Students use the pre-AP method of SIFTing to identify symbolism, imagery, foreshadowing, and tone in a short story. You may also SIFT for irony and theme using this acronym. This method encourages a close reading of a work and can be used to support annotations. I usually introduce the first SIFT exercise as a class and allow for collaboration with partners. By the end of our short story unit, students are SIFTing independently and using the results in literary analysis papers.