with any grade level.
Looking for a way to reinforce the ideas of character and point of view? Literary postcards are a great activity for any grade level.

I teach 9th grade English (don't be misled by some of the sample drawings and writing below) and my students completed this activity at the end of reading a novel in their literary circles.

Students had a choice of five coming of age novels (Sunrise Over Fallujah, Split, The Skin I’m In, Standing Against The Wind, and The Fortune of Carmen Navarro) and were grouped based on their choice. While all of the books deal with growing up and maturing, several also death with issues of abuse and bullying which are so important for teenagers to read about and discuss.

The first step in creating literary postcards is brainstorming characters from a novel or short story and the important events. I encourage my students to also list the page numbers so they can reference the text as needed. This is also very helpful for the students who may not have read as much as others. This activity could also be done part way through a book instead of at the end to re-engage readers.

Once students have brainstormed with their groups (about ten minutes), I go over what goes where on a postcard. For students who have never written or received a postcard this is a must. On the front of the postcard is the illustration of the event the student selects. I tell my students it is not about how beautifully it is drawn, but how well they communicate the event. Stick figures and word bubbles are fine as long as I can understand what is going on.

On the back left of the postcard is where they do their writing. I give my students four choices:
1. Write it like a postcard from one character to another reflecting on the event illustrated.
2. Write a diary entry from the point of view of one character reflecting on the event illustrated.
3. Write an interior monologue of one character's thoughts reflecting on the event illustrated.
4. Write a poem from the point of view of one character reflecting on the event illustrated.

If you have lower grades, you might want to limit it to one or two choices. We have recently reviewed interior monologue and completed a poetry unit so those choices are appropriate for my students.

On the back right of the postcard, the students address the postcard to its recipient, filling in as much accurate information as possible from the novel, and making up the rest.

While the brainstorming was a group effort, each individual student creates their own postcard. I tell my groups that they may all choose the same event or all choose different events and help each other with illustration ideas, but their writing should be completely original.

And now for some samples:

Literary postcards are a great activity to reinforce the ideas of character and point of view in any novel or short story and can be used with any grade level.
Based on events in The Skin I'm In. "Come here bean pole…I wanna taste ya sweet lips." "Leave me alone." Maleeka is harassed by boys in her neighborhood.


Literary postcards are a great activity to reinforce the ideas of character and point of view in any novel or short story and can be used with any grade level.
Based on Split. One character writes to his brother about how he wishes he had been there for him.


Literary postcards are a great activity to reinforce the ideas of character and point of view in any novel or short story and can be used with any grade level.
Based on Split. "Please stop!" Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! "NO!" This writing accompanies the image. The husband writes to the wife apologizing for being abusive.
Literary postcards are a great activity to reinforce the ideas of character and point of view in any novel or short story and can be used with any grade level.




Based on The Fortune of Carmen Navarro. One of the narrators receives a letter from his brother who is away in the military. Adam struggled to live up to the example set for him by his older brother and treasures the letters he receives from him.
Literary postcards are a great activity to reinforce the ideas of character and point of view in any novel or short story and can be used with any grade level.Based on The Skin I'm In. Maleeka's interior monologue revealing her thoughts about her identity, an issue she struggles with throughout the novel.

You can find this whole lesson here. If you decide to try out the activity, let me know how it goes with your students!













For more literature resources:

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2 comments

  1. What a great activity. I love how you allow your students to choose from a set of texts around a thematic idea rather than assigning the same book to the whole class!

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    1. Thank you! I try to use choice when ever possible to give my students input into their learning.

      Brynn Allison
      Brynn Allison's Blog

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