How to read a short story
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How to Read a Short Story. For enjoyment and analysis . Before the real reading begins. Look at the story’s title …what does the title tell you about the content of the story? What might this story be about ?.

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How to Read a Short Story

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How to read a short story

How to Read a Short Story

For enjoyment and analysis


Before the real reading begins

Before the real reading begins

  • Look at the story’s title…what does the title tell you about the content of the story?

    • What might this story be about?

  • Jot down your first impression of the title to compare with your thoughts about the title after reading the story


Before the real reading begins1

Before the real reading begins

  • Take inventory of any prior knowledge you have about the author, genre, setting etc…

    • Spend a few minutes reflecting and thinking about what you already know and bring to the text.


Before the real reading begins2

Before the real reading begins

  • Establish a quest:

    • Read the first few paragraphs and come up with a question that you will seek to answer as you read


Before the real reading begins3

Before the real reading begins

  • Orientyourself:

    • Flip through the story to determine its length.

    • Scan the opening sentences of different paragraphs to gain a sense of where the story is set, how difficult the language is, and how long you should need to read the story.


As you read

As you read…

  • Identify the main characters

    • try to determine their needs, wants, motives, strengths & weaknesses


As you read1

As you read…

  • Trace the plot:

    • Make a note of any important events in the plot. What is each event’s significance?


As you read2

As you read…

  • Keep track of how much time passes in the story:

    • Some stories cover only a few moments while others cover decades of time.


As you read3

As you read…

  • Note any important changes in characters or setting

    • These changes have been included deliberately and are undoubtedly crucial to the meaning of the story.


As you read4

As you read…

  • Pay attention to the setting:

    • Note how the setting evokes emotional reaction (dislike, enjoyment, fear, comfort, etc…)


As you read5

As you read…

  • Consider the story’s point of view:

    • Who is telling you the story?

    • Is the narrator reliable and accurate?

    • Do you have to read “between the lines” to determine what’s happening objectively?


Once finished

Once finished…

  • Apply the steps of critical thinking to the story:

    • Summary

    • Analysis

    • Synthesis

    • Evaluation


Once finished summarize

Once finished…Summarize

  • Summarize the story:

    • Review what happened by making a mental or written list of the important events

    • Be sure you understand the progression of events

    • Tell someone about the story by summarizing what happened


Once finished analyze

Once finished…Analyze

  • Analyze the text:

    • Where are the important ideas in the text?

    • Select a few passages that seem important and determine what they contribute to the story.


Once finished synthesize

Once finished…Synthesize

  • Synthesize with other stories you’ve read:

    • How does the story compare with other stories?

    • What elements are similar? different?


Once finished synthesize1

Once finished…Synthesize

  • Synthesize with other genres & ideas:

    • How is the story similar to films, plays, poems, ad campaigns, TV shows etc…?

    • Where else have you seen the story’s theme or similar characters?


Once finished evaluate

Once finished…Evaluate

  • Evaluate the story by applying specific criteria

    • Choose one element of the story (character development, plot, point of view, setting, theme, symbol etc…) and evaluate it


Be an active reader

Be an active reader…

  • Read to enjoy, but read actively.

    • Question as you read

    • Look for motives and patterns

    • Think about the author’s intentions

    • Imagine how other readers might respond to the text


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