Teaching Point of View to Middle & High School Students

February 07, 2021

Use these ideas for teaching point of view to middle and high school students with any short story, novel, or drama.

An understanding of point of view as well as perspective is key to interpreting any fiction or nonfiction text. Students need to be able to understand an author or character's view point as well as its impact on the information or narrative presented. I detailed the many ways I introduce and reinforce point of view in this previous blog post and you can find even more ideas below.

Hold A Point of View Scavenger Hunt

Help students become comfortable with identifying point of view with a scavenger hunt. Pull children's books from your home or classroom library, or borrow some from a lower grades teacher. Students can work on their own or in groups to find at least one book that matches each type of point of view that you have taught. Students should record the titles of the books they found and at the end of the activity, these titles can be shared out in a whole class discussion. Students can confirm or challenge each other's identifications.

Use Mentor Texts For Analysis
Mentor texts can provide an interesting approach to teach language and literary analysis. With point of view, mentor texts can provide clarity. First, students can choose the lines that articulate point of view to them. Second, the teacher can provide several lines from literature to show point of view. Students can then choose what line best helps them. Lastly, the analysis of mentor texts naturally leads to literary analysis. Check out some famous mentor texts for teaching point of view.
*Recommended by Lauralee, Language Arts Classroom

Introduce The Nuance Of Perspective With Poetry
I make teaching point of view and perspective engaging by using dialogue poems as mentor texts. The reading and writing of these poems help students grasp character complexities that definitions and worksheets can’t convey. Students improve their understanding of the psychological, moral, and cultural traits of characters. Although the classic book, Joyful Noise – Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman, is geared toward younger students, I use examples from it as a starting point for my high school students and then add more age-appropriate poems that I’ve found online.
*Recommended by Kim, OCBeachTeacher

Use Images To Reinforce Perspective And Types Of Point Of View
In this blog post from Teaching With a Mountain View, she shares how she collects images to use for this activity on perspective and point of view. Each image is glued to the center of a piece of paper and then the paper is separated into five different sections: perspectives, first person point of view, and the three types of third person point of view. In pairs, students first list the different possible perspectives for an image. Then, they rotate to a new picture and write a brief narrative of what was happening in the picture in first person point of view using one of the perspectives the previous pair has identified. Students rotate with their partner until each pair has practice writing in each of the points of view.

Play With Perspective And Point Of View In Fairy Tales
Ask students to select a fairy tale and rewrite the tale from the viewpoint of a different character or object within the tale (this is a genre of fairy tales called fractured fairy tales). Students may enjoy looking through the selection on Sur La Lune and choosing an old favorite or one that is new to them. Let students share out a part of the original and a part of their rewrite to facilitate discussion about how changing the perspective or point of view changes what we learn in a story.

You can find all of my resources for teaching point of view here.

Use these ideas for teaching point of view to middle and high school students with any short story, novel, or drama.


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