In teaching high school English, I have found that even my honors level juniors need work, at least at the beginning of the year, on structuring effective analytical paragraphs about literature. In fact, my lower level sophomores spend the entire first semester focusing on paragraphing in their analytical writing about literature.
Why jump into a full essay if the building blocks are not yet sound in terms of both content and structure? Once they've mastered writing effective paragraphs, their essays are much stronger, both easier for them to write and less painful for me to grade.
In addition, every text you read doesn't need a full essay to demonstrate understanding and writing skills. For example, when we read The Crucible, students write an analytical paragraph on John Proctor's transformation as their final "paper."This paragraph must have three well-selected quotes, and often the paragraphs are close to two double spaced pages in length. By following the structure of the included template, the paragraphs are logical and help students understand what each piece of the paragraph structure does to move forward and prove their argument.
Finally, this outline and rubric can pair with any prompt: for a novel or part of a novel, a short story, poem, or article. It is simple enough to use in grade 6, if you'd like.
**I've uploaded a Word document so it is easily editable if you need to personalize it or would like to make any changes. Also please note that TPT generates thumbnails with a wider margin than the actual document, so the rubric actually does fit more neatly on the page than it appears to in the thumbnail.
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