Literary analysis is tough.

• “Explain how the author uses setting to establish the mood of this short story.”
• “Determine the narrator’s tone and present two pieces of textual evidence to defend your choice.”
• “Examine the writer’s use of the colors green and yellow as symbols that support the novel’s theme.”

I’m a literature nerd, so digging into these prompts would keep me happily engaged for days. Most teens, though, don’t share my enthusiasm, often because they don’t yet have the tools, experience, or confidence to articulate what they see in the works of literature we study.

The solution? Modeling and practice. Once teens start to see how the game is played, they quickly become more comfortable – and vocal! – in sharing interesting things they notice.

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