Fourth and fifth graders have begun to craft their first literary essays. After identifying a thesis statement, and supporting arguments, we dove into the complex work of examining our thoughts about literature and making connections to our lives or the world at large.
From an early age, we learn to ask ourselves as we read: What did the author want me to understand? Why did the characters do what they did? As we age and begin exploring using the written word to share our thinking, we begin to ask: how did the author help me uncover this meaning? We learn from master writers how to convey meaning, how to bring out the important parts of the stories we tell. We ask ourselves: how can I use this writing strategy to make my writing stronger?
Through literary analysis we use our experiences as readers and writers to explore an arguably more important and valuable line of thought. What does this literature mean to me? How does this knowledge contribute to who I believe myself to be? Art and literature, and our reactions to our experiences with them, help us look for patterns in our thoughts and feelings. They help us hone in on the character traits we value and the issues we feel passionately about. Learning to reflect on experiences with literature is a lens through which we may learn ourselves.
-Ms. Moisan, 4th/5th Grade Teacher