This structured, easy-to-use outline guides students through the process of structuring a commentary on a passage from a larger text (either written or oral). In other words, it teaches students how to structure this type of close reading or passage analysis through guided practice; it guides them in setting the context, writing a clear main idea, choosing literary features and evidence to support them, and concluding the commentary. This outline can also be adapted for a poem commentary (or feel free to email me if you would like me to post my poem-adapted version).
I use this outline for my IB English course to prepare my students for their Individual Oral Commentary test (IOC), but I have also used it with my sophomores to teach them how to prepare a close reading for a written exam. Students LOVE this outline because it makes everything so clear. It is very visual, making use of boxes and arrows to show relationships (as opposed to a traditional outline, which can be confusing).